5 Key Rules to Follow When Landscaping in Florida


Even if you don’t plan or maintain your own landscape, knowing about basic design and maintenance helps ensure your Central Florida home’s outdoor areas are functional, eco-friendly, and beautiful.

As local real estate agents, we’re often asked how to improve a home’s curb appeal. We always recommend having low-maintenance front and back yards that are inviting and relaxing. To help you do just that, we’ve put together these key rules to follow when upgrading your landscape in an area where the heat and other environmental factors can greatly impact your yard and water bill!

5 Homeowner Tips for Landscaping in Florida

To protect natural resources and preserve Florida’s unique beauty, the state worked with the IFAS extension of the University of Florida to create Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ with a list of nine guiding principles that help property owners make their landscapes vibrant and attractive while using less water. This is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program’s List:

  1. Right Plant, Right Place
  2. Water Efficiently
  3. Fertilize Appropriately
  4. Mulch
  5. Attract Wildlife
  6. Manage Yard Pests Responsibly
  7. Recycle Yard Waste
  8. Reduce Stormwater Runoff
  9. Protect the Waterfront

If you’re looking to spruce up or install new landscaping at your Central Florida home, follow these helpful tips to create an attractive and sustainable outdoor space.

  1. Choose Appropriate Plantings

Just because a plant is native to Florida doesn’t necessarily mean it will thrive in Central Florida. While choosing native plants whenever possible is a good idea, a better goal is to avoid using invasive species. It also helps to group plants with similar needs, such as light, soil, and water, which helps make irrigating and fertilizing the yard easier and draws more wildlife.

  1. Preserve Water

Water conservation is critical to meeting current and future water supply needs. The Central Florida Water Initiative predicts that by 2040, state residents will be unable to pull any additional groundwater from its primary source of domestic water. Homeowners can save significant water by investing in landscapes that use less irrigation, which accounts for about half of all residential water use. Drought-tolerant plants and increased use of hardscaping are just two of the ways to reduce how much water your landscape requires.

  1. Don’t Forget to Mulch

Mulching saves water, suppresses weeds, and improves a plant’s surrounding soil. Adding a three to four-inch layer of mulch throughout your yard is a good way to conserve the soil’s moisture. Choose natural materials that degrade over time to provide organic matter. Examples include pine straw, small pine bark nuggets, and melaleuca, which are long-lasting and unattractive to termites.

  1. Choose Attractive Hardscaping Materials

Central Florida’s native plants are no stranger to invasive bugs, intense sunlight, and plenty of rain. Fortunately, these plants have, for the most part, evolved to adapt to these conditions. Placing large rocks or boulders and small rock mulch around your landscape adds texture and visual interest to its design while providing a place for birds and other wildlife to perch and hide from predators. They also help prevent the growth and spread of weeds. Other hardscape features like patios and pathways decrease the amount of high-maintenance grass, increase your home’s value, and create beautiful spaces for entertaining family and friends.

  1. Consider Ground Covers

Replacing grass with ground covers like azaleas, cast-iron plants, and sedum reduces mowing and fertilizing chores. They also bring beautiful texture and color to open spaces, in the garden, and under trees, and are ideal for hard-to-reach places. Just remember to avoid invasive ground cover species like Lantana camara, which is beautiful but not recommended for use in most Florida regions.

Things to Consider When Designing Your Central Florida Landscape

For a beautiful landscape that’s all eco-friendly, keep in mind these simple logistics when planning your property’s outdoor design:

  • Your home’s shape and size. How much space do you have to work with? Are there one or more challenging areas that might prove difficult for plants?   
  • Sunlight access. Central Florida is typically sunny, warm, and humid, but the sun’s position at any given time of the day determines how well a specific plant will do. Need more shade? Consider incorporating trees like palms, magnolias, and oaks, which also double as homes for wildlife.
  • Install an automatic irrigation system. New and advanced irrigation systems are programmed to automatically target landscape areas with a precise amount of water. And they know not to come on when it rains!

Designing and maintaining a beautiful and water-efficient landscape for your Central Florida home comes with certain rules, but these homeowner tips should help make the process smooth and enjoyable. To learn more about how to increase your home’s curb appeal or to speak with one of our agents about buying or selling a property in Volusia County, contact Bee Realty Corp today.

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