Back to Blog Home

Designing Green

Landscape earns design award for Sustainable Environment

Permeable Paver Patio Minnesota

Southview designer, Bob Renaud, was honored this spring by the Minnesota Nursery and
Landscape Association
with a design award in the “Sustainable Environment” category.

The project was unique because the owner/builder was participating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™.

The program awards points to builders and remodelers for design and construction practices that help save energy and protect the environment. The more points the project earns, the higher its certification.

This home is one of only seven new homes in Minnesota that has earned silver certification, or better.

Rain Garden and Retaining Wall

The home, located in Palmer Pointe, sits high on a hill, overlooking Lake Minnetonka. “One of the primary goals of the landscape design was to capture water on the site,” says Bob. The Southview crew used boulder walls, terraces, rain gardens,and permeable pavement systems to capture 98% of the runoff from the roof and other hard surfaces. The level areas and gardens hold the water long enough for it to penetrate the ground.

Bob selected native plants – mostly grasses, iris, and prairie smoke — for the rain gardens. “Instead of perennials, we used mostly grasses, shrubs, and trees – to make it very low maintenance,” explains Bob. Native white pine, sugar maple, and balsam fir trees provide shade in summer, and protection from the wind in the winter. Because the trees were large (18 feet tall) a lift was needed to install them on top of the walls. But it was worth the effort. Right from the start they provide lots of year-round privacy and gorgeous fall color!

Permeable Pavers Belgard Subterra

By reducing the lawn area by 50%, and installing zone-specific irrigation, the design also minimizes the amount of water necessary to keep the landscape healthy. The system is
programmable, so sunny areas get enough water, but shady areas don’t get soaked.
For the paved surfaces, a special type of paving system called Belgard Subterra was installed. The pavers look like “regular” pavers, but when professionally installed over a unique, fast-draining base, the system allows water to permeate the ground quickly. Compared to standard pavers, runoff can be reduced by as much as 100%.

Would you like your landscape to be beautiful, use less water, prevent runoff, and save energy? For help creating your sustainable environment, contact us.

More photos of this project can be found in Project Gallery.

One Response to "Designing Green"

  1. […] Control runoff. Rain gardens, drain tiles, and dry stream beds are common drainage solutions that keep runoff from […]