Sustainable Landscaping Header Size 2636513879781574922 Department of Water Resources California Department of Pesticide Regulation California Water Boards Cal Recycle UC Davis

The Watershed Approach to Sustainable Landscaping

Sustainable landscaping revolves around three central practices:

1)   Foster Living Soils.

  • Integrate Compost – improve soil health, productivity, water retention capacity, and carbon sequestration value
  • Mulch the Top-layer – limit water lost to evaporation
  • Reduce or Eliminate Pesticides & Herbicides – allow critical soil microbes to reproduce and thrive, limit human and animal exposure to harmful chemicals entering landscapes, and cut landscape input costs
  • De-Compact Soils – allow subsurface air and water flow, plant growth, and water storage

2)   Conserve Water and Stretch Potable Water Supplies.    

  • Use Permeable Landscape Materials – clean and absorb water, recharge groundwater, and limit the need for supplemental irrigation
  • Capture and Retain Rainwater – limit the need for supplemental irrigation, and reduce stormwater runoff
  • Consider Graywater – limit the need for supplemental irrigation, and reduce wastewater flow
  • Minimize Supplemental Irrigation – augment natural supply only when needed with efficient devices at appropriate times

3)   Select and Properly Install Appropriate Plant and Landscape Materials.

  • Use the Right Plant at the Right Place and Right Time – choose non-invasive, native or climate-appropriate plants for a specific climate and geography; space plants for mature size; and plant in the appropriate seasons to help build soils, conserve water, and provide habitat.

For a quick read on the Watershed Approach to sustainable Landscaping, check out the linked document.



9727400184_0c17e4cd82_zPhotos by Pete Veilleux of East Bay Wilds

The Multiple Benefits of Sustainable Landscaping

Save Money

         Save Maintenance Time           

Save Water

Save Energy 

Reduce Emissions

Reduce Runoff

Reduce Green Waste

          Reduce Pesticides & Herbicides              

Improve Water Quality

Improve Wildlife Habitat

Foster Healthy Soils

Proliferate Native & Climate Appropriate Plants

Beautify the Urban Environment 

For details on the benefits of sustainable landscaping, check out the following draft document: Landscape Categorical Benefits

Demonstration Landscape Photos

Landscaping Resources for Sustainable Landscaping Stakeholders

Investigate the Partnership's Sustainable Landscaping Market Transformation Framework for transformation details.

For a quick read on the Watershed Approach to sustainable Landscaping, check out the linked document.

Read the 2014 Landscape Symposia Report for a summary of the event proceedings and information.

Landscape Resources

  • Sustainable Landscapes
    • 2014 New Norm Symposia
    • Artificial Turf
    • Education and Licensing
    • Irrigation
    • Landscape Codes & Regulations
    • Landscape Conversions
    • Market Transformation
    • Pilot Projects & Research
    • Plants
    • Soils & Compost
    • Stormwater
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