Landmark legislation went through several face-lifts during this legislative session resulting in a huge win for the environment. The Florida-Friendly Landscape bill provides a critically needed and much overdue update of Florida law relating to landscapes.
Historically, Florida law has highlighted Xeriscapes. If signed by the Governor, the law will be updated to showcase the use of Florida-friendly landscapes (put the right plant in the right place). The bill also provides a missing link to Florida-friendly landscaping by recognizing not only the water conservation, but also the water quality, benefits which Florida-friendly landscapes provide.
The law explicitly adds a connection to the UF/IFAS Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program for homeowners and builders. The bill references the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology (for which FNGLA helped establish and secure funding four years ago) and the educational resources it provides.
Finally, the bill strengthens protections for homeowners wishing to install Florida-friendly landscapes and clearly states local government ordinances cannot prohibit or be enforced to prohibit Florida-friendly landscaping. Special thanks goes to Sen. JD Alexander (R-Lake Wales) and Rep. Seth McKeel (R-Lakeland) for shepherding this victory through the Legislature.