Landscaping & Gardening

The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway--Michael Pollan

Flowers and fruits are not the only delights to be had in a garden.  When we grow a garden or plant a landscape, we are molding an ecosystem that includes birds, butterflies, and the thousands of other creatures.  The choices we make affect biodiversity, surface water quality, water use, and our own health.  Here are some tools to help change your landscape:

Safer pest management for home gardeners

The Our Water Our World program has developed simple factsheets on managing the most common home and garden pests without pesticides.  Similar resources are available from the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides.

Certifications for landscapes and landscapers

Standards and certifications can be powerful tools for changing an industry; for example, the US Green Building Council’s LEED checklists have spawned a multimillion dollar industry.  For landscaping in the San Francisco Bay Area, the most sophisticated certification system available is the Bay Friendly Landscaping Guidelines.  This program provides high quality training and certification for professional landscapers, landscape architects, and landscape raters, as well as holistic checklists to rate your own landscape.  The Bay Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition, in conjunction with, also hosts home garden tours, and has produced a variety of other resources for both professional landscapers and home gardeners. 

Home gardener trainings

Garden for the Environment, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, holds home gardener trainings year round, ranging from composting to chickens. 

Resources on WaterWise gardens

San Francisco’s Water Power Sewer Department provides detailed water conservation information (including compliance with San Francisco’s Irrigation Ordinance, graywater use, and rainwater harvesting) as well as tips on reducing stormwater pollution and planting low water use, climate appropriate plants.

Additional Information for Landscaping & Gardening

Pest management factsheets
from Our Water Our World
Bay Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition
Landscape and landscaper certifications and checklists
Urban Agriculture Resources
for those who want to go beyond mere gardening
Water Conservation
from San Francisco Water Power Sewer
Stormwater protection
from San Francisco Water Power Sewer