lesser goldfinchLandscape Sustainablity 101
In an effort to make our survey a more useful and educational tool, what was once a two-page printed checklist now amounts to a short course on landscape sustainability. We hope that you will explore the Earth-Friendly Principles and Practices in a way that works best for you. Some people may go through it, check off the minimum number of options in each section, certify their garden, and purchase a yard sign all in one sitting. Others may prefer to read the information the survey provides, refer to several of the resources provided, make changes in their gardens, and then come back to the survey much later.

Meeting Certification Requirements
To certify your garden, you only have to check off the minimum number of options for each section. In other words, your garden will not be disqualified from certification if a particular option is not checked off. Also, there is no obligation to provide your information, certify your garden, or purchase a yard sign.

Why These Checklist Items?

Much thought and consideration was given in the making of the Earth-Friendly Gardens Checklist. Even so, the individual needs and circumstances of each garden, and each gardener, may make some of the options on our checklist seem rigid or restrictive. We mention converting seldom-used lawn to garden space, not installing artificial turf, not using synthetic pesticides, keeping pet cats indoors, drying laundry outdoors, and growing edibles. Although, as a rule, these suggestions are in line with the goals of keeping an earth-friendly garden, there are pros and cons to many choices in the sustainable landscape. Lawns can be attractive, but can also require large inputs of water, fertilizer, pesticide and labor. Outdoor cats can control mice and other pests, but also kill many song birds and can engage in behaviors that are risky to themselves. Growing edibles can reduce "food miles" but also requires water and pest management. We provide information for your consideration, but the choices are up to you.

Certified Earth-Friendly Gardens Mission
The mission of the Certified Earth-Friendly Gardens program is to educate the public in landscape sustainability. Proceeds from the sale of yard signs benefit the San Diego Master Gardener Association, a non-profit all-volunteer organization that has provided free home gardening advice throughout San Diego County for almost three decades. The more than 270 active Master Gardeners are trained and supervised by the University of California Cooperative Extension.