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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

FFL Award Winners - 2021


Landscape Awards

  • Outstanding Residential Landscape - Firebush Finca

    This award recognizes Florida-Friendly yards that adopt environmentally sound landscape, irrigation, and management practices that include Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles.

    Winner: Firebush Finca

    We wanted to bring the feeling of a “Finca” or country house -- as we refer to it in Medellin, Colombia -- to the urban Coral Springs environment and named the project after one of the most versatile and great pollinator Florida native plant “Firebush”. 

    We reduced the impervious area of the house by removing the existing circular driveway made of asphalt and replacing it with a straight driveway made of concrete pavers over compacted sand.  800 sq. ft. of impervious area were transformed into pervious natural area; a new royal poinciana tree with native Fakahatchee grasses were added to the existing landscape. The existing gutters and downspouts were replaced with new aluminum 6” wide gutters with 3”x4” downspouts extended 2 feet away from the property into garden areas to avoid water penetration into the building and protecting the new paved areas. 

    The creation of a native ecosystem was the main objective along the entire property and accomplished using different layers of vegetation. Invasive groundcovers like oysters, snake tongues and carrot woods and areca palm, Brazilian pepper seeds and asparagus ferns were removed from the entire property. The concept of diversity and attracting pollinators such as native wild bees, birds, reptiles, and small mammals was our goal.  A bat house was also added near the canal as pest deterrent. A bird bath fountain powered by a solar pump was positioned along wildflowers to provide a cool spot for birds and butterflies.

    With the creation of this garden, erosion along the backyard caused by the overflow of the canal was no longer a problem. The plants were absorbing water, providing shade, and holding the soil. The reduction of the existing lawn area, increasing the lawn cut height from 2.5” to 4”, and leaving the grass clippings as natural fertilizer reduced fertilizer use: a single bag of palm slow-release fertilizer with a cost of $40.00 is enough for an entire year. Mulched pathways were created at both sides of the house where lawn struggled to grow, eliminating the need of irrigation, and fertilizers. Prior to the creation of the native garden, the monthly water bill was $240 in summer and $160 in winter. The project reduced the monthly water bill to $55 during summer months and to $90 per month in winter. In addition, the new garden along the house perimeter lowers the temperature during summers, provides a beautiful view to the outdoors from every window and door to observe wildlife, absorbs dust, reduces storm water runoff, and filters pollutants.

  • Outstanding Residential Landscape - Rios Residence

    This award recognizes Florida-Friendly yards that adopt environmentally sound landscape, irrigation, and management practices that include Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles.

    Winner: The Rios Residence

    The yard recently received the Silver-level Florida-Friendly Landscape Recognition.  The project included these changes and benefits:

    • Replaced invasive plants with pollinator plants
    • Reduced irrigation from 5 days to 2 days a week
    • Installed two (55 gallon each) rain barrels attached to the gutter system and used the rainwater for orchids and plants
    • Stopped using weed-and-feed products -- have saved a couple of bags of fertilizer a year since adopting the FFL Principles
    • Use organic mulch such as Eucalyptus, citrus blend, and fallen leaves
    • Use composter (tumbler) for kitchen scraps and yard waste
    • Annual savings of $805 on water
    • Approximately $240 savings annually on fertilizers
    • Approximately $220 savings on pesticides

  • FFL New Construction - FNGLA Frontrunners Chapter - Bell Middle & High School

    This award recognizes a new residential or commercial landscape that adopts environmentally sound landscape, irrigation, and management policies that include Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles.

    Winner: FNGLA Frontrunners Chapter - Bell Middle & High School

    Frontrunners Chapter of FNGLA, students, faculty, and parents worked together to install a Florida-Friendly garden that meets or exceeds all 9 of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles. Watch the video.

  • FFL Edible Landscape- UF/IFAS Extension Marion County FFL Edible Ornamental Demonstration Garden

    This award recognizes the efforts made in the creation, maintenance, and education of FFL principles in a demonstration garden.

    Winner: UF/IFAS Extension Marion County FFL Edible Ornamental Demonstration Garden

     
  • Community Garden - Seeds of Faith Community Garden

    Winner: Seeds of Faith Community Garden

    Seeds of Faith Community Garden follows Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles to conserve resources and enhance horticultural success.  Seeds of Faith Community Garden grows and donates nutritious fruits and vegetables to people in need, producing over 2,000 lbs. of edibles per growing year.  Produce is primarily donated to ECHO and Hope for Her.  Plants provide refuge for pollinators while the site provides refuge for protected gopher tortoises.  Additionally, the garden serves as an educational resource for Hillsborough County residents/students of all ages.

  • Municipal Landscape - City Hall - City of Vero Beach

    Recognizes a commercial or governmental property that adopted environmentally sound landscape, irrigation, and management policies that incorporate Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles.

    Winner: Municipal Landscape - City Hall - City of Vero Beach

    In August of 2019, the City of Vero Beach’s City Hall property was transformed from a building and parking lot with traditional landscaping to one that showcases for the community what a landscape without sod, utilizing Florida-Friendly and native plants could look like.

    Using a variety of plant materials, pine straw mulch, decorative stone and crushed shell, the Division removed 99% of the turf and installed palms, trees and a variety of plants to create an oak hammock garden, a rain garden and low-maintenance plantings to accent and complement the mid-century modern style of the building.

    On the west side of the building, under the canopy of mature Live Oaks, a shell path winds through a garden of native Boston Fern, Wild Coffee, Coontie, Agave, Bird’s Nest Fern, Saw Palmetto and more.  Between the parking lot and a drive-through road, we installed a rain garden to take advantage of an existing drainage swale.  We installed a wide variety of plant material such as Blue Flag Iris, Elliott’s Love Grass, Scorpion’s Tail, etc. along with signage and plant labels.  The front side of City Hall got additional Sabal Palmetto, paired with Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass, Carissa and Florida Privet. 

    The plantings have grown in well and are thriving in their new environments and people visiting City Hall now have a place that is aesthetically pleasing and a place to stop and enjoy nature.

       
       

     

     
  • Outstanding FFL Community - Elysium

    Recognizes communities that have adopted environmentally sound landscape, irrigation, and management policies that include Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles.

    Winner: Elysium

    The Elysium Homeowners Association is a 35-year-old community in Pinellas County. The landscape design had not changed significantly since it was platted. Though the neighborhood is covered by many oaks, Elysium’s few remaining shrubs and grass areas were maintenance-heavy and not environmentally sustainable. We had no landscape at all where it would have the greatest impact – the HOA’s four stormwater ponds.

    Elysium’s use of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ design principles sets it apart from its neighbors by being proactive in evaluating risks and strategically planning so that the HOA can more cost-effectively and efficiently respond to future threats (aging infrastructure, loss of tree canopy, natural disasters, climate change, etc.). Implementing these design principles is expected to provide savings by reducing maintenance costs and improving water conservation and quality.

    Elysium’s Board of Directors began exploring this effort in 2019 and the Landscape Committee (LC) was created in 2020 to explore the various solutions suggested by homeowners. Our initial mission was to simply replace the dying landscape with some new plants and/or shrubs. In August 2020, the Landscape Committee met with Doris Heitzmann from UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County to identify and discuss Elysium’s strengths and areas of opportunity. Some of these findings were:

    • Identifying the importance of protecting the tree canopy - which is a huge driver of our neighborhood’s desirability
    • Installing a smart irrigation controller using the internet and weather forecasts to adjust watering needs
    • Installing drip irrigation in landscape beds
    • Identifying and removing invasive species
    • Updated the 80s landscape design to further contribute to our neighborhood’s desirability
    • Providing education and materials to the Committee on the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) principles and how to apply them to our project
    • Guidance on better preserving the function and appeal of our stormwater ponds
    • Installed a maintenance-free buffer zone and stabilized shoreline
    • Education campaign on – Stormwater drains and oak leaf management

    To educate our homeowners and reduce the number of leaves in the storm sewer drains, Elysium created the “Help Keep Leaves Out of Storm Drains” flyer for the annual meeting and posted to the HOA’s website.

    Following the Extension Agent’s visit and education, the LC determined that FFL was the path we should follow. As a result, our mission evolved to implement Florida-Friendly  Landscaping™ that reduces future maintenance costs by installing a hardy landscape that is drought-tolerant and low maintenance, improves water quality, and positively impacts property values.

       
  • FFL Demonstration Garden - Gato Wildflower Demonstration Garden

    Winner: - Gato Wildflower Demonstration Garden

    One of the main goals of the garden is to highlight the wide diversity of native flora of the Florida Keys. Many of the residents of Monroe County are transplants from other parts of the state and other geographic regions, with little to no knowledge of the plants that grow and thrive here. Many bring with them ideas of gardening from where they once lived and struggle as plants fail from overwatering, overfertilization, and salinity issues. Additionally, as wild, natural environments disappear, less and less habitat is available for pollinators and beneficial organisms.

    The Gato Wildflower Demonstration Garden is approximately 3,700 square feet and was designed to complement the 15 mature, native trees already on the property to create vertical diversity and provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects. As part of the ongoing educational outreach three educational signs were recently installed.

    • Our Butterflies in the Garden sign points out 17 different butterfly species the garden supports with larval host plants in the garden. It also lists the butterfly lifecycle, the wingspan of each butterfly, and how to start a butterfly garden.
    • Next, our Beneficial Insects: Friends of the Garden sign features pollinators, predators, and parasitoids and provides an interesting fun fact for each. It also discusses dwindling insect populations and how to encourage beneficial insects in the landscape.
    • Finally, our Threatened and Endangered Plants sign highlights the threatened and endangered plants in the garden. Over 300 native plants have been added to the garden, which includes plants from over 30 different plant families.

    In total, the garden is home to over 60 different species of plants including 18 threatened and endangered species. All but two plant species used are native to the Florida Keys, with the majority being suitable for residential landscapes.

       

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  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure - Applied Sciences 5th Street

    Winner: Applied Sciences 5th Street

    Streetscaping and LID Retrofit (City of Palmetto)

    The rehabilitation of 5th Street between 8th Avenue and 10th Avenue in the City of Palmetto included Low Impact Development (LID) streetscaping features such as pervious angled parking spaces, pervious sidewalk and pavers, bulb-outs, and treeboxes for filtration.  Additionally, we designed a pervious parking lot, sidewalks, bio-swales, bio-filtration planter boxes, and street infiltration basins on city-owned property adjacent to the original project.

    The City of Palmetto used this project as a springboard for an innovative reimagining of its downtown.  We designed retention layers beneath areas proposed for pervious concrete and pervious pavers, eliminating the need for any stormwater piping.  Proposed pervious pavement areas were designed to overflow, via  cascading effect, into infiltration basins or bioswales.  The result was a reduction in the total runoff volume and a net improvement in the stormwater quality discharge from the area. The project design was exempted from Environmental Resource Permitting by the Southwest

  • Residential Green Stormwater Infrastructure – McFarlane Residence

    Winner: McFarlane Residence

    In order to re-distribute stormwater from the roof to a location in the yard that would benefit from this extra water, the homeowners created a hardscape that re-distributed the water over a larger area by mimicking a stream bed. We worked with what was on the property and piped the rainwater off the roof into an underground cistern to collect the rainwater. A pump was installed to recycle this for the landscape and channel water feature in the yard. FFL plants such as Mondo grass and ferns were planted at the base of the channel drain to prevent small particles of soil and plant matter from disturbing the soil surrounding the stream bed.

Photo Awards

  • FFL Mature Landscape - Alence Residence

    This award recognizes landscape photos that showcase an example of a mature FFL landscape.

    Winner: The Alence Residence

    The judges considered the landscape photo based on modeling the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles and design.

       
  • FFL Before and After Photo - Nada Vergili, Deerfield Oasis

    This award recognizes a series of photos that showcases an example of a landscape before and after implementing a Florida-Friendly landscape.

    Winner: Nada Vergili, Deerfield Oasis

    BEFORE AFTER
  • FFL Before and After Photo - Jason Residence

    This award recognizes a series of photos that showcases an example of a landscape before and after implementing a Florida-Friendly landscape.

    Winner: Jason Residence

    BEFORE
    AFTER

FFL Partner and Ambassador Awards

  • Outstanding FFL Partner - Emily Brown, FDEP

    Winner: Emily Brown, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

  • FFL Industry Partner of the Year - Deirdre Irwin, Florida Water Star

    Winner: Deirdre Irwin, Florida Water Star

    Deirdre Irwin is the Water Conservation Coordinator for the St. Johns River Water Management District. With 29 years of experience with the District, she has worked with the agency’s surface water regulatory program, water resource education program, certification program development, and water supply planning. Her work as the Florida Water StarSM Coordinator involves administering the program and technical outreach for the program. Deirdre works closely with the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program on numerous projects, is a member of the FFL Advisory Group, and has been instrumental in developing a partnership between FFL and FWS.

  • FFL Ambassador – Ann Bryan

    After downsizing from her former home, which was recognized as Florida-Friendly,  Alachua County Master Gardener Ann Bryan initiated this project.

    Wood Creek Village (WCV) is a community of 72 single family attached homes located near the Thornebrook shopping area. Each home has a small yard which the homeowners regard as "theirs", but is considered "common property", belonging to everyone.

    Ann moved to the WCV community two and a half years ago and quickly became active in her homeowners association.  She is now the chair of the landscaping committee.  Former Alachua County Horticultural Agent Taylor Clem helped Ann develop a survey to explore homeowner interest in the project.  From that Ann developed a detailed 5-year plan. She has since orchestrated the conversion of 36 yards, doing much of the hands-on labor herself. Ann also works closely with their landscape maintenance company and has been able to correct several of their non-Florida-Friendly practices. This project is particularly significant as  it involves conversion of an entire community, long a dream of the FFL program.

     
  • FFL Extension Ambassador – Lynn Barber

    As a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) agent for UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, Lynn Barber is skilled in planning and coordinating workshops, projects and landscape evaluations to merge the FFL gardening strategy with clients’ needs.  She works hard to promote, and communicate, the benefits of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ to public, governmental, nonprofit, and commercial entities.  Lynn’s management approach fosters a team environment that ensures program success while all participant needs are met.

    Additionally, her foresight for promotional opportunities increases our educational outreach while her diplomacy creates lasting partnerships.  She writes articles for print and online news sources and supports our program through local television and radio stations.  She has partnered with local government entities, home owner associations and more recently, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Inc. and the Bullard Family Foundation. 

    Because Lynn has a strong commitment to her program area, represented through her initiative and professionalism, FFL stays in the spotlight.  Lynn is a stellar representative for Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, and her unwavering commitment ensures that FFL remains relevant. 

Educational & Program Awards

  • FFL Educational Campaign - Tia Silvasy

    This award recognizes the volunteer educator who has made exceptional efforts in supporting the FFL program through research, collaboration, projects, and/or other activities.

    Winner: Tia Silvasy

    Tia Silvasy is a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Extension Agent in Orange County. She provides educational programming to help homeowners implement water conserving practices, strategies to recycle household and yard waste, and work towards more sustainable landscapes.

     
  • FFL Faculty of the Year - Dr. Sandy Wilson

    This award recognizes the individual faculty member who has made exceptional efforts in supporting the FFL program through research, projects, and/or other activities.

    Winner: Dr. Sandy Wilson

    The Judges considered the projects, roles, leadership activities, and educational impacts that Dr. Wilson has made to further the mission of the FFL program.

  • FFL Educator of the Year - Tina McIntyre

    Winner: Tina McIntyre

    Tina McIntyre is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Agent at UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County. She specializes in surface water quality and quantity, best management practices related to landscape management, and restoration of urban green spaces.

    Tina came to Extension after serving for four years as Senior Biologist at the Orange County Environmental Protection Division where she surveyed the lakes, rivers and streams of the county and worked in the laboratory. Prior to that, she worked for six years at the University of Central Florida Arboretum. During her tenure at UCF she also formally and informally taught students on a variety of topics including Ethnobotany. While working at the UCF Arboretum, she completed her Master’s in Conservation Biology with an internship with the Florida Native Plant Society in 2013.

  • FFL Outstanding Collaboration (Agent & MGV) -The UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Water Ambassador Program 2021

    This award recognizes the Agent and Master Gardener (or team) that have made an outstanding effort in collaborating on projects and activities while working together in their respective roles.  

    Winners: The UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Water Ambassador Program 2021

    UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Urban Horticulture Agent Lorna Bravo, Program Assistant Anthony Gross and 2020-2021 MGV Water Ambassador Team (13 Members)

    Total effort is judged collectively on the successful collaboration over a number of projects and the degree of involvement.  

    Educating governments, homeowners, and the public on the tangible benefits of water conservation principles under the UF/IFAS Extension Water Conservation Roadmap is essential for the Urban Horticulture agent. Training and certification of Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) is critical for educating homeowners on water conservation. Our urban yards could be one line of defense, with MGVs playing a significant role as change agents to facilitate homeowner engagement and water conservation practices in urban environments.

    Between 2019 and 2020, I coordinated with 8 UF specialists and 2 Broward County water conservation experts to create and launch a new biennial 6-week Water Ambassador program. The goal is to train existing Broward County MGVs in the importance of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program principles and train them as change agents to educate homeowners on water conservation principles. The goal is for 50% of the MGV participants to complete Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) training, become Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Certified Professionals (FFLCP), work with the agent to educate the community on FFL principles, and complete 12 FFL recognitions annually.

    After completing the Water Ambassador program in 2020, I worked in 2021 with our 13 Water Ambassadors on various Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ projects in Broward County. Combined, they have donated a total of 2,250 Volunteer Hours, valued at $59,220.

    The MGV Water Ambassadors are divided among three Broward County FFL projects. We have the FFL Inspection group, the FFL Butterfly Gardening team, and the Rain Barrel team.


    Project #1- Art in The Garden-FFL Butterfly Team

    Project #2- The Rain Barrel Team-Leadership roles taken over by MGV

    Project #2- The Rain Barrel Team-Leadership roles taken over by MGV


     
       
     
  • GI-BMP Industry Instructor of the Year - Epifano Carvajal

    This award recognizes a GI-BMP Industry instructor who has demonstrated great effort and dedication in delivering GI-BMP educational programs. 

    Winner: Epifano Carvajal 

     

  • GI-BMP Extension Instructor of the Year - Ralph Mitchell

    This award recognizes an Extension GI-BMP Instructor who has demonstrated great effort and dedication in delivering GI-BMP educational programs. 

    This individual will have delivered many quality trainings and always seemed to go the extra mile to make sure the information is covered completely and consistently while also ensuring the audience can understand the important concepts being delivered.

    Winner: Ralph Mitchell

    Ralph Mitchell is County Extension Director, and Extension agent, and GI-BMP Instructor at UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County.

     

  • GI-BMP Bilingual Instructor of the Year - Henrique Mayer

    This award recognizes a bilingual GI -BMP Instructor who has demonstrated great effort and dedication in delivering GI-BMP educational programs. 

    This individual will have delivered many quality trainings and always seemed to go the extra mile to make sure the information is covered completely and consistently while also ensuring the audience can understand the important concepts being delivered.

    Winner: Henrique (Henry) Mayer

    Henry Mayer is Extension Agent and GI-BMP Instructor at UF/IFAS Extension Miami-Dade County.

  • GI-BMP Master Gardener Volunteer Instructor of the Year - Peter Monti

    This award recognizes a Master Gardener Volunteer GI-BMP instructor who has demonstrated great effort and dedication in delivering GI-BMP educational programs. 

    This individual will have delivered many quality trainings and always seemed to go the extra mile to make sure the information is covered completely and consistently while also ensuring the audience can understand the important concepts being delivered.

    Winner: Peter Monti