In 2003, North Lake initiated a program to introduce native Texas plants to the landscape management plan. In addition to fostering a sense of environmental stewardship among the college community, objectives included cost reductions, transferable education and awareness, creation of a distinct landscape profile and aesthetic improvements.
Since implementation of the Native Garden plan, irrigation volumes have been reduced by 50% or more in converted gardens and landscapes. It is important to note that North Lake irrigates the majority of the Central Campus with recycled storm water; native gardens are established to target reductions in areas served by city metered water. Labor has been reduced by 70% and redirected to enhancements in other service zones of the campus. Seasonal plant material costs have been eliminated or redirected to other areas of the college.
The landscape consists of a variety of native Texas plants including flowers, vines, succulents and trees.
In 2014, North Lake College's Central Campus was officially certified as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.