As general contractors in the Sarasota area, we understand just how much South Floridians loves their outdoor living spaces. In fact, some of our favorite jobs involve designing spectacular outdoor kitchens which give homeowners the ability to take advantage of our amazing weather and sometimes lazy days. There is nothing better than sitting down to a delicious meal with friends and family – unless of course, it is around a fire on a cool winter night, enjoying a barbeque long into the evening. Or perhaps, celebrating the joys of summer with your favorite crew. No matter how you like to enjoy your backyard outdoor areas, planting Florida native species in your yard adds beautiful and low-maintenance ambiance.

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While there are a myriad of flowers, plants and trees which thrive in Florida, native species help to protect our environment and encourage our native birds and critters to visit and make a home. Here are just a few which will make your outdoor areas even more inviting.

Native Trees: Florida Maple
This variety of maple tree is not only native to South Florida, it provides an added benefit to those who may have moved from colder regions. That is , it is one of the very few Florida trees which offers changing foliage in the cooler months. For those nostalgic for the change of seasons  the maple is a natural choice. Oversized leaves turn a reddish bronze before our “winter” months, and the new leaves also appear a bit red – adding color to your landscape. The Florida maple is short compared to other varieties, and therefore can be planted even in smaller yards and spaces.  Expert Tip:  the roots of the Florida maple are close to the surface, so plant in a bed or area you can surround with mulch. A mower may damage these roots and harm your tree.

Native Shrubs: Bougainvillea
Be prepared for a brilliant, showy display from this favorite Florida botanical. Its flowers bloom in striking pink, purple and orange; as well as numerous shades in between and create a stunning aesthetic for any outdoor space. The flowers will show off their beauty numerous times throughout the year, even through the cool winter, but be forewarned – their spiky stems can cause pain, so be careful how close you plant them to seating areas and walkways.

Native Plants: Bromeliads

These popular perennials require a little extra effort and care; after all, plants of this type can be sensitive to cold snaps. But with a little attention, bromeliads can be the perfect addition to outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas, infusing a quintessential tropical flare. Bromeliads come in many varieties, but all have a spiral leaf design known as a rosette, featuring an overlapping leaf base which provides a natural water reservoir for the plant. Popular varieties you may not be aware of include pineapple plants, air plants and Spanish moss. Expert Tip: Plants bromeliads in various decorative containers rather than in the ground – these can be brought inside during cold snaps.

Native Flowers: Canna Lilies

Although not true lilies, these Florida native flowers are as beautiful as their namesakes.  The unique color blends and patterns are vary from blossom to blossom; creating a diverse and interesting floral display. Flowers are usually red, orange, yellow, white or deep rose. Leaves and foliage are truly inspiring, offering up patterns and stripes infused with deep burgundy, blue-green, or red-bronze or white.  However, these lilies can be the true divas in your garden – they do require a lot of care, so are a great choice for those who love to garden.

Of course, having a luxurious and comfortable place to enjoy all this beauty is important – which is where we come in. At West Coast Design Build Florida, we are dedicated to expert home remodels and renovations, including helping you to design outdoor kitchen you’ve always wanted. From fireplaces to grills to full blown kitchens, we have the inspiration you need. Call us today and let’s discuss your vision.