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Lauren Shiner

Tampa Landscape Design

Landscapes, Hardscapes, Pergolas, Lighting,

Water & Fire Features for Tampa Bay . . .

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Garden Tips to Grow By

Butterfly & bird Garden

Classic Formal Landscape

Northern Style GARDENS

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Tropical Landscape

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Mediterranean Landscapes

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  • Even native plants will die in a drought.  Keep an eye out for stress.  Buy a moisture meter if you have any question because overwatering can do as much damage as underwatering.

  • All new landscaping has special water needs.  University of Florida's IFAS plant division has great information.

  • Micro-irrigation systems are not subject to watering restrictions.  A timer on a hose bib, a hose and some nozzles will save your landscape investment.

  • Don't bother with weed cloth; use 3" of mulch and replenish it every 6 months to a year, depending on how long you've been mulching. A new landscape bed will require more mulch in 6 months and then another mulching 6 months after that to have a chance at keeping the weeds at bay.

  • Fertilize with household vegetable wastes (no meat or cheese).  Pile and rotate it if you're ambitious or dump it directly near the roots of needy plants.  Be aware that critters might welcome your generosity.

  • At water's edge, leave at least a 6' plant margin for wildlife.  You will be amply rewarded by butterflies, hummingbirds, ducks, otters and other wildlife.  Plus, it's the law and you could be fined for taking out plants, even invasives, because they provide habitat.

  • Use Neem Oil late in the day to fend off annoying pests on your plants.  If you spray during the day, you will kill the bees, but if you spray after bees have gone home at dusk.

  • Trim your shrubs in a timely manner.  Azaleas are best trimmed during July or August for maximum Spring blooms.

  • Pine bark is a renewable resource mulch.  Cypress mulch not so much.  Eucalyptus is even better.

  • Get joy from your pond by adding a solar powered fountain spitter. 

  • Plant old garden roses by the common entry or patio and remind yourself of your grandmother.

  • Put out tuna cans as rain gauges and low-tech ways to determine how well your irrigation system is covering your plants, especially in areas where your plants are failing.

  • Yes, you can water too much.  Plant leaves will turn yellow.  Yellow leaves with a brown tip are not getting enough water.

  • Plant Florida natives whenever possible.

  • Plant two-fer plants.  If you can plant a plant that is hardy, but also flowers, good.  If you can plant a tree that provides food, good. If you can plant a plant that flowers, is perennial and has a wonderful scent--great.

  • Plant for your site: Don't plan on a Mediterranean landscape if you live in the middle of a swamp.  Don't attempt a tropical landscape if you live in the desert.  Seems like it should be common sense.  But a compromise is always possible if you know what you're doing.

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