Having Some Fun Landscaping Your Yard
Florida represents some interesting challenges for landscape design. While it has the humidity and sunshine that plants love, it also has the heat that they generally dislike. Making it just a little worse is that Florida is known for its storms and even hurricanes, making life interesting for plant life and forcing designers to use sturdier concepts. This ensures that landscaping, especially in Southwest Florida, has an interesting feel.
However, even with the limitations on plants, there is a wide variety available to landscapers. While there is a definite preference for wind-resistant deep-rooted plants, a wide variety of plants find themselves in the yards and gardens of Floridians, making for some truly interesting landscaping.
The Plants You May Find
There a couple of different lists that landscapers seem to use when it comes to which plants are preferred. These plants go well together aesthetically as well as assist other plants on the list. One of the most popular lists is one consisting of native plants:
- Live oak makes for a great shade tree.
- Silver buttonwood and Simpson’s stopper work well as a hedge or large accent piece.
- Beautyberry makes for a good accent piece.
- Clusea rosea is good for use as a backdrop, privacy hedge, or a specimen plant.
- Purple passion vine is great for covering fences, arbors, and trellises.
- Paurotic palm sees some great use as an accent, backdrop, or specimen.
- Sunshine mimosa provides great ground cover.
Of course, another group of plants that are seen in a lot of landscaping is tropical plants. These plants are used to the heat and humidity, and most are also resistant to wind no matter how powerful. This makes them perfect for the rigors of Florida while providing an exotic touch.
- There are many accent and specimen plants: Adonidia palm, angel’s trumpet, Queen Emma crinium lily, selloum philodendron.
- There are also some great foundation plants, such as the croton, coontie, and foxtail fern.
- The foxtail fern also makes for an excellent border accent.
- The hibiscus not only adds a great spot of color here and there but also helps create a hedge.
- The white bird of paradise makes for great accents and specimen plants and helps screen for privacy.
There are several different lists, each providing its own advantages and aesthetic. While you are not limited to the plants of any particular list, keeping to the same list will simplify maintenance issues as the plants on a particular list generally have the same maintenance needs. For beginning landscapers, this also ensures that the plants have an underlying theme that works well.
Keeping the Front Yard Neat, Clean, and Beautiful
While landscaping in Southwest Florida seems to have an improvised feel, the best yards are very well organized, with each element playing off each other. While the plants are definitely allowed for when working on the wooden and cement elements. The idea, after all, is to create something that will go together organically.
Another consideration is that front yards and back yards are landscaped with different needs in mind. A front yard will usually be designed with neighborhood rules in mind and thus seem relatively tame; the back yard, however, has to allow for play and possibly some food plants, which allows for some fun. As such, the front yard is usually designed to be more utilitarian and cover ground while the back yard is usually more of an artistic challenge.
Along those lines, a front yard will see more walkways, abstract statuary, and retaining walls. This does not mean to say that your front yard. Just remember to have some fun with your design and it should look great. Some basic tips:
- Use pots to create different levels for depth and interest.
- Use different colors, textures, and forms for high visibility.
- Use focal plants to direct visitors to the front entry.
- Use lighting, stone, and wood to accent driveways.
- For larger space, create paths to hidden gardens and more private areas.
Again, people tend towards more simplistic front yards because they want to keep neighbors happy and stay out of trouble with local regulations. This does not mean that the yard has to be simple, and you can create different points of interest with even a couple of different plants. Just remember to have some fun, and even the smallest yards can look great.
The Back Yard Is All Yours
The backyard can be all kinds of fun. There are fewer limits on what you cannot do due to local regulations. Even homeowner associations tend to have fewer restrictions, with the only real limitations being on tree limbs hanging over the fence. While there can be some interesting limitations based on other backyard uses, such as a pool, patio areas, and even a victory garden, there are still many fun things you can do with the backyard.
When it comes down to it, you will probably want to start with some fruit trees for shade; not only do they provide some of the best shade, but when they mature, they can also provide fresh fruit for eating, desserts, and jams. You will also need to find a good cover plant, preferably one that can handle a little shade. You will also be looking for a couple of different flowering plants, preferable perennials, using them to create highlights throughout the yard; a couple of different species should do. Again, you can have some fun, so go a little crazy back there.
All told, you can have a lot of fun with landscaping when it comes to your property. Remember to keep in mind your limitations and what plans you have for the property as a whole. Also, keep in mind the weather and maintenance issues. You can have a lot of fun making your property look great while still making sure that the property is prepared for anything that can hit it.