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Changing the Landscape: 2022 Year in Review

2022 was an unbe-leaf-able year for Sustainable Princeton’s Changing the Landscape Campaign. From native plants to electric landscaping equipment, the campaign raised awareness and educated community members about sustainable landscaping practices. With the new year just days away, we are sharing ten of the top highlights and a little of what we’re planting for 2023.

10. Princeton Podcast


In April, our Executive Director, Christine Symington, joined the Princeton Podcast to talk about the Changing the Landscape campaign and offer recommendations for homeowners looking to make a sustainable change in their yard. Listen to the episode online.

9. Library Exhibit

For Earth Month, we hosted an exhibit at the Princeton Public Library that displayed information about the campaign, landscaping tips and recommendations to share with landscapers.

8. STAR Neighborhoods in Action

A STAR Neighborhood Facebook Post

We featured the A-STAR Neighborhood’s landscaping efforts on social media. Here are some examples of their sustainable gardening practices:

  • Electric Mowers
  • Low-Mow Lawns
  • Native Perennials
  • Pollinator Gardens
  • No Pesticides
  • Rain Swale

The STAR Neighborhoods program gives Princeton residents the opportunity to actively participate in building a more sustainable, together and resilient community.

7. Resources for Homeowners

Spanish phrases for homeowners

Speaking of our STAR Neighborhoods, we collaborated with the A-STAR Neighborhood to create a list of common landscaping phrases translated into Spanish. Download the Spanish Phrases resource (.pdf).

Certify your yard
Certify your yard

We also created a list of yard certifications for homeowners. Download the Certify Your Yard resource (.pdf).

6. Healthy Yards = Healthy People

HealthyYards HealthyPeople FinalLogo 300x240

This phrase is at the heart of our Changing the Landscape campaign. But what does it mean? By encouraging Princeton residents and the landscaping community to adopt a variety of sustainable landscaping practices, we can protect the health of both landscape workers, neighbors and our local ecosystem.

Landscapers and homeowners may encounter serious hazards while taking care of lawns. We created a list of risks and remedies – download the resource (.pdf) to learn how to protect yourself, your landscaper workers and your community.

5. Leave the Leaves

Leave Your Leaves

Every fall, leaves pile up in Princeton’s streets, creating safety hazards for bikers, blocking stormwater drains, and feeding unhealthy algae blooms in our waterways. Fortunately, there’s a solution: Leave your leaves where they can do some good for your soil.

During the fall months we shared a number of resources and information about how to make the switch. Learn more about leaving the leaves.

4. Conversations with Landscapers

conversations with landscapers

Recognizing the number of Princeton homeowners who hire landscaping businesses to care for their yards, we created a number of resources to encourage sustainable landscaping practices, including a new webpage: Conversations with Landscapers

On social media we created videos with information about what sustainable landscaping practices to discuss with your landscaper, how to follow the new Sustainable Landscaping Ordinance that restricts gas-powered leaf blowers in the summer, as well as what to look for when hiring your landscaper.

3. Native Plants

We created an educational native vs invasive plant card game to use at in-person events like Princeton’s Community Night Out and the YWCA Centennial. Native plants were awarded as prizes to those who knew the most native/invasive species. Then we converted the card game to a digital format to play a weekly quiz on Instagram.

We also shared a Native Plant of the Week in our newsletter and on social media. In October, we highlighted invasive plants through a scary (but fun) Invasive Plant of the Week series.

2. Sustainable Solutions for Small Yards

Jess with Smooth hydrangea

Throughout the year, we featured Princeton resident and avid gardener, Jess Atkins in a series of communications. In her first interview, Jess shared her experiences in gardening as well as tips and tricks for new gardeners. We also shared these tips and tricks on our Instagram in a series of posts and videos. In the fall, we highlighted Jess’ fall landscaping practices and shared tips for leaf care and winter clean-up. We loved sharing Jess’ gardening expertise and hope to include more perspectives from homeowners in the new year. Landscaping needs will vary from yard to yard and we encourage implementing the sustainable landscaping solutions that work best for you!

1. Landscape Transition Fund

landscaper full width2

The Landscape Transition Fund was established to incentivize the transition to battery-powered lawn care equipment by providing financial assistance to the landscaping community. As part of the “Changing the Landscape: Healthy Yards = Healthy People” Campaign, this fund spurred positive change by encouraging the adoption of sustainable landscaping practices while improving the health of the environment, landscaping workers, and community members.

Thanks to our generous donors, $21,000 was raised to reimburse small landscaping businesses that operate in Princeton that purchased electric landscaping equipment. 24 landscaping businesses applied the reimbursement funds toward 93 individual pieces of battery-powered equipment, including blowers, chargers, batteries, and trimmers. Learn more on our Current Projects page.

What’s Next in 2023?

We are excited for the potential to host home garden tours as well as electric lawn equipment demos. Stay tuned for more landscaping themed resources, workshops, events and other programming to be announced. If you have suggestions or feedback about the Changing the Landscape Campaign, feel free to contact us!