Renovating Old Landscapes, Part 2 +

When you are designing for trees on your property, find out what they'll do in 10 or 15 years. Some trees have reputations for being very brittle, messy, or have invasive shallow roots. Plan to space the trees assuming they were full sized when you put them in ( plan for future growth). If you are concerned about the sparsity of the new trees, consider temporary "fill-in" plantings of plants which last a few years, and you won't miss when they've done their job.

Second- after the trees have been planned, plan for some color areas, varying types of plants, and possibly distinct landscape areas ( butterfly, vegetable, fruit trees, flowers, foliage color). You could also choose themes like Asian, desert, rainforest, or the ever-popular golf course-all-grass motif.

Third- ask as many people as possible about your plants. Tree service people are excellent sources of information, since they deal with the mature plants all the time.Remember that landscape designers and architects are in the business of designing landscapes, not maintaining them. While many designs are beautifully constructed, long term maintenance of high-density designs can be problematic for some homeowners. Plant societies are always good sources of information, and will have no reservations about telling you the good and bad qualities of a plant. Once you have the design, then you need to find the plants and the installers.

Fourth- Miami-Dade County has one of the largest concentrations of nurseries in the world, exceeded only by Central Florida. There are over 800 nurseries in this area. If a plant can be grown here, it is possible to buy it. Plant societies often have plant sales at Fairchild Garden, and are terrific venues to find both plants and installers. Full service nurseries can be a great place to shop for plants, and many nurseries on the western and northwestern sides of the city offer spectacular deals. Once you know what you want, where it will go, how the landscape looks now and in the future, and where to get the plants, the hardest work is done.

Almost any landscape service can plant trees; tree planting is one of their staple incomes. Handling trees carefully, staking them properly, and how to tend to them after planting are important considerations. There are debates over the "proper" size of planting hole, and these items will all be addressed................in the next blog.


  1. Mr. Morell:

    Your take on the renovation of old landscapes has been a real boost to my plans to renovate a tired and semi-abandoned yard. I hate to spend hours trimming and slaving on plants and your ideas to plant the trees/shrubs for their adult size has solved many plant selection issues. I visit your garden with its exciting truly exotic plants and, knowing I will never have them in my yard, have used your suggestions to at least have a yard that looks as good and well planned as PC Gardens. Thanks for your suggestions to and forsight into the problems for the local plant lovers.

  2. Many thanks for the compliments ! Always appreciated, and I'm glad to hear that my comments have made a difference. With a little persistence your yard will be more pleasure than pain to work in, and we can hope for the best.

    Craig Morell
    Pinecrest Gardens