Photo: Longboat Island Chapel

“In August 2022, the Longboat Island Chapel’s Board of Trustees approved the Grounds Committee’s request to replace dead turf around Friendship Garden’s gazebo with clay brick pavers in a decorative design installed by Seven Stars who maintains the Chapel’s brick pavers.

Turf around the gazebo in the Friendship Garden has not done well because of 1) lack of enough sunlight even though the tree canopy above it was opened, and 2) chairs and people atop the grass for weddings and events damage the turf.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension Service does not recommend synthetic turf, because it is not Florida-Friendly. They published the following:

Protecting and preserving Florida’s water resources through sustainable landscaping practices on living landscapes is the primary focus of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program.

 When considering the use of a synthetic turf system in the urban landscape, it is important to understand all the potential environmental impacts. Synthetic turf systems have not been shown to improve or create wildlife habitat, do not improve groundwater recharge, can heat excessively in the sun and, in more extensive installations, can cause a substantial heat island effect.

In addition, synthetic turf generates higher stormwater runoff than natural turf and has been shown to leach a variety of contaminants, including both organic compounds and heavy metals.

Finally, since synthetic turf is primarily plastic it has a finite lifespan and must eventually be disposed of in a landfill, a practice that is counter to the sustainability goals of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program.

So as to better accommodate weddings and events, the Grounds Committee recommended replacing the turf with the same style of clay brick pavers within the Friendship Garden but installed in a decorative design.

Benefits of the brick pavers are:

– They are Florida-Friendly.
– These areas will have the same height as existing pavers, reducing risks of tripping on raised turf.
– The areas will be level to place chairs.

The brick pavers were installed the next month in time for a wedding ceremony and reception at our Chapel in September on Labor Day weekend!”

Photo: Longboat Island Chapel

— Ingrid McClellan, Scenic Florida

Read about Longboat Island Chapel Weddings 

Citizens for a Scenic Florida