Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What is a Florida-Friendly Landscape?

Florida is covered with water. The state has over 10,000 miles of rivers and streams, about 7,800 lakes and more than 700 freshwater springs, and the second-longest coastline in the United States. Even if you do not live on the waterfront, the land you live on is directly connected to a nearby water body. Though you might think it’s not possible your landscape practices have an impact on our water quality. When it rains, water flows down our streets, sidewalks and driveways. Everything on the pavement, like grass clippings, fertilizer, pesticides all get washed into our storm drains. Most storm drains empty directly into the closest body of water and the water is not filtered. As a result of that, in 2000 the University of Florida / Miami-Dade County Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program was created to help protect our unique natural resources by promoting and teaching to create Florida-Friendly landscapes. Any landscape can be Florida-Friendly if it’s designed and maintained to follow the nine Florida-friendly principles.

9 Florida-friendly Landscaping Principles:
· Right Plant, Right Place
· Water Efficiently
· Fertilize Appropriately
· Mulch
· Attract Wildlife
· Manage Yard Pests Responsibly
· Recycle
· Reduce Storm Water Runoff
· Protect the Waterfront

A Florida-Friendly landscape requires less fertilizers, pesticides and water. The program also honors homeowners’ efforts by recognizing specific landscapes as ‘Florida-Friendly’. As of today there are 72 properties in Miami-Dade County that are recognized by the program. 
Maria and her gardener show off her Florida-Friendly recognized yard top). Photos: L. Vasquez

Each property is evaluated in accordance with the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program’s nine principles, including design and maintenance practices. There are two levels of recognition: the standard, requiring at least 50 points; and the Gold , which requires at least 75 points. Use the checklist to determine whether your yard qualifies or contact Laura Vasquez.

Laura Vasquez 
305.248.3311, ext. 239

For information on Florida friendly landscaping, visit the Florida Yards & Neighborhoodswebsite at

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