Community Interview: Glen Dake of DakeLuna Consultants

Glen Dake of Dake Luna Design

Youth Voices is working with students from the Los Angeles River School to re-imagine the L.A. River and the surrounding communities as part of the Northeast Los Angelels Riverfront Collaborative. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here and on Instagram and Twitter by using #kcetyv.

Team Raul DMZ's cause is to improve the vacant lot on 3450 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90065-2916. Our goal is to make that lot a dog park so all the local neighbors can enjoy a day with their dog. This will make the community closer as a whole.

In order to get expert advice on how to advance our cause we decided to interview landscape designer Glen Dake of Dake Luna Consultants. Glen Dake is a leader in the design of landscape, transportation, and school improvements in Southern California neighborhoods, where he has practiced since 1987. In 1996 he founded a practice to deliver professional landscape services to the building industry, institutions, and community groups. Here's what he had to say:

How long have you been in the landscaping industry?

I have been practicing Since 1988, and I've had my own landscape architecture firm since the late 1990's

Have you ever created a dog park before or something like a dog park?
I have designed and built many community gardens. I have designed a few small city parks including the Mathew Shepard triangles at the corner of crescent heights & Santa Monica blvd in West Hollywood.

Will the size effect the design of the dog park?
Yes: if we have a lot of use in a small lot then we will have to choose a material for the ground that will hold up well under all that wear and tear. As an example: the silver lake dog park was designed to have a turf grass surface, but because of all the wear and tear that failed and they have dirt now.

The ground is very uneven , does your company handles that type of work?
If it is sloping more that 20% we will suggest making it flatter, but if it is 'lumpy' then would be a different challenge and not a big deal.

What will be the easiest and hardest part of creating a dog park?
Metering the use is the hardest thing. How can we keep it nice for everyone who visits, yet allow as many as possible to visit?
The easiest thing is providing a fun experience for dogs: they find fun everywhere.

Does your company give free estimates?

We would give a general idea of how much money you should budget for design, construction and operations, but we do not provide a detailed estimate of construction costs without payment for that work.

Glen working in garden copy-thumb-400x300-68704

Does your company charge for design?
Yes: we are designers, not builders, so design is all we can charge for.

If we get to start building, can we make changes or deletions during construction?
If we plan for certain things to be laid out in the field, like plantings, then it can be done, but making changes to the grading and drainage or access paths would not be a good idea and would cost a lot: this would be a 'change order' to the construction contract.

Do you use xeriscape in your previous designs?

Now last question, do you have a dog and if so what's the dog's name?
I have two dogs: Bunny & Bella.

Do you have any question for us about our project?
What is your plan for how to operate the park after opening day?

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