LEED 100K House, more!

Whispering Crane Institute chop, chopYesterday I wrote about a comment thread at the 100K Leed house.

Interesting commentary thread over at this website about building a $100,000 house, following LEED requirements, and the landscaping, or lack of landscaping.
So a couple of folks have dropped over and added their opinion, and the debate goes on.

Builders—-I’m speaking in generalities here, just don’t seem to get it. Work with us landscape people, let us be part of the team, and not some last minute afterthought on some half-ass ridiculous budget.

Where we get my favorite:

Twelve shrubs, two trees, mulch and enough sod to cover the front yard.

This was the builders special of about 95% of all home builders in South Carolina in the late 80’s throught the early 00’s(oughts). If it’s changed down there; please someone, let me know.

Now I don’t know about budget on the 100K LEED house, it shouldn’t be that high, or if there is one(hope it’s not $500). But it all started when I commented quite a while back about the landscaping being added on at the end of the project.

Why not move into a nice new LEED house with a recycled paver/brick/sandstone front walk. A compostie deck  in the back?

Tree properly placed for shade in the summer and sunlight in the winter. Trees and shrubs to improve habitat for our animal friends, plants the are friendly to their environment, not needing pruned with gas shears, or crazy amounts of fertilizer.

Adding great soil at the beginning and not having to tear apart badly prepared beds later on, costing time and MONEY . . . nah, why do all that.

To hell with it just put in the twelve, 2, mulch, sod and sell the damn thing.

Yes, I am getting madder as I type.

Oh, and the AIG thing . . . I’d rather not get started.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


    1. In South Carolina we applied sod about 100% of the time. Seem to be just the opposite of installing a lawn with a cool-season grass.

      Semi-loads, man how I hated to lay sod. Funny how I was always short a guy or so on those days.

  1. Just happened to pull up your website because I was looking for info on Robert Marvin. Like you I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to know him. My mom worked for him from 1965 – 1967.

    Your comments about the $100,000 Leed house …. in the Charleston lowcountry area I only wish you could buy a house for $100k.
    Five years ago I purchased a 1350sf cottage style new construction home on Johns Island. The average lot size in our small 72 home neighborhood is about 16/100 of an acre, the average home is 1500sf, most of which are two story. Just like you stated, every house came with sodded front yard, one tree (not 2), and about 12 shrubs, with pinestraw mulch around the shrubs and the tree. Within a month of moving in my house, March 2004, I dug up all of the shrubs and replaced them with something I felt would have a more appropriate mature size. The sub-contractor was a “residential landscaper”. What I call a hole digger who just happens to throw plants in the holes and covers them with dirt.
    Every shrub I dug up had 2 – 3 inches of dirt over the top of the root ball. Further, no effort had been made to loosen the roots. Every shrub I knew had a mature height of 6 – 8 ft, much to large for my small home. Sad that the “landscapeer” had never made any obvious effort to make himself knowledgeable on the proper plants to use or even the proper method of planting the shrubs.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commeting.

      As to your story, I can only say this:

      I have heard this story, seen this story, replaced this story way past the many times I have ever wanted to know how much this goes on around the country. It has become a sorry state of acceptance between developer/builder and “landscaper”.

      I am sorry you had to be part of it.

      I’ve been down to John’s Island several times, a beautiful place, but I know of those “sub-divisions” you write about, and I don’t doubt a bit of your story.

      Happy planting!

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