An easy, new path for the Chanticleer House garden

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vsmkiss02 Landscape architects’ rendering of the new elevated walkway at Chanticleer, the 35-acre public garden in Wayne. Here, visitors arrive at the Apple House, a small shed once used to store apples. CREDIT: Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects

If you've ever navigated the macadam path by the Chanticleer House and terraces at the eponymous public garden in Wayne, you know the drill.

The trek down the hill is quite steep, which means you end up watching your feet instead of the great lawn, huge trees, and spectacular flora before you. Walking back up is literally breathtaking. And if you're in a wheelchair, forget it.

The situation has bothered Bill Thomas, Chanticleer's executive director, for some time. Now, he has a solution: a gently elevated, meandering path 530 feet long and more than 6 feet wide, with two viewing platforms and a maximum grade of 8 percent.

"We wanted to make it easy for anyone to go on," Thomas says. "At the same time, we don't want you to feel that you're just on a ramp in a garden. We want people to say, 'Oh boy! This is interesting.' "

The $1.2 million project will be designed by landscape architect Jonathan Alderson of Wayne, who created the new Meadow Garden at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Work starts Sunday, the end of Chanticleer's 2014 season, and should finish in spring.

The structure, with railings, will be made of brown rusted steel and comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The walking surface will be a comfortable, LEED-certified, porous "pavement" of shredded tires and gravel.

"It will be very different. You won't think you're going down or up a steep hill," Thomas says, "and nobody will feel excluded."

 


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