“We love the Tread Lightly service! As an environmental protection agency with a LEED Gold building and a native plant garden, it only made sense to make sure we walked the walk with a service exemplifying the practices we teach. This low impact, no chemical, no blower service arrives via bicycle, reducing our carbon footprint while keeping our garden looking sharp and healthy.” – Dawn Hayes, Deputy Superintendent, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center


Begun in 1991—three years after Terra Nova was founded—Tread Lightly™ has proven to be a viable alternative to conventional garden maintenance. The service—in which our gardeners ride bikes with tools in custom trailers to houses on maintenance routes—extends the ethos of organic gardening to concerns over peak oil and fossil fuel pollution. Indeed, Tread Lightly™ is integral to Terra Nova’s mission: to landscape with a light footprint and create a more resilient planet.


Conventional garden maintenance—with its gas-powered trucks and tools, its toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides—is assumed to be “efficient.” But every day, Tread Lightly™ proves that motor vehicles save less time than we might think. Just watch those bicycles whiz past cars on traffic-clogged roads!


Tread Lightly™ also operates without the hidden embedded costs of noise, air and water pollution and green-house gases. The service reduces waste and limits inputs and outputs, in order to provide ecological solutions to clients who, like us, embrace these values.


Our crew members are vigorous folks who love bicycling—and they enjoy the opportunity to nix motor vehicles while on the job. Their work is performed with hand tools, with close attention to plants and soil (Occasionally, electric tools are necessary.) Rather than operating fast and loud, the crew comes and goes quietly, works diligently, and leaves landscapes well-tended and healthy.

Without the grating, irritating sound of blowers, you may not even realize they are there. But: you’ll love the look and feel of the garden when they’re gone.


Please do wave when you see us riding by!


[Note: Some people think Terra Nova only uses bicycles, even for installation of new landscapes. Not so! We also use trucks because asking the crew to ride to landscape suppliers across town and back with, say, a cubic yard of drain rock or soil, several times a day, would not be sustainable!]


Tread Lightly is offered in the flatter neighborhoods of Santa Cruz. Please call the office at 831-425-3514 or email green@terranovalandscaping.com to inquire. We are adding routes on the east and west sides, as well as downtown. We would like to eventually add Live Oak.

Tread Lightly™ Visual Archive

Tread Lightly Video