Raimondi Horticultural Group—Landscaper for
Near Zero Home (As mentioned on Good Morning America)
Raimondi Horticultural Group (RHG) provided the interior and exterior
landscaping designs for the Near Zero Energy Home in Paterson, N.J. The
BASF Better Home, Better Planet Showcase Initiative has constructed a
home that has met LEED-H (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
for residential design and Energy Star certifications. The home is a
part of the BASF efforts to promote high performance, energy efficiency
and ecological benefits in new housing.
"The idea is to incorporate evergreen plants to offer fuel efficiency
and the feel of nature," said Chris Raimondi, president of RHG.
The home will be donated to the St. Michael's Housing Corporation, a
local non-profit organization that will turn the home over to Richard
Sosa, a 17-year-old quadriplegic, and his family.
Case Study Specifications by Raimondi Horticultural Group
Below are the requirements Raimondi exceeded for the case study project
as mentioned above.
LEED-H Credit 3 - Shading of Hardscapes - 1 LEED point
Raimondi designed and installed trees and shrubs that will shade at
least 50% of sidewalks, patios and driveways within 50 feet of the house
at five years growth.
Installed light-colored, high albedo (reflectance of at least 0.3) for
at least 50% of site's non-roof impervious surfaces.
Plants were kept in containers lined with metal or other material
impervious to dampness.
All plants were placed on suitable supports having a minimum height of
2" above the surface. Suitable weep holes in the planting containers for
Southern exposure. Plants are exposed to bright light all day.
All Case Study Plants Were Drought Resistant
Types of drought-tolerant plants used in this case study included:
Succulents - thick, fleshy stems and leaves that are coated
Grasses - these plants go dormant during hot, dry summers.
Legumes - tap root for survival.
Poppy family ?tap root and divided leaves.
Physical characteristics of drought-tolerant plants:
?Long, deep root system
?Thick, fleshy roots that store water
?Small or divided leaves
?Gray, silver or white foliage
The LEED rater visually inspected and affirmed that all requirements
were met by Raimondi and affirmed that all plant lists were obtained
from appropriate sources.
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1. Mandatory Measure (credit 2.1)
Raimondi’s landscape design fully met these requirements:
?Install drought-tolerant turf in sunny areas only - no turf in
?Areas planted with turf should not exceed a slope of 25%
(i.e., a 4-to-1 slope).
?Use no invasive or exotic plant species as identified by local
Agriculture Coop Extension Service.
2. Minimize Landscape Water Demand (credit 2.4) - 1 point
?90% of plants from drought-tolerant group, for water budget
of 5 Gal./SF/Yr.
3. Raimondi helped the Near Zero Home obtain the next credits by
obtaining and installing the following measures:
?Credit 2.2 - Apply mulch 3?to 4?deep around plants (1 point).
?Credit 2.3 - Limit turf to 20% of landscape (1 point).
Raimondi also installed one tree or four 5-gal. shrubs per 500 square
feet of "disturbed" construction area (including home site).
ARE YOU READY FOR A LOW-WATER-USE GARDEN?
Consider the Seven Principles of Successful Xeriscaping:
1. Effective Planning and Design
Cluster the gardens for efficient watering.
Increase decking and/or patios.
Terrace steep slopes to catch runoff.
2. Soil Improvement
Add organic matter to the soil.
Consider wetting agents (polyacrylamides).
3. Appropriate Use of Turf
Use water-saving varieties ?fescues.
Irrigate more efficiently.
Decrease the area of turf.
4. Efficient Irrigation
Automation versus “when needed.?br>
Test the soil for moisture.
Measure the rainfall.
5. Use of Mulches
Organic, inorganic and man-made.
6. Have a Good Maintenance Program
Mow the lawn at a taller height, fertilize less, aerate the turf.
7. Select Plants that Require Little Water
Use native plants.
Replace water-guzzling plants, or rearrange or reorganize a small area.
Use windbreaks (fences are best).
Contour or shape the land.
Have a saucer of soil around trees.
Use perforated pipe in the soil to percolate water out to tree roots.
ADDITIONAL Drought-Tolerant Plants
Euphorbia, Eschscholzia, Helianthus, Petunia, Callihoe, Monarda,
Polygonum, Opuntia, Sedum, Aegopodium, Artemesia, Thermopsis, Solidago,
Achillea, Coreopsis, Oenothera, Helichrysum, Rudbeckia, Gaillardia,
Ascepias, Penstemon, Echinacea, Armeria, Centaurea, Liatris, Linum Gaura,
Portulaca, Santolina, Lantana, Delosperma, Cerastium, Eryngium, Rosa
rugosa, Myrica, Geum, Kniphofia, Dianthus, Gyposophila, Cosmos, Baptisia,
Cytisus, Rhus glabra, Viburnum lantana, Prunus besseyi, Koelreuteria,
Gymnocladus, Prunus americana, Pinus ponderosa, Crataegus crus-galli,
Quercus macrocarpa, Pinus mugo, Juniperus horizontalis, J. virginiana.
Taylor’s Guide to Water-Saving Gardening, Houghton-Mifflin, NY.
Burpee’s Waterwise Gardening, Prentice Hall, NY. 1994.
Xeriscape Handbook, Gayle Weinstein, Fulcrum Publishing,
Golden, Colorado, 1999.
Xeriscape Plant Guide, Denver Water and American Water Works
Association, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 1996.