Selection of hardscape materials as the climate changes will likely entail many of the same common sense considerations that are currently used by designers and contractors. Specification of high quality, well designed, and suitable materials will continue to be important.
Some additional considerations may include specifying flood or corrosion resistant materials in areas that are increasingly impacted by higher tides. Due to changes in precipitation and storms, materials that minimize water use in the landscape and help with drainage (such as pervious paving) will continue to be important. As temperatures generally become warmer, surface reflectivity and heat absorption may become more necessary to consider.
Landscape architects also have the ability to help mitigate carbon emissions through use of locally and sustainably sourced materials that reduce transportation emissions, deforestation, and other environmental impacts. Using materials with recycled content is one way to potentially mitigate environmental impacts, provided they are sufficiently durable and appropriate for the project.
Most landscape architects who responded to our survey agreed that site materials and construction techniques should be able to withstand harsh climate conditions brought on by climate change, such as flooding, erosion, and corrosion. Comments included continuing with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Florida-Friendly Landscaping best practices as a way of informing material selection. However durable materials and construction methods are already being used in coastal areas, and/or have a short lifespan due to more intense environmental conditions. Several respondents noted the probable need to vacate and/or relocate in vulnerable areas and the need for long-term solutions to coastal flooding and climate change.
Recycling and Reusing Landscape Waste Cost Calculator | Landscape Performance Series
Construction Carbon Calculator | Landscape Performance Series
Calkins, M. (2012). The Sustainable Sites Handbook, A Complete Guide to the Principles, Strategies, and Best Practices for Sustainable Landscapes
Okumura and Toduran. (2017). Deflecting Solar Radiation on Urban Surfaces
Reed and Stibolt. (2018). Climate-Wise Landscaping