Improving My Front Yard?

My front yard planting area has a western exposure and has to handle the hot Florida sun from about noon until sunset. Besides that, one side gets loads of rain and the other side stays dry as a bone. I HATE to garden. Can anyone give me some suggestions that will make it look acceptable?


Hardiness Zone: 9a

Thank you so much!
Mitzi from Deland, FL

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By Linda Smyth (Guest Post)
March 7, 20070 found this helpful

Dear Mitzi (what a cute name),

To get some ideas of what will survive in your area go for a walk around the area for about 4 weeks. This should give you an idea what plant will survive - if they died in someone else's yard then you don't need to bother with that one. If you are not too shy, knock on doors of those yards that catch your fancy and ask them how much time they take in maintaining the garden.

In Australia we have some water restrictions which means that we have to be very careful and can only water the garden two or three times a week. One plant that I enjoy is the many varieties of succulents.


They look pretty and do not require much water. Roses do well in a hot area but you will need to remember to water them as a wall creates a lot of heat and can burn plants before too long.

Lavender is very hardy and you can cut it like a hedge. It is very easy to propagate, all I do is get a clipping and pop it in some soil and before you know it you can plant a hedge. The trick with lavender is to give it frequent trims as this will help it to bush up. If you don't it will look rather sad as a house near us never touched their lavender and it showed - yuck. They eventually replaced them with roses.

Hope this helps you.

Linda from Down Under

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March 7, 20070 found this helpful

your yard would be a challenge to fix up as an outdoor space !
i have thought about that as a possibility for myself but haven't gotten into the right mode yet ~


if you do go this direction with your plan - it's not so much foliage flowers & other greenery that you opt for - it's furnishings

there was a special about outdoor kitchens quite awhile back on tv that first sparked my own interest but seeing how your dilema is with the front yard - it might make a difference to you -- i wouldn't want my kitchen in the front though :) lol

here's a couple links,,7jwzkdp4,00.html,2159,HGTV_16257_528,00.html

when you decide on something & get situated I would love to see what you did !!

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March 7, 20070 found this helpful

"Consumers Invest Billions in Outdoor Rooms"


get some good ideas from these google images of outdoor rooms ! and search for Outdoor+rooms

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March 8, 20070 found this helpful

My sister-in-law had her front yard done, and it requires very little maintenance. She used river rock (not sure if it is available in Florida?) as "mulch" for her beds. I think if you were to put a curved edge along the left side of the concrete, remove the sod, lay down black plastic (not the expensive "landscape" plastic, just plain black plastic) poke a few drainage holes into it, and place the rocks on top of the plastic. Then, plant succulents like Linda suggested. Also, they offer some very attractive, small cacti plants that would grow well in a hot, dry spot.


They really require no attention at all! Festuca grass would look nice too, for a little different texture. I would plant just a couple of colorful flowering perennials for some color, and with just a few in your beds, it wouldn't be too much work to maintain them. There is a company called Spring Hill Nurseries that you could look at on-line and order a catalog to view some of the plants they offer; once you get some ideas of what you like you can look at your local nurseries to purchase items when they go on sale. Make sure to take an "after" picture to show us!

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By Kim (Guest Post)
March 8, 20070 found this helpful

Hi, Mitzi!

Since one side gets a lot of water and the other one gets only a little bit, I hope you'll consider getting a rain barrel so that you won't have to use outdoor faucet on the house. Here's some links for you to check out:


You might also try,, ebay,, or comparative pricing websites

Good luck!

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By Laura (Guest Post)
March 8, 20070 found this helpful

Hi, Mitzi. I am over in Tampa. I know exactly how hard it is here. We can only water once a week now. I would put a sago out front in the corner of your walk. In the front yard, in front of the house. We have one out in the front yard, it gets full sun. It is drought tolerant too. You could put azeala's along the wall. You will need to water them though. We have a wall that we have put them along. They get afternoon sun too. Good luck!

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By Karen (Guest Post)
March 10, 20070 found this helpful

I too have the same problem, and also live in Florida, so I know the problem. I took a master gardener class, and found that planting plants that don't mind being dry or wet, and don't mind the hot sun is the answer. I planted crown of thorns, which give color and cronium lilies, which also have the pretties blooms seem to do well. Check online for your area or call the local extention office for help. Good luck

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