Florida is known for its beautiful, lush, green lawns. Even so, your lawn and landscape do not need rain or watering every day to stay that way. Using the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles, everyone who uses water outside can save water, time, and money and still have a beautiful landscape.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles
Putting the right plant in the right place is a key to Florida-Friendly landscaping.
- Get a soil analysis. Have a county cooperative extension service analyze soil samples from various areas of your yard. This analysis will tell you the level of acidity or alkalinity in your soil. This information will help you decide which plants will work best in your yard.
- Plan your landscape. Create the landscape that works best for your region by yourself or with a landscape professional. Evaluate the conditions in your yard, such as sunny and shady areas, how you will use sections of the yard and how large you want mature plants to be.
- Choose the proper plants. Plant the right plant in the right place. Ask a landscape professional or nursery worker to help you choose native plants. Use drought tolerant grass, shrubs ground cover, and trees. These plants grow well with little water during dry periods and with minimal irrigation. Determine each plant’s need for sun, shade, soil, and water as well as, its tolerance for cold or salt. Match the plant’s needs to the appropriate spot in your landscape.
- Use grass wisely. Grass is often your yard’s biggest water user. Save grass for areas where children or pets will play. In other areas, consider mulch, gravel, or ground cover.
- Irrigate effectively. Over watering is just as harmful as under watering. Too much water can cause root rot and other plant disorders. Group plants together according to their water needs. For example, place plants that need frequent watering together and those plants that need less water in another irrigation zone.
- Mulch. Using mulch holds moisture in the soil, reduces weed growth, and slows erosion. Spread several inches of mulch, such as wood chips, pine straw, or leaves, around shrubs, trees, and flowerbeds.
- Maintain your yard. Mow, weed, prune, and irrigate as needed. Did you know that all new irrigation systems must have an automatic rain shut-off devise? Florida-Friendly landscaping reduces maintenance need in your yard, but it won’t eliminate yard work.
- Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a blower or broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Using a hose to clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
- Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle that can be adjusted down to a fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, turn the water off at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.
- Use hose washers between the spigot and the water hose to eliminate leaks. Check all hoses, connectors, and spigots regularly for leaks.
- Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hose can put out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours.
- Consider a new water-saving pool filter for your pool. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses 180 to 250 gallons or more of water.