Arjay Miller Arboretum at Ford World Headquarters

  • Location
    Detroit, MI
  • Completion Date
    November, 2019
  • Size
    15 acres
  • Team
    Civil Engineer: Wade Trim
    Irrigation Designer: Sweeney & Associates
  • Photography
    John D'Angelo

About

The expansion and replanning of the arboretum delineates a new environmental model for spaces that expand the company’s focus on human health and wellness. As part of an analysis of the 200-acre Dearborn campus, a 15-acre portion of the existing Arjay Miller Arboretum was transformed from mowed lawn into a thriving meadow that sequesters carbon, filters stormwater, and provides a home for birds and pollinator species. The genesis of the project was to control stormwater in an area that frequently flooded.

The site is reforested with 280 new trees that reflect the variety of the Midwest region, and planted in flowing groves across the site. Understory planting knits together low maintenance meadow grasses and perennials, with new detention ponds to collect stormwater. Rather than seeding the entire 15 acres with one meadow mix, the design team created a quilted pattern of a dozen different seed and plug mixes to correspond to the different topographic ecological conditions of the site.

The native and adaptive landscape features a unique solution to water management, and at the same time reinterprets the idea of an arboretum into a more modern and accessible place to learn about native ecology and enjoy the outdoors.

A network of primary paved and secondary aggregate pedestrian paths weaves throughout the site, offering a chance for employees and the community to experience biodiversity and the stormwater system up close.

A ten-foot-wide multiuse trail allows for two-way pedestrian and bicycle recreation.

Apiaries dot the meadows, rebalancing the ecosystem and producing honey.