The sky is clearing after the last spring shower. Inside, you and your family dream of soaking up sun and breathing the fresh Florida air. It's time to refresh your yard. This season, make it welcoming for pets, parties, and personal enjoyment.
Groundcover or Grass?
Sometimes the best thing for your yard is a wide-open, low- maintenance span of green where kids and pets can run unhindered. Grass, which guzzles water, thrives on environmentally harmful fertilizers, and requires frequent mowing, is not your only option. Ground covers like creeping perennials and clover look tasteful with less resources and maintenance. They also withstand foot traffic better than grass.
Research a plant before adding it to your landscape. Some common yard plants, like poinsettia and oleander, are toxic to pets and people alike. What better way to ensure your yard is safe for everyone than to keep edible plants? Cucumber, eggplant, and arugula grow well in our tropical climate, as do citrus, mango, and avocado trees. Herbs like peppermint and lavender serve a double purpose. They add homegrown flavor to the dinner table while warding off mosquitoes in the yard.
Let old PVC pipes and wood pallets act as hurdles, balance beams, and agility obstacles in a homemade obstacle course. Use it as a pet-training tool, an exciting activity for energetic children, or the party game that makes your backyard bash the talk of the town.
Consider including a shaded area in your yard to protect you and your loved ones from overheating and sunburn. Of course, native trees like oaks, elms, and maples are the best for beautiful, natural shade. Since that can take years, an outdoor canopy will work in a pinch for a party.
We constantly feel pressure to “go, go, go,” so it’s important to give ourselves time to slow down and take a moment alone. Set up a simple bench, chair, or hammock where you can relax outdoors with a new book or your own reflections.
In addition to writing and serving as Assistant Managing Editor for Space Coast Magazines, Heather Motro writes the sustainability blog The Blergh, manages social media for the Marine Resources Council and was co-Editor-in-Chief of Holy Trinity High School’s award-winning yearbook, The Tigrium. She is a member of Clemson University Honors College Class of ’24 (go Tigers!).