The Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards, sponsored by Tampa Bay Water, recognizes individuals and businesses committed to conserving water resources and protecting the environment by using Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles.
The landscape judging criteria includes the following categories: retention of existing trees and vegetation, landscape design and plant selection, stormwater runoff prevention, efficient irrigation and overall aesthetic appeal. Winning landscapes balance attractive design with plants, landscape elements and water efficient irrigation techniques that have a positive impact on our environment.
Beth Alence is this year’s winner for unincorporated Hillsborough County, Her landscape is water efficient, Florida friendly and lovely. She uses microirrigation, captures rainwater and rarely uses inground irrigation other than possibly one or two times each year. Her plants are drought tolerant and she has minimal turfgrass. (The grass is for her dog-friendly area.)
Her landscape is well designed and an excellent example of water conservation.
The city of Tampa winner is Anna Parsons. Although her landscape is definitely water-wise, she also has other impressive water-conserving features. Anna has a 5,000-gallon cistern that was installed under her home during the construction stage and purifies the water for consumption. With no in-ground irrigation system, she uses reclaimed water with a micorirrigation system on an as-needed basis. She also captures water with a rain barrel, and her driveway was created using pervious pavers.
Each winner will receive a handmade mosaic stepping stone for her landscape. Visit www.tampabaywaterwise .org to learn more about the program and to enter your landscape by June 30, 2016. Your yard might have what it takes to win next year!
Lynn Barber is the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods agent at Hillsborough Extension. Reach her at BarberL@hillsboroughcounty.org.