New Neighborhood Best Practices Program Provides Key Tools for Building Healthy Communities

Are you a homeowner living within a Homeowners Association (HOA) or serving on its boardGraphic for Neighborhood Best Practices Program?

Managing common areas like landscaping, trees, and stormwater ponds effectively can often be a challenge. But, fret not! There’s a new initiative tailored just for you.

Introducing the Neighborhood Best Practices Program:

A free online resource specially designed for Sarasota County residents! Whether you’re seeking guidance on enhancing green spaces, ensuring the health of trees, or effectively managing stormwater ponds, this program has got you covered.

Responsibilities within an HOA

Living in an HOA or serving on its board comes with its own unique set of responsibilities. You’re entrusted with the task of ensuring the communal areas are well-maintained and contribute to the overall appeal of the neighborhood. However, navigating the intricacies of landscape management and stormwater maintenance can be daunting without the right resources.

The Solution: Neighborhood Best Practices Program

That’s where the Neighborhood Best Practices Program comes in. Developed by UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County experts, this free, online course offers multiple modules, containing narrated presentations, activities, and resources, that address frequently asked questions and common misconceptions about managing common-area resources.

Program Coverage

Learn about the importance of shoreline vegetation and buffers in the protection and enhancement of stormwater ponds. Photo credit: Tyler Jones

Our course covers subject areas specific to living in a planned community, including:

  • Stormwater management
  • Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM
  • Tree care management
  • Irrigation and fertilization
  • Best practices for living near a preservation area
  • Wildlife interactions
  • Community gardening and composting
  • Coastal systems

Tailored for Sarasota County

What sets this program apart is its accessibility and relevance to Sarasota County residents. It’s tailored to address the specific needs and challenges faced by communities in our area, making it a valuable resource for HOAs and board members alike.

Building Sustainable Neighborhoods

Screenshot from Neighborhood Best Practices online series.
UF/IFAS Neighborhood Best Practices online learning series is designed with user-friendliness in mind. The interface features interactive modules that engage learners and facilitate comprehension, making complex topics easy to understand. Additionally, the platform offers flexibility, allowing users to learn at their own pace and revisit content as needed.

Participation in the program can help individuals and groups build and foster more sustainable, responsible neighborhoods. The self-paced modules provide participants with a deep understanding of various aspects of environmental and community management in Sarasota County and how these elements intertwine.

Certification Options

The Neighborhood Best Practices series allows individuals to obtain a certification by completing all modules or choose a non-certification option by reviewing just those modules that best meet their needs.

Registration Details

Registration is available now via

Learn More

Learn more about the Neighborhood Best Practices program, including eight supporting program factsheets, a detailed resource list, and registration details: Learn Best Practices For My Neighborhood, email, or call 311 (or, 941-861-5000 if outside Sarasota County).


Ashley Ellis, Residential Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator in Sarasota County.
Posted: May 1, 2024

Category: Coasts & Marine, Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Invasive Species, Natural Resources, UF/IFAS Extension, Water, Wildlife, Work & Life
Tags: Coastal Systems, Community Gardens, Florida Certified Arborists, Florida Friendly, HOA, Irrigation, Pgm_Chemicals, Pgm_HortRes, Preservation Area, Stormwater Ponds, Trees, Urban Wildlife, Water Conservation, Water Quality

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