While turfgrasses blanket many of Florida's properties, they require resources, money, and time to maintain. However, turfgrass alternatives such as mulch, groundcover, and hardscapes exist. Reduce your yard size and substitute it for options that not only conserve resources but diversify and beautify your landscaping.
St. Augustine grass is a common Florida turfgrass with several cultivars available to homeowners. Five popular varieties are Floratam, Seville, Bitter-Blue, Sapphire, and Palmetto. Some are superstars in the state’s tropical and subtropical conditions and others should be avoided.
Adding a focal point will elevate your landscape’s appeal, and a specimen tree may fit the bill. A specimen tree is any tree planted as a stand-alone landscape feature. Choose a unique tree that will make a statement, like one with long-lasting blooms or an interesting shape.
Heirloom tomatoes are growing in popularity due to their unique flavors, colors, and shapes. Seeds are passed down through generations to preserve these distinctive fruits. Consider planting Brandywines, Cherokee Purples, and Black Krims. Remember, all heirlooms need generous amounts of sunlight, fertilizer, water, and warmth.
Vegetable gardening gives children experience in nurturing something from start to finish and teaches them the importance of growing food and asking where it comes from (not to mention the satisfaction and pride they will feel when harvesting that first cherry tomato).
Design your garden bed so that all plants are on display. Border beds could have short plants in front, one or two tiers of medium-height shrubs or grasses, and a backdrop of tall, vigorous viburnum, podocarpus, banana, or bamboo.
If you want your plants to thrive, know your dirt. If it’s poor, amend it. Florida’s soil from the panhandle down through the central state contains clay or sand and must be amended to produce healthy plants. South Florida, your peaty earth makes gardening easy!
Beautify your landscaping and garden structures with climbing plants. Vines add softness, whimsy, and allure and can be trained to grow on trellises, pergolas, arbors, fences, and walls. Florida gardeners, check out our suggestions for vines that do well in sun or partial shade and salt air.
The bougainvillea plant is known for its profuse, vivid blooms, its two-inch thorns, and its wild growth habit. It can serve as a space-filling shrub, a colorful hedge, or a wandering vine that spans a wall or covers a pergola.
If you want to start growing vegetables, try square-foot gardening. Perfect for homeowners with limited yard space, this method involves small, square, raised beds, divided into square-foot segments. Each segment hosts one type of plant. Gardeners with more space can build several of these raised beds.