Revitalizing Orange CBD

Revitalizing Orange CBD: The Impact of Stratavault Tree Planting

Key Facts

Lords Place
Orange, NSW 2899

November 2022

Orange City Council

Citygreen PROJECTS
Sala4D Landscape Architecture

About the Project

In late 2018 Orange City Council engaged urban designers and architects sala4D to develop a plan for upgrading the CBD.

The last significant upgrade of the Orange CBD was undertaken in the 1990s. Since then, the way people and communities engage with the CBD and retail sectors has changed and evolved. The community asked for more places where they can gather and spend their time in attractive, fun spaces.

tree planting in stratavault soil vault at lords place orange

Project Goals

The concept plan for Lords Place South aims to make the city center more attractive and pedestrian friendly. The proposals include doubling the number of trees, introducing eight raised platforms for outdoor seating and dining, and creating nine new open space areas with trees, shade, and seating. Improved street lighting is planned to boost the nighttime economy.

With these tree plantings the number of car parking spaces in the area would be reduced by a third, from 67 to 44 to accommodate these changes

Artist Rendering of Lords Place, Orange

Artist Rendering of Lords Place, Orange

Project Challenges

Initially, there were 16 trees in Lords Place South; however, due to the new construction, and review of the current trees it was decided that 10 of them need to be removed. Similar to other trees in urban inner-city areas, the existing trees in Lords Place South encounter difficulties as their roots are largely covered by concrete and bitumen. Additionally, being planted in structural soil restricts the growth potential of their roots.

A huge community concern around the tree planting was the transition from a car-focused street to a pedestrian-focused street and the loss of car park space for businesses. Citygreen were able to mitigate the loss of car parking space by double planting of trees diagonally in line with the space of the carparks. These trees share the same treepit, an advantage of sharing the same treepit is that less soil volume is needed per tree overall as there is an overlap in soil use. At completion of the project there is now a total of 28 trees in Lords Place South.

Drone shot of Lords Place Orange, showing stratavault tree planting


The presence of existing underground utilities posed a significant risk to the project. However, with the modular design and large void spaces of the Stratavault system, the matrix can easily be built around utilities with minimal changes to the design; making Stratavault system the ideal solution.

Worker preparing existing underground utilities for stratavault tree planting installation


Why Stratavault?

As part of the FutureCity program, new trees have been planted in Citygreens Stratavault matrix. These soil cells prevent the roots from spreading and causing damage to nearby infrastructure such as roads and underground utilities while providing the tree with optimal soil volume and compaction to ensure ideal growing conditions.

Another advantage of using Stratavault in busy urban areas like Lords Place is that the 100% recycled plastic modules are weight-bearing and designed to be trafficable, meaning cars can park safely alongside the trees without harming their roots. This approach helps minimize the loss of parking spaces, as the trees can be strategically positioned to maximize parking availability along the street. Additionally, the Stratavault Matrixes are connected to the city’s stormwater channels, allowing the trees to thrive by intercepting water runoff that would normally enter the city’s infrastructure and be taken out of the area.

There are a few main benefits when considering this approach:

  • Sustainable water utilization: The connected system allows for the harvesting and utilization of rainwater for irrigation purposes. This reduces reliance on municipal water sources and promotes water conservation.
  • Phytoremediation: Tree roots and soil microorganisms help remove pollutants, sediment, and nutrients from the water, improving its quality.
  • Enhanced urban cooling: As the trees in the Stratavault system receive ample water, they can provide better shade and cooling effects in urban environments. This helps mitigate the urban heat island effect and creates more comfortable outdoor spaces for residents and pedestrians.
  • Stormwater Management: Storage of water in high rain events helps to reduce demand on city infrastructure.

Stratavault Tree planting tree planting Citygreen


“It’s a great experience for our city as a whole to understand where the future of tree planting in heavily civil constructed areas can be going with cells in the ground.”

Nigel Hobden,
Manager City Presentation
Orange City Council

Project Outcome

Orange City Council is taking a comprehensive approach to their green-blue urban initiatives, recognizing the valuable role of trees in enhancing the space through aesthetics, mitigating the urban heat island effect with shade and leaf transpiration, and optimizing stormwater management processes by integrating natural processes.

The success of Stratavault soil cells for trees in other locations in Orange, like Kite Street and McNamara Street, demonstrates Orange’s commitment to improving the CBD’s green urban spaces. This ongoing effort aims to attract more residents and workers to the city center while reducing reliance on cars for transportation.

We’re excited to keep an eye on how these trees grow and how the trees will help the CBD evolve the community experience.

Workers Stratavault Tree Planting
spacer tree planting Citygreen

“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”

- Laura Wiesenekker, Project Engineer, Densford Civil -

“Citygreen is a very professional  business, and I found everything was great in terms of deliveries, product supply and information. It was all forthcoming and helped us to complete the project.”

- Keith Burns, Architect/Designer, Keith Burns Architect -

“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”

- James Callan, Estimating Manager, Complex Co Pty Ltd -

“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

- Sandra Smith, Principal Landscape Architect, City Of Monash -

“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

- Johny Purkaystha, Civil Program Engineer, Central Coast Council -

"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

- Brendan Wilton, CEO, Trim Landscaping, Bedford, Canada -