Recent Plantings

Landscaping Project at Hill Avenue Branch Library

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation is pleased to announce the award of a grant from the Pasadena Community Foundation for the beautification of the Hill Avenue Branch Library.

Over its long collaboration, the City of Pasadena regularly makes suggestions to the Pasadena Beautiful Foundation (PBF) about City property beautification projects which could be managed by PBF.  In January of this year, a suggestion was made to PBF president, Polly Wheaton that revamping the courtyard of the historically significant Hill Avenue Branch Library would be a worthwhile endeavor.

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation Volunteers in front of library

This building is jewel of public architecture designed by renowned resident architect Sylvanus Marston in 1925.  The Hill Avenue Branch is the oldest extant library building in the city and a lovely example of Spanish Colonial Revival style.  PBF contacted two landscape designers to create a plan and solicit bids for the c. 2500 sq. ft. courtyard.   Longtime PBF member Wendy Crowley submitted a grant proposal to the Pasadena Community Foundation (“PCF”) which was accepted in May 2014.

After researching the property at the Pasadena Museum of History, the designated designer Laurie Jutzi determined that the building originally had a covered patio and plans for a fountain.

As a result of input from a number of sources, a design was created which incorporated a wide pathway leading from the main library building to the extensive patio on the west side of the courtyard and to an additional seating area to the east.  It is recommended that some unsightly cement extensions to openings onto the patio and a broken concrete step by the large western patio should be demoed.  A fountain was proposed as a focal point for the path and views from various library windows.  Finally, a palette of drought tolerant plantings was suggested in keeping with the architectural style of the building and Marston’s original vision.

Parks and Natural Resources Crew Supervisor Tom Hunter, determined that decomposed granite with a substantial quantity of binder was the most economically feasible pathway surface.  The construction of the path and grading of the courtyard surface to drain away from the building towards the center of the space was a major part of the funding budget.  Mr. Hunter indicated that the city would install appropriate irrigation at their cost to connect with its city-wide CalSense system as well as provide 6″ arroyo stone sufficient to lay edging along the path to keep mulch from intruding on to the path surface. PBF has plans to have members of the foundation assist city employees with installing the plant material and spreading mulch on November 8, 2014.

PBF is confident that a twelve week period should be more than adequate to complete this enhancement to the Hill Avenue Branch Library, a beloved edifice in Pasadena’s architectural legacy.

Click here to download the proposal

Click here to download the projected timeline

This project was featured in the January 2016 issue of the Pasadena Public Library’s “Off The Shelf” e-newsletter! Click here to see the issue

From the Library: I’m pleased to let you know that the patio garden is very popular at Hill Ave Branch Library. We are pleased to be able to offer this space for people who want to read outside, eat lunch or play after crafts and programs, including story time. We have had one large program outside – an animal show, and we plan to have more programs soon. That space accommodates many more people than we can fit into any space inside. So, I want to thank you once again for helping to make this happen. Please pass my thanks along to all Pasadena Beautiful participants.