Environmental Management

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 19–31 | Cite as

Determinants of Landscape Irrigation Water Use in Florida-Friendly Yards

  • Maria C. MoreraEmail author
  • Paul F. Monaghan
  • Michael D. Dukes


Efforts to mitigate outdoor water use in Florida’s urban landscapes increasingly include promotion of regionally appropriate landscaping based on its documented effectiveness. Targeted initiatives, however, require an understanding of mechanisms underpinning low irrigation use in single-family homes with Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL). This paper reports survey research conducted in southwest Florida to identify factors associated with irrigation practices among FFL clients. Results indicate that approximately half of survey participants irrigated less frequently than once per week year-round. Aesthetic considerations, horticultural knowledge, and membership in a homeowner’s association (HOA) with rules regarding yard care were key variables underlying landscape characteristics and maintenance, while property values, water conservation attitudes, lawn grass, and in-ground irrigation system use significantly predicted irrigation practices. Homes with in-ground irrigation systems were more than six times more likely to water their landscapes at least once per week during the warm season when residential outdoor water use is at its peak. A $100,000 increase in a home’s market value increased the odds of weekly watering by a multiplicative factor of two, whereas a one-point increase in a six-item Likert scale used to measure a homeowner’s water conservation attitude decreased the odds by 76%. Homes with no grass in the landscape were 71% less likely to water on a weekly basis. Providing homeowners, and HOAs, with educational resources that build on existing support for water conservation could augment adoption of low maintenance plants and sustainable practices in Florida’s urban landscapes.


Florida-Friendly Landscaping Homeowner’s association Landscape irrigation Water conservation Water demand management 



The authors would like to thank the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology for their generous support of this research. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Esen Momol, Mackenzie Boyer, Lynn Barber, Michelle Atkinson, and Michael Gutierrez for their invaluable feedback and assistance on the project. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology 2019 Urban Landscape Summit, Gainesville, Florida, March 21; the University of Florida Water Institute 2018 Symposium, Gainesville, Florida, February 6; and as part of a research report to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brooksville, Florida, August 30, 2017.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Education and CommunicationUniversity of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Education and Communication and Center for Landscape Conservation and EcologyUniversity of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Center for Landscape Conservation and EcologyUniversity of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesGainesvilleUSA

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