Maybe you’re starting to think it’s time to make a change to the appearance of your home or business. We know, we’ve been there ourselves! Without prior experience in landscape design it can be hard to know where to begin. Check out our list of coastal landscaping ideas on the Emerald Coast to kickstart your own journey.
Use Large Leaf Plants
Nothing is nicer than coming home to your own little rainforest-like oasis. We love to incorporate the lush greenery of oversized leaves into our landscape designs because of the distinctly tropical quality they impart. In our area of Northwest Florida, species like elephant ears, philodendrons, and gunnera tend to work well. This is not only because of the striking appearance of their massive leaves but also because they are well-adapted to survive our occasionally chilly winters. Ligularia and hostas are good choices for smaller areas because they cooperate well with nearby plants without blocking out all the sunshine they need. Palms and ferns are also common choices in our area since you really can’t go wrong with these classics.
Paint with Color
Nothing makes your home or business more visually appealing than a generous splash of carefully coordinated color. The large leaf plants we mentioned above do a great job as a sort of starting pallette, as they offer different shades of green which combine for a calming and cooling effect across the landscaped area. In our opinion, there is never enough green in a given yard, especially in our warm climate. We love the effect of mixing different sized and shaped leaves, like those in lower area palms set against broad-leafed philodendrons. Flowers are an easy and obvious choice to add extra layers of color, but they are certainly not the only go-to as we seek to brighten up the Emerald Coast’s tropical gardens. We love to lean on foliage because of the variety of hues they offer year round, rather than only in seasonal bloom cycles. In this way we can add wonderful reds, yellows, purples, and even pinks that bring color and also shade to your yard.
A comfort feature refers to any element of your yard that simply makes a person want to spend more time enjoying it. Afterall, we don’t want our yards or businesses to be beautiful only to admire - we want to be out there enjoying these areas!
If you have waterfront property, many homeowners choose to erect a windbreak in order to calm the effect of constant coastal breezes. This is typically a row of strategically planted trees or large shrubs that not only protect a seating area from winds but can also serve to add an element of privacy and block unwanted noise.
Whether you imagine a large striking garden with a full on waterfall or just want to think a little more traditionally and incorporate a fountain, a water feature is always a classy addition that elevates the sense of tranquility in any landscaped space. The calming sounds of running water can also help drown out any noise from surrounding areas.
Another of our favorite comfort features is the classic fire pit. Nearly everyone enjoys gathering around a fire - there’s just something about it that promotes kinship and good conversations. There are no shortage of creative approaches (and a few safety concerns) to creating what may well be the nighttime highlight of your garden, and we’d love to discuss options with you.
Hardscape refers to the built structures that are incorporated into the landscaped space, and its placement and aesthetic can be equally important as the plants you choose. We love the classic touch of wooden boardwalk; it’s a natural option that blends in seamlessly and brings to mind walks on the pier. Gravel is also a favorite choice on the Emerald Coast. We’ve loved the effects of using it both as a base for patios and also to make meandering pathways. Its main selling point is its natural presentation, which can visually link a garden with the rest of the landscape around it. Bluestone, while not the cheapest option, is a local favorite because of its dense composition and incredible durability. This stone is actually available in a host of colors, not just blue. Many in our coastal area love it because its smooth, cool feeling makes it perfect for walking barefoot.
Let’s face it, almost all of us wind up coming home from the beach completely covered in sand and sticky from saltwater and sunscreen. An outdoor shower is the ultimate way to refresh and rinse the sand off before heading inside. We love to explore creative ways to add one to patios or yards that won’t break the bank. The best part is, in addition to their obvious functional benefit, an outdoor shower can actually enhance the aesthetic of your landscaping and add value to your home. If you’re interested in a simple, cold-water solution, the project can be as easy as linking an outdoor faucet into a showerhead. The fun is in surrounding the shower with a small arbor and some gorgeous flowering vines that can create a little private paradise.