From freezing temperatures in the north to hurricanes coast to coast, Florida offers plenty of weather—and plenty of landscaping challenges for home gardeners. Here is a guide to understanding the basics of Florida landscape design.
North Florida is considered the part of the state north of Marion County, says Tom Wichman, Florida Garden statewide program coordinator. There, the soil has many variations—clay in the pen, sandy elsewhere—which makes it paramount that homeowners study what they will be working with before diving into Florida landscaping.
While rising is not a problem, extreme temperatures. “Northern Florida is almost always freezing – at least one hard freeze, if not several,” Wichman says. Even so, North Florida still gets hot and humid; the farther inland you go and the further away from the ocean breeze, the hotter it gets – at least a degree or two.
North Florida’s landscape also features fewer tropical and subtropical plants, says Erin Alvarez, landscape instructor and faculty consultant for the Florida Beautification Program for the Ecohorticulture Department at the Center for Landscape and Ecology Conservation. “It’s really more like Georgia and Alabama with tall hardwoods,” says Alvarez. In addition, the more you move from coast to coast, the more the landscape changes from flat forests to highlands with hills and clay soil.