Landscaping Practices

Landscape management can have a significant impact on the environment. Using indigenous (native) plants, reducing stormwater runoff, harvesting rainwater, limiting the amount of mown lawn, shading south and southwest building facades with deciduous plants, and reducing the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are all components of sustainable landscaping practices and positively affect the environment.

See our Landscaping Preferred Providers here.

complete the first two tasks and at least three more from list below and let us know when you're finished:


  • Install Native Plants

Stipulate that all new installations consist of native plant species for this geographic region. Resources for native plants to Southeastern United States can be found here and here.

Another great resource for landscaping and gardening publications is the University of Tennessee Extension Department.


  •  Eliminate Invasive Species

Invasive species are most often exotic species that are native to other parts of the world and were deliberately or accidentally introduced by humans to North America. Kudzu is a great example of an invasive species.  Your local landscape contractor, landscape architect, or horticulturalist can help you identify your existing plantings. Invasive plants are any listed on the Federal Invasive species list or State lists from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, or Kentucky. Invasives must be replaced with native plants at the participants choosing as determined by site conditions. Although adaptive plantings are not permitted for new installations, they do not have to be removed as part of this credit unless they are an invasive species as set forth above.

For information on native vs. invasive plants in this region see this resource.


Additional tasks

Complete two more tasks either from the options below or custom solutions for your business.

  • Irrigation Maintenance 

Establish an irrigation maintenance plan to ensure all irrigation heads are functioning properly, defective ones are replaced, and heads no longer needed are capped. Periodically monitor irrigation heads to make sure they are not spraying on hardscapes or the building.  Or, use root feeder or water-aerator probes around trees and bushes. Even for the biggest trees, you need go no deeper than 18 inches, while 8 to 12 inches is plenty deep for smaller trees and shrubs. The probes get water precisely where it's needed and simultaneously create lots of little holes that provide aeration benefits. 


  • Reduce Use of Herbicides & Synthetic Fertilizers

Herbicides and synthetic fertilizers often end up in the local water table and rivers where they can cause problems for nearby and downstream ecosystems and our drinking water purification facilities. Use of these products should be minimized. Native plants are naturally adapted to local conditions and require less or no use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Other viable options include use of compost, mulch, hand weeding, and bio-based fertilizers and pesticides.


  • Cover Exposed Soil

Applying organic matter-based mulch prevents soil erosion and combats weeds while increasing moisture retention and making a thermal barrier to protect plants in the winter. Hardwood mulch tends to be the most effective and long lasting natural mulch product, while pine straw is less costly and biodegrades quicker. Biodegradability is a positive aspect of natural mulches because it adds organic material into the soil which greatly improves moisture retention. A 1% increase in soil organic matter increases the water holding capacity of a cubic foot of soil by 1.5 quarts. That's 16,500 gallons per acre.

Cover all exposed soil with mulch of your choosing and replace it as necessary.


  • Green Infrastructure

Stormwater run-off is a point of concern as it can overwhelm municipal treatment facilities of combined storm-sewer systems during heavy rains, and it carries pollutants from roadways, such as auto fluids and trash, to waterways in systems that channel the run-off directly to rivers and streams. For this reason, diverting run-off to landscaped areas is a critical component of green landscaping practices. Install green infrastructure such that the participant’s site is meeting the City of Chattanooga’s Resource Rain regulations. Regulations and possible green infrastructure techniques, including xeriscaping, green roofs, bio-swales, and rain gardens can be found here. More information also available here.



  • EXTERIOR Integrative Pest Management Program

Implement an integrative pest management program that is focused on preventing pests with elimination or less reliance on harmful chemicals and poisons both indoors and outdoors. Pest control should begin outside the building prior to interior treatments.

You will need to contact your Pest Management service provider and tell them you want eco-friendly and non-toxic applications whenever possible, and that if toxic chemicals must be used, you want the “least toxic” option. If a chemical that is not considered least toxic must be used because there is no other option or the pest problem mandates it, provide ample notice to occupants and include proper safety instructions.  For more information visit EPA.