Lynn Barber, Hillsborough County Extension

Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM Research Plots Results

What is Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM? It is a quality landscape that is designed, installed and maintained according to the nine Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM (FFL) principles. These principles seek to reduce environmental impacts from landscaping by properly applying water, fertilizer and pesticides, creating wildlife habitats, preventing erosion, recycling yard waste and utilizing other practices based on the University of Florida’s research.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology, conducted a three year research program in Gainesville from July 27, 2013 through July 14, 2016. The purpose of the research was to compare a traditional landscape to a Florida-friendly landscape. The most significant result was the amount of water used.

Water used and water costs were more than five times higher in the traditional versus Florida-friendly landscape. Labor hours and costs were similar, but slightly less in the Florida-friendly landscape.

There was less labor involved in the Florida-friendly landscape in several areas and more in others. Those areas where less labor was involved included: fertilizer and herbicide applications, irrigation maintenance, mowing, edging and leaf blowing.

The Florida-friendly landscape required more time spent on mulching, hand weeding, hand watering, pruning and plant replacement. This is because landscape beds versus traditional turfgrass are mulched, pruned, hand watered, etc. However, overall, there was less labor involved in the Florida-friendly landscape than the traditional Florida landscape.