Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Broward County Project Recognitions-La Finca

Article by UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Urban Horticulture Agent Lorna Bravo


What motivates people to adopt and model sustainable landscape practices in their urban landscapes?

Meet Broward County Master Gardener Volunteer Jeannie Schmidle. Jeannie graduated from the UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardener Volunteer program class of 2018.

In 2022, the University of Florida UF/IFAS Extension Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program in Broward County recognized Jeannie with the Florida-Friendly Landscape Silver level recognition. The landscape contained a variety of Florida-Friendly edible plants attracting many different species of animals, such as birds and butterflies creating a refuge for critters who need shade, rest, food, and Water.

La Finca Landscape

Jeannie’s “La Finca” landscape has a 21,800-square-foot area and no in-ground irrigation system. The title “La Finca,” which translates into “The Farm,” has always been the foundation for Jeannie’s garden canvas. “The Finca” holds abundant resources for her family, with over 20 fruit tree varieties and vegetables planted in the last eight years in her edible landscape. “When my family started calling my home “La Finca,” the title inspired me to create a microenvironment with a plethora of life, food, and beauty.

Did you say this landscape has no in-ground irrigation system? What is the secret?

“My water source limitation has allowed me to focus on the “Right plant, Right Place” principle. From my experience, when a plant is in the “right place”, the plant will flourish even with limited additional input. “

Florida-Friendly Landscaping-Pollinator Friendly Garden
La Finca -Florida-Friendly Edible Garden Cabbage Project

What is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program?

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) program operates under the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology (CLCE). It is supported by the Florida Department of Environmental protection (FDEP). The Florida Friendly Landscaping program is an educational outreach program informing homeowners and professionals how they can be more environmentally friendly with their landscape care practices. The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program’s mission is to educate Floridians about science-based, environmentally friendly landscaping practices. It encourages them to conserve and protect our water resources by applying its nine principles. Recognizing the home landscape as part of a more extensive natural system will help us make sound decisions in creating Florida-Friendly yards. It helps protect Florida’s natural environment for future generations.

What are the 9 Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program  Guiding Principles?

Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles

The FFL program has nine guiding principles. The Landscapes must Comply with all existing codes, laws, ordinances, and HOA rules and recognizes yards with two-level recognitions (Silver & Gold). The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) Program recognizes landscapes that use sustainable landscaping practices. Florida-Friendly landscapes minimize potable water use for irrigation, avoid the runoff of excess fertilizers and pesticides from the landscape, and provide habitats for wildlife.

What do Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ yards look like?

They can take any form, from more traditional to more natural. How the landscape is designed and maintained ultimately determines if it’s Florida-Friendly.

Florida-Friendly Landscape Principle -Attract Wildlife

Jeannie adopted all nine Florida Friendly Landscaping principles and is excited to share how she models the following principles in her landscape.

“Attract Wildlife is the FFL principle I am proud of modeling the best. The goal for my space is to create a microclimate where all types of species can co-exist. There’s no such thing as a “pest” in my yard. We all have a purpose.”

Pollinator Friendly Garden
Florida-Friendly Landscaping- Pollinator Garden


Florida-Friendly Landscape Principle-Recycle

In 2022, Jeannie collaborated with UF Intern Nikita Patel, researching how Urban Dwellers compost in urban environments. Jeannie was interested in participating in this research by sharing her composting project and her daily edible landscaping efforts. You can read more about this project here. UF/IFAS Extension Summer Internship Programs in Broward County – UF/IFAS Extension Broward County (ufl.edu)

Did you know?

Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic estimates that approximately 40% of food produced in the United States each year is never consumed, resulting in 62.5 million tons of food going to landfills.

Did you know that organics are one of the most significant fractions of waste, by weight, generated in the state of Florida?

  • Of the 47 million tons of MSW generated in 2020, organics accounted for 36% of Florida’s waste stream. Reducing organics in the waste stream is vital for Florida’s recycling goal.
  • Organics include food waste, yard trash, and paper.

Jeannie practices reducing waste streams daily from her edible landscape by composting all her yard and food waste.

“Compost is my fertilizer. I value my yard scrapes as one of the most important elements for re-introducing nutrients into my garden space. My main fertilizers are compost and compost tea, so yard scraps are gold in my yard. ”

Florida-Friendly Landscaping-Composting research with UF Intern Nikita Patel.

Are you interested in introducing the nine Florida-Friendly landscaping principles in your landscape?

Watch Jeannie’s video. She has an excellent message for us.



What does it take to have your Broward yard Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ recognized?

To have your landscape recognized as a Florida-Friendly landscape in Broward County, you must follow the steps below:

1. You can attend our annual UF/IFAS Extension Broward County’s Florida-Friendly Landscaping training or watch our “Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ in Urban Environments” Video.

Watch the Video: https://youtu.be/9LJyTRNk_HM

2. Download the checklist from the website:

3. Use the checklist to evaluate your landscape and make necessary changes.

4. If you need help making your landscape more Florida-Friendly, contact our Broward County Extension office, can contact: UF/IFAS Extension Broward County – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu) and visit our FFL at Resources – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu).

5. When your landscape is ready, please contact UF/IFAS Extension Broward County office to schedule a site evaluation. You can email Lorna Bravo at lbravo1@ufl.edu or Marcy Lambert @ marcialambert@ufl.edu  

6. An Extension agent or appointed Broward County Water Ambassador representatives will visit your landscape and review the checklist to determine if your landscape is Florida-Friendly.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ supporting Programs in Broward County


Contact us.


Posted: January 5, 2023

Category: Community Volunteers, Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, NATURAL RESOURCES, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching, , Water, Wildlife
Tags: Attract Wildlife, Birds, Broward County, Butterflies, Edible Landscape, FFL, Finca, Florida Friendly Landscapes, Florida-Friendly Landscape, Food Forest, Master Gardener Volunteer, Native Plants, Provide For Wildlife, Urban Environments

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