Team cacio 59948637 2382967331935398 2000097755186255169 n.jpeg
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Project data
Authors Team Cacio e Pepe
Location Arcata, California
Status Deployed
Completed 2018
Cost USD 874.64
OKH Manifest Download

The objective of this project is to transform an outdoor common area located at Six Rivers Charter High School. The improvements made are to provide a place to sit as well as promote a locale for outdoor learning. Team Cacio e Pepe worked closely with Six Rivers to add a native element to the preexisting spaces. Cacio e Pepe was brought together through the Cal Poly Humboldt class, Engineering 215 - Introduction to Design, taught by Lonny Grafman.

Background[edit | edit source]

Six Rivers Charter High School (SRCHS) is located next to Arcata High School in Arcata, CA. They have been teaching students to become independent learners since 2003. Over the last 15 years SRCHS has offered college preparatory classes in small class room environments, so teachers have the ability to nurture each of the 100 students individually. A small access road separates the two schools, with very little places to sit during breaks and lunch. SRCHS contacted Lonny Grafman of Cal Poly Humboldt (HSU) to transform some of the open space between the schools into an inviting environment with seating and educational impact. The common area picked to be transformed was a 30 by 10 foot grassy area against the South facing wall of the auto shop.

The outdoor common area before the transformation.

Problem Statement and Criteria[edit | edit source]

The students at Six Rivers Charter High School have an 8 hour school day in which a majority of that time is spent indoors. The transformation of this space should serve the students as a place to decompress during breaks as well as promote a locale for outdoor learning.

In order to make this transformation successful the members of Cacio e Pepe created a criteria with Six Rivers. The criterion were weighted in order of importance to meet the specifications mentioned above.

Criterion Constraints Weight
Utility The number of functions this space can provide will be constrained by its size and the time allocated to complete the transformation. 10
Aesthetics The aesthetics need to be done in a way that is inviting for the students. The aesthetics will also perpetuate future transformations of other outdoor common areas. 10
Sustainability The landscape should be dual purpose in that it is aesthetically pleasing but also edible. Building materials used must be sourced from recycled materials in all possible ways. 9
Longevity Should last for at least 10 years in Arcata climate with regular care and maintenance. 7
Cost Limited to $375 5

Description of final project[edit | edit source]

The final design includes a pathway leading to two benches. The pathway was designed to serve as an invitation to students to utilize the space during breaks. It also provided the flow for the overall space, blending the transformation with the preexisting environment meeting the aesthetic criterion. A native landscape within the flowing retaining wall was chosen to lower maintenance cost meeting the sustainable criterion. The landscape also included edible plants which can be used for Six Rivers culinary class. This meets the utility criterion.

Final design

Prototyping[edit | edit source]

Cacio e Pepe presented several designs that would follow the criteria and meet the specifications established by Six Rivers. The following prototypes were chosen by the client.

Cacioepepe CAD.png

The CAD drawing above is the Six Rivers desired design. By presenting multiple design ideas, Cacio e Pepe was able to distinguish the environment in which Six Rivers was seeking with the transformation. A natural design was the preferred design.

Cacioepepe prototype cr.jpg

Cacio e Pepe prototyped a to-scale model of the transformation. This model allowed the team to gauge the space and placement of the elements implemented into the transformation.

Costs[edit | edit source]

Total material cost: $ 874.64. Total hours spent on project 325+. A majority of the total cost was donated by the following local businesses: The Mill Yard, Eureka Ready Mix, Thomas Home Center, Miller Farms, Mad River Gardens, Wes Green Landscape, Lost Foods Native Plant Nursery, Forest Lakes Nursery, O&M Industries, and Don's Rent-All.

Quantity Material Source Cost ($) Total ($)
2 Marking Flags Hensel's Ace 3.59 7.18
1 Marking Tape Hensel's Ace 8.99 8.99
1 Marking Paint Hensel's Ace 8.67 8.67
7 Concrete Mill Yard 15.45 108.11
2 Concrete Thomas Home Center 21.22 42.43
1 Concrete Stakes The Mill Yard 33.63 33.63
16 10" J-bolts with Washers The Mill Yard 2.29 36.64
16 J-bolt nuts The Mill Yard 0.59 9.44
1 8'x4"x2" Douglas Fir The Mill Yard 12.40 12.40
1 4'x8'x1/4" Masonite The Mill Yard 39.98 39.98
4 5/8"x20' Rebar The Mill Yard 12.99 51.96
1 3/8"x20' Rebar Thomas Home Center 6.99 6.99
1 40'x2"x8" Doug Fir Thomas Home Center 51.30 51.30
1 Misc. Hardware Thomas Home Center 5.99 5.99
1 Yard Compost Wes Green Landscaping 48.49 48.49
1 Blueberry Bush Mad River Gardens 42.99 42.99
1 1 Lemon Tree Miller Farms Nursery 42.99 42.99
1 Misc. Flora Lost Coast Native Plants 74.50 74.50
1 Misc. Flora Forest Lakes Nursery 52.99 52.99
3 Yard Decomposed Granite Wes Green 62.99 188.97
Total Cost $874.64

How to build[edit | edit source]

Digging trenches

Dig trenches 2 inches wider than you want your concrete curb to be.

Cut and shape wood

Cut form-wood to desired length and create a curve using concrete stakes and screws.

Reinforce form

Reinforce the form with extra stakes and bailing wire to be sure the curb is uniform in width.

Pour concrete

Pour concrete into the form and use gravel to keep concrete from pouring out from under the form in large amounts. Once the footing is poured add rebar and cover with more concrete to the desired height of the curb.

Wait and finish

Wait 30 minutes for concrete to start setting and finish concrete using concrete finishing tools over time.

Remove forms

After several hours of finishing, remove the concrete forms carefully to expose your new curb!


Create a template based on the fastening system chosen for the benches.


Dig trenches with a depth about a foot below the surface of the desired height of the footing.


Securely fasten forms in the shape and height of the desired footing using stakes and screws.


Pour concrete into the form.

Secure fastening system

Place the template with the fastening system (i.e. j-bolts) onto the concrete by jiggling the fastening system into the concrete. If using j-bolts be sure not to rotate the bolts as they are pushed into the concrete. Let set for 30 minutes.


Remove the template leaving the fastening system in place. Finish the concrete slab using concrete tools. Put the template back on and repeat steps 5 and 6 for several hours.

Plasma Cutting

Plasma cut your bench frame pieces with assistance from a pro.


If the frame has a bend from the seat to back, bend the frame piece.


Drill 4 holes in each bench foot that will attach the finished frame to the j-bolts in the bench footing.


Weld the bench frame pieces together.


Secure the bench frame pieces to the j-bolts.

Add wood

Add wood or wood composite slats to the bench frame using screws and bolts.

Purchase and lay weed mat

Acquire decomposed granite and weed mat from a local gardening business. One yard will cover around 100 square-feet with roughly a 2 inch depth. Cover the desire space with ample amounts of weed mat.


Shovel the DG and disperse it evenly through out the space being covered.


Acquire a construction tamper and tamp the distributed DG to compact it tightly. Tampers can be rented at a local hardware store that carries machinary rentals.

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

The landscaping classes held at Six Rivers and Arcata High Schools will be responsible for the basic gardening maintenance needed to upkeep the native garden. If any maintenance is needed on the decomposed granite (DG) pathway or benches, the teachers and staff at the schools will be responsible for minor repairs.

Schedule[edit | edit source]

  • Directly after planting the native garden, it will need to be water for six months in the absence of rain, until the newly planted flora has adjusted to its new home.
  • Weeding if needed.
  • Harvesting native edibles.
  • Pruning and cutting back shrubs and other overgrown plants.
  • If there has been a large storm event, the DG pathway may need light resurfacing.
Every 10-20 years
  • Replace redwood bench slats if needed.

Discussion and next steps[edit | edit source]

For future steps if not achieved by the end of the semester, will include laying mulch down within the planter to add a finished look and to provide nutrients to the developing plants and to make plaques that provide the genus name of the plants. Cacio e Pepe would eventually like to add a social media tag located on site so that students can #cacio_corner their moments utilizing the space.

Follow us on instagram @team_cacio to see the whole process of this transformation and future changes.

Suggestions for future changes[edit | edit source]

The design of the transformation was meant to last for over 20 years. Therefore, if changes are to be made they will more than likely occur within the garden. This space has room to increase its functionality and serve the students in many more avenues. Cacio e Pepe foresees future additions to the space not necessarily changes. This transformation will perpetuate future transformations to spaces similar to this.

References[edit | edit source]


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