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Plant and maintain healthy yards to maximize the health of the entire ecosystem and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Transitioning to a healthy yard creates an environment that benefits the wellbeing of your family, your neighbors and the environment we all live in. Your yard is part of a  “larger landscape” that includes air, soil and water that extends far beyond the boundaries of your property. Not only plants, but also insects, birds and humans benefit from more natural, healthy yards which support health, biodiversity and help fight climate change.

Someone's healthy yard that helps maintain the property's ecosystem.
Top Tips

Are you looking for the most effective way to create a healthy, sustainable, climate-smart landscape?

Here are five steps to take with the greatest impact.


1. Eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides


2. Ditch polluting, fossil fuel powered lawn equipment and go electric!


3. Care for existing trees, remove invasives and plant more native species


4. Transition to more sustainable lawn maintenance practices


5. Compost your yard waste – and food scraps too!

Avoid Pesticides
A pest on a garden plant.

Synthetic pesticide use is harmful to humans and pets and is known to cause health problems including respiratory problems, reproductive issues, endocrine system disruption, neurological damage and increased risk of certain cancers.


These chemicals contribute to greenhouse gas emissions when they are made as well as when they are distributed and after their application. Many pesticides produce ground-level ozone, a greenhouse gas harmful to humans and plants.


Synthetic pesticide applications decrease soil health. They kill beneficial microorganisms along with beneficial insects, such as natural predators of pests, pollinators and insects our birds need to survive.


One of the most important things you can do in your yard, from a health and climate perspective, is to avoid the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer.


Use natural, less harmful methods to take care of problems with insects and diseases in plants. Planting more resilient plants will also help. Choose appropriate fertilizers only after performing a soil test.

Care For Your Soil

Because trees, plants, grasses and other living things soak up carbon and store it in the ground, healthy soil and proper land management practices are an essential part of the climate solution – whether in your own yard, by the farmer who grows your food, or by the stewards who manage our land.


Carbon rich soil should be full of organic matter and microorganisms that support a healthy plant life. Our resources page has some actions you can take to assess (test) and improve your soil to increase your land’s water and carbon retention value. You will also have healthier plants.


First, learn more about what soil has to do with climate change from Kiss the Ground.

Climate-Friendly "Fertilizers"
Backyard compost that can be used as fertilizer for your garden or lawn.

Rather than using toxic chemical fertilizers, lawns and gardens can be nourished with grass clippings and leaves mulched on the lawn, or by sprinkling in compost.


Compost not only gives your lawn and plants nutrients, but it also helps retain moisture, creates better soil structure and it feeds the microorganisms in the soil that help store carbon.


If you have native plants, grasses and groundcovers that are adapted to the local conditions, and mow high, you should not need fertilizers or other amendments.


Another good strategy is to decrease the size of your lawn over time and plant a native garden which will create habitat and sequester more CO2.

Ask Your Landscaper to Go Green
A eco-friendly landscaper using an electric lawnmower.

Professional landscapers often have limited knowledge of healthy yard practices and offer mow and blow services and chemical treatments to move quickly, keep prices low, and keep yards looking neat and tidy. However, whatever savings are gained from this kind of yard care there is a great cost to the environment, biodiversity, and the climate.


Take time to discuss your yard with your landscaper, and explain the principles that you follow in your yard.


If your landscaper suggests a “natural” solution to pests or to fertilize, be sure to ask to see the container that the product comes in and research what it is and exactly what is being applied to your property. 


If you cannot find a landscaper who will agree to care for your yard the way that you would like, check out the landscaping information in our resources section.