Detail of restored roof; Link to Parknet
<photo>detail of site plantings

Identify    Protect    Repair    Replace    Remove   Re-Create

Identify, Retain and Preserve

Identifying, retaining, and preserving restoration period buildings and their features as well as features of the site. Site features may include circulation systems such as walks, paths, roads, or parking; vegetation such as trees, shrubs, fields, or herbaceous plant material; landforms such as terracing, berms or grading; furnishings such as lights, fences, or benches; decorative elements such as sculpture, statuary or monuments; water features including fountains, streams, pools, or lakes; and subsurface archeological features which are important in defining the restoration period.

Re-establishing the relationship between buildings and the landscape that existed during the restoration period.

photo of George Carter's 19th century plantation acreage at Oatlands, Leesburg, Va

Oatlands Historic District, in Leesburg, Virginia, consists of George Carter's 19th century plantation acreage containing the main house, the barn (shown here) and other outbuildings. Photo: HABS Collection, NPS.

Not Recommended
Altering buildings and their features or site features from the restoration period.

Failing to properly document building and site features from the restoration period which may result in their loss.

Retaining non-restoration period buildings or landscape features.

Protect and Maintain

Protecting and maintaining buildings and the site by providing proper drainage to assure that water does not erode foundation walls; drain toward the building; or damage or erode the landscape.

Minimizing disturbance of terrain around buildings or elsewhere on the site, thus reducing the possibility of destroying or damaging important landscape features or archeological resources.

Surveying and documenting areas where the terrain will be altered during restoration work to determine the potential impact to landscape features or archeological resources.

Protecting, e.g., preserving in place, important archeological resources.

Planning and carrying out any necessary investigation using professional archeologists and modern archeological methods when preservation in place is not feasible.

Preserving important landscape features from the restoration period, including ongoing maintenance of historic plant material.

photo of the successfully preserved historic birch allee at Stan Hywet Hall, Akron, OH

The historic birch allee at Stan Hywet Hall, Akron, Ohio, which had suffered from borer
infestation and leaf miner, was
preserved through a series of
carefully executed steps that
took 15 years to realize. Photo: Child Associates.

Protecting building and landscape features against arson and vandalism before restoration work begins, i.e., erecting protective fencing and installing alarm systems that are keyed into local protection agencies.

Providing continued protection of building materials and plant features from the restoration period through appropriate cleaning, rust removal, limited paint removal, and re-application of protective coating systems; and pruning and vegetation management.

Evaluating the existing condition of materials and features to determine whether more than protection and maintenance are required, that is, if repairs to building and site features will be necessary.

Not Recommended
Failing to maintain adequate site drainage so that buildings and site features are damaged or destroyed; or alternatively, changing the site grading so that water no longer drains properly.

Introducing heavy machinery into areas where it may disturb or damage important landscape features or archeological resources.

Failing to survey the building site prior to beginning restoration work which results in damage to, or destruction of, landscape features or archeological resources.

Leaving known archeological material unprotected so that it is damaged during restoration work.

Permitting unqualified personnel to perform data recovery on archeological resources so that improper methodology results in the loss of important archeological material.

Allowing restoration period landscape features to be lost or damaged due to a lack of maintenance.

Permitting the property to remain unprotected so that the building and landscape features or archeological resources are damaged or destroyed.

Removing restoration period features from the building or site such as wood siding, iron fencing, masonry balustrades, or plant material.

Failing to provide adequate protection of materials on a cyclical basis so that deterioration of building and site features results.

Failing to undertake adequate measures to assure the protection of building and site features.


Repairing restoration period features of the building and site by reinforcing historic materials. The new work should be unobtrusively dated to guide future research and treatment.

Not Recommended
Replacing an entire restoration period feature of the building or site such as a fence, walkway, or driveway when repair of materials and limited compatible replacement of deteriorated or missing parts are appropriate.

Using a substitute material for the replacement part that does not convey the visual appearance of the surviving parts of the building or site feature or that is physically or chemically incompatible.


Replacing in kind an entire restoration period feature of the building or site that is too deteriorated to repair if the overall form and detailing are still evident. Physical evidence from the deteriorated feature should be used as a model to guide the new work. This could include an entrance or porch, walkway, or fountain. If using the same kind of material is not technically or economically feasible, then a compatible substitute material may be considered. The new work should be unobtrusively dated to guide future research and treatment.

Replacing deteriorated or damaged landscape features of the restoration period in kind or with compatible substitute material. The replacement feature should be based on physical evidence and convey the same appearance.

Not Recommended
Removing a restoration period feature of the building or site that is unrepairable and not replacing it; or failing to document the new work.

paired photos showing how the Japanese Zelcova was an inappropriate replacement plant for the diseased American Elm

When the American Elm (left) was plagued with Dutch Elm Disease, many historic properties relied on the Japanese Zelkova (right) as a substitute plant.
Compared to the American Elm, it is readily apparent that the form and
scale of this tree is really quite different, and would be an inappropriate plant material within a restoration project. Photos: NPS files.

Adding conjectural landscape features to the site such as period reproduction lamps, fences, fountains, or vegetation that are historically inappropriate, thus creating an inaccurate depiction of the restoration period.

The following Restoration work is highlighted to indicate that it involves the removal or alteration of existing historic building site features that would be retained in Preservation and Rehabilitation treatments; and the replacement of missing building site features from the restoration period using all new materials..

Removing Existing Features from Other Historic Periods

Removing or altering features of the building or site from other historic periods such as a later outbuilding, paved road, or overgrown tree.

Documenting features of the building or site from other periods prior to their alteration or removal.

Not Recommended
Failing to remove a feature of the building or site from another period, thus creating an inaccurate historic appearance.

Failing to document features of the building or site from other historic periods that are removed during restoration so that a valuable portion of the historic record is lost.

Re-creating Missing Features from the Restoration Period

Re-creating a missing feature of the building or site that existed during the restoration period based on physical or documentary evidence; for example, duplicating a terrace, gazebo, or fencing.

paired photos showing how an early photograph can be successfully used as documentation to restore a house to its original appearance

This ca. 1900 photograph (left) would be invaluable to guide restoration of the deteriorated house (right) to its documented earlier appearance, complete with decorative trim, shutters, polychromed exterior, and fencing. Photos: Courtesy, North Carolina Department of Archives and History.


Not Recommended
Constructing a feature of the building or site that was part of the original design, but was never actually built; or constructing a feature which was thought to have existed during the restoration period, but for which there is insufficient documentation.




The Approach

Exterior Materials
Architectural Metals

Exterior Features
Entrances + Porches

Interior Features
Structural System Spaces/Features/Finishes
Mechanical Systems



Special Requirements
Energy Efficiency
Health + Safety

The Standards



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Historical Overview