A Sustainable Yard and Landscape

Bob does a walkthrough of the finished Punta Gorda home. He discusses sustainable gardening, water conservation and low-maintenance plants. Then he joins Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH -- Federal Alliance for Safe Housing -- to review all the storm-resistant features of the house.

Clip Summary

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.