Pulling into the drive of a well landscaped beauty is a dream of most homeowners. With manicured lawns and blooming florals, it’s no wonder that garden centers are always busy. And the best part; you don’t have to have a green thumb to achieve your own low-maintenance tropical paradise. Using native plants and low-maintenance species, a personalized outdoor retreat can be an easy reality.
Putting the right plant in the right place the most important step in creating a healthy and successful low-maintenance landscape. However, this is dependent upon an ability to accurately select the ‘right’ plant species for a given location. Common names are often misleading. More than one plant species may be under the same or a similarly common name. Therefore, it’s best to refer to scientific names when researching and selecting plants for your Florida Landscape.
Planning a low-maintenance landscape also means utilizing non-fussy plants. You know, the plants that hardly require any love and can stand the heat. Try to use self cleaning palms and shrubs so you don’t have to trim. Other varieties like slow growing dwarf holly only require minimal maintenance and if trimmed one or two times a year, they are still happy. Due to their reduced growing speed, their natural form will not overshadow neighboring plants. A few other varieties like the Croton, Liriope and Selloum Philodendron are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. Just make sure to give them plenty of space, stand back and watch them do their thing.
Most homeowners visit a garden center or nursery and are drawn to plants that are in bloom or flowering. Instead, sort through the low-maintenance options by choosing plants based on foliage instead of flowers. Flowers often require time in-between blooms and are often more maintenance. By choosing a plant based on foliage, you guarantee a visually appealing landscape for the life of the plant. Variating textures, size, colors and foliage shapes can dramatically improve the overall look.
If you have a lot of space to cover, choose large plants, shrubs and trees that will spread out. Once plants reach maturity, they will provide natural shade and a lush look. Plus, using large plants means using fewer plants. Less maintenance is still the goal, right! And low growing, sprawling ground covers will cover the dead space in between. Make sure to plan and plant according to mature size ranges so plants are not overcrowded.
If you are looking to avoid the fall leave parade at all costs, skip the oaks and go straight to evergreens. They provide color and foliage all year round and hardly shed. They also require very little trimming and once mature, they can take care of themselves. For what little needles they do shed, you can collect and use as mulch. Oak leaves are too acidic to use as mulch or in compost. So evergreens are the ideal choice if you are looking to reduce waste.
One of the most frustrating landscaping maintenance items is trying to keep your plants where they are supposed to be. Grass or weeds can find their way into manicured beds. Some ground cover foliage can stray and take over a separate area. It can be a headache for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the time ‘training’. But an easy answer to these issues is the use of hardscape or structures. Nothing blocks the spread of a growth like an actual obstacle. Try using stones as an edging instead of relying on weed paper or mulch. Build up landscaped beds to prevent grass from creeping in. Plant up against sheds or decks to create a natural barrier forcing plants to grow out in the direction you want.
And, of course, if you are not sure where to start or how to create your masterpiece, begin with pots. Potted plants are easily moved and easily cared for. Play around with design and heights using different varieties. If you find that a plant is not suitable for the spot you chose, simply move it. This is a great way to make sure that you and the plants are happy with the final design.
For additional information, FloridaYards.org features a plant database in case you aren’t sure where to start. They also offer an interactive yard feature that can help you plan your yard. The University of Florida also offers a plant catalog utilizing the scientific names of each species. Their helpful list can make sure that you are searching for the correct species that is actually Florida tried and true.
For other tips and tricks when it comes to home improvements, call us today! We are happy to share secrets our home buyers and sellers have used to improve their own properties. Want to skip the work and purchase a home with landscaping already perfected? We can help there too! Action Realty | Trusted, Respected, Connected