Terra Nova’s check list to help assess the ecological health of a site.

By March 29, 2013Sustainable Landscaping

Ecological Landscape Management check list

An ecologically healthy landscape


Soil Health

  • How is the soil health over all?
  • Compaction?
  • Over or under watered?
  • What % of organic matter is in soil ?
  • Are leaves allowed to create natural mulch when possible?
  • What type of soil is on site?
  • Mycelium inoculation needed?
  • What is the health of the Soil Food Web ?
  • Jar soil test conducted?
  • Is there a need for a soil test?
  • Is there sufficient mulch to cover soil?

Water management

  • Irrigation controller schedule?
  • Irrigation efficiency?
  • Coverage uniform?
  • Hydrozones? Is the irrigation plant appropriate?
  • Leaks?
  • Graywater system in place?
  • Rainwater Catchment ?
  • Stormwater management?
  • Bio-swales?
  • Rain Garden?
  • Mulch in place to prevent evaporation?
  • Has the site had a water/irrigation audit performed?

Weed management

  • How is weed management working?
  • Are weeds controlled before going to seed?
  • Is sheet mulch being employed?
  • Are weeds: hoed, pulled and mulched often enough?
  • Non toxic herbicides being used? Vinegar, Burn Out (product), etc.

 Plant health

  • Are plants in the right place for sun and shade requirements?
  • Is appropriate pruning being employed?
  • Irrigation: over or under watering?
  • Nutrient deficiencies?
  • Pest problems?
  • Damaged foliage?

Is the landscape serving best needs for all users?

  • Humans? Pets? Wildlife?

How is it looking?

  • How are the aesthetics of the site. Is it consistent with the intent of the design?
  • Overall?
  • Individual elements? ie, the plants, water features and other design features, the hardscape and the mulch?
  • Is there a need for re-design?
  •  Has the site had a Sustainable Landscape Audit performed?

– Terra Nova Landscape Management Team


About Ken

In 1967, 10-year-old Ken Foster read The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett. It took him a whole summer to read, but it inspired him to see gardening as a celebration of our coexistence with nature. In 1985, he took on an apprenticeship at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden, and there he discovered his passion. He founded Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping in 1988, and has dedicated his life to caring for the environment and community through sustainable landscaping. He also teaches a permaculture class at Cabrillo College. When he’s not busy with designing, installing, and maintaining ecological landscapes, Ken can be found riding his bike around town, or making mandalas out of salvaged herbs that would otherwise have been sent to the landfill.


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