8 Principles

ReScape California promotes a whole systems approach to landscaping and gardening that works in harmony with the natural environment. ReScape’s landscaping practices are based on 8 core principles which foster soil health, conserve water, sequester carbon and protect valuable resources while reducing waste and preventing pollution. Integrating these 8 principles into your landscape design and maintenance helps protect the Sacramento River Watershed and the San Francisco Bay Delta Watershed.


1. Act Local

recognizes that built landscapes are a part of the larger ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay watershed and that they can contribute to it’s health if designed and maintained using sustainable practices

2. Reduce Waste

means that we should reduce waste by choosing the right plants, avoiding invasive plant species, using recycled and salvaged products in the landscape and by composting, mulching and grasscycling plant debris.

3. Nurture Soil

soils are living ecosystems and when landscape practices allow the soil food web to thrive it can filter pollution, store water, provide plant nutrients, and help plants resist pests naturally.

4. Sequester Carbon

recognizes that healthy vegetation works together with soil rich in organic matter and beneficial microorganisms to remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it as soil carbon, an important strategy for addressing climate change.

5. Save Water

means using a holistic approach of creating drought resistant soils with compost and mulch, selecting plants naturally adapted to summer-dry climates, using stormwater, greywater and recycled water in the landscape as much as possible and using efficient irrigation systems that include self-adjusting, weather-based controllers.

6. Conserve Energy

by reducing the need for mowing and shearing, by shading buildings and paved areas, using efficient outdoor lighting, and buying local landscape products.

7. Protect Water & Air

through maximizing permeable surfaces and minimizing stormwater runoff, using integrated pest management, minimizing the use of synthetic pesticides and avoiding overuse of fertilizers, reducing fossil fuel consumption, and planting trees to remove CO2 and absorb air pollutants.

8. Create Habitat

recognizes that biodiversity is crucial to the health of natural ecosystems and that by using native plants and increasing the diversity of plant palettes, our built landscape can provide food, water and shelter for birds, butterflies, beneficial insects and other creatures.

A ReScape Rated Landscape

The landscape below illustrates many of the ReScape Rated Landscape practices guided by our 8 principles.

Permeable paving on driveway and walkway to front door
Water from roof channeled to cistern
Water for wildlife habitat
Pavers with spaces and low-water use plants between
Front lawn replaced by diverseplantings with many California native ground covers, shrubs and trees but no invasive species
All plants given the space to grow to their natural size
Plants selected to match the microclimates
Irrigation controller waters hydrozones according to plant needs, soil moisture and weather
Deciduous trees placed to the west & southwest of the house for summer cooling
Repository for leaves to collect  under trees as mulch
Mulched paths keep soil covered
Drip irrigation for vegetable beds, shrubs, trees and elsewherewhere feasible
Raised beds are constructed from plastic or composite lumber
Compost bin recycles plant and kitchen debris
Evergreen windbreak blocks north winter winds
Trees not topped but pruned properly