Florida-Friendly Landscaping Series: Five Steps to Become a Florida-Friendly Landscaper

FFL 30th anniversary logoJoin us in celebrating 30 years of Florida-Florida Friendly Landscaping™ this blog series. Since 1993, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ has served as the state of Florida’s premier Extension program that promotes sustainable alternatives to “conventional” landscaping, providing guidance on low impact, environmentally friendly, science-based landscape practices that use less water and reduce pollutant loading to Florida waters. In this series, you will learn:

1. Five FFL Facts to Know to Help you Grow
2. What’s the Word? Five FFL Terms to Know
3. Take Some Action in Five Simple Steps!
4. Five Steps to Become a Florida Friendly Landscaper
5. Five Ways to Know You are a Florida-Friendly Follower

There are some easy steps to follow if you are new to Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ and are interested in learning more and incorporating the principles into your landscape.

Let’s get started…

Step 1.

The first step in becoming a follower of Florida-Friendly could be defined simply as “caring” about your natural environment and having an awareness of the impact that we all have on nature.  If you are new to the concept of sustainable landscaping and want to learn more, the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) program can help you in your journey.

Step 2.

Learn, learn, and then learn some more.  Fortunately, the FFL program is made of just 9 principles or actions that you can take to help the environment.  There is a lot of information available, yet the concepts of FFL are not difficult to adopt.  Ways to learn more?

Take a Florida-Friendly class (in-person or online) from your local FFL staff and/or Master Gardener Volunteers.

This site will lead you to different sources.

If you have questions, visit or phone Master Gardener Volunteers in the Plant Clinic.

Step 3.

Get acquainted with your landscape!  Take a leisurely stroll through your yard and study your plants.  Do you know what kinds of trees or shrubs you have?  Do they look healthy to you?  Do you see any areas of erosion?  Any areas where plants don’t seem to thrive?  If your yard is mainly lawn, can you see areas where you could add trees, shrubs or flowers?   Florida-Friendly followers tend to spend routine quality time in their landscapes!  They enjoy adding diversity, seeing visiting birds, bees and butterflies, and just experiencing the calming effects of nature!

Step 4.

Start to give thought as to how you use and apply fertilizers and pesticides. FFL teaches the practice of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and a toolbox approach to managing pests in your landscape.

Step 5.

The final step in becoming a follower of FFL is PATIENCE!  Can you achieve an instant Florida-Friendly Landscape?  For most of us, the answer is no, but the real key is the enjoyment and satisfaction of the journey!  Set realistic goals and enjoy the process! As you learn and practice FFL, think of this:

The more you observe your own landscape, the more curious you become.

The more curious you become, the more you learn.

The more you learn, the more you appreciate.

The more you appreciate, the more you care.


Here is the website for FFL in Polk

UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions

FFL in a Minute 

Flip My Florida Yard

Florida-Friendly Landscaping(tm) Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design


For more information, contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041 or visit us online at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/polk. The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. Give us a call or email us at polkmg@ifas.ufl.edu.

If you are not in Polk County, Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic.

The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida. The program extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.

This article was written by Master Gardener Volunteer Molly Griner under supervision of the Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator and Residential Horticulture Extension Agent Anne Yasalonis.

An Equal Opportunity Institution.


Avatar photoHeadshot of Julie Schelb, Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator with UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.
Posted: March 6, 2023

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes,
Tags: Anne Yasalonis, Central Florida, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Florida-Friendly Plants, Master Gardener, Master Gardener Volunteer, Native Plants, Polk County FL, Polk Florida Friendly Landscaping Series, Polkgardening, Polkmg, Pollinators, Wildlife

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