Site and Landscape

Site and Landscape addresses site location, plant selection, stormwater management, irrigation choices, tree preservation, organic waste management and roof material selection in order to limit non-point source water pollution, reduce the urban heat island effect, promote a less car-dependent lifestyle, and create a resource-efficient and beautiful landscape.

The Importance of Site and Landscape

Did you know?

  • Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one cause of water pollution in North Carolina and affects many other states in the same way.1
  • A concrete surface sheds 16 times more water that a meadow does.2
  • The total loss of forestation due to development from 1982 to 2030 will be close to the size of the state of Georgia.3
  • Rural residences occupy seven times more land than urban and suburban residences.4
  • Xeriscaping can reduce landscape water use by 60% or more.5
  • Community designs aimed at reducing heat gain can lower neighborhood temperatures by 10 degrees to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.6

Defining Green Building Characteristics in this Category

  • The home site is located in an already developed area, close to amenities, sidewalks and bus routes.
  • Building footprint is minimized.
  • Stormwater volume and quality are addressed in site design.
  • Rainwater is captured and treated as a resource.
  • The irrigation system, if present, is designed for high-efficiency.
  • Plantings are drought-tolerant. Xeriscaping  (not “zeroscaping”) has been considered.
  • Plants are native or adapted to the local climate.
  • Grass turf areas have been reduced and replaced with planted and mulched areas.
  • In addition to aesthetic qualities, the landscape provides food for wildlife or homeowners.
  • Erosion and sediment control plans are in place. Straw bales and erosion fences are on site throughout construction.
  • Trees outside the building footprint are preserved and protected during construction.
  • Roofing materials have a lighter color and high reflectivity in order to reduce heat gain.
  • Paved areas are landscaped in a way that allows the area to be covered by shade in coming years.
  • Landscaping and kitchen wastes are recycled on site.

Site and Landscape Features in the GreenHome

The GreenHome is under construction in an established neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina. The garage is located under the main structure to limit the home’s footprint on the site and to reduce impervious areas. Rainwater is harvested from the roof and stored in an underground cistern to be reused for toilets, laundry and site irrigation. Runoff from the driveway and patio is captured in underground collection systems to allow for groundwater infiltration. Once complete, the yard will be certified with the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat Program.

The GreenHome showcases the following site and landscape features:

  • Green Landscaping
  • Stormwater Management
  • Termite Control and Pest Management
  • Reduced Building Footprint
  • Tree Preservation