A beautiful, lush and healthy landscape is just what every homeowner wants. Recently, South Florida’s Broward County held a NatureScape Makeover Contest to promote environmentally friendly landscape management. The purpose of this contest was to highlight the benefits of a Florida-friendly and water-conserving landscape. The county and 14 local businesses worked cooperatively to promote, design and install the winning landscape. With almost $50,000 dollars in donations and more than 550 applicants, this makeover drew lots of attention to the Broward community.

The Burdeen family of Sunrise, Fla., was the winner after being selected by participating businesses.

One of the major contributors to the makeover was the Pompano Beach-based drilling company, Earth Tech Drilling. Earth Tech’s services include monitoring wells, barge drilling and water wells. Company president Bob Orlando donated time and services in order to install a new water well. The well would serve as a water supply for the new irrigation system.

“It’s great for the Burdeen family, and I thought it was a good thing for the community. Also, it was a good thing for our company to be a part of,” says Orlando. “Our role was to install the water well to supply water for irrigation for the contest winner’s new landscaping. We always hand-clear the holes for the first 4 feet to 6 feet using a hole digger.”

According to Orlando, there are environmental advantages to using a well vs. city water for irrigation. While the up-front cost for the well can be anywhere from $800 to $2,000, depending on property size and the sprinkler system, it’s worth the investment. “You pay off the cost of installing a well within a year. It’s a good alternative for irrigating their property,” he explains. He adds that it’s a relatively simple process, and if his company can get its equipment on the property, the whole process typically takes three hours to four hours.

The new well is the water source for the Burdeen’s state-of-the-art RainBird irrigation system. Irrigation is the most important aspect when it comes to maintaining a healthy landscape, and this system features a multi-zone watering capability. Because there are various types of vegetation throughout a landscape, the watering schedule tended to over- or under-water some species. This new system allows several watering zones, which prevent this from happening.

With water now flowing, the Burdeen’s yard was ready for a Florida-friendly facelift. The landscape was reconstructed and adorned with vegetation that would survive in the hot and humid Florida climate. Luckily, Florida’s native plants are very low-maintenance, and they are well known for conserving water. Plants and trees that are native to Florida also are naturally resistant to bugs, which means less pesticides and chemicals are necessary.

NatureScape is a hybrid project that blends together the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program with the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Wildlife Habitat program. NatureScapes are environmentally friendly landscapes that promote water conservation, water quality protection and the creation of wildlife habitat. To get certified, a yard must include these nine major principles:

  • right plant, right place
  • water efficiently
  • fertilize appropriately
  • mulch
  • attract wildlife
  • control yard pests responsibly
  • recycle
  • reduce storm water runoff
  • protect the waterfront

The landscape makeover package included a variety of yard modifications, such as:

  • native, Florida-friendly plants and trees that require less maintenance
  • butterfly garden
  • new turf grass
  • decorative low-voltage lighting system
  • RainBird irrigation system and new water well
  • waterfall feature to attract wildlife
The purpose of this makeover was to promote Florida-friendly landscaping throughout Broward County. Many homeowners are not aware of the small measures that could lead to huge savings in both water and money. By showing how beautiful Florida-friendly can be, Broward County is committing to improving water conservation and water quality.

“Islands of green” is the goal of the NatureScape Broward program. According to Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, the program hopes to have a certified NatureScape every quarter mile. “It is about ensuring a place for people and wildlife – long into the future.”