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#8: Reduce Stormwater Runoff

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Click here for Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principle 8

What goes in your storm drain can find its way into our water sources. This is called stormwater runoff. Street littler, yard clippings, pesticides and excess fertilizers, and even the soap you use when you wash your car can all end up in our canals, bays, rivers and lakes if they enter our storm drains. Florida-Friendly Landscaping seeks to retain and use the rainfall and irrigation water that lands on our home landscapes instead of letting it run down the drain. 


Watch which way the water flows.

  • Adjust downspouts so that they flow onto grassy or landscaped areas, or even onto pervious pavers. Just be sure spouts do not pour out onto streets, sidewalks and driveways from which water will flow directly into storm drains. 
  • Stormy Storm DrainsProperly adjust sprinklers so they do not water the pavement and turn the sprinkler system off when rain is expected. It wastes water and washes pollutants into storm drains. Check your irrigation system at least twice per dry season to see where the water is flowing. Adjust heads as necessary.
  • Consider a rain barrel to capture and redirect water.

Eliminate non-permeable hardscapes and give water a way to soak into the ground.

To stay clean, water should take the fastest route into the ground. This is because the earth below our feet acts as a natural filter and cleanses the water as it drains down to our water table.

  • Encourage water to soak in directly where it falls, and eliminate as much horizontal flow as possible. Permeable walkways, driveways, and patios of brick, gravel, earth, or crushed shell, allow rain to soak into the ground.
  • Use creative design to keep water in your garden. Create plant beds with berms that slope up to retain water. Create a swale near the edge of your garden. Plant a rain garden. All of these methods slow the flow of water and give it that extra time it needs to soak directly into the ground. 

More Information 

UF IFAS LogoFlorida Friendly Landscaping Handbook - #8 Reduce Stormwater Runoff

This is a simple two-page explanation of the principle. It includes nice photos to explain concepts like earth shaping and rain gardens.


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