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Ohio Rest Areas: Design Manual


ODOT’s goal is to create rest area landscape environments that are respectful of Ohio’s native landscapes, and that are park-like, safe for travelers, easily maintained and inviting to the many tourists passing through to Ohio’s many attractions.


The intent of this Prototype Rest Area Landscape Manual is to provide information for landscape architects and A/E design teams to enable a new standard for the site landscape within Ohio’s Interstate Rest Areas.


Key Objectives of the Landscape Design Manual

  • Design rest area landscapes to fit effortlessly within Ohio’s natural regions

  • Design landscapes for moderate maintenance and regenerative plantings

  • Safety of the ramps and building areas is essential to a successful rest area landscape solution

  • Create park-like stops to rest and learn more about Ohio’s tourist places

  • These standards do not dictate that all elements in this manual apply to each rest area design. Use these standards only for elements included in the approved POR of each particular rest area design project.

Award Recipients & Pictures

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What to Find In the Manual:

  • History: The history of roadside rest areas and its creation in the late 1920s in Connecticut and Michigan as a place to take a picnic break, view a scenic place, and enhance safety to state and federal highways.

  • Existing Conditions & Key Issues:   An assessment of all existing site conditions in the initial design / redesign process.

  • Site & Landscape Guidelines:           A list of guidelines to be met at each site. Includes providing safe pedestrian walking surfaces from parking areas and other walks, providing safe lighting levels along ramps, parking areas, building areas and walkways, and much more.

  • Examples of Site Furnishings:           Includes benches, trashcans, picnic tables, dog waste bag dispensers, interpretive signs, plant material, and more. 

What to Find in the Manual
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