Tips for Florida-friendly landscaping
If you are one of the lucky ones to own a home in Florida, you know that the tropical climate of the Sunshine State has its perks and downsides. Sure, you get to have summer all year round but know this weather can be ruthless for the environment with its dry spells, floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. These inclement weather conditions make typical landscaping almost impossible in these areas. However, about 20 years ago, landscape architects from the Tampa Bay area have found the perfect solutions for lawn treatment and decor in this harsh climate. So, if you’re planning to make some home improvements and add to your home value, here are a few tips for Florida-friendly landscaping to help you get started.
What is Florida-friendly landscaping?
Florida-friendly landscaping is a lawn treatment not susceptible to harsh weather conditions. The goal is to save money, energy, and time spent on watering, replanting, and fertilizing. Being low-maintenance and environmentally sustainable, Florida-friendly landscaping prevents soil erosions, reduces pollution, saves water, and preserves the natural habitat. Usually, it’s an attractive mix of diverse native vegetation, like turf grass, vines, groundcovers, and shrubs.
Choosing the right plants
One of the main principles of Florida-friendly landscaping is encouraging native plants in gardens and yards. Local vegetation is already adapted to the tropical climate. That gives it resilience and low-maintaining qualities. Still, just because a plant is native to the Sunshine State, that doesn’t mean that it will grow successfully in every part of the state.
The best plants for Florida-friendly landscaping are cold and heat tolerant. They are an excellent choice for both experienced and inexperienced gardeners. And the best part is, the options are plenty since there are many decorative and attractive plants suitable for this concept. However, homeowners who want non-native plants in their gardens can also grow them as long as they’re not invasive species.
Soil and fertilizing
After you’ve decided on your plant combination, adapting the soil to your future vegetation is very important. Every plant needs water, nutritious soil, and sunlight to grow. But in cases where the earth can’t provide enough natural fertilization, plants won’t thrive. For example, improving soil for roses or vegetables will require a frequent addition of compost. But for some of the native Florida plants, adding compost to the sandy soil annually before planting is enough.
Not all plants demand the same levels of minerals in the soil, so it’s good to know what you’re dealing with. That’s why a lot of Florida homeowners test the soil’s PH before planting. Since coastal soils are usually very alkaline, they may not be suitable for some plants you like. Even if you modify the soil to adapt it to your desires, this will only be a temporary solution. If you have compact soil that doesn’t absorb water properly, you must amend it with organic fertilizer before creating garden beds. Additionally, when determining your landscaping space, dig deep, up to 18 inches, in case there are sub-layers of hardpan, such as shells and rocks, that can limit rooting.
Use of rock, mulch, and other decorative elements
Rubber mulch, rocks, artificial turf, and other landscaping elements combined with plants and trees on your lawn can beautify and accentuate the landscape. But often, these materials increase the heat of the ground below. Therefore, considering their overheating properties, make sure to use them only with heat-tolerant plants. Alternatively, use them in rain gardens, where they will help lessen the impact from downpours.
Reduced watering necessity
Every irrigation system in Florida is bound by law to have automatic rain shutoff sensors. When a specific amount of rain falls, this device will interrupt the irrigation system cycle. Most lawns need approximately one inch of water per week. Sometimes even less, if the weather is not as sunny. Since the recommended plants for Florida-friendly landscaping don’t require much water, occasional deep watering will encourage their rooting. That means more resilient and drought-tolerant vegetation.
Recommended landscaping color patterns
Working on the curb appeal of your home is more important than you might think. The way you maintain your property is the way you present yourself to neighbors and guests. When working on home improvements, we mainly focus on the interior since it impacts us more directly. Still, making the exterior stand out by emphasizing its specific features, like painting the walls in attractive colors or dedicating a part of the budget to landscaping, can help raise your property value.
That’s why it’s essential to present your house and garden tastefully through the right color combinations of the landscaping elements. You can achieve that by choosing two or three complementary colors and repeating the color combination. Too bright, colorful, or supplementary combos of plants or decor can be pretty distracting.
Making Florida your home
If you are moving to Florida from any other part of the States, you will likely need some time to adapt. Not only because of the change of lifestyle but climate as well. Many people choose to relocate here because of the slower pace, lower living costs, and warmer weather. Still, it’s vital to get ready for the process of relocation as you will surely experience many changes. By being prepared, you will lessen the shock and ensure a smoother transition.
Regardless of your reasons for moving to the Sunshine State, taking care of low-maintenance plants of Florida-friendly landscaping can be quite a blessing, especially if you have a busy schedule. However, one of the main problems when it comes to flexible vegetation is that people, in time, become too relaxed. Some plants grow fast and can quickly get out of control. If not maintained properly and regularly, they can attract rodents, insects, and other pests near your home. Therefore, keeping your lawn pest-free and neatly trimmed is crucial.