Professional landscaping can dramatically affect your home’s value, curb appeal, and usefulness. In addition, the tropical Florida weather makes spending time outdoors pleasant for most of the year, and a well-designed garden can do wonders for your health and well-being.
However, the intense Seminole summer heat presents unique landscaping challenges, and keeping the climate and soil conditions in mind when designing your dream landscape is essential. Whether you’re considering a full remodel or want to make small improvements, our landscape design in St. Petersburg tips can help you get the most out of your investment.
Stick with Native Plants
While having a beautifully manicured lawn is the dream for many Florida residents, the truth is that lawns require extensive upkeep and don’t do very well in Florida’s hot, humid summers. You’ll spend more time on maintenance and watering and less time enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Choosing native plants simplifies garden maintenance, as these plants can easily cope with Florida’s climate and sandy soil without needing constant fertilizing, weeding, and watering. In addition, the limited choice of native plants encourages professional landscape designers to really stretch the bounds of their creativity to create something special and uniquely Floridan.
A limited selection of plants also makes grouping plants based on their light, soil, and spacing needs more straightforward. Not only are these groupings easier to maintain, but they also add visual interest to a space, as clusters are much more eye-catching than a single plant or two.
Tailor your Landscape Design to Your Needs
While using landscaping magazines and blogs as inspiration is a great place to start your landscaping journey, it’s important to remember that not all landscaping ideas are suitable for your home. By keeping your home’s unique situation in mind, you’ll be able to design a landscaping solution that works for you and your family.
Your Home’s Purpose
Every family uses their Largo home differently. Some people have a vacation home in Florida, while other families stay in St. Petersburg year-round. Some families love spending time outdoors, while others prefer having scenic views without much need to go into the yard.
A good way of figuring out how your landscaping complements your home’s purpose is to assess how you currently use your home.
Do you spend a lot of time on the porch during the evenings? Do you want to entertain guests at night? Do you want to spend your weekends gardening or want something that mostly takes care of itself?
Knowing the answers to these questions can ensure your yard’s purpose fits seamlessly with your current and future lifestyle.
Your Home’s Shape and Size
Your home’s shape and size will limit the size of your yard and the types of plants you can use. Consider whether your yard is flat or on a slope, its drainage, and how much access to sun and rain your plants will get. While you may love the idea of having a large bald cypress providing shade to your entire yard, you need to be realistic about what will do well in your climate and space.
Your home’s shape and size can also influence the landscaping theme you choose. For example, do you want a closed-off, private yard or a free-flowing garden that integrates seamlessly with its surroundings? Many landscape designers will use the home’s shape to organize the various landscaping aspects and the spaces and links between these various aspects.
For instance, an L-shaped house in a square yard is the perfect shape for a large feature, such as a patio or lawn in the large void, bordered by trees and beds surrounding the home. The same type of design will not work if you have a square home in a square yard, where the same large feature would feel cramped and uncomfortable.
Your Gardening Enthusiasm
If you’re not already an avid gardener, it’s unlikely that you will become one after your yard’s transformation. Be honest with yourself about how much effort you want to put in, as this will affect your choice of plants and the complexity of the design.
St. Petersburg and other Florida residents are lucky because the climate allows for numerous low-maintenance plants that look amazing year-round. By choosing the right plants in the right place, you’ll get a garden that suits your needs aesthetically and in terms of effort and upkeep.
Create a Balanced Ecosystem
Using Florida-native plants has the advantage of encouraging the local wildlife to come to visit. In addition, a garden that fits in with the local ecosystem offers plenty of benefits, including keeping pests away and naturally reproducing the plants in your garden.
If you’re an avid birdwatcher, consider adding berry bushes like the American beautyberry shrub to attract cardinals and sparrows to your home. Plants like milkweed encourage butterflies and dragonflies, and a mix of vines, flowers, ground, covers, and bushes will provide shelter and food for a host of native species.
Consider Low-Carbon Landscaping
Many households are moving towards more eco-conscious lifestyles, and your landscape can significantly reduce your carbon emissions.
Low-carbon landscaping can include anything from using native flora to reduce water consumption and fertilizer use to planting strategically-placed shade trees to lower your energy bill and growing your own herbs and vegetables.
Growing your own crops offers numerous benefits. First, it reduces how much you spend on groceries while reducing carbon emissions in getting produce from the farm to your table. Some studies show that gardening promotes mental well-being and physical health, and there’s nothing better than making a salad with herbs and veggies directly from your garden.
The hot and humid Florida climate is perfect for growing many popular fruits and vegetables, including:
Incorporate Man-Made Textures
A popular trend for landscape design in St. Petersburg is the merging between natural and fabricated. Metal has become a staple in many modern gardens, either as a shade structure or artistic panel. Metal planters and water features are also an option that connects the outdoors and indoors in novel and interesting ways.
If you decide to incorporate artificial materials as an accent in your landscaping design, choose something suitable for the environment. For instance, a metal planter may look elegant, but placed in the sun, it will likely cook the soil and kill any plant you try to grow. On the other hand, other artificial materials, such as concrete, may still provide the texture contrast you’re looking for without compromising practicality.
An exciting take on this trend is using recycled and reclaimed materials. Common examples include wall gardens made from reclaimed wood or lawn edging made from repurposed bricks. These features are more economical than buying bespoke furniture or planters and add a unique flair to any garden.
Many landscape designers will mix and match reclaimed and recycled materials to produce a genuinely personalized effect.
Consider Artificial Grass (Turf)
Many homeowners have outdated ideas about artificial turf and are reluctant to consider it a viable option for their yards. However, the truth is that modern artificial turf blends in almost seamlessly with a natural garden and is exceptionally easy to install and maintain.
If you love the idea of a pristine lawn as the focal point of your yard, synthetic grass may be the answer you’re looking for. It doesn’t require watering, fertilizing, or other landscape services, is very eco-conscious, and will retain its good looks for many years.
Unlike traditional grass lawns that are devastating to the environment and create a monoculture that disrupts the natural ecosystem of the area, synthetic grass has a minimal environmental impact and, when used with native plants, can encourage local insects and wildlife to visit your yard.
While Florida has a reputation for high humidity and lots of rain, the state does have a dry season that can affect your plants if you’re unprepared. The dry season — from November to April — occurs in Florida’s cooler months, which is why many people fail to notice that their plants aren’t doing as well as they should. While the cool weather means that lack of water isn’t as devastating as a summer drought, it can still cause your plants to suffer.
While irrigation systems are the go-to solution for most homeowners, we’ve found that more eco-friendly solutions work just as well, especially if you’re planting mostly native, drought-tolerant plants. Mulching is an excellent way of keeping the soil moist, as it prevents evaporation and keeps soil temperatures consistent throughout the year. Natural mulch also keeps pests away, making it a smart option for all of your plant beds.
Another way of keeping your garden watered is to use porous materials, such as brick or gravel when constructing paths, sidewalks, and decks. These materials let rainwater trickle down into the underlying soil while preventing evaporation, resulting in healthier soil without the need for extensive watering and irrigation.
While native plants are used to Florida’s soil conditions, they will eventually deplete soil nutrients as they grow and require fertilizer. Composting is an eco-friendly and cost-effective option to add nutrients to the soil without resorting to artificial fertilizers.
Setting up a compost bin is surprisingly simple, and many commercial options make it even easier. All you need to do is throw your vegetable and kitchen scraps and any yard waste into the bin, rotate it to introduce oxygen, and let nature take its course. Within several weeks, you’ll have a soil amendment containing all of the nutrients your plants need without spending a cent.
Entangled vs. Defined Design
Most modern landscape design in the St. Petersburg and Tampa areas fall into one of two main philosophies: entangled and defined spaces.
Entangled design focuses on blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor areas. This type of design in St. Petersburg is ideal for people who spend most of their time in the yard, either gardening or whiling away hot summer evenings on the patio. The style focuses on soft edges between transitions, such as irregular stonework blending into the grass or smooth borders between beds and lawns.
The main advantage of the entangled design is that it creates a more natural, organic look that is easier to maintain. You don’t need to worry about having perfect lawn edges or worry about weeds encroaching onto your pavement. These aspects work towards creating a seamless transition between landscape and hardscape and bringing the outdoors into your home.
An offshoot of entangled design is immersive landscaping, which uses natural materials to highlight the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. This style has minimal intervention and very few artificial materials, relying instead on natural materials with rich textures and neutral colors to highlight Florida’s natural and beautiful landscape.
The alternative to entangled design — defined design — creates hard, clear transitions between areas. This style is great for people who like outdoor living but prefer a clean and functional modern space.
Many St. Petersburg residents have started creating outdoor kitchens, office spaces, and living rooms that combine the freshness of outdoor living with the conveniences of indoor spaces. Defined design ensures these spaces are accessible and remain functional despite being outdoors.
Both options have their advantages and drawbacks, and it’s up to you to decide which style is more appealing. The good news is that it’s relatively straightforward to combine both styles with our other landscaping tips to create an outdoor space that is uniquely yours.
Work with the Landscape Design St. Petersburg Professionals
Creating a beautiful landscape requires attention to detail, a creative mind, and an understanding of the unique challenges of Florida’s soil and climate. Even if you’re an avid gardener and landscaping enthusiast, working with a professional expert in landscape design in St. Petersburg can help you achieve the results you want.
Our team at From The Ground Up Landscape Design has helped hundreds of St. Petersburg, Seminole, and Largo residents design and build the backyard of their dreams. Our design team is with you every step of the way, from the initial consultation, where you outline your expectations, to the final finishing touches.
While we always keep an eye on the latest landscape design trends, we believe in achieving our client’s vision and creating timeless and sustainable landscaping that will withstand the test of time. Our focus on indigenous plants combined with eco-conscious planning ensures you create a garden that will look fantastic while being easy to maintain.
Whether you’re looking to make the transition to outdoor living with landscape design in St. Petersburg, or you just want to add value to your home’s curb appeal, we’re ready to help. Call us at (727) 648-5669 or visit us online to schedule a consultation today!