Archives for July 2023

What is Considered Natural Landscape Design?

Changing climatic conditions has many South Florida residents considering natural landscape design. It’s often referred to as native gardening and offers an alternative to precisely mown lawns and high-maintenance species,

Dispelling Myths

Natural landscape design doesn’t mean turning outdoor spaces into a meadow or allowing rampant and uncontrolled growth. Nor will it make homes or businesses appear unoccupied. Native plants are not weeds and natural landscaping poses no danger or threat. Natural landscapes aren’t bland. The wide range of native species enables designers to incorporate multiple colors and textures into the landscape.

Native Species

The landscape design utilizes plants, trees, gras, shrubs, and wildflowers native to a region. It emulates an ecosystem that would evolve naturally. There’s extensive variety that can be achieved, depending on the type of plants that are installed.

Multiple Benefits

Natural landscape design is more sustainable. It also enhances biodiversity, which has a positive effect on communities as a whole It supports native pollinators such as butterflies and birds. The plants used are more resistant to insect pests and diseases, meaning fewer chemicals are required that pose a threat to people and animals.

Native South Florida species also tend to have deeper root systems that help them weather storms, flooding and hurricanes. The landscapes generally produce less green waste than other types.


There are some disadvantages associated with natural landscaping, depending on perspective. They have a messy appearance compared to the manicured look that’s typically cultivated. That can result in discord with neighbors who appreciate a tidier appearance or those living in communities governed by an HOA. Those elements should factor into any decision before “going natural.”. The landscapes also require regular maintenance for the same reasons as other landscape types.

Not for Everyone

Despite the benefits of natural landscape design, it’s not an option that’s necessarily right for everyone. There may be zoning ordinances that prevent certain types of plants. That doesn’t mean that individuals can’t incorporate elements of natural landscaping into their outdoor spaces. It’s best to consult with a landscape design company familiar with the technique before making any changes.

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What Can Cause Damage to Your Lawn

A beautiful lawn invites people to play, but it also requires a significant amount of work. Despite your best intentions, you can inadvertently cause damage to your lawn through well-intentioned mistakes.

Over Fertilizing

A too generous or frequent application of fertilizer weakens grass and can burn it. Excess fertilizer lays on top of the ground and washes off during rainfall or irrigation where it contaminates water sources.

Watering at the Wrong Time

Lawns should be watered in the early morning hours to mitigate evaporation. Water quickly evaporates in the hot sun before it can soak into the soil. Watering at night allows moisture to set on the grass, providing an environment for disease.

Overwatering and Underwatering

Too much water creates runoff and puddling. The soil can’t absorb the moisture quick enough. Underwatering doesn’t allow nutrients to make their way beneath the soil and to the roots where they’re needed. Grass shouldn’t be watered every day.

Cutting Grass Too Short

Each type of grass has an optimal length at which it should be maintained. When cut too short, grass blades must use stored nutrients from the roots to produce more growth, weakening the grass.

Using Dull Mower Blades

Dull mower blades rip and tear grass instead of providing a clean cut. The result is ragged edges and stressed lawns that are more susceptible to disease and insect predations.

Mowing When Wet

Grass blades bend when they’re wet instead of standing stiffly upright. Grass is more difficult to cut, contributes to thatch, and the potential for disease.

Mowing in the Same Direction

Besides creating small troughs and ruts in the soil, mowing in the same direction can result in uneven cutting due to ground topography.

Throwing Shade

Too much shade from trees, shrubs, pergolas or canopies robs lawns of the light they need to thrive. Every grass species has its own light requirements.

Thatch Build Up

Thatch is a layer of vegetative material that builds up on lawns from grass clippings and stems. The material forms a mat on the soil that makes it difficult for water, nutrients and air to penetrate. If not aerated, lawns can die for lack of nutrients and thatch provides an environment where multiple diseases can multiply.

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What to Know About Low Maintenance Landscaping

The first thing to understand about low-maintenance landscape is that the term doesn’t mean no maintenance. There will still be garden tasks to perform, but the time spent will be much less than in a traditional landscape model. Low maintenance landscapes don’t have to be an all or nothing decision. It’s entirely possible to incorporate various elements into an existing environment. There are multiple components that can be selected for a low-maintenance landscape that include the following.

Artificial Turf

Made of synthetic fibers, artificial turf withstands high foot traffic and feels like real grass. It doesn’t require fertilizer, watering, or insect control Best of all, it eliminates mowing.


They don’t drop copious amounts of leaves that have to be raked. Evergreens are available as trees and bushes in a variety of textures and color gradations.

Gravel and Rocks

Both elements can be used to create paths and walkways The materials can also be utilized as a ground cover, mulch to reduce weeds, or borders for flowerbeds.

Ground Covers

There are dozens of plant-based ground covers from which to choose and many have blossoms that can attract pollinators. They’re great for slopes, minimizing erosion and are effective for controlling weed growth.

Hardscape Options

These are non-plant items in the landscape ranging from statuary, firepits and patios to pergolas, water features and walkways. Simply install them and leave them alone.

Ornamental Grass

They can add interest to the environment and are a good choice for minimizing erosion. The seeds provide food and a source of nesting materials for birds. Flowering varieties attract pollinators.

Perennial Plants

It’s a good idea to start with native plants that are already adapted to the South Florida climate and thrive in the local conditions. They’re more resistant to disease and insect pests. They encompass a wide range of colors, textures and heights. Perennials return every year with no effort on the part of gardeners.

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Drainage System Types: Problems and Solutions

Multiple types of drainage systems can be established. They each solve problems of excess or standing water that can cause erosion and promote insect populations such as disease-carrying mosquitos. Depending on the situation, drain systems can be combined. There are three primary types, surface, subsurface and slope, with some variations depending on where they’re used and the amount of water that needs to be controlled.

Surface Drain

This type of system is designed to remove water from the ground’s surface. The system typically uses an open concrete conduit or gravel-lined pathway to divert water to drains or another location.

A surface drain system can also be installed to empty into a tank or other receptacle beneath the soil’s surface. These are sometimes referred to as dry wells. The receptacle has perforations to allow the water to drain and be absorbed into the water table.

Swale Drain

Another type of surface drain, it utilizes a shallow ditch lined with turf or other vegetation to slow run off, mitigate erosion, and divert waterflow. They help keep storm drains from being overwhelmed if there’s a heavy rain.

Subsurface Drain

Also known as a French drain, these are installed beneath the surface of the ground. They use pipes covered by a layer of soil to remove excess water. Despite the name, they’re not French and are named after Massachusetts Judge Henry French, who wrote about them in 1859.

Slope Drain

The systems are designed to carry water away from a structure and down a slope through a pipe. The pipe is anchored to the slope Gutters and drains attached to homes and businesses are an example of one type of slop drainage.

Consult a Professional

Diverting and directing water may seem like an easy task, but there are multiple variables to be considered. It isn’t appropriate as a DIY project and individuals can inadvertently cause damage to surrounding properties. Installing an effective drain system requires the expertise of a professional.

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