5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Liz Felter
Session Name Achieving Behavior Change: Public perceptions and awareness of water conservation issues - 1
Author(s) Liz Felter,  University of Florida IFAS Extension (Presenting Author)
  Tracy  Irani,  University of Florida
  Michael Dukes, University of Florida
  Perceptions of Homeowner Association (HOA) Board Members in Orange County, Florida about Water Conservation and the Use of Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) Principles
  A recent study was conducted to examine the perceptions of homeowner association (HOA) board members in Orange County, Florida about water conservation and the use of Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) principles. Specifically, the study looked at how open the HOAs were to increasing water conservation among the residents and how likely they were to accept FFL designs. This study used qualitative research methods through the use of focus groups to determine whether a the board members attitude was open to change when it came to increasing water conservation and incorporating FFL principles. The focus group participants consisted of HOA board members from Orange County, Florida. A total of four focus groups were conducted which included 42 participants, and represented 31 different homeowner associations. Emerging theme for barriers to increasing water conservation practices was the need to maintain property value by having a nice landscape and green grass. Another emerging theme was that as an HOA board they did not have the skills to build consensus between the residents that had lived in the subdivisions for 30 years and the young 30 year olds moving into the neighborhood who don’t want the “cookie cutter” look or the quarterly spray program for the grass. Some HOAs are allowing residents to have Bahia grass in the backyard and St. Augustine in the front yard. Felter et al. determined in 2013 that homeowners do not know how to properly care each of the different varieties of turf. Allowing this practice will contribute to the confusion that already exists about lawn care. Perceptions about using FFL were it had to be neatly manicured and not create a security hazard. The landscape design should include a lot of color and texture.