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Landscaping 101 in Florida

Goehring & MorganJanuary 30, 2017

With its hot and humid temperatures almost year-round, Florida presents a landscaping challenge for novices.

If you’re building your home from the ground up and want the exterior to be punctuated with beautiful greenery, a custom home builder can help you achieve the look you want. Here’s what you need to know before you wade into the landscaping part of your home build.

Determine Your Needs

Before you work with your builder to create a design plan, determine what you need in your outdoor area. Do you need room for the kids to play? How about room for an outdoor entertaining, dining or barbecue area? Are you considering a pool, and if so what size will it be and where will it be built in the backyard?

All these considerations are key because they’ll dictate both the design and materials you choose.

Know Your Greenery

Six types of lawn grass are common in Florida: Bermuda Grass, Bahiagrass, Buffalo Grass, Centipede Grass, St. Augustine Grass and Zoysia Grass.

Bermuda Grass has short blades and rough edges. The grass is drought and weed-resistant and can handle Florida’s hot weather. It’s more common on commercial properties like golf courses rather than home lawns. It grows in different soils, but it can invade other adjacent gardens and be susceptible to pests, cold weather and shade.

Bahiagrass can grow in less fertile soils. This grass is drought-resistant and can withstand pests, but it’s sensitive to weeds, too much watering and shade.

Buffalo Grass can grow in different soils and has a signature blue-green color. However, it doesn’t tolerate shade well or lots of foot traffic and too much watering.

Centipede Grass is the best choice for homeowners who want a lawn with minimal maintenance. Since Centipede Grass is low-growing it doesn’t require regular mowing, but it is very sensitive to lawn insects and isn’t the best option if you have a lot of foot traffic or kids playing in your backyard.

St. Augustine Grass is the most common product used for home lawns in Florida, because it’s ideal for our warm climate, is drought-resistant and will grow in different soil types. All your landscaper has to do is lay sod. Ongoing maintenance requires weekly mowing, watering and fertilization.

Zoysia Grass requires a landscaper to plant plugs, sprigs and sod. It is great for Florida’s climate and can handle lots of foot traffic, sun and heat. It has high drought and disease-resistance and isn’t as likely to be invaded by weeds compared to the other grass varieties.

Pick the Right Location

After you consider the layout for your outdoor area and your family’s needs, work with your builder and landscaper to choose where your greenery should go. Create a focal point for your front and backyard that accentuates all the other plants, flowers and greenery you’ve planted. This central feature could be a flower bed or water foundation. Also choose your plants wisely. Select plants that are native to the area and flowers or trees that don’t shed as many seeds and will reduce your maintenance time.

Focus on Consistent Design

Choose materials and colors that complement your home’s interior and won’t clash or distract from your outdoor space. Flowers can add hints of color throughout your backyard and front yard and the right color mulch can make your home’s exterior more pronounced.

Landscaping is a great way to give your home more curb appeal and stand out from other properties in your neighborhood. With a distinctive, yet complementary design and the right materials and plan, you can work with your builder to create a space that looks appealing without a high level of maintenance.