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 three credits and at least four more from list below and let us know when you're finished:


  • Draft a Green Landscaping Policy

green|light companies must compose and implement a sustainable landscaping policy as part of their overall Eco-Policy. The policy must do the following:

·    Address current and future stormwater run-off quantity and quality, identifying opportunities for improvement. For all existing landscape and hardscape areas, determine a baseline of impervious site area for the purpose of improving the quality and quantity of stormwater run-off.

·    Stipulate that the company will adhere to the City of Chattanooga’s Resource Rain guidelines for all future site developments found HERE 

·    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.

  • 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 CREDITS

Complete FOUR 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.


  • Capture Rainwater for Irrigation

Rainwater should be collected from roofs and stored for later use. Often times this simply involves placing a collecting rain barrel underneath a downspout. Rain barrels vary in price depending on their size and features and have a capacity of about 50 - 90 gallons. Consider installing a simple meter at your rain barrel(s) to track usage (similar to this one: ).


  • Redirect Downspouts Towards Landscaped Areas

If the topography of your site permits, direct downspouts toward landscaped areas so that plants can receive the water. This reduces the amount of stormwater runoff into storm drains and reduces the amount of water needed for irrigation. Directing water away from buildings also helps to prevent water damage to the structure.


  • Indoor Plants

Indoor plants provide a connection to the natural environment for your employees while improving indoor air quality also. It’s well known that plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, but they also absorb formaldehyde and other harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released into the building over time from various finish materials. The exact number of plants is up to the participant but it is suggested to have at least one plant per office and two plants per common area.  For a list of recommended houseplants that improve indoor air quality visit HERE