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Florida Friendly Landscaping psst it's exactly the same logo

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program

Florida Friendly Landscaping psst it's exactly the same logo

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Florida-Friendly Landscaping™


What is a Florida-Friendly Landscape?


  • What does a Florida-Friendly landscape look like?

    Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) isn’t a single look or style. Every community is unique. Landscape conditions vary. Florida-Friendly Landscaping is about matching the right plant with the right place, and providing the right care at the right time. Anyone can apply the 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ in a way that fits their community aesthetics and landscape goals. Well-designed Florida-Friendly Landscapes look vibrant and attractive, while using less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

  • Does a Florida-Friendly yard look messy or unkempt?

    Many people wonder whether a Florida-Friendly landscape will look “messy” or “weedy,” but well-designed & maintained Florida-Friendly Landscapes can absolutely look vibrant and attractive. Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ isn’t a single look or style. The 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ can be applied to any landscape in a way that fits a community’s unique aesthetics and landscape goals. It’s about choosing the right plants for the right place and reducing the constant application of irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. HOAs and municipalities can still require that Florida-Friendly Landscapes meet certain standards of upkeep and maintenance (if designated in local codes, ordinances, or deed restrictions). 

    See additional resource links for Home Owners Associations (HOAs).

  • Is there a percentage of coverage for landscape beds versus turfgrass?

    The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program and the 2009 Florida-Friendly legislation do not specify a ratio of landscape beds to turfgrass. The 2009 Florida-Friendly legislation requires that water management districts develop a model landscape ordinance specifying the percentage of landscape beds to irrigated turfgrass in new developments. Counties are encour­aged to adopt these model landscape ordinances.

  • Is Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ the same as Xeriscaping?

    No, xeriscaping and FFL are very different concepts designed for very different climates. Because Xeriscape was developed for arid climates that receive minimal rainfall, it is inappropriate for our unique Florida climate, which can include extreme wet or dry conditions. Therefore, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ was designed to emphasize sustainable landscape practices such as adaptable, site-appropriate plants, stormwater filtration, and protection of water quality, as well as water conservation.

Is it or isn't it?


  • Is turfgrass Florida Friendly?

    A Florida-Friendly landscape may contain turfgrass, provided it’s the right plant for that location, and it’s cared for responsibly. Improper management of turf (or any plant), can cause environmental harm, particularly if there is excessive use of irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides.

    Under the appropriate conditions, healthy turfgrass can provide many benefits in the landscape. It can clean and cool the air, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and collect dust and dirt. Turf can also filter stormwater runoff and reduce erosion, glare, and noise. However, these benefits are only realized if turfgrass is used and cared for properly. (More information on lawn care.)

    Certain site conditions, such as deep shade, are poorly suited to growing warm-season turfgrass.  In these situations, the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program typically recommends alternative options such as shade-loving plant selections, ground covers, and/or pervious pathways and pavers. (More information on landscaping in the shade.)

  • Are synthetic turf yards Florida-Friendly?

    The Florida-Friendly LandscapingProgram does not consider artificial turf to be a Florida-Friendly product. Synthetic turf surfaces have substantially higher surface temperatures than natural turfgrasses thereby destroying beneficial microbes in the soil. Artificial turf can contribute to the heat island effect and it does not provide habitat for wildlife or beneficial insects.

  • Are rock yards Florida-Friendly?

    The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program does not promote a landscape of all rocks, or the use of artificial turf and rubber mulch. Such materials increase heat and may result in loss of habitat, or in habitat that does not support wildlife. If an HOA review board allows any rocks, The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program recommends they be used in a reasonable way in landscapes that have plants. They also can be used for accents around heat-tolerant plants and trees, in rain gardens, or to lessen the impact of rainfall from roof overhangs. This last usage may be especially important as woody mulch along the foundation may attract termites, and rock will protect the soil from erosion without floating away or attracting pests.

FFL and HOAs


Plant selection and maintenance


Questions about Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP)

  • What is the Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) Program?

    The science-based GI-BMP Program teaches environmentally responsible landscaping practices that help conserve and protect Florida’s ground and surface waters. This training program was developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, is endorsed by the pest control industry, and is brought to you by the UF/IFAS Extension’s Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program. The training is available through in-person, Zoom, DVD and self-paced online training formats.

  • Who should take the GI-BMP program?

    This program is designed to provide Green Industry (landscape and lawn care maintenance) professionals with training in the Best Management Practices.

    This training program is required in order to apply for the Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certification (LF license) from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The LF license is required for anyone applying fertilizer commercially.

    Other individuals who would benefit from this training include corporate, governmental, and environmental agencies, HOA board members, property managers and anyone with an interest in science-based landscape design and management techniques.

    Additionally, the GI-BMP Training Certificate may be required by your local county or municipality to register a Lawn-Landscape maintenance company, to do work as part of a maintenance crew, or to do work as an institutional worker. Check with your local Tax Collector or UF/IFAS County Extension office.

  • Is the GI-BMP Program offered in other languages?

    Currently the GI-BMP Program is available in English and Spanish. We are developing the training program in Haitian Creole and hope to have this available in the near future.

  • How long does the GI-BMP class take?

    While it may vary slightly from region to region, you should plan for the class to last six to eight hours.

  • What is a passing score on the exam?

    You must achieve at least a 75% correct score in order to receive your GI-BMP certificate.

  • How long will it take for me to get my certificate?

    Certificates and wallet cards are mailed or emailed within two weeks of your completing the training and passing the certification test at an in-person or live online (Zoom) class. For self-paced online or DVD training, the certificate is usually sent one or two business days after passing the online certification test.

  • How long is the GI-BMP certification good for?

    The GI-BMP certification does not expire. The Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer Certificate from FDACS must be renewed every four years.

  • What CEUs are needed to renew my Limited Urban Fertilizer License?

    Renewal of the Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate (fertilizer license) requires four CEUs total: two 482 CORE and two Limited Urban Fertilizer (LF) category.

    Most GI-BMP in-person classes and live, instructor-led online classes (via Zoom) provide all four CEU's required to renew the fertilizer license, but you should check before attending to be sure CEUs will be awarded for that class. Note that the self-paced GI-BMP online training does NOT provide CEUs.

    See also: How to Renew the LF Certificate - Options for Required CEUs