The Things You Always Wondered About Klyde Warren Park's Glorious Gardens
Dallas locals and visitors alike are in constant awe of Klyde Warren Park’s beautiful landscape and wonder, “How in the world do you create a green space over a highway in the middle of downtown Dallas?” Well ladies and gentlemen, wonder no more because Michael Gaffney, senior vice president of operations of Klyde Warren Park, is here to answer all of those questions for you!
Q: What does it take to upkeep the Park?
We work with Southern Botanical using a very detailed set of service specifications due to the Park’s unique construction and location. Southern Botanical provides scheduled service each week to keep our landscape detail where we need to be.
Q: How many different species of plants are in the Park?
We have 322 trees consisting of eight different species, and more than 900 shrubs consisting of four different species. We also have more than 3,000 perennial, grass and annual plants representing more than 15 different varieties. We are constantly evaluating our plant palate for performance and survivability due to our unique environment, and we make changes as needed to keep the park looking in top form.
Q: How many times per year does the grass get replaced? What kind of grass covers the lawns?
We replace the Ginsburg Family Great Lawn (the west side from the Muse Family Performance Pavilion to the West tip) annually during the month of May. In 4 1/2 weeks, we transform this 30,000-square foot area into a lush green lawn for Dallas.
With approximately one-million park visitors each year, our lawn is “loved to death.” Having natural turf is a very high priority as it provides nearly 10 degrees of cooling during the spring and summer months and sequesters more than 500 pounds of pollution per year. The Park as a whole sequesters over 18,000 pounds of pollution each year.
Our turf is a hybrid-type Bermuda grass, and we overseed it with turf type ryegrass for the winter. For your home lawn, I typically do not recommend ryegrass overseeding due to the complexity of turf management.
Q: Is there a sustainability program in place for conserving water?
The Park’s bio-structure acts as a giant filter, intercepting over 23,000 gallons of water annually. As water flows through the landscape and soil, these elements are filtered out and sequester pollution and sediment that prior to the park being built, ran into the stormwater drainage system and contributed to siltation of our rivers and streams. Our interactive water features recycle the water they use, and our landscape irrigation system is the latest water saving design, consisting mostly of drip-style tubing with emitters to distribute the irrigation water.
Q: What is your favorite feature of the Park?
I love the entire Park, the whole is greater than one part. My favorite times in the Park are very early in the morning - 4, 5 or 6 a.m., seeing the calm and quiet and the sunrise. The Park is so tranquil in a sea of high rises and rushhour traffic below. My other favorite times are when I sit in a corner and watch everyone enjoy this place we call “Dallas’ Front Yard.” It makes all the long hard hours put into the Park worth it to me.
Q: Give us your five best gardening tips to our blog readers who aspire to have a Klyde Warren Park-style garden at their home.
Gardening doesn’t have to be hard work. Just follow the basics:
- Water infrequently and deep. Over-watering can be worse than under-watering.
- Plant in the right place for region and sun exposure. Contact your local garden center or call the Texas A&M Extension service.
- Know that plants and grass don’t look perfect all the time. They have to recover from stress during different times of the year.
- Always follow the one-third rule when mowing. You should not remove more than one-third of the leaf-blade during any one mowing.
- Do not over fertilize and follow all labels when using plant protection products.
With a little research and planning, you can have a great home landscape.
Visit your local nursery and get your green thumbs ready - now you know the secrets of “Dallas’ Front Lawn” and you can make your home lawn a masterpiece!