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Zach Goebelt

Refering to the previous comment, I believe the most sustainable solutions are often times the simplest ones.
I think looking at specific low embodied energy building materials would be the answer. Stone harvested from local quarries can make one of the best building materials because of its durability and low embodied energy qualities.
The best example is dry stone masonry where stones are fit together without mortar. This method does not envolve deep footers and requires very very little maintenance.
The real trick to implementing this sort of building process is finding skilled dry stone masons to build these structures.

Susan Morrison

Some of the examples of creative sustainability sound intriguing, but I wonder how realistic it is for the average homeowner to turn a truck fender into a bench. As in all things, the easier it is to implement a postitive change, the more likely we are to do so.

Your post makes a brief mention of concrete, and in many new residential installations, an old concrete patio or driveway is jackhammered out to make way for the new. Keeping the concrete slabs on site rather than hauling them to the landfill is good for the environment and saves money. Recycled concrete (urbanite) is great for retaining walls, seat walls or stepping stones, and can be stained to create a more garden friendly look. I will certainly check The Sustainable Hardscaping Bible, and hope it offers simple solutions and practical options in addition to more exotic ones.

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