7 Attractive Low-maintenance Florida Landscaping Ideas

Kate Mitchell

January 4, 2024

Want a beautiful yard without all the hassle? Florida's hot and humid climate can make landscaping a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of low-maintenance yard landscaping ideas that can give your property stunning curb appeal without consuming all your time and energy.

Native Plants

A butterfly perches on a tall stem of purple flowers

A simple and elegant way to choose low-maintenance plants is to select ones that are native to Florida. Plants whose natural habitat is in this part of the world will do well in Florida's sandy soil and year-round warm weather without needing too much input. Simply check your chosen cultivar's light requirements and position accordingly.

Some suggestions for native plants for your Florida yard landscaping project include black-eyed Susan, beautyberry and blazing star. Native grasses include muhly grass and Bermuda grass.

If you're looking for shade trees, southern magnolia and live oak are popular choices. Some, but not all, palm trees are native to Florida too. Check out our post on native Florida wildflowers or visit the Florida Native Plant Society for more information.

Mulch

Someone places wood chips around a newly planted tree

It may seem dull, but mulch is an important component of your landscape design project in Florida. The advantages of mulch include easy, chemical-free weed control. Mulch also traps in a layer of soil moisture after irrigation. It can even protect delicate roots from changes in temperature as it provides a layer of insulation for the soil beneath.

Many different types of mulch are available for use in your Florida backyard landscape. Organic mulches, such as wood chips, pine bark or pine straw, will eventually decompose, improving soil conditions as it does so. However, it will eventually need replacing. Inorganic mulches such as gravel are very durable and will not need replacing; however, these do not improve the soil.

Perennials

Beautiful, large, bright flowers in a range of pink and peach colors

Perennial plants are ideal for adding low-maintenance bursts of color to your flower beds and borders, or even to your porch or patio when planted in containers. Unlike annual plants, which die after one growing season and need to be re-planted, perennials will continue to grow and flower for multiple growing seasons on their own.

Bougainvillea, lantana and Mexican heather are some of our favorite perennials to brighten up your outdoor space with their beautiful blossoms. Others, such as flax lily or Persian shield, have gorgeous colorful foliage that will add a splash of color all year round. Check out this post on our favorite Florida perennials for more suggestions.

Ground Cover

Pretty green leaves and little yellow flowers of perennial peanut

Ground cover plants are low-growing plants, often fast-spreading, planted to cover areas of bare ground. They share some of the advantages of mulch in helping to prevent weed growth and providing a barrier that will retain soil moisture. Ground cover plants add natural beauty to your outdoor space with colorful blooms and interesting foliage.

Some types of ground cover are recommended as grass replacements for lawns. Perennial peanut or basketgrass need less water than high-maintenance grass. Other ground cover plants, such as Mexican heather or lemon ball sedum, look great in borders or raised beds around larger shrubs or trees.

Container Gardens

Patio steps with a cat and potted plants

Container gardening can be an excellent way to get started with growing plants. As it's done on a small scale, you don't have to worry too much about weeding, or about plants spreading. If a plant is not doing well, you have the opportunity to move the container to a different location where it can get more or less sunlight, as required.

Containers can be a quick and easy way to boost curb appeal. They also allow gardeners to grow a wider range of plants because, if necessary, potted plants can be moved inside during extreme weather. Some of our favorite container plants for bright colors include marigolds, zinnia and lantana.

Rain Gardens

Tall stalks of goldenrod with bright yellow flowers

A rain garden is a low-lying area of your landscape planted with native plants designed to soak up excess water after heavy rain. Rainfall here in Florida tends to be very heavy and concentrated over a short time, which can cause difficulties with erosion. A rain garden will help to control water levels in a natural and pleasing way, and is an excellent example of Florida-friendly landscaping.

Native plants that naturally grow beside water work well for rain gardens. Goldenrod is a good example for Florida. It grows above the waterline, so does not need to be submerged constantly, but can tolerate flooding and therefore helps to deal with high water levels after stormy weather.

Hardscaping

A patio at night with a pergola and fairy lights

Once installed, hardscaping may be the ultimate low-maintenance feature of your Florida landscape design. Of course, most gardeners will want to incorporate plenty of natural features too. However, some well-used hardscaping can enhance the appearance as well as the practicality of your outdoor space.

A patio, for example, will give you outdoor living space for entertaining or simply for sitting outside with a good book. Patios pair well with container gardening and can create a beautiful, functional space without requiring much upkeep.

Stone or gravel walkways reduce erosion in areas with frequent foot traffic and also look appealing. A trellis, a water feature, or permanent outdoor seating are other ways you can improve the charm and enjoyment of your yard. Once installed, these features don't need a lot of maintenance.

If you'd like help transforming your backyard into an inviting yet low-maintenance landscape designed for our climate here in Florida, feel free to get in touch with the friendly professionals at LawnMore Gainesville.

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