Living in Northwest Florida brings many wonderful opportunities to be outside enjoying all the things nature has to offer. Outdoor living can become an extension of your home life. Planning and placing a creatively planned landscape space to be a part of this outdoor living adds so many dimensions for all to enjoy.
Creating a relaxing space outside of your home needs to take in many considerations before planning begins. These spaces should take into account the creative thoughts of the homeowner. Do you enjoy grilling, sitting quietly to take in the sights and sounds of nature, gardening, hedges and walls for private areas, enjoying shady or sunny spots and many other considerations? Do you most like spending your time outside during the day or evening? Will lighting be needed? How much space do you have? What types of furniture will be selected to create those small sitting spots?
Soil types around your home should be a part of plant selections and include water movement considerations during the design process. The northwest area of Florida ranges from sandy coastal to sandhill sands to clay soils in the northern area of many panhandle counties. It is recommended to take soil samples to determine soil needs prior to placing the first plant into these outdoor spaces. With soil moisture ranging from wet to dry, certain plants perform well in wet sites and others in dry sites. That information should be a part of landscape planning decisions.
How do you envision these enjoyable areas and link to the home design? Flowing from the front entry through the home out to the backyard, you need to keep in mind what you and your family want to see and enjoy. What will it look like as the settings mature and change? Will there be walkways connecting the outdoor rooms. What types of walk materials will be used, stone, gravel, wood, turfgrass or another creative material? Are specific plant settings desired that may include a vegetable, flower or herb garden?
Mitigating the influence of insect pests needs to be a consideration when creating an outdoor living space in the panhandle.
Building a fire wise landscape is an important consideration also as the risk of wildfire in the state is always present during drought periods. Selection of plants that are fire resistant should be a priority. Enjoying time with family around the firepit is a pleasant experience. Keep in mind to plan, place and use firepits wisely. Have a firepit safety plan ready.
Outdoor living spaces also include recreation areas, both on and off your property. We are fortunate to have bike friendly roadways, especially in quiet neighborhoods. When biking, always follow the rules and regulations of the road. While out enjoying your pedaling adventure, you may want to take along the fishing equipment. If these are part of your plans think about storing supplies in locations with easy access.
There are a lot of questions that will need to be addressed before outdoor living spaces are created. One important consideration: outdoor spaces should be a comfortable place to visit and may be a quiet place for contemplation or a fun setting for friends and family. Thought should be given to hiring a professional landscape company to assist in making these wonderful settings a reality. Enjoy your outdoor living space!