Photo credit: Feldman Architecture and Ground Studio Landscape Architecture
Florida’s population has been growing steadily since 1946, and the residential construction industry has become a cornerstone of our state’s economy. Over the last four decades, construction of new homes has shifted increasingly towards master planned communities that require mass clearing and grading for stormwater control.
Partially to compensate for their disrupted soils, these projects install turf monocultures that depend on in-ground irrigation systems, regular fertilization, and frequent mowing. It is common for residential landscape irrigation to require an average of 200 plus gallons daily, more than half of typical total household water use.
While Florida possesses abundant freshwater resources, this increasing demand is unsustainable. The conventional landscaping patterns established in most master planned communities do little to mitigate or compensate for the larger problem of habitat loss of Florida’s natural ecosystems and further contribute to the nutrient pollution (Phosphorus and Nitrogen) that negatively affects Florida’s watersheds and surface waters.
In response to these issues, OUTSIDE and its collaborators established this handbook to provide landscape guidelines for sustainable residential development. These guidelines are based on principles of sustainable design that are intended to maximize community amenities and homeowner experience, while also making them more functional for the landscape and its ecology.