Public Review: Transformative Landscapes Recognition for your Project!

Announcing: Transformative Landscapes Initiative

(Draft for public comment)

Are you creating a landscape that goes beyond sustainable?

Want recognition for your work?

Want a sign that communicates what you are trying to accomplish to your neighbors, and letters and materials to send to your local commission?


The purpose of the Transformative landscapes Initiative is to promote land management methods that are shown to have a measurable positive benefit to ecosystems and society.

These goals are accessible at any budget, yet are proven to be effective and high impact.

Recognition is available to any type of landscape, including residential, farm, commercial, or public. And while the methods for accomplishing them are easy and accessible, these criteria require proven methods that make greenwashing impossible, so TLI recognition intends to be the gold standard for demonstrating socially and environmentally sound landscape management, that can’t be bought or faked.

Transformative Landscapes use proven methods that measurably create positive societal outcomes. By following these criteria, landscapes will meet the following goals:

  • Help feed and care for people
  • Protect water
  • Sustain global forests
  • Protect native biodiversity
  • Provide insect and pollinator sanctuary
  • Fight climate change
  • Use energy efficiently
  • Build soil
  • Use materials responsibly and sustainably

Recognition signs are available in 4 different levels:


Basic (achieves 70% of the following criteria)

Monarch (achieves 70%, including all required Monarch criteria)

Lunamoth (achieves 90%, including all Lunamoth criteria.)


Aspirational Criteria Overview:

Anyone will be eligible to apply for a sign that shows what your landscape aspires to. This allows us to communicate what we hope to accomplish when we stop mowing, build water catchments like swales, or hugelkultures.

Criteria: has submitted a plan to Transformative Adventures or a local Landscape Transformation professional.

Transformative Landscape Criteria:


Has positive societal impact by feeding people and reducing corporate consumption.
Cares for water by responsibly dealing with water resources on site.
Reduces pollution, including carbon pollution and pesticides.
Uses materials responsibly, including concrete and plastics.
Protects biodiversity by integrating in habitat for wildlife, native plants and insects.
Stewards and creates healthy soil.

Full Criteria

I. Societal impact.
-Grows some food, medicines or materials for human use on site.
-Reduces the site stewards consumption of corporate products by 10 or more%. (For Monarch level.)
-Reduces consumption and produces an excess to provide for other people through sales or donation. (For the Lunamoth level.)

II. Water:
-Catches and infiltrates water for >60% of site as shown on site plan. Submit map of infrastructure to catch and infiltrate >60% of water on site, including runoff from impervious surfaces like buildings and parking lots, by using rain gardens, swales, infiltration basins, trees, forest cover and other green infrastructure.
-Uses water wise holistic techniques. Has a plan to save water and reduce landscape irrigation using deep organic mulches, living mulches, appropriate plants, forest cover, or other effective strategies.
-Has plan to catch and infiltrate >90% of rain water on site. (Monarch)
-Also includes water recycling procedures or grey water system to treat site water. (Lunamoth, submit plans)

III. Pollution:
Limits Fossil Fuels:
-No fossil fuel mowing on sites under ¼ acre.
-For larger sites, mown grass is limited to pathways and used recreational areas.

Carbon sequestration
-40% forest where applicable. At maturity, polyculture tree canopy (minimum 3 species) will cover > 40% of site for sites with >30 inches of precipitation. (Submit site plan map)
-Healthy diverse polyculture grassland, savanna, or prairie for sites withered forest is not appropriate.
-Holistic management of grazing systems.
-No monoculture plantings (Monarch – Polyculture has been shown in multiple studies to be a key indicator of carbon sequestration.)
-Documented net carbon sequestration, verified by Transformative Adventures or a third party. (Lunamoth. Must be included in submitted plan.)

IV. Sustainable materials:
Concrete. The concrete industry is responsible for a massive amount of pollution and atmospheric carbon.
-Limited use of new concrete pavers, bricks and landscaping blocks, less than 10%. (Use for required infrastructure or to supplement used and recycled materials is acceptable.)
-Use of recycled materials wherever possible for landscape features, retaining walls, and pathways.
-No new concrete materials, or where necessary, low-carbon sustainable materials or re-constituted materials are used. (Monarch)

Plastics. Agricultural and landscape fabrics are the fastest growing cause of plastics pollution of water and land, and are strongly associated with microplastic and phthalates contamination of food.
-No new plastics pledge. Applying for Transformative Landscapes recognition constitutes a pledge to reduce, or at least to not increase plastics use in the landscape, for management or production purposes.
-Plan to reduce or eliminate plastics for management or production purposes. (Monarch, Submit plan)

-Achieved a documented reduction or elimination of plastics in the landscape. (Lunamoth.)

V. Biodiversity
-Use of multiple plant community or ecosystem types: forest, meadow, prairie, intensive gardens, wetland, hedgerows, etc.
-Integration of wildlife habitat features, such as rockeries, brush piles, bat houses, native pollinator habitat.
-Season long blooms, something is flowering at all times in all parts of the landscape.
-Provide wildlife food sources: a variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, native flowers, that are shared with wildlife.
-Provide multiple water sources: birdbaths, ponds, water features.
-No spraying of pesticides or herbicides. (Organic sprays acceptable for production purposes only.)
-High biodiversity site: >200 species/acre, or includes endangered species. (Monarch)

VI. Soil creation. Many of the above criteria are also proven to contribute to soil creation, but these additional factors are special indicators of soil creation.
-No annual mechanical tillage, including the uses of “tilthers” or harrows.
-No synthetic fertilizers
-No monoculture plantings
-Minimal bare soil. Use of mulches or permanent ground covers.
-All fertility, compost, organic fertilizers, and mulches are grown on site or from a waste stream (Monarch)

-documented plan to grow fertility on site. (Lunamoth.)