Transforming Your Yard into a Native Plant Landscape

Taking care of a turf grass yard can be an exercise in futility. We need to use a lot of water and a lot of potentially harmful fertilizers (think of the run off and harm to wildlife) to get the grass to grow and look beautiful and once the long warm weather season is upon us. Then, it’s a constant routine of mowing, weed eating, and blowing to keep our landscape looking good. Even if we are not doing the work ourselves and have a landscape company doing the maintenance, it’s still constant upkeep. In terms of money and time, it can seem wasteful.

Florida Statute 373.185 says, ““Florida-friendly landscaping” means quality landscapes that conserve water, protect the environment, are adaptable to local conditions, and are drought tolerant. The principles of such landscaping include planting the right plant in the right place, efficient watering, appropriate fertilization, mulching, attraction of wildlife, responsible management of yard pests, recycling yard waste, reduction of stormwater runoff, and waterfront protection. Additional components include practices such as landscape planning and design, soil analysis, the appropriate use of solid waste compost, minimizing the use of irrigation, and proper maintenance.”

Our Florida Legislature has deemed that using Florida-friendly landscaping and other water use and pollution prevention measures to conserve or protect the state's water resources serves a compelling public interest and that the participation of homeowners' associations and local governments is essential to the state's efforts in water conservation and water quality protection and restoration. A local government ordinance, a deed restriction, or covenant may not prohibit the property owner from implementing a Florida-friendly landscape.


This is great news for Floridians who are interested in eliminating turf grass from their landscapes and adding attractive native plants which will attract wildlife and make the maintenance and upkeep so much easier. You can implement this yourself or consult with one of many Master Gardeners for advice and a referral to someone who can do the work for you. Once it’s done, you’ll be very happy with the appearance of your yard. If you are in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, you may need to submit a plan for approval before you start your project.

In Flagler County, contact the UF IFAS Extension Office for advice. Meanwhile, take a look at this video showing what the possibilities are for your yard.


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Thursday, 26 November 2020

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