Water-Related News

Native landscapin​g at RPC building featured by Back Ten Feet

The “Back Ten Feet” is a starting point for the new native plant enthusiast, a plan of action, a way to turn 800 square feet of turfgrass into the beginning of a neighborhood greenway. After teaching conservation landscaping classes for the last 10 years, I discovered that residents are more than willing to change their boring, lifeless sodded yards into havens for birds and butterflies once they receive the right information. They really don’t want to use pesticides and fertilizers. When shown that the right drought-tolerant, bulletproof, power line-friendly native plants only require organic mulch to get by, people getting started since they are unfamiliar with what plants to use. By offering a starter plan that takes a portion of their yard out of the mowing equation, while providing privacy and wind protection in just a few years, they are ready to go. I have also seen people light up with excitement when I mention what a great way this is to start a greenway in their own neighborhoods. Imagine if the neighbor behind you also decides to implement the Back Ten Feet plan. Now, instead of a 10’ x 80’ strip, it’s a 20’ x 80’ strip. Think about the whole street getting on board. You’ve just created a greenway for about $150 per yard, plus mulch. Using the Back Ten Feet template, native plant nurseries can help local residents pick their own starter plan. Just choose the natives in your area that are drought-tolerant with a mature height of no more than 15–20 feet and that tolerate typically alkaline or trucked-in soils. All native plants provide food and shelter for native and migratory birds and butterflies and are often larval host plants for butterflies as well. Now, let’s get going and create thousands of miles of greenways in Florida this year, one yard at a time, starting with the Back Ten Feet! For more information please go to the link.