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Yardscaping hopes to inspire Maine people to create and maintain healthy landscapes through ecologically based practices that minimize reliance on water, fertilizer and pesticides.
- Reduce reliance on pesticides, fertilizers and water
- Reduce runoff with vegetative buffers, rain gardens and green roofs
- Reduce lawn area
- Promote site appropriate non-invasive alien and native plants
- Right plant, right place, right purpose
- Promote low input lawns and landscapes
- Use diversity of plants and grasses
- Create wildlife habitats
- Promote commonsense pest management (IPM)
The yardscaping partnership formed out of a rising concern among statewide businesses, organizations and agencies over the potential for lawn and landscape products to wash away into water bodies and the risks of pesticide exposure to people, pets and wildlife.
YardScaping hopes to change the way people think about their yards. A "better" yard lover would lower their bar on perfection, learn to accept a few weeds and insects, leave grass clippings, reduce the size of their lawn, consider groundcovers in shady areas, select the right plant for the right place, to name a few.
To help get the word out about the program at the neighborhood level, property owners that have a YardScape or pledge to grow one can display a weather resistant YardScaping sign in their yards—much like the ones used by commercial lawn care companies after pesticides are applied.
In the fall of 2012, the partnership, along with many local volunteers, completed the first YardScaping demonstration site—YardScaping Gardens at Back Cove - in Portland. The gardens showcase appropriate plantings in a beautiful, homeowner-doable way, plus serve as a model for municipalities across the state.
The demonstration project was funded in part by a $35,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs and a $10,000 grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation and donations of time and money by many other individuals and organizations. List of donors/volunteers and plant/material sources (PDF).