Florida-Friendly Landscaping: Tips for the home gardener
Florida-Friendly Landscaping Conserves Water
Landscaping the Florida-Friendly way means using low maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices. Learn how you can have a beautiful landscape that could save you time, energy and money while protecting our future. Find out more from your county's Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) program or from fyn.ifas.ufl.edu.
- A Guide to Florida-Friendly Landscaping [PDF]
- Datos Rapidos: Ornamentación Amistosa a la Florida [PDF]
- Florida Yards and Neighborhoods – Florida-Friendly Landscaping
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping – UF/IFAS Extension Service Tips
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping Model Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for New and Existing Community Associations [PDF]
- Model Ordinance for Florida-Friendly Fertilizer Use on Urban Landscapes [PDF]
- Natives for Your Neighborhood – find appropriate native plants
- Quick Facts on Florida-Friendly Landscaping [PDF]
Top 10 Tips for the Home Gardener
1. Water infrequently, deeply and thoroughly
Most lawns need about 3/4 to 1 inch of water once per week, or once every two weeks when the weather cools. Water can come from rain, or from irrigation. Infrequent but deep watering encourages deep rooting, as well as healthier and hardier plants with a greater tolerance for drought.
2. Water at the right time of day
Water early in the day, especially in warmer weather, when evaporation rates are lowest.
3. Watch your lawn instead of a schedule or calendar
Your lawn needs watering when:
- Grass blades are folded in half
- Grass blades are blue-gray
- Your footprint remains on the lawn
In the region, year-round landscape irrigation conservation measures limiting landscape irrigation are in effect. Some local communities have additional local water restrictions. You should adapt your watering to fit these limits on landscape irrigation.
4. Too much water can hurt plants
Over-watering creates shallow roots, making plants more vulnerable to disease and pests, as well as to drought.
5. Drip or micro-irrigation systems save water
These systems deliver water to the root of plants, so much less is lost to the atmosphere.
Adding mulch helps to keep water in the soil around plants. At least 2 inches is suggested around shrubs, trees, annuals and vegetable and flower gardens.
7. Remove Weeds; Add Native Plants
Weeds or other unwanted plants use water. Removing them means more water for the plants you want. Native plants are adapted to our rainy and dry seasons and offer habitat to area wildlife.
8. Install a rain sensor
This recognizes when nature brings the water your lawn needs and shuts off automatic sprinklers.
9. Adjust your lawnmower blades
Most lawns are healthiest when blades are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long. Longer blades shade the soil and keep in water.
10. Keep lawnmower blades sharp
Clean, sharp cuts cause less trauma to grass blades, making the grass more resistant to disease.
Improving Water Quality - Tips on using fertilizers, pesticides and managing water within your landscape or neighborhood.
WaterWise: South Florida Landscapes
- "What's a nice plant for a shady spot?"
- "What's a ‘safe’ plant for South Florida's environment?"
- "How can I landscape and save water at the same time?"
If these and other landscaping questions are on your mind, WaterWise: South Florida Landscapes has the answers. This is the South Florida Water Management District's plant and landscape practices guide – designed to help property owners landscape in ways that conserve both water and our environment, and often also save time and money!
Download the complete guide [PDF] or individual chapters: