A Sustainable Yard and Landscape

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 14, Part 1

The Punta Gorda house is complete with a sustainable, low-maintenance yard designated as a Florida Yard by the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program. Bob thanks Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH as they review the enhanced building practices that will keep this house safe in a storm, like cast-in-place concrete walls, a raised foundation with stem walls, a roof system with embedded clips and straps, storm-resistant soffits, impact-resistant windows and patio doors, doors that resist blow-in, and a hurricane-rated garage door. The Mercedes Homes crew explains that these building practices are part of the move toward safe, responsible new housing for Florida. Inside, Bob meets homeowner Teresa Fogelini and Cynthia Guncsaga from Bacon’s Furniture Galleries, who furnished the home for Fogelini and Jim Minardi, who lost everything in Hurricane Charley. The Porcelanosa tiles set the color tone while the bamboo entry garden helped set a theme for the furnishings and art from Presseller’s Gallery. The kitchen is complete with cookware and accessories from Oh Cecile in San Francisco. Outside, Frontgate provided furniture designed to bring the inside outdoors with great looks that stand up to real weather. Bob ends with a walk across the lawn to a waiting boat at the dock.
Part 1: A Sustainable Yard and Landscape
Bob starts the walkthrough of the finished Punta Gorda home in the yard, which is sustainable and certified as a Florida Yard by the University of Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program. The key to a sustainable landscape environment is the right plant in the right place, like the two Sabal Palms that survived the hurricane and the extra one that has been planted to go with them. Water conservation is key to a sustainable yard, as well. Low maintenance plants, ground cover, and an inviting environment for wildlife are also important for creating an environementally responsible yard. Bob talks with Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH about the storm-resistant features of the Punta Gorda house. The home is built of SWS — Solid Wall Systems — cast-in-place concrete walls that keep the home protected from impact and water penetration. It also has impact-resistant windows and patio doors to prevent penetration from flying debris, and an outswinging front door to resist blow-in. The home has a raised foundation and stem-wall construction to fight damage from storm surge. The roof goes beyond code with straps and clips that are embedded in the concrete structure during the pour to keep the roof tied down, extra thick 5/8-inch plywood sheathing rather than OSB, an extra moisture barrier, barrel tiles that are screwed into the substrate rather than mortered, and soffits that are reinforced and covered with a grill that resists wind penetration but allows heat from the roof to escape. Although code does not require storm-resistant soffits, Chapman-Henderson expects that to change after all of the soffit failures and water damage from Hurricane Charley. The garage door on this home is impact and wind-resistant with reinforced construction and heavy-duty tracks to prevent twisting, blow-in, and ultimate house failure during a high-wind event. Bob congratulates the Mercedes crew -- Scott Buescher, Mike Morris, and Jesse Gonzalez -- on the rapid construction of this storm-ready home in just three and one-half months. The systems and technology used are an indication of what big builders like Mercedes Homes can do to promote code compliant housing and building practices that exceed code in production building for hurricane-prone Florida. As Buescher says, it's imperative that builders get even better at what they do and continue to learn how to build stronger homes as hurricanes continue to blow in across Florida and the Gulf Coast.
Part 2: Interior Design for a Florida Home
Part 3: Kitchenware for Easy Living and Stylish Outdoor Furniture and Grill
When hurricanes strike again and again, as they did in Florida in 2004, the effects are devastating. Bob Vila and crew work to completely rebuild a damaged house, using new standards for storm-ready housing. Along the way, Bob investigates a home's vulnerabilities in extreme weather and learns why some building systems fail and others succeed.

Also from Storm-Ready Design

  • Episode 1 - Rebuilding to Beat a Hurricane


    Bob is in hurricane battered Punta Gorda, Florida, to build a storm-ready home in Season 1 of Bob Vila. Bob visits two homes in the same neighborhood, one that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, the other that was built to exceed hurricane codes and was left unscathed by hurricane winds and water from the same storm. Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes shows how enhanced building practices and technologies can create a storm-resistant home, while Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Secretary of Community Affairs Thaddeus Cohen discuss rebuilding Florida. Building inspector Randy Cole and Mercedes Homes’ Jesse Gonzalez review the site and watch the pour of a three-stage steam wall that sits below grade and ties the slab foundation to the ground. The resulting foundation will resist water penetration from storm surge by allowing water to move around the foundation without encountering entry points. Bob reviews the house plans with Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes and learns how the house is constructed as an integrated system. Building connections are emphasized and reinforced rebar and steel mesh are extended from the stem wall to the roof line in preparation for the solid concrete pour that will form the exterior walls.
  • Episode 2 - Building a Reinforced Concrete House


    Bob recaps construction of the stem-wall foundation and integral concrete slab, the vertical steel reinforcing, steel mesh, window bucks, headers, and spacers put in place for the cast-in-place concrete walls. Cameron Parker and the crew of Solid Wall Systems spray the aluminum wall forms with an organic oil spray to prevent adhesion from the concrete and set the forms for the pour. Bob joins Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County Emergency Manager, to review cleanup, demolition, and repair one year after Hurricane Charley. sallade explains that housing built in the 1960s through the 1980s, before the Florida Unified Building Code, had stick framing, gable roofs, and siding. "It didn't stand a chance," he says. Looking at surviving 1920s Florida architecture, it's clear that unified construction, concrete walls, protected windows, and hip roofsare the way to design wind-resistant homes. Back on site, bob watches the pour, learns how the walls and window openings will be vibrated to eliminate voids, and sees the bracing set to hold the walls square before leaving the site to let it cure overnight. Once the forms are removed, Jesse Gonzalez explains how a traditional three-coat Florida plaster job will complete the exterior once the structure has cured for two weeks.
  • Episode 3 - Building a Storm-Ready Roof


    This episode of Bob Vila will focus on roofs, how they are built and tied down to keep structures safe. Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, explains how FLASH brings information about safe housing technologies and practices to homes across America, to protect them against floods, winds, hail, and wildfires. Chapman-Henderson explains how a connected house works as a system to beat back the pushing and pulling forces of wind. Randy Shackelford of Simpson Strong-Tie shows Bob the embedded truss anchors that will tie down each truss member of the roof framing, as well as retrofit tie-downs and heavy connectors designed to fight wind uplift forces. Jesse Gonzalez walks Bob through the steel-framed interior that has a master suite and bath, and lots of open space. Bart Cox of Hanson Roof Tiles brings factory-extruded cement clay-look tiles that are pre-drilled for mechanical installation. Dave Peck of D. Peck Roofing explains that stiffer 5/8-inch plywood sheathing, 30 pound felt that is nailed, hot mopped with asphalt, and covered with 90 pound felt makes a strong, water-resistant roof deck for the tiles. Metal nailer boards keep cap tiles in place when wind strikes.
  • Episode 4 - Impact-Resistant Windows for a Storm-Ready Home

  • Episode 5 - Storm-Ready Doors, Fiberglass Wallboard, and Power Backup

  • Episode 6 - Faux Columns and a Gunite Pool

  • Episode 7 - Storm-Ready Stucco Paint, Foyer Tile, and Textured Finishes

  • Episode 8 - Concrete Color Staining, Soffits, and Energy Efficiency

  • Episode 9 - Kitchen Finishes for the Storm-Ready House

  • Episode 10 - Pool Deck, Toto Washlet, and Wind-Proof Garage Door

  • Episode 11 - Sustainable Landscaping, Water Use, and Termite Control

  • Episode 12 - Hurricane-Safe Pool Structures, Pool Mechanicals, and Safety

  • Episode 13 - Surge Protection, Plumbing, Bamboo Blinds and Garden



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