ENIGMA Defining what sustainable landscaping is—
By Rod Dickens
and how contractors can benefit.
PART 2 Designing to be GREEN
Three landscape contractors describe how they’re designing
sustainable solutions into their projects.
n the two-year pilot project phase underway for areas of the country. That’s what the pilot program is
the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), pre-design designed to tell us.”
and design prerequisites assume a very high pro- Lapides explains that once the program has been
file. In fact, site selection, pre-design assessment completed and data gathered and analyzed, SITES will
and site design account for 75% of the total points publish another report that updates the rating and credit
available under SITES. system, replete with case study results. The report
But that doesn’t mean the rating and credit system can then be used by landscape contractors as a more
is set in stone. In fact, one of the goals of the two-year definitive source of ways to design, install and maintain
pilot and accompanying projects is to test its efficacy, sustainable projects.
according to American Society of Landscape Architects Landscape contractors, though, need not wait for the
(ASLA) spokesperson Jim Lapides. “Depending on the final report to test and even hone their “green” skills.
type and diversity of projects submitted, we may have The SITES pilot project—the result of nearly five years of
upwards of 200 from all different parts of the country. benchmarking, public comment and case study review—
The information we gather will help determine how real- provides a good initial roadmap for offering customers
to-life the SITES rating and credit system is. sustainable solutions.
“Ultimately the credits are supposed to accomplish
something in a reasonable and cost-effective way, ” Preserve and Repair
Lapides continues. “But maybe planning costs would be Existing Resources
prohibitive for achieving some credits, or reducing water The SITES guidelines call for the design team to select
consumption by 50% would be unobtainable in some building sites with a view toward preserving existing
resources and repairing damaged systems, and other-
wise planning for sustainability from the onset of the
Dean DeSantis, president of DeSantis Landscapes
in Salem, OR, says that a team approach, or integrative
design, works best for designing sustainability into the
early stages of a project. He tells how a multi-disciplinary
Left: Re-used, pressure-treated lumber frames a new deck.
Bottom Left: Leftover pavers from several projects create
special blend for new drive.
Bottom Right: Pavers from a demolished pool and patio
look right at home in their new venue.
20 PRO ❙ MAY/JUNE 2010 ❙ promagazine.com
team comprised of, for example, the building architect, “Our company doesn’t sell sustainability up front, ”
property owner, mechanical engineer and landscape Heller adds. “Instead, we look at the