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Bay-Friendly Basics Checklist for Private Properties

Bay-Friendly Basics: Nine Simple Steps to Sustainability

  1. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to all soil.
  2. Amend the soil with 1 inch of compost, or bring soil organic matter content to 3.5%.
  3. Divert 50% of landscape construction and demolition debris from the waste stream. 
  4. Choose and locate plants to grow to their natural size.
  5. Don’t plant invasive species.
  6. Grow climate-adapted plants that require little or no summer water for 75% of all non-turf plants.
  7. Keep the turf area to no more than 25% of total irrigated area.
  8. Use weather-based irrigation controllers that include a moisture or rain sensor shutoff.
  9. Don’t use sprinkler and spray heads for areas less than 8 feet wide.

Download the Bay-Friendly Basics Checklist.

Most cities in Alameda County require that certain landscaping projects on private properties incorporate the sustainable landscape practices listed in the Bay-Friendly Basics Checklist. The requirements vary by city but typically apply to landscape construction or renovation projects that need a permit and that have an irrigated area of 2,500 square feet or greater. To find out if Bay-Friendly Basics applies to your project, contact your local government's building permit office.

The cities with Bay-Friendly Basics requirements are: Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Union City.

Benefits of the Bay-Friendly Basics

  • Reduces water use on average 50%, and up to 93%
  • Reduces runoff 73% to 90%
  • Reduces maintenance time up to 70%
  • Reduces greenhouse gases up to 53.5 tons CO2E/acre-year (equal to taking about 10 passenger cars off the road)
  • Increases soil’s ability to retain water
  • Reduces fertilizer and pesticide use, erosion, greenwaste and fuel use
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