Sustainable Landscaping

intro to the basics
1   choose the right plant for the right spot
2   recycle your yard waste
3   use fertilizers and pesticides responsibly
4   water wisely
5   reduce runoff from your yard and increase groundwater recharge
6   reduce soil erosion. keep it planted and mulched
7   pick up after your pets
8   use and dispose of fuels and hazardous products properly


Soil erosion is a concern not only for its impacts on plant growth, but also for its impacts to water quality.

Wickford Cove Demonstration Site

Soil is the valuable natural resource that nourishes and supports plant growth among many other things. When soil is left bare and exposed, it can erode by both wind and water. In addition to the loss of the valuable soil resource, wind erosion can impact air quality and water erosion can result in gullies or “washed out” channels and sedimentation to down-slope areas.

For more information on soil erosion control -
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Sediments that are transported to storm drains and surface waters can choke aquatic life and increase water temperatures. Various pollutants such as bacteria, nutrients and heavy metals may also be attached to these sediments, further threatening water quality.

Shoreland Buffers and Water Quality Protection

For more information on reducing runoff

For more information on stormwater basics

Wickford Cove Demonstration Site

Stabilizing the soil can be achieved through:

Home Landscape Improvements for Water Quality Protection

Maintaining a healthy, perennial vegetative cover.

Wickford Cove Demonstration Site

Increasing soil organic matter.
Cover cropping – such as winter rye in vegetable gardens. Includes annual grasses, small grains, legumes and other types of vegetation planted to provide a temporary vegetative cover. Cover crops are often tilled under serving also as a “green manure” crop.
Placing crushed stone, wood chips, and other similar materials in heavily used areas where vegetation is hard to establish and maintain.

Davisville Demonstration Site

Other temporary erosion controls that include the use of geo-textile materials or other methods such as sodding or hydroseeding that aid in the establishment of permanent vegetation. These are especially effective on steep slopes and heavy traffic areas. Contact your local landscape contractor. RI Nursery and Landscape Association.
Addressing problem areas of concentrated stormwater runoff. This may include redirecting stormwater and roof runoff to areas that can settle and dissipate water, such as rain gardens or vegetated buffer areas. This includes proper livestock yard management.
Proper pasture management for livestock and horses.

For more information on maintaining healthy vegetative cover, and erosion and runoff control

Healthy Landscapes pages:

Choose the right plant for the right spot
Recyle your yard waste
Reducing runoff
Healthy Lawn Care
Livestock best management practices

Healthy Landscapes Demonstration Sites

Cornell University Cover Crops Guide

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

RI Nursery and Landscape Association