Using proven horticultural practices, Tennessee Smart Yards (originally Tennessee Yards & Neighborhoods) mission is to help communities across the state meet their landscaping needs while also helping to conserve and protect our state's water resources.
Our History - Seeds of Change
Tennessee Smart Yards began as a task force of water research professionals in search of a way to address the growing problem of nonpoint source (NPS) pollutant runoff from residential areas. The origins of NPS pollutants can't be pinpointed, unlike an industrial pipe that empties directly into a stream. NPS pollutants include lawn fertilizers, garden pesticides, sediment from erosion-susceptible areas, and even petroleum products from roads. These ubiquitous pollutants are washed into our streams and lakes; as more lawns and roads are established and more of these pollutants are released, the faster our water quality declines.
Several states already had programs in place to alleviate NPS problems from residential areas so we turned to two of them for more ideas and support. One was the successful Florida Friendly Landscaping
(FFL) program, which had been in place for well over a decade, and the other was the newly-established Carolinas Yards and Neighborhoods
(CYN). Patterning ourselves after them, we restructured our group in 2007 to form the Tennessee Yards & Neighborhoods (TYN)
Development Team, represented by one member each from the Tennessee Water Resources Research Center, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee Extension. FFL and CYN freely shared information to our fledgling organization, giving consent to adapt and use their effective materials, which included workshop training materials, the yardstick workbook and much more.
From 1992 - 1997, 68 acres of farmland were lost to urbanization EVERY day. During this same time period, Tennessee ranked seventh in the nation of total acres of land developed.
According to the 2000 Census, Tennessee's population was more than 5,689,000, a 14 percent increase from the 1990 Census.
Tennessee Smart Yards began presenting workshops to residents, showing them how to implement the nine principles of the program. Well attended, they have been met with much enthusiasm; citizens demonstrated they were concerned about water quality and willing to do something about it.
As Tennessee Smart Yards expands across the state, we will be a clean water resource for Tennessee's growing population and increased urbanization. We'll update recommended practices as they become available through research so we can offer you the best and most economical landscaping methods, materials and plans.