Lakefront and Aquatic Landscaping

Protecting the waterfront is Principle #9 in Florida-Friendly Landscaping. Waterfront areas can include lakefronts, ponds, ditches, other water bodies and environmentally sensitive areas. So, what makes a nice aquatic landscape?
• Full of native plants
• Managed nuisance vegetation
• Provides access for recreation
• Aesthetically pleasing

Protecting the shoreline from erosion, plants stabilize sediment and makes the water body cleaner and clearer. Aquatic plants filter pollutants, uptake nutrients. They also provide habitat for fish, birds, and invertebrate species. Shoreline plants help to:
• Slow runoff
• Catch sediment
• Capture nutrients
• Provide wildlife habitat
• Protect water quality

Water lily, Nymphea odorata, is one of many beneficial Florida native plants. Photo: UF/IFAS

How to get started:
First, check the rules and get permits from your local municipality. Decide if you want a clearing for an access area for your boat. Create a planting plan diagram on paper listing the spacing and plant species. Spray with herbicide or remove nonnative nuisance plants by hand. Usually, aquatic professionals are hired if chemicals are used because only certain aquatic approved herbicides may be used.

This diagram shows an access area on a lakefront with clusters of aquatic plants. Photo credit: FWC

Maintain your site with Lake-Friendly Landscaping practices:
Select low maintenance Florida native and Florida-Friendly plants. Use phosphorus free fertilizer and slow-release nitrogen as both of these nutrients are harmful to water bodies. Maintain a 15’ buffer with no fertilizer or pesticides adjacent to the water body. Conserve water as overirrigation can leach nutrients into water bodies. Divert downspouts into turf and landscape areas, not the water body.

A properly planted lakefront should contain at least 80% coverage of beneficial plants. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

A Stewardship Guide for Orange County Lakefront Homeowners

Florida DEP Bureau of Aquatic Plant Management

Orange County EPD

St. Johns Water Management District

South Florida Water Management District

UF/IFAS Lakewatch Program

Learn about your lake on the Water Atlas

Orange County Lakeshore and Wetland Impact Permits

Seminole County Permits

List of Florida Native Aquatic Plants Fact Sheet (printable)
View Orange County applications under review or permits that have been pulled

Invasive Species Reporting

FWC:Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Want to learn more?  Check out horticulture classes offered by UF/IFAS Extension Orange County at  Read about Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and visit our website


Avatar photo
Posted: February 15, 2022

Category: AGRICULTURE, Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, HOME LANDSCAPES, Invasive Species, Lawn, Natural Resources, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS Extension, Water, Wildlife, WORK & LIFE
Tags: Aquatic, Central Florida, Ditch, Florida Friendly, Invasive Plants, Lake, Lakefront, Landscape, Ocextension, Plants, Pond, Waterfront, Wildlife

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories