Landscape Design In Florida Centers Around Water Management

Few places in the country offer the diversity of landscape design possibilities as southwest Florida.

Waterfront areas such as Sarasota or Bradenton even more so as the close proximity to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico prevent serious frosts even in the odd cold snap.

When planning a landscape, a designer can utilize a full palette of plant material with everything from exotic tropical palm trees, fruit trees, ornamentals, cacti and succulents, and of course native trees and shrubs.

However the available water on the property, the drainage situation, soil condition and availability of irrigation and amount of impervious surfaces present will play a major role in the choices a landscape designer will make.

Landscape designs for homes that are on salt water will have to be particularly sensitive to a variety of water issues including, storm-water drainage and fertilizer use, saltwater intrusion into the irrigation well, seasonal irrigation restrictions and a plan for the eventuality of a flood, soaking everything in saltwater for a short time. Plants that are not salt tolerant are not good choices for areas that may be flooded even if floods are unlikely. A single saltwater flood can devastate an established landscape that is not salt-tolerant.

At Grants Gardens we look at the entire picture when planning a landscape design from the available water on the property, to drainage, environmental issues, soil conditions and the micro-climate in different areas of the property.

After we have developed a complete understanding of the water situation on the property we can then plan a design featuring the plants, drainage, hardscape and irrigation elements that will allow for a beautiful yet sustainable landscape, designed to offer the best of nature, yet withstand the worst of nature.

For a look at some of our landscape design visit our Landscape Gallery page.

Sarasota Landscape Design Is A Blend Of Artistic Expression Built On Sustainable Irrigation and Water Management

All About The Water
Artistic Landscape Design
The Message In Color
Scale In Design

The Sarasota, Bradenton and the barrier islands are all areas with water-sensitive issues. Before the artistic expression of a landscape design can begin the water needs and runoff issues of the site must be fully understood. As such, every quality landscape design in our area must begin with a plan for efficient irrigation, and management of storm water runoff.

A garden is truly a living sculpture. Any landscape design concept should be to provide the garden occupants a pleasant area for entertainment and relaxation. Planning a landscape begins with the desires of the owners as well as the abilities of the land.

In Florida, many landscape design concepts need to begin with the natural water in the area. The plans need to extend to consider runoff and how the plants and land will tolerate salt water intrusion from weather events and of course a scarcity of water during Florida's dry season.

Landscaping includes horticulture and arborculture within its most basic designs, and Grant's Gardens, established in 2000, demonstrates a passion for these sciences. The team, serving the Sarasota area, has developed a landscaping company with a great reputation for gardening excellence. Our clients are served in all areas of garden maintenance and landscape design. We never compromise quality of service, aesthetics or our responsibilities to long term sustainability.

All of these reasons are why we begin our planning by considering the water on the property. With Florida's extreme dry then wet seasons, we need to think about how the landscaping will handle water. We will examine run off options to ensure minimal pooling or flooding in the landscaping designs. We will work with existing pockets, natural bodies of water or other water options, as directed by the customer. We can tackle any unsightly water spots, integrating them into the landscape and creating a new, picturesque area for you!

We are a professional team of landscapers, and we look forward to meeting with you! When we meet for the first time, we will ask you about your specific requirements and tastes regarding your outdoor area. We will discuss pathways, entry statements, amenities, situating features, focal points and landscape lighting, among other things.

Landscape Design Concepts

Before you meet with us, however, you should understand the principles of landscape design. These principles include many different elements, such as scale, unity, simplicity, balance, variety, sequence and emphasis as they coincide with form, line, color and texture. Every single element is interconnected. Landscape design is a full process of creating pleasing and practical outdoor spaces.

Unity is Quality

Unity grabs the attention and keeps it. View is organized into neat groups, with some emphasis placed on specific areas. Unity begins with the initial meeting, when we find out your interests to integrate them into the landscape.

Lines to Define and Connect Spaces

Lines create a powerful element of design to define rooms within the landscape and connect individuals to the garden. Professionals often us bold curves and lines, contrary to smaller zigzags or wavy curves. Lines also define space for the eye, making the garden attractive and personal.

Form Is Three-Dimensional

Form is created and determined by direction, line and arrangement of the twigs and branches in the garden. Unity calls for a repeat of the topography form in the plant forms. Spreading and horizontal forms help emphasize the lateral breath and extent of space. These forms are welcoming because they correspond with the natural way the eye moves. The most common form in plant materials is rounded. Rounded plants allow for easier eye movement and help create a more pleasant undulation, leading itself to natural plant groupings. Vase-shaped trees or plants, such as the flowering dogwood native to Florida, define a canopy providing a space for sitting. Weeping forms of tree, such as the native fig tree, bring the eye to the ground. Attention is brought to whatever is underneath the tree. Pyramidal forms, such as the magnolia, drag the eyes to the sky, so they should be used sparingly. A group of pyramidals will help to soften any upward influence. Add foliage for a more natural look.

Texture Matters

Texture is defined as a relationship between twig size and foliage as well as the plant mass. When you are close, texture appears from the shape and size of the leaves, twigs, spacing of twigs, shading and colors, and dullness or gloss of leaves. From a distance, texture is gleaned from the overall mass of the plants, along with lighting and shadows.

Color Creates Response

Color is quite powerful in the creation of feeling and mood. "Color therapy" is very popular in today's fast paced world. Which moods or feelings do different colors create for you? Which colors will matter in your personal landscape? What feelings are you hoping to evoke in your garden? Do you want this to be a place of constant action or a place for you to relax?

Read the list below to find out what colors say:

















You'll also need to know which colors work for your specific design theme.

Cool colors include green, blue and purple. Cooler colors are restful, less conspicuous, suggest distance, recede into the landscape and are low scale.

Warm colors are red, yellow and orange. They are cheerful, conspicuous, stimulating, leap out of the landscape, and are high scale.

Scale Brings Out Emotion and Is Related to Color

Absolute scale brings together the fixed structure and the value of the landscape. Smaller trees will make a house appear larger. Bushes will make the house seem taller while water will reflect the image of the house, providing depth.

Relative scale brings out comparative values or sizes of objects within the landscape. This scale is quite emotionally charged, so naturally it is linked to color. It could create feelings of relaxation or action.

Balance Brings Equilibrium on Right and Left Sides

Formal balance is sometimes necessary for equilibrium. The same design is repeated on the right and the left, providing stateliness, stability and dignity. This balance can be very high maintenance to keep both sides similar. Informal balance refers to a difference between the right and the left.

Variety and Simplicity

Variety and simplicity work in harmony to provide balance. Simplicity provides a degree of repetition instead of constant change, bringing about unity. Variety is the diversity of a garden and contrast in simple texture, color and form. This prevents any form of monotony in the design. If you aim for simplicity, repeat plant materials in groupings and sweeps. If you'd like more variety, fill in spaces with differing plants. For example, zipper plantings, or repeating the same patterns again and again, lack both simplicity and variety. Rather, they create a high amount of monotony. If possible, avoid zoo horticulture, or two of everything.

Emphasis Means Subordination and Dominance of Elements

The human brain naturally searches for subordination and dominance in life. As we view a landscape from every direction, we yearn to view subordination and dominance in a degree of elements. If it's not there, we tend to pull away from the landscape. Too many gardens lack the element of dominance. Others are overstuffed with dominance, emphasizing the focal point too hard. Emphasis is achieved through bold shapes, different sizes, the unusual and different groupings. Decide on the focal point and balance subordination with dominance.


This is the change in color, form, size and texture, providing life or movement.

Sequence in Texture

Change the leaf size in neighboring, differing plants by one-half or more. Use a proportionate amount of fine textured plants. For example, a flower bed should have coarser textured, larger plants toward the back, then sequence toward finer textured and smaller plants toward the front.

Don't forget that texture becomes finer at a distance. In a far distant corner, plant finer textures then sequencing to coarser textures on the garden's edge.

Sequence in Color

There are only a small number of basic rules on how many cool or warm colors to use. You do need to be careful, though, to be sure the scale doesn't command the garden. More is never better. Generally, you want the design to have 90% green to offset every 10% of color. Darker shades and purer intensities will dominate and need to be used near the focal point.

Remember that warm colors always work in sequence. Use the cool colors to contrast warm; this is much more effective than any sequences.

Color Sequence

Decide what colors are to be used in the garden. Decide if dark or light will dominate. Darker colors always dominate and show up to the eye first. Figure out the number of flowers or plants for each color you will need. Determine the largest number of dark color to be used, then select the next lighter shade. Increase the number by a third. Move on to the next lighter shade and add one-third. Keep going for all shades of color for the landscaping. Remember, crescent or kidney shaped groupings help create a more natural and flowing design.

Contrasts in Color

Monochrome dark/light contrasts use two-thirds of one shade and a third of another. Complementary contrasts use two-thirds of a complementary color and a third of another.

Create Combinations for More Pizzazz Or Serenity

Color contrasts
Pairing opposites

If you are interested in developing a beautiful landscape design for your property contact Grants Gardens. We will be happy to make your vision a reality.

Big Impact From Small Landscape Design Projects

A small space can have big opportunities for landscape design and add value, function and enjoyment to your property.

Pathways along properties are a great example of a small space that has lots of potential. While a path along a home or property line may not have a large horizontal surface it also has a large vertical surface to make use of. Florida's climate allows us to use a variety of vines that will cling to vertical surfaces and can provide a stunning backdrop. If the area is under full sun at least 6 hrs per day bougainvillea can be grown and cropped to create a path lined with colorful magenta blooms. Varieties of Jasmine can be planted to provide both a visual feast and a treat for the sense with amazing fragrant blooms and dark thick foliage. Many small to medium sized palm trees are perfect for lining paths or for use in other small spaces. Our professional designers can create an the illusion more space by curving the path or having it wind around other focal points like, bird baths, park benches, large planters or decorative vases.

Potted gardens are another great way to add color and life for even the smallest space like a condo patio. They also give the homeowner a nice garden to have when home owners association restrictions limit the available options. Many of our clients on Longboat Key already know how much a small potted garden can do for an otherwise spartan space like lining a driveway or porch of a compact villa home. Potted gardens can take full advantage of the conditions on our property by planting suitable plants for your full-sun, full-shade or hot and dry spaces with the amazing variety of plants that can thrive in our warm climate. Everything from cacti and succulents to shade loving lush tropical broad leaf plants can be used with potted gardens.

Large trees, depressions in the ground and even the corners of buildings all provide great places for big impact with a small project. An island can be created by adding a planting around any large trees. The tree provides the anchor and shadier conditions to plant a larger variety of plants and shrubs. A large boulder placed in a planted island with tropical plants like bromeliads can create drought tolerant accent that looks beautiful and is easy to maintain. A low-spot or depression in your lot is a great place to ad a small rain garden. Rain gardens do not take up much room but look beautiful and help conserve and cleans runoff after storms. The angular corners of buildings are also an opportunity for a landscape project to make a big impact. By adding a gracefully curved bed wrapping around the corner you visually soften the appearance and create the illusion of a larger space. Taller shrubs can be used to hide other Florida-friendly improvements like rain barrels, cisterns or other irrigation equipment.

While Grants Gardens is well known for creating large magnificent and ecologically friendly landscapes in Sarasota, Bradenton and the barrier islands. We also create beautiful landscapes, patio gardens and other small wonders that will improve your property but not over grow your bank account.

Waterfront Landscaping Presents Challenges And Opportunities

Projects on Siesta Key, Longboat Key and other Sarasota area properties that are directly on the waterfront require a well-planned design that takes in account several factors.

First and foremost the design has to look great, but because the property is directly on the water extra care is needed to make sure any water that runs off the roof, and hard surfaces of the property is reduced to trapped to keep pollutants and excess fertilizer from washing into the bay.

Having a home directly on the water also some other issues that landlocked properties do not have to address. The side of the home that faces to water will need to maintain an open view, have functional access to the seawall and any dockage, but also have some degree of privacy for homeowners who want to enjoy the outdoors.

During late summer as hurricanes frequently pass by the Sarasota area on their way into the Gulf, they can cause the canals to jump their banks and flood the yard with saltwater. If your landscaper has not planned for this with salt tolerant plants, a large portion of the landscape could be damaged or even destroyed as too much salt will kill many plants.

Hardscape features like porous patios mad from brick rather than concrete will allow some run off water to seep through to the ground and give the homeowner a wonderful patio to use. Water features can help soften the feel of the area and add to sound of splashing water for the senses to enjoy.

Rain Gardens Stop Runoff, Remove Pollutants And Return Water To The Aquifer

As the Sarasota area continues to grow one of the challenges developers, architects and city planners will encounter when building a structure or creating a paved road is the effect of a large non-permeable surface has on runoff.

Once a large waterproof surface has been created it can generates massive amounts of runoff during a rain storm.

This is a particular concern for the Sarasota area with so many large estate homes, sidewalks and roadways lining the bays and canals. In the case of large scale engineering projects, the standard solution is to create large open drainage ponds were the runoff water is channeled into and stored during storms. For residential areas and areas with high land values these large ponds are not an option.

Rain gardens also called Bioretention areas are an elegant solution. A rain garden, when properly designed will catch an be able to retain all of the storm water runoff generated in a typical rain event for the are it is designed. The rain garden will have the effect of stopping or in unusually large downpours, greatly slowing the speed of runoff, trapping or reducing the pollutants that find their way into Sarasota Bay, as well as allowing the water time to percolate down to the aquifer.

Rain Gardens have another major benefit – they clean the water of pollutants.

Depending on the load of pollutants a rain garden or bioretention area can be extremely effective in providing a natural filter that will remove and consume the pollutants in the run off water. Areas of normal amounts of pollution, like a suburb or waterfront neighborhood a rain garden is a simple landscape project. Areas that are pollution hotspots, highly urban or near a gas station for example may need to have a more advanced design that extends the amount of time run off is processed by the natural bacterias but as with residential areas the water will be cleaned of pollutants by natural biological processes.

What Exactly Is A Rain Garden?

A rain garden is a shallow depression in the ground that is planted with native plants that can handle living in a soggy environment as well as when it's dry. The depression is sculpted so storm water runs into it and gets trapped. The soil bottom of the rain garden has been prepared and depending on the conditions, may contain different layers of materials that allow the water to drain into the surrounding soil. Once the water has been trapped in the rain garden natural biological processes with begin to remove the nutrient from the water and break down pollutants into nutrients plants can utilize.

Once a rain garden has been established it will also create a beautiful habitat for native wild life. Landscape designers can make rain gardens very simple to more extravagant, incorporating rocks and a variety of plants to make a beautiful design that enhances both the aesthetic appeal of the space and works to clean and capture water, returning it to the local aquifer.

If you are interested in improving your landscape with a Florida-friendly rain garden contact Grants Gardens and we can design and install the next beautiful edition to your property.

Also, For additional information about Rain Gardens visit

Hardscape Design; From Simple Landscape Decorations To Infrastructure

Other than the term “Landscape Design” no other term in the landscape construction industry is more general than “Hardscape”. Hardscaping can serve many purposes and can be anything from simple pottery in a planted are to large water features, pool decks, stone terraces, pavilions or outdoor fireplaces. Adding hardscape elements to the natural landscape can completely change the nature of a space by adding an artistic focal point, improved access, a new function or enhanced privacy.

Grants Gardens frequently uses a variety of hardscape features to enhance our clients properties. At a recently completed project on Sarasota bay we utilized several hardscape elements to greatly enhance the homeowners property. When working with large projects in sensitive areas like bay front property, storm water management should always be a consideration because, any hardscape element such as a deck or patio will generate a lot of runoff in the rainy season.

In this particular project Grants Gardens designed and built, several large hardscape elements including a manufactured, natural appearing concrete surfaced deck with sweeping stone stairs. The same material was used to create a large shaded porch beneath the deck and opposite another large hardscape element, a custom designed pool deck. We carried the joint-lines from the stone blocks out to line up perfectly with the stone pool deck. All of that impervious surfaces provides great space for enjoying the Florida climate, but does create the need for additional storm water runoff management. Grants Gardens installed buried drain swales to capture and biologically clean storm water runoff before it can run into Sarasota Bay.

Another example of large hardscape design is the new circular driveway, also designed and installed y Grants Gardens. We redesigned the old L-shaped one that dominated the front of the property with a more efficient circular drive, that surrounded an island of large Cuban Royal Palm Trees. This created several improvements for the homeowner including much improved curb appeal from the softer look, a beautiful new green space with large shady palms. The shape of the drive also eliminated the need to back out of the drive way. This arrangement was also more ecologically friendly as the increased green space not only captures run off but also reduces temperature in the micro climate by providing shade.

On a dramatic Casey Key location we created a truly unique hardscape feature, a large pavilion adjacent to a swimming pool with an outdoor fireplace. A treat to all the senses hardscape in the form of a natural looking waterfall and pond adds both a visual focal point and the soothing sound of a stream.

Hardscape elements are not just concrete and steel but can also have a natural organic design. On the same project Grants Gardens created a natural shell path lined with limestone boulders and colorful an drought-tolerant bougainvillea. Following the natural path we used large limestone boulders to create a natural terraced garden that was planted with drought-tolerant bromeliads and cold-hardy palms.

This tropical looking and drought-tolerant terrace serves to provide a focal point, as well as protect the landscape by holding the sloped yard against erosion or the occasional flood from the bay.

Hardscape can be small and simple as well. We created quite focal points in otherwise vanilla areas of the design by stone birdbaths and pottery. Hardscape can also extend to the mulch choice.

For featured areas Grants Gardens mulched around drought-tolerant bromeliads, with smooth river stones for a beautiful, low-maintenance area.

Hardscaping is one of the most useful tools to the landscape designer. When planned properly the creative and functional uses of hardscaping is nearly limitless, a little more planning and those structured elements can be environmentally responsible as well.

Florida Native Plants - Benefits For Home Owner and Community

A presentation recently posted by Grants Gardens featuring detailed information on the differences between Florida native Plants and use of exotics in local landscapes. In this presentation Grant explains how native plants can be a benefit to home owners in landscape maintenance savings, water usage savings, reduce environmental impact and enhance the sustainability of a home.

Florida Native Plants from Grants Gardens, Sarasota Florida

Irrigation and Runoff Planning Is Essential For Turf At Waterfront Locations

As a landscape designer who believes in a reduced impact on the local environment is always the best way to go I rarely recommend large amounts of turf, especially when that turf is located along Sarasota's canals or bays.

However sometimes it can't be helped, either it's already in the design or the client simply wants to keep views as open as possible.

Having large square footage of turf directly against a salt water presents several challenges for the responsible landscaper that must be addressed. These challenges include the potential for saltwater inundation, proper irrigation, pest management and fertilizer programs that won't end up in the bay and of course control of storm water run off.

Anyone who has spent much time at a coastal waterfront location becomes aware the bay does not always stay below the seawall. When large storms combine with high tides often the bay or canal rises above the seawall and can flood the landscape. Planning for this eventuality is a must at waterfront job sites, and proper plant and turf species selection is the key component. Many types of palm trees and tropical shrubs are salt-tolerant but what about the grass? While no turf is completely invulnerable to prolonged salt water exposure there are a few types that make for great lawns that will survive being inundated with saltwater if properly flushed. Zoysiagrass in particular is a nice choice when salt exposure is an issue.

Saltwater inundation is one consideration but in general it is water coming from the property that requires the most planning. Many of Sarasota's waterfront homes have very large roof surface areas. During a storm huge amounts of rainwater are collected by roof, paved drives, paths, decks and patios and will rush towards the bay or canal. This runoff will contain pollutants that have settled on the roof over time, oil and other pollutants from drives and excess fertilizers and pesticides from turf areas. Low close cropped lawns are perfect for allowing all of this run off into the bay if not managed properly.

Grants Gardens takes this into consideration and will install measures that can both work to greatly reduce storm water runoff and clean that water on it's way to the bay. By grading the landscape to direct runoff water into retention drainage swales and cisterns water can be stored for later use in dry times or allowed for natural biological processes to clean captured water in underground drainage swales. After proper installation of these features the next best thing to do for improving your waterfront turf's environmental impact is to make sure you have a proper fertilizer and pest control program in place. Again proper planning makes all he difference. By fertilizing during times of lower rainfall in amounts that are not in excess of what the lawn will consume, there will be far less excess nutrient that makes it's way into the bay even during the summer rainy season. These measures will go along way keeping polluted or nutrient rich water from entering Sarasota Bay.

Last but not least is irrigation. A well-designed irrigation system will provide what water your lawn needs when it needs it and not excess. Grants Gardens are experienced at designing and installing highly efficient irrigation solutions that will be so water efficient they often are not effected by Sarasota county's water restrictions. We us advanced computer controlled systems that include their own weather station. The control system has been programmed with years of historical data about how fast water will be evaporating from plants called evapotranspiration. With this data the irrigation controller will take into account the current date along with the current weather conditions and determine how much water is needed to irrigate without over doing it. Grants Gardens also uses a highly advanced irrigation spray head that creates water drops with a special size and shape that breezes will not blow away. In fact these spray heads are so efficient normal use is allowed even when we are under water restrictions.

While large amounts of waterfront turf is not ideal, if required Grants Gardens can make installing bayside lawns environmentally friendly and easy to maintain.

Longboat Key and other Beachfront Locations Require Special Considerations For Landscape Designers

Longboat Key's climate and location, while beautiful does present some challenges for large landscape projects. Particularly for waterfront locations when the home owner wants a really impressive tropical landscape that's runs right up to either a canal or beach front.

Many more factors need to be balanced on waterfront property than the inland. In terms of the design and plants and trees used, very hardy species will need to be selected with a range of qualities including drought tolerance, the ability to grow well in sandy soil also important for waterfront homes is a certain amount of salt tolerance. By planting salt tolerant plants like cocoanut palms, Black olive, or even sea grapes, landscapers ensure flooding from high tides or storm surge will not destroy the landscape.

Cold hardiness is much less of a concern for homes on Sarasota's barrier islands and canals. During the occasional winter cold-front when temps get close to freezing, the relatively warm water in the canals and gulf usually keep sensitive tropical plants from suffering much damage and prevent a hard frost.

For bay-front and beachfront homes a well planned landscape can help protect the property from erosion and shifting shorelines by helping to hold the ground behind dunes in place. Wildlife must also be considered for homeowners in waterfront areas. Longboat Key and Sarasota take wild life protection seriously and as such there are regulations that affect the homeowner's options in their landscaping projects. One example of this is Turtle-friendly lighting. Many homeowners want to enhance their tropical gardens and outdoor decks and patios with landscape lighting. However bright lights in the evening can be disastrous for hatching sea turtles. The Sea Turtle's instinct is to follow the moonlight into the water, if a homeowners lights are too bright the baby Turtles will become confused and may end up going the wrong direction. Grants Gardens offers Turtle-friendly lighting that meets local regulations for protecting the turtles and creates a beautiful and safer ambiance for enjoying your outdoor space.

Another obvious consideration for waterfront and island homes is water management. This includes landscape irrigation, controlling runoff and pollutants like fertilizers and pesticides.

Many of the beautiful broad-leaf tropical foliage plants require lots of fresh water, as such careful thought on where to place these plants can save thousands of gallons of water over time and result in healthier plants. By carefully planning with irrigation zones that are appropriate for your property's micro-climates and selecting the right plant for the right place it is possible to have a stunning and lush tropical garden, directly at the waters edge. Furthermore by planting certain shrubs and grasses as a natural barrier, they will act as a filtration system to help remove any excess fertilizers that may be present during the hard rains in the summer months.

For ongoing landscape maintenance on Longboat Key and other Sarasota area locations, careful application of fertilizer is essential. Get it wrong and get used to more red tide and fish kills ruining your beach day or boating trip. Get it right and your beach-side garden will be lush year-round and can actually help remove excess nutrient from runoff.

Grants Gardens have been providing fine landscaping services to Longboat Key home owners and businesses for years including, landscape design, landscape maintenance, irrigation systems and outdoor lighting. We can design and maintain a beautiful and responsible landscape that will add, beauty, value and peace of mind for your waterfront property.

Landscape Maintenance Practices That Protect Sarasota's Beauty and Value

The Sarasota area economy prospers when we attract visitors both seasonal and new residents. Everyone who visits our area is impressed with the amazing tropical landscapes with lush exotic plants that line the beachfront homes and neighborhoods of Sarasota and her islands.

With this in mind it's with a shared responsibility that home owners, businesses and landscape maintenance companies have to keep our landscapes not only beautiful and attractive, but sustainable. The Sarasota area environment seems hardy enough, but is actually quite sensitive. With so many waterfront homes, irrigation and storm water management is essential but with proper planning and maintenance practices we will keep our waterways blue and wildlife attracting visitors into the future.

Below are a few essential points to address during the design and ongoing landscape maintenance that will go a long way to producing a beautiful yet sustainable Florida friendly landscape.

1 - The Right Plants In The Right Places

It seems simple enough and it really is. Nothing can do more to ensure a sustainable and healthy landscape or Garden than having plants in places they will do well, without too much work. With the sheer number of plants that will grow in Florida however it can be overwhelming, the temptation for many is to rush out and grab that palm tree or fruit tree or tropical shade shrubs because they are stunning without researching the best spots.

A consequence of planting in the wrong spot could be , you have to waste money by watering a bush or tree much more frequently than you would like to keep it healthy, because that spot on your property is too hot and dry for it. This is a common mistake, and over-watering has have many negatives including, costing you more money, adding nutrient into our bays and canals, and having to either waste time watering the plant, or over-irrigate with your landscape irrigation system to keep the plant healthy.

By researching both your property's conditions, and the plant's will requirements, it's a simple thing to plant your selections in the right place.

2 - Water Efficiently

If you have chosen the correct plants for the particular spot, and grouped plantings with similar water needs together, than you have taken major steps to ensuring efficient water use. However things can go awry without a properly designed irrigation system or watering schedule. Be sure your watering at the right time of day! By running your irrigation system in the early morning hours, the water has time to soak in before the hot Florida sun comes up. By Watering in the early morning rather than evening you also reduce the chance for mold and mildew problems that can result if the plants stay wet all night.

Be sure your irrigation system is properly tuned up, and that your irrigation controller is set to adjust for daylight savings time and reduced water use during the rainy season and cooler months. Having a properly tuned irrigation system with the correct irrigation technology will not only save you money, but with more water use restrictions like in Florida's future, it's also great planning.

If you have questions about your irrigation system Grants Gardens offers a seasonal irrigation tune-up to make sure things are running as they should.

3 - Fertilizer - The Right Type, Right Amount at The Right Time

With Florida's generally poor sandy soil, most plants that are not Florida-native will require fertilizer as part of a complete landscape maintenance program, to be in top health. A well-planned fertilizer program can really make a difference in the growth rate and beauty of your plants, but a poorly designed one can cause problems for the plant and pollute the waterways that are a big reason many of us decided to come here in the first place. The soil is a living ecosystem and as such the fertilizer needs change over time and depending on the season. The goal of any fertilizer program is to deliver only what is needed by the plants and nothing more. Too much or the wrong kind, can not only be bad for plants but will eventually find it's way into Sarasota Bay causing algae blooms and even red tide.

Grants Gardens landscape maintenance technicians are experts at determining the correct fertilizer program for your land's specific conditions, and coupled with keeping the plants mowed, and pruned to the right height for the current season, we can keep your yard both stunningly beautiful and Florida-friendly.