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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping

Sustainable Sites Initiative for Landscaping Innovation at CNGF/Middlebrook Gardens

Sustainable Sites Initiative projects in California bring a new generation of sustainable landscaping solutions to commercial and residential landscaping methods.

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CNGF/Middlebrook Gardens is one of 17 pilot Sustainable Sites Initiative projects in California

"Middlebrook Gardens property has been designated a Sustainable Site!" reports Alrie Middlebrook. "As a part of achieving our goal to build ELSEE (Environmental Laboratory for Sustainability and Ecological Education), 76 Race St. has recently been designated as a Pilot Project for the Sustainable Sites Initiative by the American Society of Landscape Architects. We will be a pilot project for two years.

Sustainable Rating System for Sustainable Landscapes

In 2013, the rating system for sustainable landscapes will be launched internationally. The accreditation will have four ranks, similar to the USGBC LEED rating. SITES rating will be based on 250 possible points. The selected pilot projects will test and improve the rating system. At the end of the pilot project, it is our goal to achieve the highest point rating possible. CNGF/Middlebrook Gardens (ELSEE 's homebase) is one of 17 pilot projects in California.

"Here are some of our accomplishments that will earn us points for the highest SITES ranking. We hope our project can influence other developments to be sustainable at the highest level."

CNGF/Middlebrook Gardens Features for SITES Ranking

  • Two greywater systems, one supplies water to a constructed wetland.
  • A living roof
  • Porous paving
  • Replicated grass
  • Oldest green business designation in Santa Clara County
  • Zero waste facility with composting, vermiculture and soil building area
  • Only native nursery in San Jose
  • A native plant propagating facility
  • Cord wood constructed retail nursery office
  • Fish and turtle pond
  • Hand watered and drip irrigation gardens
  • Native demonstration gardens organized by regional plant communities
  • Rain barrels and rain water dispersal on site two constructed rivulets at parking lot edges
  • Raised beds and container gardens for edible foods
  • A landscape materials yard which specializes in reused and repurposed building products
  • An urban orchard
  • A variety of native edible foods in our plant community gardens
  • Reused concrete for walls, patio and planters
  • Original art throughout created by local artists
  • Trees used as architecture

This is a "landscaping 2.0" list of sustainable practices that we will be hearing more about in the coming years. Middlebrook continues to innovate with sustainable landscaping techniques, and we look forward to bringing you more details about this demonstration project.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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