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Florida Water Star Technical Manual

Landscape criteria

General practices for a Florida Water Star landscape design

Plant proximity to buildings


Florida Water Star recognizes that plants installed adjacent to buildings can create the following problems:

  1. Plants installed directly under roof overhangs do not receive natural rainfall and may require additional irrigation.
  2. Root balls, plant materials and additional irrigation that reach a building’s foundation can increase the likelihood of mold and mildew.
  3. Frequent irrigation adjacent to building foundations can dilute termiticide and increase the chance for termite infestation.
  4. Plants can grow to the point of reaching the building, thereby creating the need for frequent landscape maintenance and increasing the difficulty of building maintenance.
Requirements and certification

Root balls are at least 2.5 feet on center from the foundation of structure.







Plant proximity to buildings

Root ball spacing applies to conditioned/​enclosed structures; porches, patios, and similar structures are exempt. This landscape practice is complementary with the Florida Water Star irrigation practice that states:

Sprinklers and/or emitters are located a minimum of 2 feet from structures.

Landscape designs should clearly specify a 2.5-foot buffer around structures throughout the landscape. This specification can be done through either design notes or specific design details. A plant’s mature size should be considered when plants are installed adjacent to structures. In most cases, plants with mature widths greater than 2.5 feet should not be installed adjacent to structures.

The Inspector will visually inspect for compliance with this practice and should measure the spacing if in doubt.

Program tip

Unirrigated turf can be installed within 2.5 feet of foundations. An example of an approved variance is for unirrigated Bahia grass adjacent to a structure.

St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177