Fully Customized Landscape Design
Landscape design as a profession is rooted in formal and informal layouts integrating clients traditional plant and hardscaping choices. “Formal designs are often geometric and symmetrical, with plants and landscape structures specifically shaped and arranged,”according to Hagen Homes. “Informal designs make use of more natural-looking, irregularly-placed plants and structures.” Increasingly, clients want landscape designs that better suit their lifestyle and choices that don’t fit with tradition. While some landscape designers limit customization at Earth Works the clients choices are the basis of their fully customized landscape design.
“We are out here in the Nocatee area in a new development, said Earth Works Landscape Designer John Cacchione. ‘I just want to show you a unique design that took into consideration bugs, water, Florida friendly plants, low maintenance for the customer, low water consumption for the irrigation system and things like that to consider when you are doing new landscape designs and installs.” A fully customized landscape design is unconventional by taking elements from various traditional designs to provide the client exactly what they want.
Clients share their landscape priorities with the designer, who provides feedback on the possibilities that can work from their knowledge rooted in art, horticulture, and applicable regulations. Whereas many clients wish to conserve water as a cost-saving measure, there are other reasons to do so such as Florida’s fragile ecosystems and water conservation requirements. Reputable landscape designers can explain the applicable land use regulations, including permeability and watering restriction, along with drainage requirements that may include onsite stormwater retention solutions. “Half of all the water taken from the public supply ends up watering private lawns—some 900 million gallons a day,” according to National Geographic. “Of the seven billion gallons of freshwater used daily across Florida’s agriculture, industry, power plants, and public water sectors, most is taken from the Floridan aquifer.”
Xeriscaped designs provide an alternative to highly water-dependent plants and lawns that may include the use of rocks as aesthetic elements that reduce maintenance and the presence of insects. “Anytime you can take these builder ninety-degree angles that every house has and break those up with plants or lines, veins of gravel and with boulders themselves that can change that line, said Cacchione. “You see how this comes together and takes away that really hard ninety-degree angle.” The importance of the artistic eye of the landscape designer cannot be overstated.
Some purists prefer adhering to specific landscape design styles rather than mixing them. “Cacti are far from the only plants appropriate for xeriscaping, according to National Geographic. “Other drought-resistant plants include agave, juniper, and lavender. Many herbs and spices are used in xeriscaping, such as thyme, sage, and oregano. Some plants used for food are drought-resistant, such as black walnuts, Jerusalem artichokes, and sapodilla, a sweet fruit native to Mexico.”
An advantage of strictly native plants is they provide additional ecological benefits to your landscape, and the area ecosystems wherein plants and animals evolved together. Florida-friendly plants include non-natives that don’t have the same ecological benefits as natives. However, strictly native design is rare due mainly to the lack of availability of the volume of native plants required to meet the demand for landscape material in Florida. Native plants are most commonly a component of informal designs that favor a natural un-sculpted landscape.
Though wanting a fully customized landscape design, clients still want a professional design they can be proud of that will flourish long after installation. “…,research shows landscaping goes beyond simply sticking flowers and shrubs in the ground,” said the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. “According to the study, the biggest factor that buyers look for in home exteriors is a design that is sophisticated. Plant size and maturity comes in second.”
Benefits of onsite landscape design consultation as opposed to strictly online suppliers include an in-person site assessment that considers architecture, elevations, site and soil conditions followed by the designer providing a professional drawing representing workable possibilities. “Back here, I kept it open and natural because of the natural backdrop it had,” said Cacchione. “We framed the screen out to leave the opening of the preserve available. Back here, just tying into the drought tolerance of certain plants and native plants because they are just easy to grow, they will be friendly to you. Like the coonties, the tri-colored sage and the rosemary are just easy plants. You don’t think about using the sages and things in your landscape, but they add a cool texture to it once they grow up. Those get fairly large and add a nice element of color year-round.”
Additional perks that go with a fully customized landscape design with companies that offer installation are cost savings opportunities. “We’re doing a consultation fee that’s reimbursed if you go with us for the job if you spend a certain amount of money,” said Cacchione. “You get a unique job (design) that’s different than what a builder would do. We can repurpose some plants too that builders put in. We’re not going to throw away everything.”
For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping need contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.
Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.