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More Than Sustainable

PROJECT: Healthy Home 2010

CUSTOMER: Healthy Child Healthy World

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Matt Smith Ryco Landscaping

BLOCK MANUFACTURER: Rosetta of Michigan


LOCATION: Palatine, IL

YEAR: 2010


Healthy Home 2010 was designed as a prototype for sustainable, healthy homes—with great indoor air quality and unique, sustainable landscaping. Unlike many green projects, the goal of Healthy Home 2010 was to blend into the neighborhood rather than sticking out.

Located in Chicago’s northwest suburb of Palatine, the 5,800 sq. ft. home features sustainable and healthy design - from landscaping to building to healthful interiors – and is seeking U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes certification.

“We consider the outside of Healthy Home 2010 to be one of the most important aspects of the entire home, because it all starts there. The goal for the landscaping was to be more than sustainable—we wanted it to promote healthy living as well,” Healthy Child Healthy World Education and Outreach Coordinator Victoria Di Iorio explained.


To achieve this goal, Healthy Home chose Rosetta Hardscapes lines of architectural, precast slabs and steps for the home’s landscaping. Rosetta’s natural stone colors and textures gave the landscaping the desired ambiance, with several healthy advantages.

The project featured two Rosetta products—Rosetta Grand Flagstone slabs created a patio for the walkout basement, and the Rosetta Step Collection provided aesthetic, sustainable and green access to the rest of the yard.

With natural stone, it’s difficult to build a staircase with safe, level steps at consistent heights—which can make for a dangerous experience every time a person travels up or down. Rosetta Steps feature the look and feel of natural stone outcropping steps, but have consistent dimensions and consistent rise. Rosetta Steps take the gorgeous look of natural stone, and make it safer.

Rosetta Grand Flagstone tackles a similar issue. Natural flagstone patios are beautiful, but are very difficult to install evenly and without awkward gaps. Uneven surfaces and gaps between stones can make natural flagstone patios hazardous to walk on. With Rosetta Grand Flagstone, patios achieve the highend look of natural flagstone in a regular yet random-appearing pattern. Grand Flagstone slabs also have consistent heights, which make them easy to install and safe and consistent to walk on.

Di Iorio leads tours of Healthy Home 2010 and said it’s always fun to show people the Rosetta slabs and steps. “The walkout basement has a wall of windows overlooking a lake, and when people walk out onto the patio and see the Rosetta, they say, ’This is beautiful! What kind of stone is it? Where was it quarried?’ When I tell them it’s actually isn’t natural stone, people’s mouths just drop open. Then we get to tell them how using Rosetta helped contribute toward the LEED certification we’re seeking.”

By crafting Rosetta stones with architectural-grade wet-cast concrete as opposed to the much more common dry-cast concrete, Rosetta Hardscapes captures a level of detail previously unavailable in landscape block materials. There are many benefits of using precast concrete in a project, including the fact that it’s relatively easy to manufacture including industrial by-products that would otherwise be placed in a landfill.

The concrete mixture for Healthy Home 2010 incorporated slag cement, a byproduct of iron production that can be used as a replacement for Portland cement in precast concrete. As a pre-consumer recycled material, slag cement does not contribute to the energy or CO2 effects in producing the concrete. Incorporating slag cement into the steps and slabs allowed Rosetta to help contribute toward LEED Materials Credit 4-Recycled Content as part of the LEED certification the project is seeking. LEED Materials Credit 4 can earn a project 1-2 points if the post consumer recycled content plus one half of the pre consumer content constitutes at least 10% (based on cost) of the total value of the materials in the project.

In addition, aggregates used in the manufacture of these Rosetta steps and slabs were mined by manufacturer Rosetta of Michigan just 400 miles from Healthy Home 2010, which cut down on emissions from shipping. LEED Materials Credit 5-Regional Materials offers 1 or 2 points if 10% or 20% of all materials used on site (based on cost) were extracted, harvested, recovered, or manufactured within 500 miles of the project. Rosetta was able to contribute towards this LEED credit based on the mining and manufacturing location’s proximity to the project.


Choosing Rosetta slabs and steps for Healthy Home 2010’s landscaping allowed the project to achieve its sustainability goals, as well as being a safe, healthy alternative to uneven, inconsistent natural stone. In addition, using Rosetta blocks that were manufactured regionally and that incorporated recycled and regionally-mined material helped contribute toward the LEED certification the project is seeking.

The final weekend for scheduled public tours this fall is Nov. 19, 20 and 21. For private tours in the following months, contact Victoria Di Iorio at

Products Used in this Project

Grand Flagstone

Irregular Steps