Ahh, Orlando! Sunny skies and breathtaking landscapes make this city an outdoor living space hot spot. Hot landscaping trends for Orlando, FL, draw from old southern oak tree-lined streets, lakefront views, and woodsy environments to create the perfect outdoor area for city-dwellers.
What’s the goal? Developing a beautiful, functional outdoor space, of course. So grab your landscaping tools; it’s time to get creative. Here’s a look at the hottest trends for Florida landscaping this season.
12 Hot Landscaping Ideas for Maximizing Your Curb Appeal in Orlando
Central Florida is home to an incredible array of wildlife and lush vegetation. From flowering shrubs to majestic Florida native trees, the options for landscaping in Orlando are endless. Let’s take a look at 12 landscaping trends that will make your front yard, backyard, and patio the talk of your neighborhood.
1. Hardscape Heaven
What does an outdoor haven look like? Think pavers and patios, stone pathways, and built-in seating surrounded by a waterfall or fountain. The idea is to create one cohesive outdoor living space that’s as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. From retaining walls to fire pits, the options are practically endless here.
You don’t need to worry about chilly winter temperatures, either. Orlando weather doesn’t always cooperate, but when it does, you’ll be able to utilize your outdoor space year-round.
As a bonus, each space should be specific to the homeowner’s needs. Love to cook? Install an outdoor kitchen. Have a furry friend? Go for dog-friendly hardscapes. After all, your landscape is an extension of your home, so make it your own!
2. Color Me Impressed
Gone are the days of dull, drab gardens; now, brighter is better when it comes to landscaping trends in Orlando. Flowers, mulch, and foliage are popping up everywhere in stunning colors.
To keep your outdoor space looking fresh year after year with minimal effort, plant perennials with bright blooms. A few strategically-placed hanging baskets and containers with flowering plants will do the trick, too.
The trick is to choose plants with different bloom periods so your landscape is never without a pop of color: a few spring bloomers here, some fall bloomers there – and, since it’s Florida, you can even find winter bloomers!
3. Let’s Get Asymmetrical
We’ve all seen the formal garden look with its neatly manicured boxwoods and perfectly symmetrical shapes. And while it can be pleasing to the eye, homes and landscapes in Orlando are taking a more natural approach recently: asymmetry.
Mix and match shrubs and trees of various heights, and don’t be afraid of throwing in a few colored foliage plants like crotons or azaleas for added visual interest. It’ll create a homier environment, and it’ll take less work to maintain than a perfectly manicured landscape.
4. Natives Only!
When it comes to plants and flowers, the push for local varieties is stronger than ever. Make sure you pick drought-tolerant native trees and other plants native to Orlando (in USDA plant hardiness zone 9) that can tolerate the area’s environment and weather conditions.
Not to mention, native plants require less maintenance overall—which automatically puts them at the top of everyone’s list.
Plus, you can rest assured that your landscape is doing its part to help the environment by favoring local species and supporting native pollinators. Using native plants is part of the University of Florida’s Florida Friendly Landscaping Program.
5. Create a Foodscape
Eating healthy and saving time usually don’t go together, but your Orlando landscaping could be your saving grace. We’re talking about edible landscapes that offer up plenty of fruits, veggies, and herbs right in your backyard.
If you don’t have the space, container gardens or window boxes work just as well.
6. Low Maintenance? Yes, Please!
A busy lifestyle can often mean zero time for yard maintenance. That’s why automated irrigation systems and lighting are popular choices for on-the-go homeowners in Orlando. Additionally, battery-operated robotic mowers are perfect for smaller lawns that you don’t have time to take care of.
For an even easier approach, choose low-maintenance plants and trees that require less time and effort to keep healthy. Plants like rosemary and lavender are a few that won’t require much attention.
7. Metal Art and Decor
Adding a modern twist to traditional landscaping could be as simple as finding the perfect metal art for your outdoor area. Whether it’s wall art, sculptures, water features, or even furniture, a few key modern pieces can make a big impression and instantly liven up your outdoor space.
You can check out the metal sculptures at Orlando’s Harry P. Leu Gardens to find inspiration. Just remember the deadlock of going overboard—you want to make sure it adds value, not chaos. A few strategically-placed pieces here and there can maintain the balance.
8. It’s Raining Gardens
Does your yard have drainage issues in the rainy Orlando summer? That’s where rain gardens come in. They’re the perfect solution for absorbing stormwater runoff and making use of wetter areas that may otherwise be unusable.
Build your rain garden near a downspout so it can collect as much rainwater as possible.
Help protect your water supply by finding plants that are tolerant to three specific zones:
- Zone 1: tolerates very wet/flooding conditions
- Zone 2: tolerates standing water occasionally
- Zone 3: stands up to damp conditions but not flooding.
For more rain garden tips, see our guide to designing a rain garden!
9. A Vertical Way Out
Don’t have enough outdoor space to work with? Why not go up? Vertical gardening lets you add tons of greenery and texture to your small outdoor space. With DIY kits available, you’ll have your vertical garden up and running in no time.
Besides the conservation of space, vertical gardening is also a great way to liven up a wall or add dimension to your outdoor space. And trust us, you’ll be impressed with the plant selection available. From flowers and succulents to herbs and small fruits, your garden will never have looked this good!
10. Screen It In
Screened porches have been long-time favorites in Orlando landscaping, and they’re still jaw-droppingly beautiful options. Besides the fact that they allow you to enjoy the great outdoors bug-free, they also offer protection from UV rays and harsh weather, not to mention the privacy they grant you to entertain or simply relax on your own.
While it may feel like you’re losing outdoor space by adding a screened porch, it’s quite the contrary. With a screened porch, you get the chance to enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather.
11. Water Features: The Finishing Touch
Florida is known for its gorgeous waterscapes, and your backyard could be one of them. Water features such as koi ponds, bubbling streams, and outdoor showers are just some of the popular options for adding character to Orlando landscapes this season.
There’s also the option for more eccentric water features, such as bass-filled water walls, modern outdoor spas, and even fire-lit containers. The addition of one feature can truly change the whole tone of your outdoor area from boring to blazing!
12. Landscape Lights for Comfort
Orlando is home to many theme parks that have perfected the art of landscape lighting. Rightfully so! When done right, strategic outdoor lights will make your landscaping shine—no pun intended. Installing spotlights and up-and-down lighting to accent certain areas can change a mundane space into something magical.
And don’t forget about safety; security lights are just as important here. Motion and dusk-to-dawn sensors are the way to go. When it comes to outdoor lighting, there’s more than meets the eye, so get creative!
3 Rules for Sustainable Landscaping in Orlando, FL
There’s nothing hotter right now than going green. From xeriscaping to hiring a green landscaping service, there are plenty of ways to keep your outdoor area attractive and eco-friendly.
Here are three Florida landscaping rules that you should never break:
1. Don’t Forget About the Birds and the Bees
What’s a healthy garden without birds, bees, and other pollinators? When it comes to landscaping in Orlando, you have the unique opportunity to create an environment that will attract beneficial wildlife.
While it may seem intimidating, the trick is to research native plants that attract birds and butterflies and then invest in plants like milkweed and American beautyberry that provide food, water, and shelter for them.
Pests don’t stand a chance; the beneficial insects and species you attract will help keep unwanted critters that may damage your plants away.
2. Water Wisely
All too often, water misuse is the norm in Florida landscapes. But conserving this precious resource is essential and, luckily, more doable than ever with the advent of automated irrigation and rain collecting systems. So take the necessary steps to save water and money in the long run.
To make a real difference, invest in xeriscaping, which is a type of gardening that focuses on water conservation by using only native and drought-tolerant plants. It’ll save you manpower and time (often considered the two most important elements when it comes to landscaping) while cutting down your water bill, too.
3. Compost Your Way to a Soil Amendment
Are you looking to bring your outdoor space back to life? Composting is the way to go (it’s even part of the University of Florida’s Florida-Friendly Landscape program). It’s an easy way to boost your soil’s structure by creating “black gold,” a nutritious soil amendment chock-full of essential nutrients.
By using everyday household items like kitchen scraps and yard waste and allowing them to form into fine soil, you can supply your garden with the nutrients it needs to thrive. You’ll also help keep local landfills from overflowing and save water in the process.
FAQ About Landscaping in Orlando
The cost of design services will depend on the complexity and size of your project. On average, a landscaping project designer can cost between $2,200 and $6,180 per project. While it may seem like a lot of money, a professional designer’s expertise in planning and layout can prevent costly re-dos.
Yes, but beware! It may seem easier and cheaper to tackle the project by yourself, but this can lead to problems down the line. DIY designs often fail to factor in things like soil condition, drainage, light availability, and local wildlife—all of which can mess up a perfectly laid-out plan.
If you are going the DIY route, make sure to research local species and plants that would work best in your area before planting anything.
While it may seem easy to plant native plants and trees and call it a day, keep in mind that your outdoor space will still require maintenance—just not as much as a traditional garden. All outdoor spaces require regular pruning, weeding, and mulching, and low-maintenance gardens are no exception.
While it won’t need as much attention and water, you may find yourself doing similar activities to keep your outdoor space presentable. The key is to find the right combination of plants and trees that can tolerate your area’s environment, and you’ll be on the road to success.
Yes, ground cover plants can be used as an alternative to grass. They provide the same ground cover as grass while requiring little maintenance, making them a great solution for small areas or yards. Examples of great ground cover plants include liriope, periwinkle, and mondo grass.
These plants also increase biodiversity and look great when mixed with taller plants like ferns and orchids.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping at its Finest
Building an outdoor space is a complex undertaking, but it’ll be worth it in the end! When planning your trendy new Orlando landscape, take into consideration all that your garden will require.
Map out planting beds and pathways, take note of sunlight and shade needs, and assess the local wildlife that may have interest in certain areas of your landscape. But most importantly: have fun with it!Fusing the trends with your own personal style will create the perfect outdoor living space while showing off your unique personality. An Orlando landscaping company can help make your dream landscape a reality, so don’t take the journey alone—the pros have the resources and experience to get the job done right.
Main Image Credit: Ebyabe / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0