Flagler County Extension describes Florida-Friendly Landscaping.

You may have heard the term Florida-Friendly Landscaping ™ before, but what does it actually mean? The term refers to a landscape that improves the quality of life of its residents while providing economic and ecological sustainability to the surrounding community.

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping ™ (FFL) program was developed more than 20 years ago by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the University of Florida. This program is designed to help homeowners, communities, governments and businesses create and maintain beautiful landscapes that protect natural resources and conserve water by using research-based, sustainable landscape practices. Applying basic Florida-Friendly Landscaping ™ practices also provides important benefits such as long-term cost savings and reduced maintenance.

Why is Florida-Friendly Landscaping ™ important?

Implementing Florida Friendly Landscaping ™ practices is important for a variety of reasons, all of which relate to the need to balance our precious natural resources with the increasing demands of a growing population. It is no mistake that Florida is an attractive place to live, and as a result, new subdivisions seem to emerge overnight. Flagler County’s current population of more than 120,000 has grown by over 20% since 2010 and is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades.

There are nine Florida Friendly Landscaping ™ Principles that are a direct response to initiatives developed by UF / IFAS Extension to address statewide issues related to the sustainability and conservation of resources in growing Florida communities. Initiatives with which the FFL program is most concerned are “Improving and protecting the quality, quantity and supply of water” and “Improving and protecting Florida’s natural resources and environmental quality”.

The return to a natural Florida landscape

The beauty of our region’s natural environment is a major attraction for visitors, newcomers, and long-term residents. Central Florida alone offers a variety of forests, estuaries, and coastal habitats that inspire artists, outdoor sports enthusiasts, and nature lovers from all walks of life. There is a growing trend to recreate a touch of Florida’s nature in your own garden in order to escape the stress of everyday life. The FFL program is intended to provide homeowners and companies with the education and resources to successfully implement a paradigm shift from the typical, barren “lawn landscape” to a rich, diverse “natural landscape”.

The increasing benefits of a low-maintenance landscape

One of the greatest challenges in our modern life is having enough time to relax and take advantage of our hard-earned investments, including our home gardens. Whether we’re working full-time, raising a family, or enjoying our retirement, it makes sense to renovate our landscapes to make them more welcoming and stress-free. By growing more shade with native trees and slowly replacing our lawns with more disease-resistant native plants, we’re ultimately creating a slice of this “natural landscape” in Florida that can provide shade, serenity, and beauty for a place you can truly call “home.” . “

To learn more about creating your own Florida-friendly garden, please contact horticultural agent Mimi Vreeland at mvreeland@ufl.edu

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