The Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Located in the footprint of the former Georgia Dome just north of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, this 11-acre site was redeveloped to provide a community gathering space for stadium event days as well as non-event days. The natural turf field will accommodate a mix of uses such as multi-sport recreation or 500 tailgate parking spaces for NFL and MLS games. The Home Depot Backyard also provides flexible fan activation areas, gathering places, kid zone playgrounds, and facilitates pedestrian circulation to the stadium.
Developed by the University of Georgia, TIFTUF is a new selection of hybrid Bermuda grass proven to be drought tolerant and fast growing. This natural turf enhances the area from what was previously an impervious site – providing benefits to stormwater runoff and urban heat island effect. Irrigation for the field is provided by the rainwater reuse system at the LEED-Platinum Mercedes-Benz Stadium, specifically the 680,000-gallon cistern, with backup provided by well water. The grass field and permeable paver hardscape includes stone storage underneath for drainage as well as stormwater management. Material from the Georgia Dome demolition was crushed and left onsite for reuse.
Design challenges include the specification of a sub-base, root zone, and soil mixture to promote vigorous grass growth needed to accommodate vehicular use on the field. In addition, consideration for the concrete demolition debris left in place required extensive cross-discipline and contractor coordination. Vertical circulation for the site, which is lower than the surrounding streets and stadium, was provided in a variety of modes including ramps and stairs that can be activated during events.
This project involved many stakeholders including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, adjacent neighborhoods, the City of Atlanta, and Georgia Department of Transportation. The design and construction team included Darden & Company, HOK, Tvsdesign, Kimley-Horn, FTE, ICS, the University of Georgia and Holder, Hunt, Russell, Moody JV.