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By Sydne MoodyUniversity of GeorgiaA home is more than a house, of course. The way some Universityof Georgia horticulture students see it, even a house is morethan a house.About 40 students in a UGA residential landscape managementdesign class used their skills to add more value to some homesrenovated in an annual Athens, Ga., community service program. Student-designed landscapesBerle had already divided his class of sophomores, juniors andseniors into four 10-student teams. Each person had designed aplan for the landscape, and Berle had chosen the best four plansand assigned them to teams. The four designers of the best planswere the group leaders.Including preparing the plans, the class put three weeks of workinto the project. But the students could easily see the value oftheir work in the yards they landscaped.”The value (of a home) increases an average of 10 percent withlandscape design,” Berle said. Each plan in the project wouldhave cost $3,000 to $5,000 had a landscaper been paid to do thework. Homeowner inputThe residents of the four homes were able to choose the colors offlowers and plants. Having guidelines and a customer to work forgave the students a real-world learning experience.”The best part was getting out there and actually seeing yourwork implemented,” said Chad Till, a senior from Watkinsville,Ga., who is majoring in landscape architecture. “A lot of thetime you design plans and never see what goes right or wrong.”The project got its start through a Scholarship of EngagementGrant from the UGA vice president for public service andoutreach. Grant funds provided a trailer and tools that will beused in future classes.Berle and the students contacted nurseries and businesses fordonations of plants, bricks and other needs. He plans to make theUGA Hands On Athens Landscape Project an annual assignment forhis class. “Hands On” HorticultureHands On Athens is an Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation programin which groups of area volunteers get together one weekend eachyear to repair homes in historic but low-income neighborhoods.The UGA Hands On Athens Landscape Renovation Project reworked thelandscapes of four of the 10 homes in the larger program.As it turned out, the April 1-3 event came on “the worst weekendfor landscaping,” said David Berle, the UGA horticultureprofessor whose class took on the project. Heavy Friday rains andhigh Saturday winds made the work more challenging than it mighthave been.
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