Sustainable Landscaping in Florida

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 11, Part 1

Bob is in Punta Gorda to learn about sustainable landscaping from Angela Polo of the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program. Polo is joined by Brian Kendzior who explains the overall landscape design, the need for screening and privacy, and the move to get large landscaping away from homes that might be damaged from hurricane-force winds. Kendzior talks about plant maintenance and water use, showing Bob the Toro low-flow irrigation system that will water the plants through eight separate zones. Lawn Logic complements the irrigation system with a soil moisture monitoring system that will override the irrigation timer for each individual zone when in-ground sensors detect moisture above pre-set levels. This water-saving strategy is complemented by the selection of natural plants that thrive in the sandy, low-moisture soil of Florida. Polo and Micklow show Bob the plantings, beds, and wildlife gardens that are created to protect the waterway from pesticide and fertilizer runoff and transition the yard from controlled turf areas to native growth sections. Craig Harmer from Gardens Alive brings plant-specific natural plant foods, soil enhancers, and pesticides for the raised vegetable garden. PestAgon installs the Sentricon low-impact termite control system around the perimeter of the house.
Part 1: Sustainable Landscaping in Florida
Angela Polo from the University of Florida's Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program is on hand to show how the Punta Gorda yard exemplifies the nine principles of their program: right plant, right place, efficient watering, recycling, protecting the waterfront, reducing stormwater runoff, attracting wildlife, managing fertilizers, and managing pests. Bob and Angela discuss the soil in Punta Gorda, which is typical of new Florida construction and is sandy with no percolation or drainage. Bob talks about the native palm of Florida, the Sabal Palm or Cabbage Palm as it is commonly called, as an example of selecting the right plant for the right place. Brian Kendzior from Sun Scape Landscaping explains the landscape design for this large corner lot with screening for privacy, minimized functional lawn areas, and large beds. Kendzior talks with Bob about addressing hurricane issues and landscaping so that the home and surrounding areas are protected from damaged landscaping and wind-borne plant debris. He explains how landscapers have reduced the size of plantings near the house and moved to sturdy, native plants to reduce hurricane damage. Kendzior also talks about plant selection and maintenance. Sustainable planting tends toward native plants that require low maintenance and thrive in natural conditions. To that end, the irrigation system provided by Toro uses a pressure compensating watering system that uses weep holes to water perimeter plants. Polo also adds that raised beds will be installed by the canal, preventing turf from going right to the edge of the bulkhead. This reduces the chance of runoff from fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides into the waterway.
Part 2: Sustainable Planting for Florida Landscape
Part 3: Natural Fertilizers and Non-Toxic Pesticides