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Landscape planning 3

get the structure right

Native Florida tree grouping, sea grape, cabbage palm, slash pine

Native trees

The second page of landscape planning was focused on environment. Now that you are more familiar with the conditions of your yard you can select the proper plants.

If you have gone through your neighborhood you should have a plant list. Make sure these are plants that are doing well without a lot of fuss. If you don't know what the plant is, ask your neighbor or your local nursery.

The next step is making sure you know what the mature size is and planning accordingly.

The basic rule for planting a landscape is the 3 size rule. Tall in the center or back. Medium size in the middle and low growing plants toward the front.

Once again, mature size is very important. Try not to over plant your gardens. It may fill up faster but you might find yourself doing a lot of pruning. Follow the instructions on the container.

Coconut palm and Live oak full size

Both the coconut and the Live oak become very large.

Keep larger trees and specimens toward the center of the yard. This way they can spread out the way they want. Let's say you are planting a Live oak. That is one of the biggest trees you want to plant in this area. Keep it toward the center of your yard and create a garden around it.

Be sure to locate your sewer line and mark it in your plan. Stay clear!

Also never plant anything right under power lines. If the mature size gets anywhere near the lines they can and will be cut back. The maintenance crews have only one thing in mind. They will mutilate your trees if they see fit.

Keeping the lines clear helps protect the neighborhood against blackouts during storms.

Another large specimen you might want to plant is the coconut palm. Depending on what type it is they can have a pretty wide canopy. Make sure it is planted far enough away to keep the fronds off of the house.

Coconut Palm

Full size coconut palm

Another thing to consider is the "impact zone". Coconuts are beautiful trees but they drop coconuts. Not only do you not want them falling on your roof or head think of the poor plants beneath them.

I have a beautiful coconut in my side yard and have decided not to plant any other special palms too close to it. You need to be able to get under it and remove the dead fronds. In my landscape plan I am going to plant ornamental grasses that can take the abuse.

You don't want to plant anything next to your house that can grow up to the overhang. All kinds of insects love plants that rub up against the eve. Termites, ants, roaches, "are you grossed out enough yet"? They use them as "super highways". Vines growing on the side of your home do the same thing. Don't make the bugs happy.

Virginia creeper vine, bad vines growing on house

bad vines growing on house

Keep the plants off of your house and it will be easier to maintain too. If you like the look of vines etc. you can construct a trellis that is hinged at the bottom or unhooked from the side and can be leaned away from the house when you want to do any maintenance.

You can see how the sticky feet of this vine have ruined the paint on this house when removed.

gumbo limbo tree

This tree is too close to the house

If you like working with annuals, create focal points using an annual garden in your plan. It is nice having small sections of your yard that change with the seasons. Planning them near your entry allows visitors to enjoy them up close. Plan to use a bio-degradable mulch and a slow release fertilizer (dynamite or osmocote) in these areas.

To have an easy to maintain yard plan most of the yard to be permanent plants, or perennials.

In the rest of your landscape, you can use the weed block fabric and a mulch of your choice. Contrasting mulches is a neat way to add interest to your yard. White rocks around a specimen palm for example, can set it off nicely.

OK to wrap up this page keep in mind to work with what you have, remove only those plants that are sick or too close to the house. Remember the 3 size rule. Larger plants and trees in the center then medium and then smaller.

The photo of the tree grouping at the top of the page shows a perfect opportunity for a beautiful native garden. It will include grasses and lower growing shrubs to give the group a nicely balanced base.

It will also protect anyone mowing the yard from the low growing branches. OUCH!

Next we will be going over "how" you want to use your yard.

Go to Landscape 4 at the bottom of the page.

Enjoy my video of the 2008 pond tour

One great way to enhance your landscape is with a pond. See how others have used ponds to enhance their landscape and changed the whole atmosphere of their garden.

They do require work so do your research before adding one.

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Landscape 4 photo ideas

Click here for more local plant selection and landscape info

Click here for more info on Brevard County resources

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