Get Growing with Florida-Friendly Landscaping

By Nick Bell

Attendees at the HONNA quarterly meeting Monday evening, September 19, were treated to a Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) mini-seminar. Doris Heitzmann, FFL Manager, took the 70 attendees through the “what, why and how” of using FFL practices to create beautiful gardens while conserving precious water resources and reducing pollution. 

“A Florida-Friendly landscape is created by incorporating and practicing the nine principles of FFL into the design and maintenance of a landscape,” Heitzmann explained. “It doesn’t mean sacrificing the type of garden a homeowner desires, from lush tropical to English cottage garden.”

Heitzmann took the attendees through the nine principles of FFL: 

  • Right plant, right place
  • Water efficiency
  • Mulching
  • Recycling
  • Using fertilizer appropriately
  • Providing for wildlife
  • Reducing storm water runoff
  • Managing yard pests responsibly
  • Protecting the waterfront

“Right plant, right place” is the first principle because it’s the foundation of the practice. By making sure the plants in a garden are the right size for the space, resistant to pests and suited to the climate will usually help the other principles fall into place, Heitzmann explained. 

By incorporating the principles into a garden’s design, the result will be an attractive, functional, and low maintenance landscape. It will help save water, reduce pollutants, and provide habitat for local wildlife. With those benefits, what homeowner wouldn’t want their garden to be Florida-Friendly?

But Heitzmann stressed that it doesn’t mean an entire landscape has to incorporate all nine principles. “Start with a small section and then, over time, work them into other parts of the landscape.” 

To get your landscape on the road to being Florida-Friendly, check out these very friendly and very helpful resources:;;

Also at the meeting, Officer Fuchs discussed how potential crime can be reduced via environmental design. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) promotes the use of common-sense practices such as landscape lighting, property access, surveillance, and maintenance to deter potential criminals. Check it out (include link to CPTED pdf).

HONNA board members provided brief updates that included the new website and upcoming events. Get the latest news and updates at

The next quarterly meeting will be at 7:00 pm, November 14 at Westminster Palms. See you there!