What's New

MARCH 2014

Accolades for Temple University at the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show!

Tamanend's Track: The Path to a Portrayal of the Past garnered three awards. Professors Michael LoFurno and Rob Kuper guided the third year students of Landscape Architecture in creating a unique interpretation of the "Articulture" theme.

The exhibit received the coveted Chicago Medal, the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania Award for Conservation, and the PHS Award.


The Wagner Free Institute of Science is a venerable establishment with a long and storied history. Recently, they reached out to Composite for assistance in upgrading their facility in North Philadelphia. The project included the removal of lawn areas and the placement of perennial plantings. The goal was to enhance the entrance to the museum, provide natural habitat for birds and butterflies, and reflect the rich botanical history of the Philadelphia. It is anticipated that the plantings will also provide opportunities for education and outreach to complement the Wagner's educational mission.


Composite Inc served as designer and landscape contractor for the renovation of the Keith Haring Mural Garden in Point Breeze. The garden opened in November to an enthusiastic community of supporters from Kutztown PA and New York NY and Philadelphia PA.

City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and Jane Golden of the city's Mural Arts Project addressed the crowd and celebrated the neighborhood, the city, and the Haring legacy. Landscape Architect Michael LoFurno shared his enthusiasm for the restoration project and his special appreciation for Haring who would have celebrated his 55th birthday this year.

The event was covered by AP, public radio and television (Newsworks.org) and local press from Maine to California and even in Canada and Europe!

MARCH 2013

Temple University takes top prize at the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show!

Professors Michael LoFurno and Rob Kuper guided the third year students of Landscape Architecture in creating "Wilde! an interpretation of the "Brilliant!" theme.

The exhibit received the Alfred M. Campbell Memorial Trophy for the Educational major exhibit that demonstrates the most successful use of a variety of plants in a unique fashion. In addition, they received the PHS Gold Medal Award for the best use of PHS Gold Medal Plants in a major exhibit.

Read more: 'Wilde' exhibit takes major awards at Philadelphia Flower Show


A space in the Fitler Square neighborhood has been upgraded to create an elegant dooryard garden. A seatwall frames the planting area and new paving provides room for outdoor entertaining.


Composite Inc served as general contractor and hardscape installer for the new Catharine Street Park. The park opened in October to an enthusiastic community as dozens of toddlers scrambled onto the new rocking toys and set up shop in the playhouse.

More information on Catharine Park

MARCH 2012

Temple University takes Best in Show at the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show!

Professors Rob Kuper and Michael LoFurno shepherded the third year students of Landscape Architecture in creating an interpretation of the "Islands of Aloha" theme.

Read more: Temple University Ambler's "Aloha 'aina" Wins Best in Show at the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show


Toward écolibrium

Composite played a pivotal role in the implementation of PHS Pops Up in center city Philadelphia. The installation is a fine improvement to the civic landscape that demonstrates commitment to responsible living, urban agriculture, and environmental education.

The centerpiece of the installation was écolibrium, Temple University's exhibit from the 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show. Michael LoFurno headed up the installation team of Brendan McDermott, David Corrigan, and Dennis Murphy. The 32,000 squre foot garden opened amid great fanfare and was visited by neighbors, gardeners, and tourists. PHS PopsUp has been visited by countless people from near and far.

January 2011
Philadelphia International Flower Show
Michael LoFurno continues in his role as an adjunct Professor at Temple University's Ambler Campus. He teaches Engineering III, Design Studio, and Design/Build Studio in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Horticulture. His students are responsible for the design and construction of the school's exhibit at the annual Philadelphia International Flower Show.
Charged with the creation of an educational installation that is also environmentally responsible, the job is not a simple one. Nonetheless, the school's exhibit has earned local and national accolades time and again. In 2010, under LoFurno's and Baldev Lamba's direction, the students took Best in Show!

Read more:
July 2010
Asian-Themed Garden
Recently completed was the renovation of an Asian-themed garden in Philadelphia. Bamboo fencing and a water feature create serenity in this urban location.

Asian-themed garden in Philadelphia
June 2010
Bella Vista Garden
Composite is updating a garden in Bella Vista by replacing an old railroad tie wall and wooden deck with a new masonry wall and flagstone patio.

Bella Vista garden in Philadelphia

Bella Vista garden in Philadelphia
March 2010
Philadelphia International Flower Show
Michael LoFurno, exhibiting for the tenth time, garnered several ribbons for his home-grown plants. Among them were two blues for his miniature landscape design and three other blue ribbons.
November 2009
Campus Greening
A local civic association hired Composite Inc. to enhance the identity of an existing neighborhood in South Philadelphia. The East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association (EPX) sought our design and construction expertise to develop a vision for portions of the grounds at Neumann Goretti High School. The forty-year old campus included mature/overgrown trees and shrubs but little in the way of understory plantings or attractive colorful perennials.

Brendan McDermott and Landscape Architect Michael LoFurno developed plans, cost estimates, and a construction schedule for EPX. They tried to keep installation costs down. In addition, they recognized the need for water conservation and minimal maintenance.

By including the school students and local residents, EPX hopes that the plantings will be respected and will last many years.

Plantings are now complete and include berried hawthorns and bayberries, large ornamental grasses, and a border of colorful perennials.
October 2009
On the Avenue
A derelict commercial site on Lancaster Avenue will see new life as the headquarters for USRealty in Ardmore (Montgomery Avenue). The water-wise design includes grasses. perennials, shrubs, and small trees. Architectural design was provided by PZS Architects.
September 2009
Durable and Intimate
Construction is now complete for an elegant walled garden in the Washington Square West neighborhood of Philadelphia. The narrow property has been enhanced by the construction of a new brick wall with gate, built-in planters and cedar seating. A combination of flagstone and brick surfacing was employed to make a durable intimate space.

walled garden in the Washington Square West

walled garden in the Washington Square West
May 2009
Staff Addition
Brendan McDermott has joined Composite Inc. He was graduated in 2009 from Temple University's Ambler College with a degree in Landscape Architecture. After serving as a summer intern in 2008, he was hired as a fulltime designer and craftsman. He will be working to both design and construction projects for the firm.
September 2008
Garden Tours
When the American Society of Landscape Architects convened its Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, several gardens designed and built by Composite Inc. were included in the tours. Brendan McDermott, summer intern, and Michael LoFurno led visitors from across the country to garden jewels in the Queen Village neighborhood Ezekiel's Dream, Studio Garden, and Sophisticated Comfort.)
September 2007
Studio Garden
Construction is underway for a residential garden in Queen Village. Envisioned to complement a contemporary studio designed by Cecil Baker, this large garden features a wide palate of sun loving, drought tolerant plants.

Lush perennial plantings and shrubs cascade over the clean lines of a stucco seat wall. A strongly geometric fountain bubbles gently filling the space with soothing white noise. Ever conscious of sight lines, main garden elements are located comfortably within the view from the large glass entrance to the studio. Clean, light colored concrete pavers complement the richness and texture of natural Pennsylvania flagstone and riverstone.
June 2007
Elegant aerie
Under construction is a rooftop planting near Rittenhouse Square. Perched atop an historic townhouse, occupants of this roof garden feel intertwined with the center city skyline. Prefabricated wooden teak panels offer a simple yet effective surface that resembles a parquet floor while still allowing access to the roof surface below. Simple planting blocks provide textural detail.
January 2006
Founding Fathers
final resting place of Benjamin Franklin, Christ Church Burial Ground<, Philadelphia Composite was commissioned to improve the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin. A brick walk and plaza now enhance the experience for visitors to this much-loved site at historic Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia. The grave is adjacent to Independence National Historic Park and the National Constitution Center. Working with the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, Composite completed the work in time for Franklin's 300th Birthday on 17 January 2006. The plan was prepared by Mark Thompson Associates Architects.
December 2005
DogHaus 2005
DogHaus, the Pennsylvania SPCA's designer show house included a colorful fall garden designed and installed by Composite. The terrace garden provides the richness of autumn color in metal, glass, and flowers.

The flagstone terrace garden was furnished with Richard Schultz's Topiary and Confetti line of outdoor tables and chairs in colorful yellow, red, and green. The luminous glass orbs by La Sorgente, a local glassblower, provide subtle warmth during the day and celestial beauty at night. The plants selected for their fall colors and textures mimic the orbs with their globular shapes and swirling leaf patterns.
September 2005
Historic Path Reconstruction
In Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, Composite is working to restore an historic connection between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fairmount Water Works. The steep Cliffside Path was constructed in the Victorian Era but had fallen into disrepair. Restoration of the stone arches and walls by Masonry Preservation Group is enhanced by the brick swale and paved walkway by Composite. An ornate railing and new lighting will enhance the rugged setting.
August 2005
Riverfront Home
On Maryland's Elk River, a house addition called for a new landscape plan. The home and addition, both designed by Cecil Baker Associates, capitalize on the riverfront views while reflecting the natural character of the area. Composite's plan included naturalized plantings around the swimming pool and improvements to the entry court for the timber frame residence.
March 2005
Philadelphia Flower Show
Michael LoFurno, showing plants for the sixth time, received thirty-six ribbons for his cacti, succulents, bromeliads, and rock garden plants. A blue ribbon went to Cephalocereus senilis, a pubescent Old Man's Cactus. A blue ribbon also went to LoFurno's collection of three colorful bromeliads.
October 2004
Tribute to Isaiah Zagar held at new garden
No visitor to Philadelphia's urban core leaves without a taste of Isaiah Zagar's wall art. Mirrored walls accented with tile and ceramics abound in the South Street area. A new garden that flanks Zagar's "Ezekiel's Dream" was the site for a fundraiser to benefit the preservation of Zagar's "Magic Garden" nearby. Designed by Mara Baird and implemented by Composite, the garden plays off the mural with bold colors, swirling shapes, and sophisticated textures. Even the garden entrance is special - a steel gate embellished with recycled bottle bottoms that reads like a modern stained glass window. The gate was fabricated by Warren Holtzmann's Iron Studio.
July 2004
Modernist landscape approaches completion
A sleek contemporary design for a new home in the Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia is taking shape. Textural blocks of plants set against coursed bluestone paving provide interest and structure to this large garden space. The home, designed by Christopher Beardsley Architects and built by Archway Builders, has clean lines, rich materials, and well balanced volumes. Mark Paronish and Michael LoFurno set out to complement the architecture with a design reminiscent of mid-century landscape architecture while using local stone and a blend of plants suited to the urban environment.
March 2004
Philadelphia Flower Show
Third-time exhibitor Mark Paronish exhibited his Gardenia jasminoides 'Veitchii.' Michael LoFurno, exhibiting for the fifth time, received twentyfour ribbons for his cacti, succulents, and rock garden plants. A blue ribbon went to Saxifraga kinlayi, a diminutive rock garden plant. In addition, LoFurno was awarded a rosette from the North American Rock Garden Society for the same plant. A blue ribbon also went to LoFurno's miniature landscape design which included a variety of succulent plants in a hypertufa trough.
December 2003
DogHaus Benefit
DogHaus, the Pennsylvania SPCA's premiere designer show house includes a winter garden designed by Composite's Michael LoFurno and Mark Paronish. The urban garden provides the opportunity to celebrate what the city has to offer, while getting in touch with the natural elements.

The lower terrace garden was designed to provide year-round interest with plants arranged in "blocks" of color and texture. The form and shape of the urban neighborhood was combined with a rich palette of plants in order to satisfy both people and wildlife in a small space. The plants were selected for their suitability for use in the urban garden, as well as their ability to provide cover and food for birds. A glass birdbath and handcrafted wood and steel birdhouses completed the garden composition.

The play of light and snow on grasses, the ripened fruits on the branches, and the deepening colors of leaves in the diminishing sunlight - all that was punctuated by the flash of a brightly-colored warbler or the chortling of the woodpecker on his rounds. The chickadee's repeating call and the full-bodied whistle of the cardinal tell us that the winter is fast approaching. Our time for sitting outside in the garden may have passed, but the birds' has just begun.
October 2003
Minds at Play
Michael LoFurno spoke on 10 October at the AIA Philadelphia Design on the Delaware Conference. Sitting on a panel with three other Landscape Architects, LoFurno spoke about the firm's work on the Mitchell School Campus Park. The panel, "Minds at Play: Designing Outdoor Learning Environments for Schools," addressed the issues in designing outdoor learning environments.
September 2003
Casual Dining
Transforming a typical urban "bowling alley" yard into a livable and inviting garden is always challenging. Making that garden suitable for viewing, relaxing, and entertaining adds to the difficulty. Composite constructed such a garden in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia this summer. The wood paneled garden provides a great setting for casual dining, gardening, and just hanging out.
August 2003
Sophisticated Comfort
When a Queen Village couple acquired some land adjacent to their two-hundred year old home and decided to add a ground floor family room, a range of opportunities for outdoor living emerged. Set at an angle to the glass walled addition, the brick patio provides space-expanding views. Plants with year-round seasonal interest, custom cedar fences, and a classical water feature set the stage for Sophisticated Comfort. Composite designed and constructed the garden, including lighting and irrigation.
July 2003
On Campus
Composite completed plans for the Campus Park at Mitchell School in Southwest Philadelphia. The scheme for the schoolgrounds combines a Recreation and Fitness Area with an Environmental Education Area to provide students with a much improved learning experience.
Composite Inc provides landscape design and construction services for projects that range from intimate gardens to large-scale developments and greenways.

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