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Avalon Mixed-Use Development
Landscape Architecture by SITE solutions, LLC
Master Developer: North American Properties


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In Alpharetta, Georgia, located about 30 miles outside of Atlanta, SITE solutions, LLC, was hired by master developer North American Properties for the design of Avalon, a new mixed-use development. Each stage of the design had to obtain approval from a design review board. SITE solutions wanted to stay on-brand for the city by incorporating contemporary elements into the traditional feel of the community. Phase one was completed in the fall of 2014 and phase two was completed in spring of 2017. The final components, the hotel and convention, opened January 2018.


Avalon is a mixed-use project spanning over 86 acres in one of Atlanta's affluent suburban communities, Alpharetta, Georgia. Like many other communities in the area, Alpharetta residents invest time into traveling to other areas of the city to find great dining, entertainment, and shopping experiences.

North American Properties, the master developer of Avalon, brought together a team of developers, architects, and investment partners to create a community that holds qualities of this sought-out urbanism into the center of Alpharetta.

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This section includes plank pavers in a running bond pattern alongside vehicular concrete. Smooth river rock was placed in the planter beds in this area.


Avalon was developed in two phases. Phase 1 includes retail, restaurants, multifamily housing, single-family housing, and office use surrounding the main street and central plaza. Phase 2 adds additional retail, multifamily housing, office space, and a hotel and conference center. The project totals 2.3 million square feet.

To create a walkable, urban experience in a suburb, one must create an energy that organically transitions throughout the day for residents and visitors. Landscape architecture plays a vital role in shaping that energy and enhancing the human experience through its surroundings.

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The tree grates are cast stone designed to match the pedestrian concrete in this area of the mixed-use community. The paving sits on a tray above the tree root zone.


With that in mind, SITE solutions, the designated landscape architecture team, crafted an innovative design approach to address Avalon's challenge and provide a solution of value, sustainability, and legacy.

SITE solutions designed a series of spaces throughout the community: a programmable plaza, outdoor living room, a place to walk your dog, stroll with babies, read the newspaper, and gather with friends over a game of bocce. Each carefully crafted hardscape element contributes to an atmosphere where people want to be and linger.

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Ipe wood decking was used to give this area the feel of an outdoor living room. Each storefront was encouraged to have their own brand identity, which brought about a challenge for the landscape architects - working with dozens of tenants and their architects, instead of having a single point of contact.


The outdoor living room needed to provide a sense of home. SITE solutions transported four 40-year old Quercus Virginiana (Southern live oak) trees to offer immediate shade for those hot Atlanta summer afternoons and designed a firepit for chillier weather. Wood paneling around the trees mimics hardwood floors, while strategically placed cushions atop brick seating areas encourage people to relax and socialize. Green walls of herbs, a cistern fountain, and a living green roof behave as sensory elements that subtly encourage guests to stay, shop and dine on the property longer. Additional hardscape elements such as a Jessie rail, ipe wood screen walls, brick pavers, fieldstone seat walls with a cast stone cap, permeable pavers, and bocce ball court complete the outdoor living room design.

The plaza is the heart of Avalon's energy and activity. It's programmable - meaning it can accommodate concerts, community events, seasonal activities, and an ice skating rink the size of Rockefeller Center's. In contrast to the outdoor living room, the plaza is dynamic and busy. Hardscape features include a choreographed fountain, 6,000 square feet of flex/lawn area, granite and concrete pavers, cast stone bonding with engraved lettering, and planter pots.

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Brick pavers were laid around the bocce ball court and freestanding swing. The fieldstone walls, columns, and fire pit have cast stone caps. Across the site, there was a 30-foot grade change that had to be accommodated into a comfortable sidewalk experience.


Hardscape design elements like brick pavers, multipurpose fieldstone elements, and aesthetically pleasing, adequately sized public spaces add finesse to the complex. The fieldstone elements subtly direct traffic, create individual spaces and even provide seating for pedestrians while they shop, dine, or stroll. Necessary retail equipment such as air conditioner units, trash bins, and utility closets are disguised to blend into the hardscape design through fieldstone and granite elements to not disrupt the pedestrian experience.

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Recycled granite pavers accompany the sand-set concrete pavers along the sidewalks. The sand-set pavers allow ease of access to utilities, irrigation and piping. If anything malfunctions in the complex, the pavers can be removed and replaced without disruption to the overall design. Additionally, the change in pattern is visually interesting and divides the sidewalk between moving foot traffic and gathering spaces, which include benches from Victor Stanley.


Other common public areas include custom light fixtures that mimic living room floor lamps, fieldstone seat walls with cast stone caps, composite decking, permeable pavers, enhanced concrete, brick pavers, granite veneer light poles, and benches.

Upon design approval, SITE solutions worked closely with a team of professionals to provide site furnishings, source materials, and begin the installation process. The completion of install brought the entire team's vision to life - walkable urbanism in the suburbs that give residents a sense of new life and community.

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In addition to sail shades with uplighting, the team at SITE solutions specified custom streetlights to look like floor lamps.


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Engraved into the cast stone bonding around the fountain are the words "arms open wide, and never letting go / the dazzle of light and of every moment," "it can always be like this," "a beautiful world we live in / reds, golden greens, I remember," "because the moment is yours, all yours," and "eyes on infinity, and while day turns to night / the wild wonder of time and happiness, together." A branding consultant worked directly with Avalon to determine the quotes that would go around the fountain.


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The fountain in this plaza has tile, veneer, and a cast stone cap. A utility closet is disguised with a stone veneer and masonry.


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To provide immediate shade, four 40-year-old Southern live oaks were transplanted on site. The masonry seat wall surrounding this outdoor dining area has a stone veneer cap.


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The circular pool is located at Avalon Gardens, a single-family home community. The pool and shade structure are completely made of painted Hemma concrete with a mid-century modern design.


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During the winter, the 5,000 square foot flexible lawn space is covered with an ice rink. The fountain is on one end of the rink, and an outdoor wood-burning fireplace is at the other.




As seen in LASN magazine, February 2018.






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July 16, 2018, 1:47 am PDT

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