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Sustainable Sites

Our landscapes can be more than just beautiful spaces or outdoor play places. They can be regenerative, protective, and beneficial to all living things.


Transform your landscape project into a sustainable, regenerative system using the SITES v2 Rating System and Reference Guide.

More at www.sustainablesites.org.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®) has been working to improve our world’s built landscapes and communities by creating a system that promotes creation of such sustainable landscapes.

Sustainable landscapes reduce the demand placed on natural resources, sustain healthy ecological systems, and provide benefits like clean air and water and gathering places for social connection. A green and lush landscape is not necessarily beneficial for our environment and society, but it can be.

SITES provides guidance for designing and developing sustainable landscapes that can benefit the environment, property owners, and local and regional communities and economies.


The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the United States Botanic Garden, and the American Society of Landscape Architects led the development of SITES since its inception in 2006. Development of the SITES v2 Rating System that was unveiled in June 2014 was a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort made possible by the input of more than 70 national contributors, including technical advisors, practitioners, and representatives of professional, advocacy, and educational organizations.

The SITES v2 Rating System is the first voluntary rating system available for the public to use to pursue certification as a sustainable landscape. SITES v2 is a comprehensive set of guidelines and performance-based metrics for rewarding leadership in sustainable land design and development. It is a culmination of seven years of research and development led by the staff at the Wildflower Center under the guidance of the original program collaborators, and working closely with a diverse group of experts in soils, water, vegetation, materials, and human health and well-being. Originally modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Green Building Rating System, SITES v2 includes best practices in landscape architecture, ecological restoration, and related fields, and knowledge gained through peer-reviewed literature, case-study precedents, and projects registered in the SITES Pilot Program.

The SITES v2 Rating System addresses increasingly urgent global concerns such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource depletion and pollution. It can be used by those who design, construct, operate, and maintain landscapes and can apply to projects located on sites with or without buildings, such as open spaces, streetscapes and plazas, commercial and corporate campuses, residential sites, educational and institutional campuses, infrastructure-related projects, government and military sites, and industrial sites.

A total of 46 projects have achieved SITES pilot certification under the 2009 Rating System. The Wildflower Center’s Luci and Ian Family Garden recently received 2 stars. Read more about the SITES strategies incorporated into this new garden. Learn more about the other certified projects.


As of June 2015, the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) is operating and further developing the SITES certification and credentialing services, in addition to their LEED® Green Building Program. The Wildflower Center continues to remain actively involved with SITES by providing technical assistance to GBCI to support the development, launch and delivery of SITES credentialing and certification offerings. The Wildflower Center is also providing educational opportunities to assist professionals in understanding and applying the principles, practices and metrics found in the SITES Rating System. To register a project or learn about the certification process, please visit www.sustainablesites.org.

© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center