Sustainable Landscaping Tips

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Proper landscaping techniques not only create beautiful landscapes, but also benefit the environment and save water. In addition, attractive, water-efficient, low-maintenance landscapes can increase home values.

  • Permeable Pavement - Traditional concrete and asphalt don’t allow water to soak into the ground. Instead, these surfaces rely on storm drains to divert unwanted water. Permeable pavement systems allow rain to soak through, decreasing stormwater runoff.
  • Rain Barrels - You can collect rainwater from rooftops in mosquito-proof containers. The water can be used later on lawn or garden areas. The City offers rebates to residential water customers for the installation of rain barrels.
  • Rain Gardens and Grassy Swales – Specially designed areas planted with native plants can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
  • Vegetated Filter Strips - Filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along roadways or streams. They trap the pollutants stormwater picks up as it flows across driveways and streets.
  • Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest-resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Visit the Native Plant Society at
  • Group plants according to their water needs.
  • Limit turf areas to those needed for practical uses. Plant ground-covers, indigenous plants, or slow-growing, drought-tolerant vegetation.
  • Make sure soil is healthy. Test kits are available at your local home improvement store.
  • Remember to mulch. Mulch keeps soil moist, prevents erosion and smothers weeds.
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. In Melbourne, there is a Fertilizer Ban from June 1 to September 30. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible. Use fertilizer that is labeled 16-0-8 with zero phosphorus and 50%, slow-release nitrogen. Avoid application if the forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals will be washed into a storm drain.
  • Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste. Blow grass clippings, leaves and yard debris back onto your property. Leaving debris or intentionally blowing debris or grass clippings into the street is against the law.
  • Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.


Find fertilizers that comply with local fertilizer ordinances.

Landscape and Garden Questions – contact a Master Gardener at (321) 633-1702 x227