There is truly nothing quite as pleasing as a beautifully landscaped house. Choosing to landscape your yard is a great decision and adds value to your home. However, landscaping in Central Florida presents its own unique challenges. You might be asking yourself some of the following questions:
How Climate and Weather Affect your Florida Landscaping
Central Florida is known for its tropical climate. Florida’s weather is always changing. There is a distinct rainy season (Summer), hurricane season (Summer and Fall) and a distinct dry season (Winter and Spring). It can be extremely dry and hot one day and the next, rainy with a chance of humidity. Except for a few months in Winter, it is usually humid. So, it is crucial to build a strong foundation with plants that thrive in a humid subtropical climate.
Soil in the Central Florida Yard
Central Florida is unique in that it is very sandy compared to other parts of Florida. The sand here has its own name: Myakka. It is very poor at holding water and nutrients. You will need to enrich the soil around your house. Soil amendments will provide the organic, nutrient-filled materials that will help your garden grow. Compost is a great choice. It is essentially decaying plant or animal matter that acts as a soil fertilizer. It can be layered with mulch to prevent the growth of weeds. Speaking of mulch...pine straw works really well as a mulch in Central Florida.
Florida Trees, Plants and Shrubs: What to buy
Budget-friendly landscaping options should always include perennials. Perennials are plants that flourish long-term. Florida native perennials that are good for the residential landscaper include the Florida boxwood shrub, yellow elder flower, silver buttonwood hedge, firebush shrub, Dwarf Podocarpus, bay cedar shrub, and the Live Oak tree. These are all affordable plants that would thrive in the Florida sun.
Other affordable plants that are extremely hardy and perfect for the Central Florida weather include Rosemary, Loropetalum, and an Indian Hawthorne shrub. The Indian Hawthorne is a very popular shrub for the Florida landscaper that requires little to no gardening experience. These plants are very low maintenance and can be planted anywhere in your yard. Flowers that will last in the hot Florida sun include: Pentas, Coreopsis, Bush Daisy, Mexican Heather, and Hibiscus. These flowers are fantastic additions for your front yard because of their vibrant color and low cost. Again, visit your local garden center to see what they have on hand.
Low Care, Low Cost Front Yard Design
You may be struggling to decide whether you want low care plants that are cost-friendly or beautiful flowers that flourish in the Florida heat. You can have both.
Go Grass Free: The first way to minimize expenses for your landscaping, is to go grass free. Although the thought of having artificial grass seems a bit out of the norm there are many pros to turf installation. Artificial turf is basically a surface of synthetic fibers that look like natural grass. The many pros of this include:
Rocks: Another great way to landscape your yard is with rocks. Rocks are inexpensive and require no maintenance. They make great beds for flowers and add definition to your front yard.
Entrance Path and Driveway Design: Another simple and easy way to bring your front yard alive could be with a flower-lined path to your focus point: The Front Door. When visitors enter your front yard, you want it to feel inviting. What better way than to install a pathway. Line the pathway to your house with mulch, shrubs and bushes. Add flowers or seasonal annuals from your nearby garden center for some pop of color. Additionally, another great idea is to line your driveway with mulch and colorful foliage plants like Crotons. This is a wonderful option because it is budget-friendly and a fan favorite in Florida. Crotons are easy-care and feature a variety of colors like red, gold, orange, and green.
Small Yard Design
One of the best ways to design a small yard is to omit the lawn entirely. No more lawn mowing. This can be done through landscaping flower beds. Flower beds add great texture and depth to your front yard. They are also great for reducing surface area. The issue for many front yards, is the constant need for upkeep and maintenance. By making the decision to garden a large part of your yard, you are saving yourself money and upkeep down the line. Using the space in your yard to fill with beautiful plants and flowers will have your lawn mower thanking you for giving it a break! Flower beds will transform your front yard from being an ordinary plot of green land to a land full of color. That’s why it’s very important to pick the right plants that would work for your yard. Some flowers that will flourish in Central Florida include: Lantanas, Tickseed, Petunia, Buttercup, and Blue Daze. These are great flowers to choose from because of their hardiness and ability to bloom year round. They are also very durable and Florida-friendly.
Keep it Simple, Keep it Easy
Simple, easy landscaping designed to enhance your Central Florida yard should be just that...simple and easy! First, amend the sandy soil. Consider synthetic grass. It will save you loads of money, and it is both low maintenance and eco-friendly. Choose Native trees, plants, and shrubs that are ideal for the climate. Your plants stay alive longer and flourish year-round. Use locally grown plants. Buying local not only supports your local business neighbor, it is budget-friendly. And, because the plants are already acclimated to the area, they will more likely thrive in your yard.
Aventura Nursery is your local go-to garden center for the perfect trees and plants for your Hernando County home. Call us at 352-799-3200 for more information. And don’t forget to Follow our Pinterest where we post our latest specials and garden projects to try at home.
"Just put some aloe on it."
Fans of the TV sitcom "Seinfeld" will recall this advice as being the call of the unconcerned dermatologist. While we certainly value the work dermatologists do and, in no way wish to minimize their vocation, you have to admit that this is a pretty good line. Aloe vera has been used for centuries by humans around the globe to treat wounds, burns, and reduce fever. In modern times, aloe vera is cultivated and widely used in lotions, creams, cosmetics, and even foods. Let's take a closer look at this wonder-plant and how it can dramatically improve your Central Florida garden space.
Aloe vera is one of the oldest mentioned plants in written history. Ancient Egyptian and Chinese writers have commented on the plant's healing and soothing abilities. The legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra is rumored to have used the plant in her daily skin treatments. Macedonian military might Alexander the Great conquered the island of Socotra (an island off the coast of modern-day Yemen) for the sole purpose of securing enough aloe vera to treat his soldier's wounds. Indeed, aloe vera has been important to humans since the beginning of civilization.
If you break off a piece of the fleshy stem of the aloe vera plant, you will see a gel-like liquid that the plant naturally produces. This "wound" will quickly heal over at the point of the cut and will eventually grow back to its original state. The portion of the plant that has been cut off can be maintained in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Multiple skin issues, (including the dreaded poison ivy) can be treated using this gel as well as the resinous yellow "aloin" that is found when you cut a piece off of a plant.
Aloe vera originated in the Arabian Peninsula, but grows well in arid climates around the world. In addition to its commercial and medicinal benefits, it is also a really attractive plant that makes an excellent addition to any landscaped garden. Additionally, aloe vera plants require very little water to thrive. In fact, experts recommend that you water your aloe vera plants once every three weeks and even less frequently during the winter months. Even gardeners whose thumbs are far from green can successfully maintain these wonderful plants.
In Your Yard
Aloe plants can be a perfect fit for your yard. In addition to being practical and attractive, these plants even attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Aloe vera plants like sunshine. That's great news for us here in the Sunshine State. Incorporating a few aloe plants into your yard's garden is an easy way to make it look better without the fuss of more high-maintenance plants.
If you're interested in adding aloe vera plants to your home's garden, give us at Aventura Nursery & Landscaping a call at (352) 799-3200 today. We are currently offering special prices on all types of aloe as well as discounts on bamboo, jasmine, and jade. We look forward to helping you make your yard look its absolute best.
The weather here in Florida made headlines around the country last month. Temperatures in the low 40s across the state not only lead to an increase in jacket sales, it also saw an additional strange phenomenon: iguanas falling out of trees! While this change in the weather and the subsequent happenings surrounding it was a silly anomaly to most, it did bring about an interesting question for the Central Florida landscaping community: is is a good idea to prune trees when the temperature drops? The answer to this question is an unqualified...yes!
A Most Excellent Time of Year
For most trees, winter is the perfect time for pruning. This is because most trees enter a state of dormancy when the weather gets cold and lose most of their leaves. The branches of these trees become exposed and it becomes much easier to see the actual structure of the tree. This means that any troublesome spots such as branches hanging too close to any structures are also easier to identify. Furthermore, winter months are usually drier than warmer months. When branches are drier, they weigh less and are easier to cut. A definite win-win.
Fruit trees such as cypress, juniper, and spruce are ideal candidates for winter pruning and should be cut during colder months. Sap producing trees like elm, maple, and birch are best left until late summer or early fall however. This is because freshly exposed limbs are susceptible to seepage.
Some Handy Tips
It's a good idea to make a plan before you start doing any work. Survey your property to decide which trees need to be trimmed and what equipment you will need to get the job done. Do you have extremely tall trees that will require special ladders and equipment? If so, it may be a good idea to hire a professional landscaping company as opposed to trying to go it alone. The last thing we want is for anyone to be injured while trimming from high places.
We recommend that larger branches be cut in stages. This will reduce the likelihood of injury to both you and the tree. Using your handsaw and/or snips, make a series of cuts beginning at about 18 inches from the trunk. Make an additional cut a few inches closer to the trunk and a final cut close to the trunk of the tree, just outside the branch's collar. Remember to dispose of all branches in accordance with local laws and regulations and please be safe while working.
If you want to take the stress and danger out of tree trimming, please give Aventura Nursery & Landscaping a call at (352) 799-3200 today. We are standing by to help you make your yard look its best.