Site design lays groundwork
for sustainability

The following site guidelines for the W. 58th Town Homes in the Cleveland EcoVillage were developed by Kerr + Boron Associates, the project's landscape architects.


To showcase sustainable and green building principles that can be easily purchased, installed, and maintained by average homeowners.

Sustainable development/Green building principles:

  • Uses materials and products that increase energy efficiency.
  • Reduces overall environmental impact
  • Maximizes resource conservation
  • Integrates recycled and recyclable materials
  • Minimizes long term maintenance
  • Uses local materials
  • Integrates native and maintenance-free plantings

Green features:

Drainage and grading system

  • Direct storm water for infiltration and irrigation over lawns and plantings at minimized slopes to encourage infiltration and minimize required storm system infrastructure.
  • Use drainage strips between walks to allow water infiltrationsimilar to a French drain.
  • Minimize impervious surfaces to reduce excess run-off and urban heat-island effect.

Stockpiled topsoil

  • Minimize importing and exporting soil products and fill
  • Reduces transportation impacts


  • Made of post-consumer recycled aluminum

Precast unit walls

  • Landscape unit wall product is quarried and manufactured locally using local materials
  • Reduces the impact of transportation costs
  • Gravity type system is designed to move with the subtle fluctuations of the surrounding grade
  • Allows moisture to permeate through easier than traditional retaining walls
  • Reduces the amount of construction material over traditional building methods of footers, rebar, and mortar setting beds.
  • Easily installed without the use of machinery
  • Recyclable, and can be dismantled and relocated

Fly ash recycled aggregate concrete

  • A reclaimed/recycled concrete with fly ash additive
  • Portland cement concrete can be reclaimed during demolition operations and crushed into a coarse granular material that can be used as a substitute for crushed virgin rock.
  • Fly Ash is a pozzolana silica, alumina, and calcium based material which, in the presence of water, will chemically combine with the free lime contained in the fly ash and produce a cementitious material with excellent structural properties.
  • Fly Ash can be used as a direct replacement for portland cement in making concrete, in addition to many other applications. Because it uses less water, it is less likely to crack.
  • An industrial by-product that is otherwise waste, fly ash is environmentally friendly because it is recycled and has low embodied energy.

Recycled plastic fencing

  • Produced from recycled and recyclable high density polyethylene (HDPE).
  • With each 100 feet of fencing installed, the equivalent of approximately 5000 one-gallon plastic containers are saved from the landfill.
  • Replacing wood with plastic also saves countless acres of trees.
  • The reduced maintenance prevents the need for stains and paints.
  • Virtually graffiti-proofpaint will not permanently stick to HDPE plastic.
  • Ultra Violet Stabilizers, Anti-Oxidant and Non-Toxic colorants added for product quality and stability.
  • Strong, durable and lightweight.
  • Impervious to moisture and insects.
  • Never needs painting, scraping or chemical treatments.

Recycled bricks terrace paving

When assessing the likely impact of the production and use of building materials on the environment it is imperative to consider all the phases in the product life cycle. For some products exhibiting great longevity or little maintenance in use, the phases in the life cycle beyond the initial raw material extraction and manufacture may indeed be dominant if minimal environmental impact is to be realized.

By using "recycled-content" landscaping products, virgin natural resources are conserved, markets for the collected recyclable materials are strengthened, and additional costs can be saved. Recycling offers solutions to environmental problems associated with materials, such as:

  • Conserves natural resources.
  • Helps conserve natural ecologies.
  • Reduces pollution.
  • Saves energy.
  • Reduces the need for landfill and incineration and the pollution produced by these technologies.

Pavers provide not only aesthetic appeal, but a permeable surface that facilitates rainwater infiltration as well. Its porous design reduces or eliminates storm water runoff and maximizes groundwater recharge and/or storage. In larger context, this type of paver system will lower project costs by reducing drainage and retention systems otherwise required by impermeable pavements.

Native urban tolerant plant material

It is important to understand that most residential, and particularly urban landscapes, do not resemble any natural habitat. In these situations, the soil has been disturbed, natural vegetation has been cleared, and the microclimate has been changed. Furthermore, urban stresses such as compaction, pollution, salt runoff, and reflected heat can have a negative impact on remnant native trees and shrubs.

The survival and growth potential of native species in these conditions may be no better or worse than exotic species. Many plants that are native to river bottomlands are surprisingly adaptable to urban conditions. In their natural environment, these plants experience extreme fluctuations in soil moisture and oxygen. Researchers have found that these plants often can adapt to compacted, overly dry, or overly wet soils that are common to urban areas.

[Kerr + Boron] have utilized plant material that have both a native history to the area as well as plants that have demonstrated ability to survive and thrive in these types of climates.

Low maintenance lawns

  • A special low grow/drought tolerant seed mix
  • Up to an 80% reduction in mowing, providing your mower is set to cut at 3" or higher.
  • Drought tolerant despite some loss of color during hot dry periods (when lawns are suppose to be dormant). This drought tolerant seed mix takes about 33% less water of conventional lawns.
  • The seed mix can tolerate a wide range of pH and prefers slow release or organic nitrogen.
  • One hour of grass cutting with a gasoline powered mower emits an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases, in particular CO2, to [almost 350 miles] auto travel in a 1991 model year car (Stein, 1993)
  • Once a year fertilization in the fall.


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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003



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