Why Sustainable Landscapes?

When we create sustainable landscapes, the landscapes give back, providing natural benefits that are essential to daily life, like cleaning the air and water, and maintaining soil fertility. We have underestimated or even ignored their value when making decisions that affect the land, but they are the key to creating home gardens that meet our needs without compromising the ability of our kids and grandkids to meet theirs. Among the many natural benefits of sustainable landscapes are:

Cleaner air and water: Plants, through photosynthesis, provide us with the oxygen we breathe. Plants and organisms in the soil remove and break down pollutones, including those that trigger asthma and other illnesses.

Cooler towns and cities: Trees and other plants provide cooling shade and via the carbon cycle remove carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere.

Food, medicine, wood and other products: Plants transform carbon dioxide into food, life-saving medicines, wood, and countless other products.

Wildlife habitat and biological diversity: Plants fuel the dazzling diversity of life on this planet, from the blue whale, which can weigh 150 tons, to the Cuban bee hummingbird, which weighs one-seventeenth of an ounce.

Pollination: Bees, birds, bats, and other animals pollinate crops.

Natural water storage and flood control: Stormwater is absorbed by plants or slowly trickles through the soil and into underground reservoirs called aquifers, preserving the land’s natural water cycle or hydrology.

Waste decomposition and soil fertility: The nitrogen cycle transforms wastes into the nutrients necessary for sustaining life.

Erosion and sediment control: Vegetation helps maintain soil structure and fertility and prevents erosion and pollution.

Human health and well-being: Our connection to nature sustains us physically and mentally.

What is Landscape For Life?

Landscape For Life™ is based on the principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ program (SITES®), the nation’s first rating system for sustainable landscapes. SITES® was developed as an interdisciplinary effort led by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the United States Botanic Garden in conjunction with a diverse group of stakeholder organizations. The program is now managed by GBCI.

Landscape For Life is a collaboration between:

United States Botanic Garden
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin

I want to be a teacher. How do I sign up?

Visit the become a teacher page to get started!

I want to establish a sustainable landscape at home. How do I get started?

Explore the Homeowners section of the website. These pages have been created to help you discover sustainable landscape techniques and implement them on your own property.

Why would I watch the webinars when all the info is on the website?

The webinars are taught by leading practitioners and will prepare you to teach others the Landscape For Life curriculum.

What do I do with all this information once I learn it?

Become a teacher in your area to help others learn how to create sustainable landscapes. And, of course, begin creating and maintaining sustainable landscapes on your own property!

What if there isn't a teacher in my area?

We encourage digging into the website for Landscape For Life knowledge! All of the course materials are available on the Course Materials page, and can be viewed by anyone. If you are looking to connect with others that are interested in Landscape For Life, visit the Forums page.

I have a group that would like to learn the curriculum. How can I find a teacher?

Explore the Teacher Directory to see if anyone is available in your area. If not, please contact us.

Landscape For Life™ is a collaboration between the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden based on the principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®).