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5 Florida Backyard Landscape Ideas [+ Tips for a Glorious Garden!]

There are so many Florida backyard landscape ideas that it can be challenging to work out which way to go. But – overall, as a Floridian, you’re lucky!

The hot and humid climate can sometimes be a challenge! The weather in this state also means that, whether you live in the northern region, central Florida, or the Keys, you have the opportunity to grow an abundance of food year-round. 

You can plan breathtaking Florida landscapes that will make your neighbors swoon with delight. 

So – if you make the right choices, you can enjoy a bountiful and productive Florida landscape. And garden. But maybe you’re not sure where to start?

No worries!

Here are five productive Florida backyard landscape ideas perfect for ample gardens and lush homesteads.

5 Florida Backyard Landscape Ideas

  1. Florida food forest
  2. Banana and papaya circles
  3. Annual garden
  4. Rain garden
  5. Florida chinampa

We also want to go into more detail and explore these landscaping ideas more thoroughly! 

That way – your Floridian backyard landscape ideas become a reality.

Sound good?

1. Food Forests for Florida

You have endless options for Florida landscapes and gardens. Why not start a food forest? You can layer fruit trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants to create a food paradise!

As this Florida food forest shows, dense and layered planting allows you to create syntropic systems for even the most challenging environments.

Planning your Florida garden with the right balance of native crops and flowers also allows you to work in harmony with the natural world around you.

Here is a case study of mine that shows a design for a Florida property.

farming planting blueberry shrub in garden soil
Blueberries are one of our favorite food forest crops! They’re the perfect Florida backyard landscape idea. A yummy landscape that you can eat! Blueberry bushes need at least eight hours of sunlight. Also – let your blueberry shrubs cross-pollinate! Your blueberry bushes produce the most fruit if you sow multiple blueberry cultivars.

2. Florida Banana Circle or Papaya Circle

Another permaculture idea perfect for backyard Florida landscapes and growers is the concept of the banana circle or papaya circle. Or a coconut circle!

These circles of bananas or papaya trees center around a raised ring and a central pit. The pits get filled with rich and abundant organic matter, compost, and vegetable debris. The center pit provides moisture and nutrients for these ever-hungry fruit trees.

Companion plants can get added around these bananas or papaya to create a sustainable ecosystem and make the most of your space.

Papaya circles are the best for Florida backyard landscapes! But it’s tricky to imagine how banana and papaya circles work without seeing one in action. So – we found the best banana circle tutorial by John Kaisner. Watch as John builds an efficient papaya circle from scratch. It’s simple, sustainable, and fruitful!

3. Year-Round Annual Garden in Florida

In Florida, you can grow fruits and veggies throughout the spring, summer, and fall. And – in some cases, year-round. You should be able to cultivate a wide range of annual produce. 

But rather than doing so in traditional mono-crop rows, you should create polycultures – combining native fruit and vegetable crops with companion plants like herbs and annual flowers. 

Polyculture planting helps create more resilient systems and helps keep pests at bay in an organic Florida garden. Diverse gardens survive – and thrive!

Here are some of our favorite vegetable crops to get you started. Perfect for new vegetable gardeners and landscapers.

Florida Crops – Spring

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Watermelon
  • Beans

Florida Crops – Summer

  • Peppers
  • Corn
  • Okra
  • Herbs

Florida Crops – Fall

  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Potatoes

Read More – 14 Best Zucchini Companions for Ample Yields!

You can also get creative! 

No dig systems such as hugelkultur are great for Florida gardens. And they help protect the soil and boost yields from your space.

4. Florida Rain Garden

rain garden is another genius idea for Florida gardeners and Florida backyard landscape ideas. Rain gardens help manage water in the landscape and catch and store this precious resource on your property. 

Basins help to collect rainwater runoff from roofs or driveways. Rain gardens get filled with friable soil. And then they get planted with a selection of colorful (or edible) native plants.

rain water flowing from drainpipe into metal rain barrel
Does your Florida backyard landscape have way too much water runoff? One of the best ways to solve that problem is using rain barrels. Rain barrels help manage muddy backyards. And they’re also perfect for watering the rest of your garden during dry weather or droughts. Save the water. And put it to good use when you need it!

5. Florida Chinampa

Chinampas are ancient Aztec agriculture. Food got cultivated on islands of soil and reeds build-up amid shallow waters or in intermittently flooded areas. 

In parts of Florida where freshwater flooding is an issue or in gardens that get waterlogged, chinampas could be a fascinating option to explore. 

Chinampas can also get built within a garden pond, so you might consider keeping fish along with growing food. No worries. Feeding pond fish is a piece of cake – and very affordable – especially if you have a lush Florida garden. (Koi are the best pond fish and happily munch on kale, lettuce, cabbage, Swiss chard, and other chopped veggies.)

Do you need Florida backyard landscape ideas for waterlogged homesteads? Then chinampas are a stroke of genius! They’re the best way to turn your pond or small body of water into a fresh garden bed or nest of native crops. Chinampas seem confusing at first. But the logic is straightforward! Watch as ABC acres build several nest chinampas around their small pond.

How Do I Landscape My Backyard In Florida?

Start from the top! Trees and shrubs make the best place to start before progressing to lower layers of planting. But – before you sow fruit trees or run to your favorite nursery and buy trees or shrubs, you should prepare.

Here’s how.

Once you have decided on an approach and thought about the main elements you would like to include in your garden, make a plan to determine the layout and a step-by-step schedule for implementation. 

It is best to have a holistic gardening plan before you begin!

Consider the following.

How much space do you have for trees and shrubs? Do you have a spacious zone in your backyard that gets at least eight hours of sunlight?

beautiful pink bougainvillea flowers miami florida landscape
Bougainvillea is our favorite tropical floral shrub for Florida backyard landscape ideas! They come from South America and perform wonderfully in the warm Floridian weather. Their colorful blooms are breathtaking and last well into the winter. Bougainvillea looks beautiful along pathways, rock walls, or hedges – and it loves the warm and sunny Floridian weather.

If you’re unsure which fruit trees work the best for the Florida landscape, here are some of our favorites.

Best Fruit Trees for Backyard Florida Landscaping

Next, you may be able to begin to implement your plan from the ground up. Start with any earthworks required for water management. Then begin building the soil in your growing areas by layering organic matter.

Add any pathways and other features, bed edging, and other preparations you might require. And begin to sow and grow your trees. 

Read More – Harvesting and Drying Elderberries! Our DIY Elderberry Guide!

What Can You Plant In Front of Your House In Florida?

The front of your Florida home could be a good spot for wildlife-friendly planting! I love planting native shrubs, perhaps alongside shade trees. The shade trees can also provide you with fruit or nuts. Perfect!

Best Plants for Front Yard Florida Landscapes and Hedges

  • Podocarpus macrophyllus
  • Marlberry
  • Hibiscus
  • Japanese plum yew
  • Pineland Acacia
  • Florida privet
  • Weeping podocarpus
  • Silver buttonwood
  • Sea lavender (Needs sandy soil – favors Atlantic coast)
  • Japanese privet

A rain garden could be excellent in your front yard, but you might also cultivate crops. Remember that native edible and ornamental perennials combined create low-maintenance schemes. 

Also, consider your front yard too in your garden designs. Curb appeal is only part of the picture. The area in front of your home can be a productive space as well as a beautiful one. 

What is the Cheapest Way to Landscape a Backyard?

Always turn to natural or reclaimed materials when trying to save money growing a Florida garden. Try to consider what you already have that you might use before you buy any materials or items for your landscape. 

Cheap Materials for Florida Backyard Landscape Ideas

  • Mulch (Make your own with chipped hardwoods and use fallen leaves)
  • Cedar woodchips
  • Landscape stones
  • Gravel
  • Crushed stones
  • Straw – or hay bales
  • Pine straw

Also – don’t forget your backyard for resources you’re overlooking!

Often, your garden can already provide many of the resources you need to get started with creating new growing areas. You can make compost, for example.

And use resources like leaves, grass clippings, and other plant materials to build new beds and improve the soil. 

When planting your Florida landscape, remember that it is cheapest to grow from seed or cuttings. Propagate your plants wherever possible.

Taking a DIY approach and doing as much as possible by yourself saves you money on your garden landscaping.

fire pit backyard low maintenance xeriscaping
Want Florida backyard landscape ideas that require less water? And less maintenance? Then try xeriscaping with drought-tolerant grasses or landscape rocks. Either option looks beautiful and helps upgrade your backyard decor without breaking the bank. You can also upgrade your patio by adding a low-smoke or smokeless firepit.

What Can I Plant on My Fence Line In Florida?

An existing fence or wall can get clad with native climbers and vines for an attractive look and a wildlife-friendly garden. 

Best Florida Landscape Fence Plants

  • Cross vine
  • Carolina jessamine
  • Morning glories
  • Coral honeysuckle
  • Passionflower 

You might also consider adding vertical gardens for food production and flowers against a wall or fence. Vertical gardens help make the most of your Florida landscape – especially if you have a small front yard. 

You can also use native shrubs to create a wonderful wildlife-friendly hedgerow around the border of your garden. Hardy hibiscus, native azaleas, native viburnums, beautyberry, and blackhaw are just some options that may work perfectly depending upon where you live in Florida.

Read More – What to Plant In a Plum Tree Guild! Plum Tree Companions!

How Do I Design My Backyard Landscape?

It depends on what landscape you want! Designing a backyard landscape in Florida means thinking carefully about the climate and conditions where you live.

Those living in the north of the state will have conditions somewhat different from those further south. And even one backyard on the same block can be different from the next. 

Don’t forget to check your USDA hardiness zone! The temperatures in Florida range more than most homesteaders think.

Next – take an honest look at your homestead, backyard, and property. What features does your yard possess? And – which features does your yard lack?

Take inventory of your landscape. How is the soil? Also – investigate which native shrubs flourish in your hometown and region. These are always excellent questions to start with and consider.

Best Flowers for Florida Backyard Landscaping

As a Floridian gardener – you have a lot going for you!

You get to enjoy the beautiful weather year-round.

And – your growing season is nearly four times as long as other parts of the US!

You also have endless Florida backyard landscaping ideas regarding flowers.

But – which flowers work best in Backyard Florida landscapes? 

We made a list of our favorites!

Perfect for Florida backyards, front yards, side yards, and patios.

We hope you enjoy sowing these.

We bet they’ll make your backyard more beautiful.

And colorful!

  1. Moonflowers | Botanical Interests
  2. Moonflowers | Botanical Interests

    These Florida-native plants are the best for backyard Florida landscaping! They're Perennial in zone 10 and look beautiful when they blossom. They're famous for unfolding in two to three minutes. Don't blink - or you'll miss the action!

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  3. Poppy California Mikado Flowers | Botanical Interests
  4. Poppy California Mikado Flowers | Botanical Interests

    Mikado poppy seeds have vibrant orange flowers that lighten any backyard Florida landscape. They love direct sunlight - and shy away in the shady weather. They're famously heat and drought-tolerant. In growing zones eight through ten, they make excellent perennial flowers.

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  5. Persian Zinnia Carpet Flowers | Botanical Interests
  6. Persian Zinnia Carpet Flowers | Botanical Interests

    Zinnia flowers are perfect for backyard Florida landscapes! They handle hot and dry weather wonderfully - and the blooms are breathtaking. They're native to Mexico and grow up to 16-inches tall. You can also eat zinnia flowers - but they don't pack the most flavor. However, they look beautiful as a fresh garden salad garnish. For sure!

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  7. Got the Blues Pansy Flowers | Botanical Interests
  8. Got the Blues Pansy Flowers | Botanical Interests

    Here's a customized mix of pansies with blue shades ranging from light to dark. It's another edible flower. It's perennial in growing zones six through ten. Perfect for backyard Florida landscaping, flower gardens, flower beds, and vibrant coloring!

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  9. True Hyssop Flowers | Botanical Interests
  10. True Hyssop Flowers | Botanical Interests

    Want a hedge flower for your backyard Flordia landscape? Try hyssop flowers! Hyssop flowers don't mind full sun - and they also tolerate shade. They're perennials in zones three through eleven. They're also famously easy to sow and grow. They're perfect for rock gardens, herb gardens, and flower gardens. 

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  11. Swiss Giant Flowers | Botanical Interests
  12. Swiss Giant Flowers | Botanical Interests

    Giant Swiss strawflowers are beautiful! They're large and vibrant - about two and a half inches. They also reach around three feet tall. It's famously heat and drought tolerant - so they're perfect for Florida flower gardens and landscapes.

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  13. Double Sunburst Coreopsis Seeds | Botanical Interests
  14. Double Sunburst Coreopsis Seeds | Botanical Interests

    Coreopsis is famous for loving Florida climates. They're excellent for backyard Florida landscaping and are tremendously easy to grow. They're heat tolerant, don't mind dry spells, and butterflies love them. Perfect for new gardeners and landscapers who aren't sure what else to sow.

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    Lasso Brag

Conclusion

Our Florida backyard landscape ideas are ripe with abundant fruit trees, perennial flowers, and plentiful vegetable crops!

The good news is that the weather in Florida is always sunny and beautiful.

The bad news is that you have too many Florida landscaping ideas to consider!

But don’t worry if you make a mistake.

Gardening and landscaping in Florida are far more forgiving than in other climates.

(Even if you mess up sowing one crop – next season is always around the corner.)

So – have fun.

And enjoy the weather!

Thanks again for reading our guide.

If you have questions about Florida backyard landscape ideas and Florida gardens?

Please let us know.

And – we hope you have a beautiful day!

Author

  • Elizabeth Waddington is a permaculture designer, consultant, and writer. She has been a keen gardener for many years and has a 1/3 acre garden with a food forest, rescue chickens, wildlife-friendly woodland garden and pond, polytunnel, and vegetable beds. As well as working to grow her own food at home, she also helps others around the world on their journey towards a more sustainable way of life through her design and consultancy work, and through writing articles about organic gardening and sustainability.