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


Clean Water Starts At Home – and what you do in your yard and garden can either help protect water quality, or can be a potential pollution source.

Your yard and garden might be the last place you would look for pollution problems. But behind a beautiful landscape – there may be activities that threaten water quality. On average, residential landscapes can use several times more chemical fertilizers and pesticides on a per acre (or sq. ft.) basis than is used on agricultural land. If applied improperly, these chemicals can find their way into surface and ground water resources.

Other problems can occur:

- When exposed soil washes away during a storm, the sediments can harm wildlife habitat and choke water bodies.

- Yard waste can be composted or mulched, serving as a valuable soil amendment, however, if allowed to wash away, it can become a pollutant, or simply excess solid waste.

- Pet waste that washes into surface waters can be a major water pollutant and a potential health risk.

- Random lawn and garden watering can waste large amounts of water, increase the potential for pollution from other activities such as fertilizer and pesticide applications, and can actually degrade plant health and vigor.

While the contribution from your individual yard may seem small, the effects of chemicals, soil loss, and wasted water from hundreds or thousands of homes in your region can really add up.

By following the basics for a healthy landscape, you can have a beautiful yard that also helps to protect water quality. Additional benefits often include reductions in money, labor, and supplies needed to maintain a healthy landscape. So, learn more about the basics by reading the following pages. Consider your yard and garden care practices and where possible, adopt healthy landscape practices.

Remember – Clean Water Starts at Home.

URI CE Home*A*Syst Fact Sheet:
What You Can Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution

URI Healthy Landscapes fact sheets and resources

For information about our small acreage livestock education program