Florida Yards & Neighborhoods

Designing Your Florida Yard

The first phase in creating a Florida-friendly yard is careful planning and design. Visit the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden at the Extension office in Seffner to get some great ideas!

There are several resources available through the University of Florida IFAS that can provide you with some visual examples of sample landscape designs for various situations, including suggested plant lists.  

Start with Lawn and Garden Design and Layout publications.

To get started on your own design, follow these steps:

  1. Make an enlargement (at least 14”x17” or bigger) of your existing property survey. Have that large copy laminated, so that you can draw on it with water-based markers. Identify north, where you get the most sun and shade, and any other important considerations (e.g. septic tank, buried cable, etc.) 
  2. Draw all of the existing plant beds, trees, etc. that you want to keep. 
  3. Make a list of all the things you want to have in your ideal landscape – fish pond, shade trees, outdoor kitchen, butterfly garden, herb garden, meditation garden, entertainment area, etc. 
  4. Choose your top 2 or 3 from the list and identify where they would best “fit” on your property. Draw them into the plan. 
  5. For each of those new areas, list the characteristics you would like to see. For example, do you want plants that all have blooms, berries and/or leaves with shades of red? Do you want plants that will be fragrant when they bloom? Do you have limited ground space but can grow plants up on a trellis or arbor?
  6. Once you’ve drawn out these areas to scale and listed the characteristics of the plants you want to see there, then you can start creating a preliminary plant list. Using the on-line Florida-Friendly plant list, you can specify your criteria and see suggested plants that will fit.