Landscaping in Florida has its own flavor. It’s very different from the northern type of yard design. Plants are lusher, materials are lighter in color, and patio materials fit in with the local weather and plant life. Whether you’re building a new patio from scratch or turning an older one into a festive new outdoor room, some basic decorating guidelines will help to make sure your area is in harmony with your local environment.
Dark Attracts Heat
For one third of the year, Jacksonville’s temperature averages 90 degrees each day. For people who have lived their lives hating snow and ice in the north, this may be the ideal climate. But even the most determined snowbirds get hot and sticky after so much heat. This is the reason why so much of Florida’s architecture uses lighter colors. Lighter hues reflect sunlight, while darker ones attract it, storing the heat and giving it off later in the day.
The first step in keeping your outdoor patio area as cool as possible is choosing pavers or tiles in a light color. Sandstone is popular; it fits in with the local soil and can be made to look like part of the natural environment. Avoid materials such as dark marble or brick as a patio base, as these will add to the heat all year long.
Florida Sun Is Amazingly Potent
Being closer to the equator than most states in the country, Florida boasts a sun that is generally hotter and stronger than almost all the other states. While this makes for an almost endless summer, it can wreak havoc on certain outdoor materials. Plastics will fade and break down, turning from stiff and resilient to weak and brittle in just one year, so avoid plastic tote boxes for storage, as even the toughest ones will shatter and break after a year or two. Instead, turn to natural materials for patio storage and decoration. While the initial outlay may be larger, you’ll save money in the long run by not having to replace your pieces every spring. Wood is one of the best choices, but wicker and rattan look natural in the Jacksonville environment and will last for years.
The Hotter the Weather, the Brighter the Flowers
In general, flowering plants that grow closer to the equator produce larger flowers in brighter shades. There are exceptions, but if you look at the color palette of the northern wildflowers native to Ohio versus the ones native to Florida, you’ll see a marked difference. Take advantage of this rule of nature when deciding on a color scheme for your patio materials. Choose lush floral colors, such as sun yellow, fuchsia and spring green, to show off your patio furniture. This is not the place for laid-back subtle color variations. Embrace your love of color and set it free to bring bright accents to an otherwise pale background.