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Bay Friendly Landscaping mimics natural systems that recycle everything—water, debris and nutrients.  By paying attention to climate, soil conditions and plant choices, Bay Friendly Landscaping practices save money, conserve resources and reduce waste

Bay Friendly Landscaping is an approach to landscaping that makes it easy to enjoy a garden while reducing waste and conserving resources. Bay Friendly gardens aren’t a mold you have to fit into; they offer endless opportunities, from backyard wildlife gardens and kitchen gardens to native plant communities.

Bay Friendly Gardeners
• Nurture healthy soil and plants
• Conserve water and other resources
• Reuse plant trimmings through mulching and composting
• Provide wildlife habitat and attract pollinators
• Feature Florida native and Florida-Friendly plants
• Choose the least-toxic pest control methods

Landscaping for Climate Change - Making a difference for tomorrow
Landscaping for Climate Change helps to offset the emissions footprint of our everyday activities.  When we reduce our carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions we are preserving the vitality of our communities for generations to come.

Conventional landscapes require energy intensive, polluting and expensive maintenance habits that heighten the demand for irrigation, chemicals and frequent mowing.  Practicing Climate Friendly Landscape Guidelines reduces the demand for non-renewable resources and improves water and air quality.

Download Climate Friendly Landscape Guidelines

Climate Change PDFClimate Friendly Landscape Guidelines:

  * Minimize Mowing

  * Incorporate Native Plants

  * Conserve Energy by Conserving Water

  * Minimize/Eliminate Fertilizer and Pesticide Use

  * Reuse Yard Waste

  * Increase Tree Canopy

  * Create Biodiversity

  * Naturalize the Shoreline

  * Engage Your Neighborhood

Landscaping for Climate Change has been added to EPA's

Climate Ready Estuaries Toolkit of outreach and communications materials. 
Visit for more information.

Landscaping for Climate Change has been highlighed by the National Wildlife Federation.

Download the following files for more information:

A New Vision For Landscaping In Florida #1 gif

A New Vision For Landscaping In Florida #2 gif

Waters Edge

Living on the Water’s Edge Brochure
A Homeowner's Guide to Low Maintenance Landscaping Along Seawalls, Bayfronts and Canals (saltwater)

Living on the Water's Edge Brochure
A  Homeowner's Guide to Low Maintenance Landscaping Along Stormwater Ponds (freshwater)

These brochures help you create a Living Shoreline along the waterfront that protects and enhances Sarasota Bay.  For more info on Living Shorelines visit the Habitat Restoration - wetlands part of this website.

Landscaping with Native Plants

Florida native plants make excellent additions to your yard. The plants not only are beautiful, but also attract wildlife and need less water to survive. Native plants do not need fertilizer since they are adapted to Florida’s nutrient-poor soils. Incorporating flowering plants like firebush or coral honeysuckle will attract hummingbirds and butterflies too.

For information on native plants:
For information on native plant nurseries:

For information on how native plants attract pollinators:

Click on Native Plants for your Backyard, a publication from the US Fish & Wildlife Service for the Southeast about using native plants.

Click on Bird Feeding, a publication from the US Fish & Wildlife Service about feeding birds in your backyard.

Pollinators are Essential to Life!

At least 80% of our world's crop plant species require pollination. Estimates as high as 1 out of every 3rd bite of food comes to us through the work of animal pollinators. Birds, bees, butterflies, bats, and even beetles are among the myriad creatures which transfer pollen between seed plants.  This function is vital for plant reproduction and food production. Today their existence is threatened. Learn how you can help by following pollinator friendly practices and how to attract these critical critters to your yard! Visit North American Pollinator Protection Campaign to learn about the more than 90 affiliated organizations working to implement and promote pollinator protection. Visit the Pollinator Partnership to learn how you can take action!

Click on Pollinator Plant List from NAPPC to download a PDF of plants for your yard that attract and sustain pollinaotrs for southwest Florida.

Click on Pollinator Friendly Practices to download a PDF from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign about pollinator friendly practices in your yard and home.

Click on Hummingbird Haven, a publication from the US Fish & Wildlife Service about attracting hummingbirds to your yard.

Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN)

The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program ( was developed by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and the University of Florida Extension Service in the early 1990s. It has become a statewide initiative to create attractive, low-maintenance Florida-Friendly landscapes that conserve water, decrease stormwater run-off and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizer application.  This integrated approach to landscaping emphasizes nine interrelated principles. For detailed information about the principles download the Guide to Florida Friendly LandscapingFYN Handbook: A Guide to Florida-Friendly Landscaping.

      • Right plant, right place
      • Water efficiently
      • Fertilize appropriately
      • Mulch
      • Attract wildlife
      • Manage yard pests responsibly
      • Recycle yard waste
      • Reduce stormwater runoff
      • Protect the waterfront

For additional information on FYN, a type of Bay Friendly gardening, visit

Florida-Friendly Landscape Guidance Models for Ordinances, Covenants, and Restrictions pdf

New Law Allows Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Despite HOAs

A new law signed by Gov. Charlie Crist promotes the installation of Florida-friendly landscaping. The law states that homeowners associations (HOAs) may not prohibit a homeowner from installing Florida-friendly landscaping on their property, or create any requirement or limitation in conflict with state law.

Florida-friendly landscaping emphasizes nine easy-to-accomplish principles that, when practiced, can have a significant positive impact on yards and the environment. The concept was developed by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and is based on the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program that was originally created by the Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Programs.

By following Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ practices, homeowners use a low-maintenance approach to landscaping that conserves water and reduces chemical and fertilizer use. Homeowners also spend less time maintaining their lawns and more time enjoying them.

"Because homeowners can no longer be prohibited from following Florida-friendly landscaping practices, they will have more freedom to choose the type of plants and turf that are right for their property," said Sylvia Durell, Florida-friendly landscaping project manager for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. "This is a great opportunity for homeowners to get know their yard's sun, soil and moisture conditions and put the right plant in the right place."

The law also states that HOAs may not fine homeowners for brown lawns when the homeowner is abiding by water shortage rules such as the Water Management District's water shortage orders that restrict residents to watering their lawns one day per week.

To learn more about Florida-friendly landscaping visit


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