I did not realize I was a gardener until I purchased my home. I had previously rented houses and had to do lawn maintenance, which is more of a chore than a joy. Once I had my own piece of dirt and I could rip up the grass and redesign planting areas, my inner gardener emerged!
Living in Florida is a gardeners dream; we have an abundance of sunshine, rain and a seemingly never ending growing season. I have been working on my landscape design for a few years, a relaxed pace, and it is starting to take form.
When I moved in, the backyard was a blank slate; there were a few dead and dying trees but not much else. It was ripe for design and food production. My goal in landscaping is to create a landscape design that takes minimal upkeep. A goal of mine is to grow as much food for my family as I can. I think it is essential to know where your food comes from and what was used to grow it, and if you grow it yourself you have complete control over the process!
Landscaping in 3 easy steps; these are the three main steps that I follow when I landscape.
Step 1: Plant fruit trees. I am a firm believer that you should grow food as much as you can. With food costs rising and the use of pesticides rapidly growing, it’s nice to be able to supply my family with fresh home-grown fruit that was grown organically. The trees should be spread out from each other based on their maturity size. Also, do not plant trees too close to the house or fences. I found this out the hard way when a section of fence fell on my baby lime tree! It has since been moved and is doing great, but it was a reminder that placement is important. Mature fruit trees can also be very good privacy screens, so place them in areas to block a view you do not want to see.
Step 2: Buffer landscaping areas. We are located in a semi-urban/suburban setting, a ¼ acre of land with 6’ wood fencing surrounding the back yard. I strive to make this plot of land seem like a forested, interesting/tropical area. Adjacent to the fencing, I planted a mixture of perennial bushes that will grow to the height of the fence or taller and perennial flowering plants. This creates a low maintenance garden area that is beautiful and attracts bees and butterflies. Planting native flowering plants helps support your local insect and bee population. Many plant and tree species require pollination from insects; the use of pesticides is killing these insects and is having a detrimental effect of our plant and food production. I don’t use pesticides and plant flowering plants to support the insect populations, I encourage you to do the same!
Step 3: Watch your plants grow. Watch the plants grow and fill in, preferably with your morning coffee in hand. When your plants are new you will have to water them a lot, do this according to the instructions of the plant you purchased. Also, you will occasionally need to weed. I like to put a thick layer of pine bark mulch around my plants to cut down on the amount of weeding needed. It also looks nice!
The evolution of your yard will be a continuous process. Sometimes it will feel like the growth is taking forever, I keep wondering when my avocado tree will produce and hoping this year is the year. But sometimes the growth will be fast. Feel free to move plants around as needed and plant new ones. I hope you enjoy lazy landscaping as much as I do!