Orlando offers something for everyone when it comes to neighborhood landscapes. The city’s landscapes are composed of everything from oak-tree-lined streets echoing the old South to lakefront and woodsy views. Regardless of the location, the hot trends for Orlando landscaping have the environment in mind, as well as functionality, beauty, and bringing your living space outdoors.
Orlando’s mild winters make it possible to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Missy Henrikson, with The National Association for Landscape Professionals, notes, “What we’re seeing is people’s desire to make their outdoor living space an extension of their home. People are being very intentional with how they want to use their outdoor spaces.”
Creating outdoor living space can include things like constructing a hardscape, outdoor firepit, and grill, outdoor kitchen, fountain, seating arrangements, using a vertical garden, or a screened area with the landscape blending in. The goal is to utilize all the outdoor space and make it functional as well as attractive.
1. Utilizing a Hardscape
Utilizing a hardscape throughout your landscape brings function as well as interest to the area. Installing a retaining wall with built-seating and enlarging a patio helps in creating your outdoor living space area. Additionally, adding a stone or paver pathway winding around your garden beds and trees pumps up attention to the area. The addition of water features and fountains are trending, surrounded by a hardscape. Even adding larger stones and boulders in the garden adds interest and beauty.
Adding color to your garden and landscape seems always to be a trend that is sure to grab the eye’s attention. With all the plant choices, it is easy to add year-round color to your landscape by using perennials and annuals. To keep continuous color season after season, plant flowering annuals and change them out at the end of each season. Using flowering annuals in hanging baskets or containers and placed by an entranceway or porch area will brighten the area all year. You can also add a pop of color by using one of the many different colored mulches in the landscape.
3. Asymmetrical Gardens
Asymmetrical gardens are trending, giving landscapes a more natural look and flow and not so structured when using similar plants with the same shape and size. You achieve a more natural appearance by utilizing bushes and trees of differing heights and sizes. An asymmetrical garden incorporating different shrubs and trees leading up to an entranceway can have a dramatic effect on the area. Add year-round color to the garden by using plants with colorful foliage like crotons, mixed with flowering shrubs such as azalea.
4. Going Native
As concerns for the environment grows so does the use of native plants in Orlando landscapes. Natives tolerate the area’s weather and environment. They also benefit native pollinators, which helps the local environment. Advantages to using native plants include, low fertilizer needs, more drought-tolerant, resistant to pest and disease problems and require less maintenance than plants not native to the area. Using native plants is part of the University of Florida’s Florida Friendly Landscaping Program.
5. Creating a Foodscape
Linda Adams, chief operations officer for the Orlando-based Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) states, “The big thing for people, in general, is wellness. They have a concern with how healthy their food is. People are creating outdoor rooms, patios and specified gardens (meditation garden, yoga garden).” You don’t have to have a large space to create a foodscape, as you can grow a wealth of veggies, fruits and herbs in containers or window gardens.
Busy people often don’t have time to care for their outdoor space. This is where automated sprinklers and lighting come in handy. If your grassy area is small, you might even want to go with a robotic mower. Select low-maintenance native plants or those hardy to the Orlando area, which is located in USDA plant hardiness zone 9.
7. Metal Art & Decor
Not every Orlando landscape will be able to pull this off, but utilizing metal art and decor in the landscape is trending. You can incorporate metal through various means from water features, statues and art decor, wall art, as well as using it in your outdoor furnishings. However you use it, metal art and decor is sure to bring attention to that area of your landscape.
8. Rain Garden
If your landscape has a slow-to-drain spot or abuts one of Orlando’s many lakes, consider a rain garden. It utilizes a wetter area and brings beauty and interest to it. A rain garden needn’t be complicated. It can be a simple area where water collects from a downspout, or designed to be a more complex ecosystem where runoff naturally occurs. Choices in plants suitable for the area are vast.
Design with plants tolerant to three zones:
- Zone 1 for plants that tolerate very wet and flooding conditions.
- Zone 2 for plants tolerating occasional standing water.
- And Zone 3 for plants tolerating damp conditions but not flooding.
Trendy Landscape No Matter the Size
No matter the size of your Orlando landscape, it’s possible to incorporate many of these continuing trends into your yard. All go hand in hand with developing a beautiful and functional Florida friendly landscape that not only is a neighborhood showstopper, but also helps the local environment stay healthy.