News & Updates

July 11, 2018

Executive Director Monthly Update – July 2018


Warm greetings!


I am learning so much – every day- about our great merged organization! I am in the middle of budget time, so am down in the details reviewing and writing reports about what we have achieved this past fiscal year, and planning what we will do in the future. This is allowing me to see amazing development over the almost 15 years- in water savings, soil health, air quality. There have been wonderful technology developments, too: benefits calculators that keep track of water savings and greenhouse gas emission reduction, mulch calculators, Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO) kits, apps- the list goes on and on! And of course we keep coming back to the roots of good, sustainable, regenerative practices using the 7 Principles.

I attended our Rated Landscapes Workshop in June. Wow- there are many tools: program specific design technologies, planning tools, the permitting process, templates for model specifications and more. The Rated Landscape Program was established over 10 years ago by StopWaste in Alameda County, and has produced 77 Rated Landscapes and trained over 30 Qualified Raters. Our last Rater Training was in 2017. Our next training is scheduled for Spring 2019.

The Rating System is based on the Seven Principles and Practices, and Landscaping Guidelines. It provides property owners and project teams with a flexible framework to create thriving, environmentally-sound landscapes. The key component of the Rating System is the Rated Landscape Scorecard, a well-established tool that helps project teams plan, track and verify the implementation of sustainable practices in new or renovated landscapes. Using the scorecard can help ensure that your projects meet or exceed WELO and other code requirements and can help you identify innovative sustainable design options.

Rated Landscapes are qualified using this rating system that recognizes excellence in sustainable landscape design, construction and maintenance practices. They provide many benefits, including:

  • 50–90% water savings
  • 30–70% maintenance labor savings
  • 85–95% weed suppression without herbicides
  • 70–80% reduced runoff
  • 53 tons/acre greenhouse gas reduction

The Rated Landscape designation is applied to civic, commercial, institutional and multifamily property residential projects. However, the Scorecard, Rating Manual and other resources offered through the Program are excellent tools that anyone can download and use to create high quality landscapes. We want to support Raters in gaining greater access to projects. Let us hear from you about ways we can do this!


Milena Fiore



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