Awbury Arboretum Gateway

The boundary and main entrance on Chew Avenue is Awbury Arboretum’s most visible public face. Currently nondescript, it should present a clear expression of the Arboretum’s mission and philosophy. LDCP, in collaboration with the Awbury Arboretum Landscape Committee, worked to establish a new vision for this area focused on fostering better connections between the public and the Arboretum and raising the Arboretum’s profile in the surrounding community and within the City of Philadelphia.

Our work began with a survey of historic maps and documents to study the changes to the site over time.

The plan for the 2-acre site will highlight the existing attributes of the area: the steep slope with exposed ledge, mature trees, and some interesting historical plants. It will also take into consideration the history of the site, including the 1919 landscape design by Arthur Cowell, and the 19th-century avenue of maple trees connecting Chew Avenue to the Awbury spring. It will feature plants that provide interest for passing cars and pedestrians, with color in all seasons—subtle in winter, colorful in the spring and summer, brilliant in autumn. A new sign, scaled to the landscape, will clearly and boldly announce the presence of the arboretum. Two new pedestrian access points and enhancements to the Chew Avenue sidewalk will encourage neighbors and visitors to walk in.

All aspects of the plan were cultivated with an eye for practical maintenance and sustainability of the landscape now and in the future. The development process engaged multiple stakeholder groups through a series of meetings coordinated by the Awbury Public Outreach Committee.

An initial, partial phase of work was undertaken in 2014-15. Numerous hazardous trees were removed, the stone wall repaired and some new plants installed at the driveway entrance.


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