Tennessee Smart Yard Communities

What is a Tennessee Smart Yard Community?

Tennessee Smart Yard Communities are community organizations that strive to create healthier, more ecologically-sound landscapes through three main categories of impact: Education, Stewardship, and Connection. A Tennessee Smart Yard Community can take many forms – a neighborhood organization, garden club, homeowners association, or school community.

To be recognized as a participating Tennessee Smart Yard Community, the champion or championing committee from the community must create and maintain a Community Action Plan that contains a minimum of two activities under each category of Education, Stewardship, and Connection (more details below).

Participation will look different across communities and is flexible to allow for unique circumstances of each group. Assistance will be provided to communities through shared resources, materials, and local connections. 

What is the Process?

  1. Review the application and lay groundwork in your community.
  2. Complete the online application, generate the Community Action Plan.
  3. Join an onboarding meeting (virtually, quarterly).
  4. Execute Community Action Plan.
  5. Update us twice a year, renew annually.


Empowering community members through sharing information, experience, and passion. Examples of activities to fulfill this category include:

  • hosting seminar series or classes
  • distributing newsletters
  • creating web resources
  • conducting how-to demonstrations
  • installing community signage
  • conducting a needs assessment among the community¬†


Increasing the amount of land managed using ecologically-sound practices. Examples of activities to fulfill this category include:

  • setting a goal for yard certifications
  • certifying common areas or green space
  • maintaining standards of care expectations for landscape professionals
  • achieving complementary certifications from other like-missioned organizations
  • creating a master plan for the community towards ecologically-sound landscapes
  • hosting community-level events to support conservation (e.g. invasive species removal, tree plantings)


Creating and sustaining an engaged and cooperative community brought together by shared values and experiences in stewardship. Examples of activities to fulfill this category include:

  • creating a social media community
  • establishing a recognition program for individual efforts
  • providing incentives to those with certified yards.
  • holding group meetings or garden tours¬†

What are the benefits to Participating Communities?

On top of the cumulative benefits of clean water and healthy landscapes brought by ecologically-sound landscaping practices, your community will receive more benefits. It will be recognized on our Story Map, receive an official recognition certificate, and be provided a press release from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

Tennessee Smart Yard Communities Story Map (Under construction)

Press Releases for Tennessee Smart Yard Communities:

Shared Drive Access

Request access to the shared drive containing files for Community Champions.

Reporting Portal

Use this form to submit semi-annual reports as a participating Smart Yard Community.