Aug 01 2016

With mosquito-borne diseases at the forefront of our minds, it is important to many of our clients to design landscapes that will not harbor mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes take anywhere from 7 to 10 days to fully grow, meaning it takes just over a week of standing water to cause a bug problem.  With such an emphasis on the outdoors here in Southwest Florida, Outside Productions was curious: other than preventing standing water, what can be done to prevent mosquitoes from targeting your yard?

The below list of plants can be planted either in the ground or in planters, but to maximize their success, crushing the leaves to release the scent is the most successful. 

1. Citronella: known for its use in bug-repelling candles, the Citronella plant has a vivid green, lacy-shaped leaf that grows wonderfully in pots.  Crushing the leaves allows the scent to diffuse and as a result deters mosquitoes.

2. Lemongrass: popular in Thai food, the scent resembles lemons and does double duty for repelling mosquitoes and being useful in your kitchen!  It has a blade-like texture, similar to Fakahatchee grass, and also does remarkably well in planters. 

3. Lavender: Lavender is a miracle plant and can be used to deter many critters ithroughout the home.  Lavender has a few different species and does best in warm climates.  It is important for Lavender to be in a well-drained environment, so it is vital to select the correct place for the plant to be successful.  Similar to Citronella, this plant does best when the blooms are crushed.

4. Herb gardens: Herb lovers rejoice!  Herb gardens are a great tool for deterring mosquitoes. Peppermint, Basil, Rosemary, and Sage are all excellent at repelling mosquitoes.  Peppermint can also be used to relieve mosquito bites,  but over the oils and scents from these herbs will deter the mosquitoes. 

 

Jul 13 2016

In the age of denser communities and smaller lots, buffering for privacy is on the mind of most homeowners.  While fogged windows can provide some privacy, how can you create a landscape buffer without hiding natural light and while still allowing plenty of open space? 

The key to the perfect buffer is selecting plant materials that is right for your lot.  Many homeowners want to maintain views, but buffers are important for bedrooms and bathrooms adjacent to neighbors' windows.  Selecting plant material that grows quickly is usually the most affordable choice, but selecting based on density should be your top priority.  Quick growing plant material tends to be weak-wooded and can easily blow over in strong Florida winds.  If you are looking for instant impact, selecting a variety of materials and layering them may work best.  

The first questions you may want to ask are "do I want a dense year-round privacy buffer?" or "do I want something with color during certain seasons?"  While evergreen plants can certainly be beautiful, some homeowners want privacy buffers that flower or provide interest during certain seasons of the year.  Based on your preferences begin by selecting evergreen or deciduous material, or a combination of both.  If enough space permits, Bracken's Brown Magnolia is a stunning evergreen option.  Many holly species are also evergreen, making East Palatka Holly another great choice.  If going for a more Florida-feel, Saw Palmetto is a fun selection. 

Japanese Privet, Areca Palms, White Bird of Paradise, and Bamboo are all excellent choices if you are looking for a buffer with height.  The overall height and spread of Areca Palms and White Birds make them a great buffer for pools or courtyards in tight quarters, while still creating a very tropical atmosphere.  Vines such as Confederate Jasmine, Bleeding Heart Vine, and Bougainvillea are beautiful options that can cover an arbor or be trellised to the wall.  

A tropical buffer, trellised vines, and columnar cypress create a stunning buffer for the contemporary home in Naples. 

A variety of fishtail palms, White Birds of Paradise, and trees create a buffer between these two tightly-spaced units in Old Naples.