A number of materials on a site can potentially be salvaged and used in the design. One is the soil. Every effort should be made when grading a site to balance the amount of cut and fill so that no soil has to be hauled to the site or taken away. If extra soil exists, then creative ways, such as earth berms or sculptural mounds, should be created to eliminate the need to haul soil away. Boulders and fieldstone that are found on a site can be used for retaining walls, pavement, or steps whenever their size and shape permit. The use of on-site stone further establishes a site character that is compatible with the region. As previously discussed for minimizing site impact, existing vegetation should likewise be preserved as much as possible. When existing plant materials are in the wrong location for the design, they should be transplanted to a
different location where they fit the design rather than being cut down. Additionally, using existing vegetation gives a design a look of instant maturity, a quality that is sometimes years away when new vegetation is planted on a site.
Construction materials that already exist on a residential site should be salvaged, too. The ideal and most direct way to do this is to integrate existing pavement, decks, fences, and other structures into the new design without moving or reconfiguring them. When this is not feasible because their present location, condition, or appearance doesn’t fit the new design, then their materials should be reclaimed. Brick and stone on sand are easily taken out and relocated as desired. Concrete can be cut into geometric slabs or simply broken apart and reused for new areas of pavement or retaining walls. The wood in existing decks and fences can often be used again if it is not rotten or structurally unsound. A new coat of paint or stain frequently disguises the fact that wood was reused.