D Aesthetic quality

Aesthetic quality is acknowledged as an integral part of daily life and underlies economic and other decisions about the land (fig. 8-13). Many land management decisions, including those related to planning and design of an AWMS, are made because of a decisionmaker's perception of what will enhance aesthetic quality and reflect a stewardship ethic to neighbors.

Highly visible AWMS components, such as storage tanks that are easily identified by their color, and associated conservation practices may be installed because they are attractive and show the decisionmaker cares about stewardship. Conversely, decisionmakers may be reluctant to install an AWMS that contradicts aesthetic norms for attractive or well-cared-for farmsteads and land.

Figure 8-13 Aesthetic quality is often important to the farm family

Figure 8-13 Aesthetic quality is often important to the farm family

(1) Landscape character

Patterns of land use and management, siting and design of structures, or field size and shape reflect cultural values that have long guided farmstead planning and determined variations in landscape character. Landscapes are organized in response to surrounding environmental and cultural conditions and the deci-sionmaker's objectives.

The composition or structure of the site's surroundings must be understood so that waste management systems are designed to fit onto the landscape. To accomplish this objective, the patterns and linkages formed by farmsteads, riparian corridors, and similar features on the landscape should be examined.

The architectural style (shape, height, and materials) of farmstead buildings should be analyzed to blend new structures into those existing. Modern, prefabricated buildings differ from traditional structures, which tend to be large and multistory and have a dramatic roof line. The large floor space of traditional structures is balanced by height. Modern, prefabricated buildings generally have a lower profile, creating a greater horizontal appearance. Where possible, emulate the architectural style of existing farm buildings in the design of new structures.

Analyzing the compatibility of the proposed design alternatives with adjacent land uses helps to prevent potential conflicts. In poultry areas, for example, where most residents are involved in poultry production, associated activities and impacts are expected and therefore more likely to be accepted. The potential for incompatible land use is less likely in these situations than in those where isolated poultry operations are mixed with other uses.

Depending upon objectives, components of the AWMS can be subdued or made prominent on the landscape. Generally, the components should blend with the surrounding landscape or be screened from view. The relationship of existing farmstead features to each other in terms of spacing, height, width, and orientation provides a clue to alternative siting locations. On a landscape divided into fields, hedgerows, and farmsteads, the AWMS components should be located where they will not disrupt existing relationship patterns.

Architectural style is a reflection of an area's cultural values. Unique structures, materials, or construction methods should be considered to avoid possible conflicts from proposed improvements. A historic barn, for example, can be diminished by locating an aboveground waste storage tank adjacent to it, whereas a properly designed waste storage pond may serve the need and be less disruptive.

Existing structures can often retain their original exterior appearance while their interiors are altered (fig. 8-14). The added expense may well be justified by the value of preserving an important cultural resource.

Figure 8-14 Retrofitting to serve current needs can be a ^^^^^^^ viable alternative

Figure 8-14 Retrofitting to serve current needs can be a ^^^^^^^ viable alternative

The farm's layout and structures also should be discussed with the decisionmaker to identify special features. Long established and enjoyed views from the farmhouse, large trees or windbreaks planted by ancestors, and an old springhouse or stonebase banked barn are just a few of the many possibilities that often provide a sense of place and have special meaning to the farm family or community.

(2) Visibility

Important views to mountains and valleys, water bodies, or areas of special meaning to the decision-maker should not be blocked when siting components unless other alternatives are not available.

Blending proposed as well as existing facilities with the surrounding landscape while satisfying the deci-sionmaker's objectives should be a primary consider ation in designing an AWMS. If blending is not possible, screening the facilities from view becomes an option.

The waste storage pond shown in figure 8-15 is visible from an adjacent road. The concrete liner, made necessary by existing soil conditions, contrasts dramatically with the dark manure and surrounding soil and vegetation. Using color additives in the concrete to make its color more compatible with that of the soil would be one way to reduce its visibility. If this is not possible, landform and vegetation can be used to screen the component from view and transition it into the site. They can also be used to direct attention away from the pond. The landform or vegetative patterns common to the existing landscape should be reproduced to screen an AWMS component.

Figure 8-15 A nearby road and contrasting concrete liner make this waste storage pond highly visible

Figure 8-15 A nearby road and contrasting concrete liner make this waste storage pond highly visible

In selecting new vegetation for screening, avoid plants that may later cause problems. Plants that are wrong for the available space, require frequent pruning, are poisonous to livestock, will not survive the ordinary growing conditions on the farm, or that require more than normal maintenance should be avoided.

Reducing the visibility of an obtrusive facility is not accomplished by covering it with vegetation. To be effective, vegetation should be placed as an intervening feature between the viewer and the object being viewed. Generally, the closer the vegetation is to the viewer, the more effective it becomes in reducing visibility of the obtrusive facility.

Where vegetation is used to reduce visibility, the resulting effects upon available sunlight, air movement, snow drift, freezing and thawing, and pest control should be considered. New plantings should be provided the water and nutrients needed to become established.

Structures can screen views of agricultural waste facilities. In figure 8-16, existing barns and other farmstead structures effectively screen a storage pond as viewed from the farm residence and highway. Roads and other landscape elements can also direct a viewer's attention away from AWMS components.

(3) Compatibility

An important design consideration is restoring the site to a vegetated condition after construction is completed. In figure 8-17 the decisionmaker backfilled, graded, and reseeded the area to reduce erosion and blend the structure into the landscape. Once established the newly planted trees will further enhance this effect.

Figure 8-16 Farmstead buildings effectively block views to a waste storage pond

Chapter 8

Siting Agricultural Waste Management Systems

Part 651

Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook

New plantings used to minimize scale or the geometric appearance of components should not attract attention by their color, texture, or form. Planting techniques include grouping plants in random arrangements to simulate natural patterns and using several sizes and species to duplicate the natural vegetation. Figure 8-18 illustrates common vegetative patterns that can be used as models. The best guide, however, is to duplicate the vegetation patterns of the locality or region. Naturally occurring vegetation is more likely to be in irregular configurations rather than straight, geometric arrangements.

Whenever possible, existing vegetation should be used in siting components of the system. The waste storage pond in figure 8-19 was designed to take advantage of an existing screen of shrubs and trees. Fill or compaction by heavy equipment during construction or operation and maintenance can seriously reduce the amount of air available to the roots. Therefore, these activities should be avoided where the vegetation is to be saved.

The AWMS component in figure 8-20 is located close to the farmhouse, but is integrated into the farmstead through the addition of vegetation.

Slope rounding and slope reduction (fig. 8-21) are two of many earth grading and shaping techniques that can reduce erosion and help to blend landforms into the landscape.

Coordinating colors of a new AWMS with colors and materials of the existing farm buildings will reduce their visibility and preserve existing landscape character. The newly installed aboveground storage tank shown in figure 8-22 is sited to be an inconspicuous part of the overall farmstead. Its color is also compatible with those of the surrounding landscape.

Figure 8-17 Vegetation can quickly restore a construction site

Chapter 8

Siting Agricultural Waste Management Systems

Part 651

Agricultural Waste Management

Field Handbook

Figure 8-18 Common vegetative patterns

Figure 8-18 Common vegetative patterns

Cross section

Fence & Hedgerow

Vegetated island

Stream corridor

Stream corridor

Plan view

Overgrown drainage ditch

Overgrown drainage ditch

Plan view

Figure 8-19 Vegetation near this recently constructed waste storage pond provides a screen

Chapter 8

Siting Agricultural Waste Management Systems

Part 651

Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook

Figure 8-20 Newly planted trees and shrubs can blend farmhouse and nearby waste storage tank (as shown in simulation)

Before

'163

After

Figure 8-21 Slope rounding and reduction help to blend landforms onto the landscape

Slope rounding

Original ground line

Original ground line

Before

Slope reduction

After

Finished grade

Finished grade

Original groundline

Fill

Original groundline

Cross Section

Cross Section

Large concrete surfaces of aboveground waste storage tanks or paved travel ways around below grade ponds can be textured or color tinted (earth-tone colors based on surrounding soil conditions) to reduce contrast and reflectivity. Reflective metal can be painted or otherwise treated to harmonize with surroundings. Existing and planned facilities should be unified in style and materials.

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