Cracks have always been seen as an aesthetic problem to avoid in landscape architecture. In order to prevent this nuisance from happening landscape architects are always drawing joints in our concrete paths. But I propose something different: why not look at cracks in another light? After all, the Grand Canyon is one of the biggest cracks in the world, and tourists flock to it every day to admire its vast beauty. Some argue that the canyon is not necessarily a crack, but a product of water erosion over thousands of years. Regardless, if you look at the Grand Canyon from a satellite image above, it looks like a giant red crack on the Earth’s surface if you ask me.
Another crack was born just last month in the state of Wyoming. Late September rains and gravity were the perfect catalysts to create this giant crack with up to 100ft depths in some areas. The newly born crack is located on a cattle ranch near Lysite, posing no real threat to humans. It continues to grow as geologists watch and admire it as part of Wyoming’s unique geography from the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone National Park.
Cracks and crevices can even serve as the perfect habitat for certain plants, especially at higher elevations. A landscape project called the Crack Garden in San Francisco was inspired by these persistent plants that seem to grow in the toughest conditions. The cracks were an intentional design mechanism to provide a colorful garden with a wide range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers for the residents to enjoy and change as they please. Sounds to me like a good deal compared to a backyard without plants and covered in crack-free concrete, don’t you think so?
Usually, the type of plants that grow in the cracks of an urban jungle are deemed unwanted weeds. However, the Crack Garden project succeeds in altering the perception of cracks and weeds, acknowledging these plants erupting from concrete and asphalt are examples of nature’s return. From this perspective a single crack can be an opportunity for life and growth, not a problem in the pavement…an example of “life finds a way“.