Friday, January 21, 2022

Florida Friendly Landscape Demonstration Garden



Landscaping the Florida-Friendly way means using low maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices that also can save money. South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the University of Florida (UF-IFAS) are leading the effort in the State of Florida to incorporate Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) to protect natural resources, specifically ground and surface water protection and conservation.

The City’s Landscape Ordinance (Section 30-432), references Xeriscape, a terminology originally coined in Colorado that refers to practices of irrigation and plant species choices that conserve water use. This practice has morphed into FFL which still incorporates water conservation but also specific Floridian environment conditions and emphasizes pollution control to nearby surface waters. Staff will be acting to incorporate language into the current Landscape Ordinance that includes the nine principles of FFL (listed below).

The 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL)

  • Right Plant, Right Place
  • Water Efficiently
  • Fertilize Appropriately
  • Mulch
  • Attract Wildlife
  • Manage Yard Pests
  • Recycle
  • Reduce Storm Water Runoff
  • Protect Waterfront

To further promote the concept of FFL, the City of Marco Island is taking the opportunity to partner with SFWMD, Big Cypress Basin and the Collier County Water Symposium Board to design and plant a FFL Demonstration Garden on the City Hall campus. This area is located within pedestrian sidewalks near the entrance of the Police Department. The planting area is approximately 450 square feet and will incorporate eight species of plants in a well-designed, aesthetically pleasing landscape. The City’s Beautification Advisory Committee has approved the concept, site, use of species and design. This will be a public education tool to demonstrate the FFL principals to our community.

The FFL Demonstration Garden will be planted in the second week of May and should take a day to install. No cost is incorporated with this partnered project other than staff time to prepare the site prior to planting. Donations from local nurseries for plant material and installation by local landscape contractors have been coordinated. SFWMD and UF-IFAS have used their expertise on design and Parks and Recreation staff will maintain the garden while doing routine landscape maintenance on the City Hall campus for the pleasure of our community. An approved sign will acknowledge donators and contributors and plant species signs will label the species used. A proposed ribbon-cutting ceremony will occur prior to the May 17th City Council Workshop to highlight the garden and effort.

Attached is a map depicting the location for the FFL Demonstration Garden and the landscape design with species listed. For more information, please contact Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist, City of Marco Island at 239-389-5003 or or Lisa Koehler, SFWMD, Big Cypress Basin office at 239-263-7821 or

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *