Everyone strives for the perfect lawn, but that doesn’t mean you have to rely on chemicals and pesticides to make it happen. The TurfMutt Foundation works with corporations and homeowners to find alternative ways to keep their lawns looking great without risking the health of animals or humans. The foundation’s stewardship and education platform stresses the importance of caring for grasses, shrubs, trees and flowering plants in communities, family yards, parks and school grounds.

In addition to providing information, resources and data on the green spaces, the foundation also supports educational opportunities aligned with STEM for K-8 educators and students, through non-profit organizations.

“Yards are not just beautiful, they are also purposeful,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation. “Unfortunately, in some communities, lawns have gotten a bad rap. Turfgrass provides important benefits that can't be overlooked.”

The foundation is encouraging homeowners to take an active role in the development of their property through several green-focused steps. The goal is to create more livable green spaces that reduce environmental impact and promote healthier living. Here are a few tips to help homeowners and corporations create green community spaces.

Develop a green space through “backyarding” which emphasizes multi-use spaces for activities such as picnics, games, and relaxing with friends and family.

Turfgrass is one of the most effective ways to capture carbon The dense canopy and fibrous root system in a lawn sequesters carbon so well that it outweighs the carbon used for maintaining the grass by as much as seven-fold.

Data from Climate Central research group shows more than 40 million Americans live in urban heat islands. This problem can be reduced with the addition of more green spaces. Lawns can be as much as 30 degrees cooler than asphalt, making them a smart choice to beat the heat.

One 5,000-square foot grass lawn can produce enough oxygen each day to support 14 to 34 people, according to the Lawn Institute.

Climate change has increased drought occurrences across the U.S. Grass helps capture rainwater, which slows down and absorbs runoff, cleanses water of impurities and dust, and recharges groundwater aquifers.

Incidents of wildfires are also on the rise due to climate change. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, “green infrastructure” can help protect communities from natural disasters like drought and fire, acting as a natural firebreak. The foundation will continue to work with both homeowners, educators and lawmakers to help make a difference at the national and community level.

Kiser said a “right plant, right place” philosophy is part of what the TurfMutt Foundation dubs the Golden Rule of backyarding. She added proper lawn care and maintenance is an imperative first step to having a positive environmental impact.

“This means mowing to the correct height for your species, watering wisely to promote a strong root system, and leaving grass clippings on the lawn to fortify it and help it sequester even more carbon,” she said.