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Landscape Planning 2

Look at your property up close


The first page of landscape planning was to get you thinking about what you like. Now we are going be going over some more details. You want to use plants that will thrive where you plant them. Spend time outside to collect information about your particular space.




mature size of Live oak in landscape

Take the time to get a good look at your Yard.

Get out a note pad so you can do simple diagrams or sketches about your landscape. We are going to be looking at several different factors that you need to pay attention to when planning everything out. Sun, soil, water, salt tolerance and wind, all these details are vital to the success of your landscape.



redesigned landscape before

Pay attention to sun exposure. All sun is not created equal. Morning sun is cool, the east side of your home catches morning sun. Afternoon sun is not so forgiving, it is hotter. The west side of your home or fence is hottest during the second half of the day.



Native Florida trees in landscape



Here is a basic guide to sun exposure terms.

Full Sun - at least 6 hours of direct sun per day

Part Sun - 3 to 6 hours of sun, this usually turns out to be all morning on the east or all afternoon on the west.

Part Shade - A few hours of morning sun or filtered sun.

Filtered sun - means under an open canopy of trees. You know, shady areas with patches of sun breaking through.

Shade - only 1 to 3 hours of sun if any.

Keep track of this information and have it with you when it is time to start selecting your plants at the nursery.




Another thing to remember is how sun exposure changes during the seasons. When the sun is high in the summer the shaded areas are basically located directly under the tree canopy or roof overhang. In the winter the low sun will reach back into these areas of your garden. Anything planted under a deciduous tree,(you know the ones that loose their leaves all winter) will be in the sun.



landscape variety in Florida



In Central Florida the soil is generally sandy. It does pay to improve your soil with organic material. It will not only feed your garden but it will help the soil hold water longer. One good way to make your own is with a compost bin. I have tried compost piles but they can be slow and messy. Not only will you help your plants but you will be sending less waste to the landfill.


Plastic compost bins in yard




Hills and Swales, high and low areas, create their own conditions. Any kind of raised area in your yard is going to be drier because it sheds water faster. Low areas collect water. Make sure you know where the water stands in your yard. Your plant selection is going to have a lot to do with water availability. Work with your sprinkler system and don't run the water if it has just rained. If you don't have one, install a rain sensor to your sprinkler system.

During the summer sometimes we can get overly saturated. If you have irrigation use it only when necessary. Over watering can cause as many problems as under watering. Go out into your landscape right after it rains and see where the water is going.




I had a neighbor who loved to water his lawn. It was so spongy you could twist your ankle walking on it if you weren't careful. one day I decided to take a closer look at his grass. He was watering it so much that the runners actually had areal roots. You know, the roots were hanging in the air. they were getting water without having to go down into the soil. Don't waste our resources and cause problems for yourself.




It is also important to try to retain water on your property long enough for it to soak in before entering our storm drains. I know in Cocoa Beach most of the water that goes down our gutters ends up in the canals. This is a bad situation because of all of the chemical run-off. One way to help is by using organic products in our yards.

Salt tolerance is another consideration when planning your landscape. The farther from the beaches the better off you are. Distance from the beach is not all you have to think about. Our rivers are brackish. The water has salt in it. If you live on a canal or riverfront property you will get wind blown salt water on your plants.



Also many areas that rely on well water for lawn irrigation like, the barrier island communities including Merritt Island suffer from the high levels of salt. These are good times to look at native species from your particular area. They are built to withstand these conditions.



Plan your design so your plants will thrive. When you go to your neighborhood nursery bring your notes. Ask questions. Learn what you can about your area. It will pay off in the long run.


Well, you have more homework. Get to it. Learn as much as you can about your particular Landscape. Take your time. Collect the information so you are ready when it is time to go out and purchase your plants.

Next we will be learning more about which sizes to buy, and the best locations for your larger trees and shrubs. Finding a statue for your yard can be fun. Pick one out that matches the theme you want to create.

Enjoy my video to get ideas for enhancing your gardens with art and recyled things



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