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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:09 pm
Location: Miami, FL

First Time Landscaping Project (Pics)

Hello I'm Alex from Miami, FL.

I bought my house with my wife back in March 08 and now with income tax we'll be able to fix up our lawn and backyard. When we got there lawn was all weeds. Weeds have kind of gone away but now I have a dead yard since we haven't gotten a lot of rain down here.

I don't have a sprinkler system but willing to water it when I have to in order to make it look nice.

Let me post up some pics of what I'm working with.

This is my front yard


This is my BackYard


As you can see we have a Mango tree in which we would not want to lose. We have a dead tree stump that we would need to take out.

Do we have to put new grass?
What plants can you advise us to use?

We like these plants to line the fence and possibly the sidewalk.

We're trying to be frugal here and getting our facts str8 before asking a landscaper for advice. Don't want to get caught with pants down. LOL

Greener Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

You probably need to add organic matter to the soil to build it up. Start a compost pile that you can add in future years. It is a lot of work.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Grass is a real water drinker. You can grow veggies and fruit for less water than grass takes.

I'd recommend going to a nearby independent garden-supply store and asking them for advice on varieties of veg's, fruits, ornamentals, etc. which grow in your area and which aren't water splurgers.

(And, no, this doesn't mean you'll have to grow palmettos! :) )

Some people meet with better success in Florida by planting earlier in the year and harvesting in June/July, to avoid the late July and August heat. That independent garden-supply store will also be able to discuss this with you!

Happy gardening.

Cynthia H. (graduated high school in Tampa...)
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Newly Registered
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:14 pm

I would suggest another beneficial alternative

Have you ever considered artificial grass? It looks like your grass is dying, and like cynthia_h said above, grass is definitely a water guzzler. I think if you had artificial grass your landscape would look beautiful among the things you have planted. You can definitely keep your trees and plants all while having the artificial grass surround it. Artificial grass looks and feels so natural, no one would even notice. Trust me, I had mine for 3 years, and I never look back. Hope you think about this eco-friendly and low maintenance solution.

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Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Columbia, SC

If you're interested in planting grass, centipede is - from all that I've heard - the best way to go in hot, humid climates. I may be mistaken from the pictures, but your yard doesn't seem to be terribly huge so I would think the centipede would fill the yard in fairly quickly.

I've also heard from former Florida residents that some municipalities have specific lines set up for sprinkler systems that use reclaimed water. Perhaps this option could be cheaper, if frugal is the way you're planning to go?

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

If you want to have lawn, you probably need to start over fresh. But you don't have to have lawn. If it were me, I'd plant the backyard with a bunch of veggie beds and fruit trees and the front yard with ornamental plantings maybe alternating with some mulched areas. Also things that make a yard really nice and usable include some sitting areas, an outdoor table (especially if you don't have a patio or deck somewhere with eating area), some kind of water feature, and/or a fire pit, maybe a hammock. Put all those things in first with paths to walk to them and then see if you have any space left over for lawn :) Think about an arbor or trellises, fence posts with horizontals to hang hanging baskets from, things that let you grow vertically and put some flower power up at eye level where it has a lot more punch. Since your yard is mostly flat, think about adding some berms for elevation change and more interest. Oh and of course you need bird baths, bird feeders, bird houses :) . Maybe even a little bit of TASTEFUL yard art.
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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:15 pm
Location: Oregon

You may skip the lawn and get plants that do not need much water. Alot of people are naturalizing their yards.

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Senior Member
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Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Toronto, ON, zone 5a

You can also try for local/heritage varieties of grass/ground cover. Which should be accustomed to the climate...

If you go with grass, never cut it too short, that will keep its eco system more stable and the grass greener...

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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:15 pm
Location: New Jersey

You might consider removing a lot of the hardscape materials, such as those lining your foundation. I would also get rid of those that are creating circle designs in the existing lawn. They are chopping up your already small spaces. Then you could create a more flowing planting design...beds could be larger to eliminate a lot of the grass and curves (as already mentioned) could be added.

Once you have found a more practical type of grass, you could then concentrate on the plants. Plant in groups (3 to 5 minimum of a variety) to create greater plant impact. Use lots of flowering shrubs and perennials for color.

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