2019 Winner: The Cloisters on the Platte

The Cloisters on the Platte

Gretna, NE – Honor Award, Comm & Public Works – LG


Ken Merboth, Water Scape, Inc.


  • A new religious retreat center and community, “The Cloisters on the Platte”, was a multi-million- dollar project along the Platte River that united the beauty of nature and silence as a background for this spiritual community.
  • A landscaped campus, 981 acres, that included lakes, streams, water features, trees and plantings.
  • Approximately 160 acres of native grasses, turf fescue, trees and plantings.
  • All landscaped areas were irrigated as per the irrigation design, using rotors, stream rotators and an inline drip system.
  • Design an irrigation system capable of irrigating a mixed variety of native grasses, fescue sod, trees and planting beds using the most current, efficient and water conserving technology available.
  • Participate in weekly management planning meetings with engineers, architects, landscape architects, irrigation contractor and the owners’ representatives.
  • Consulted with the project engineer and the irrigation contractor, concerning water purity related to high iron, magnesium and particulate matter levels.
  • Set-up central control system to manage over 230 zones of irrigation; site irrigation & lodges, for a variety of native grasses, fescue turf sod, trees and planting beds.
  • Over 160 acres of the irrigated project site had variable soil types, from sandy loam to clay therefore it was critical to develop a highly efficient and manageable irrigation system to minimize water use.
  • Because of the constant use of the area by tours during the week and retreatants during the weekends, the areas to be irrigated and the type of irrigation required had to be precisely programmed.
  • Coordination of irrigation installation was challenging because of simultaneous construction of numerous buildings, roads and walkways. Landscaping and sodding occurred at various areas across the site during installation thus demanding flexibility by the irrigation team.
  • Providing a beautiful, pristine, sustainable landscaped environment that inspires, consoles & compliments the indigenous beauty of the land upon which it was built, was the ultimate intent of all involved in the planning and construction of Cloisters on the Platte. Because of our collaborative and sustainable irrigation plan, Cloisters on the Platte will continue to console and regenerate retreatants during their time away from the distractions of everyday life.

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