From spectacular hedging to mind-blowing swimming pools, Southwest Florida’s landscape game is strong. But to keep it that way, the people who lie awake at night contemplating areca palms and irrigation methods are always thinking ahead.
After all, it takes more than some sod and the occasional croton to cut it today. These days, landscape designers constantly juggle the need to keep clients, climates and coastlines happy and healthy, while also delivering gorgeous settings for all of us to envy.
It’s challenging work when you consider the need to balance customer demands, governmental regulations and an ever-changing climate, while also making sure the plants not only survive, but thrive. “In the past there was more of ‘let’s dress up the property with plants,’” Ellin Goetz of Goetz+Strophes Landscape Architects says. She adds that now she often has clients who ask for a sequence of spaces in their yard that have different characteristics: a fire pit or outdoor kitchen or a water feature. Those clients are also considering which materials to use on the ground that will best allow for those additions—artificial turf or permeable pavers, for example. “So many different options are being used in yards now, and that’s good,” Goetz says.
What has also influenced the trend is the magic of the internet. People see an idea at their fingertips and that churns a lot of creativity. “We used to tell people if they see something they like in a magazine, tear the page out and we’ll talk about it,” Goetz says. “Now they are clicking on stuff and getting ideas and saying, ‘How can we make something like this for us?’ But doing things outdoors can be a little bit more intimidating than buying furniture for the house. There are a lot of aspects to the outside that are different.”