Landscaping in Southwest Florida
Here’s what to consider when planning your landscaping in Southwest Florida.
The ecology of southwest Florida is unique, lacking the distinct seasonality of northern climates (or even simply further north within the state), and presenting particular challenges related to heat and, depending on the time of the year, either an over-abundance or lack of water. When designing and maintaining a landscape design in southwest Florida, it is advisable to work directly with landscapers who have extensive experience with local planting, soil, and weather patterns.
Southwest Florida Climate
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map designates Lee and Collier counties as zone 10a, meaning the annual average minimum temperature falls no lower than 30-35 degrees Fahrenheit. These zone designations are based on 30-year averages and are good guidelines but are not absolute determinants of what plants will or will not thrive in an area. For example, relative shade or sun exposure, or if an area is prone to high or low winds, may be important factors to consider in determining a landscaping design.
Rainfall is another critical variable in our region that directly impacts landscaping design. Based on long-term annual averages, November, December, and January are the lowest rainfall months, with less than 2 inches of rain per month recorded in and around Fort Myers. This, of course, goes up considerably in the summer months, with a minimum of 9 average inches recorded monthly between June, July, and August.
With the fluctuations in rainfall, so go the average high temperatures, topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit from June through September. From December through February, locals and visitors alike enjoy average high temperatures in the mid to upper 70s. Average highs in the low 90s, accompanied by equally high humidity, in the summer months take a toll on more delicate flowering plants. Many local gardeners will replant their gardens in the early fall to take advantage of the moderating temperatures, and allow hardier native species to thrive in the hotter season.
In Florida you also have to consider soil type and the impact that will have on your landscape choices. In much of the southern half of the state, the soil tends to be very sandy, which impacts both drainage and the root structure of various types of plants. While it is possible to lay additional topsoil on top of the naturally occurring soil, this may erode over time, and may be unnecessary as there is a wide variety of native species that are well-suited to growing locally.
Southwest Florida Landscape Professionals
With these and other factors in mind, it’s worth the investment of time and resources to work with a professional landscape designer to achieve your lasting vision for your property. Legacy Landscaping Services brings decades of experience with and extensive knowledge about our local environment, ensuring your landscape design will be complementary with and responsive to the shifting weather patterns we experience over the course of the year. Legacy will work closely with you to identify plant species that are known to flourish while still offering the visual appeal you desire, to create a functional and attractive layout, and to appropriately manage irrigation placement and output. Contact us for a consultation.