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Your Perfect Yard

While you’re building your new luxury home or remodeling, don’t forget to take into consideration the area surrounding it. What matters most to you as a homeowner when you look outside? More than likely it’s the most beautiful view possible of palm trees, plantings and a well-manicured lawn. A well-designed yard is not only pleasing to the eye, but also adds curb appeal and increased value to your investment. What does it take, then to achieve it? You can start the ideas rolling with this easy list of tips for landscaping in Florida courtesy of From in the ground to on the ground, your yard has the potential to look amazing.

Get your start on the right foot with a certified landscape architect. Certified landscape architects, says,, have a combination of experience and education in landscape architecture, and have passed a licensure examination. (Licensure is sponsored by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), which also offers certification.)

PLANTINGS Once you’ve hired a certified professional to design your yard, you can work with them to first choose the most effective irrigation system for its needs, one that can be easily adjusted to suit our tropical Florida climate of heat, rain and often months-long drought. Consider which plants you’d like to see out your window as well as those that work in a sustainable setting to maximize their growth and health. A myriad assortment of beautiful native plantings exists, from succulents, orchids and bromeliads, to hedge flowers like fichus, cocoplums and Indian Hawthorne with its beautiful pink flowers. Then there are the many varieties of palm trees, including the fanlike Bismarck palm and stately royal and coconut palms that reach a potential 60-100 feet in height.

GRASS OPTIONS Think about how your time will be spent outside. Do you plan to relax on the patio or play with the kids/grandkids on the lawn? Soft, silky Bahia grass welcomes bare feet, while stiffer St. Augustine grass is a more sustainable, easy to care for option. Both do very well in our tropical climate with proper care. Plantings aside, don’t forget to incorporate your patio/lanai ideas into your landscaping plan. Besides the quintessential attached lanai and pool deck, patios don’t necessarily have to be connected to the house. A paved area in another part of the yard will also offer a way to enjoy the beautiful landscape design of your property. An area of stone or gravel that requires minimal maintenance will achieve the same effect. You could incorporate either with a firepit and native plantings for enjoyable outdoor time during the cooler months.

LIGHTING With so much invested in your yard, why leave the views to just daytime? Consider landscape lighting to not only guide vehicles along the driveway and the peace of mind and security of a well-lit area, but also to highlight the design for nighttime walks and peeks out the window. Keep in mind to choose fixtures that can hold up to Florida’s hot, humid climate.

Fernando Wong, a landscape designer with experience working on The Four Seasons at the Surf Club in Surfside, Florida and the Sculpture Garden at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, insists on LED bulbs wherever possible in your outdoor lighting, “They use 80 percent less electricity and you never have to change the light bulbs,” says Wong. “When they first came out we shied away because the light was too harsh, but the technology has caught up and now many nice soft lights are available.”

FENCE/SECURITY GATE If you decide to surround your property with a defining outline, tall hedge shrubbery can accomplish the task, but most decide on a fence as well for that added layer of privacy and security, as well as aesthetics. Your architect can weigh in on this decision, be it an ornamental metal or brick fence, wood, or even chain link. The style of your home’s architecture plays a pivotal role in your fence decision. Even a chain link fence can be coated in an array of colors and hidden by a hedge. (Florida State Fence)

With more than 20 years of custom home building and remodeling experience, J. Sweet Construction can offer great advice on your landscape design dreams, with honesty and integrity.

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