Maybe you’ve just purchased your 30A dream home or maybe you’re still looking for that perfect South Walton place to call your own! Does the yard around it need help or perhaps a total “make-over” but you’re not sure where to start? This week we met with one of our favorite local landscape experts; Jen Jones, owner of Nature of the Beach who maintains a beautiful butterfly garden on the Davis Properties of Northwest Florida office grounds. Jen shared some of her advice and insight on how to approach a plan for gardening and best landscape choices here along our Northwest Florida Beaches.
Jen Jones – Nature of the Beach, LLC
“When it comes to choosing what plants, shrubs or trees to select for use around your South Walton beach home, the best option is always to “go native”. Plants that are already growing here are uniquely adapted to 30A’s local climate, soil and weather conditions. Northwest Florida has a distinctive ecosystem including porous sandy soil and salt air. Though we are located very close to our neighbors of Georgia, Alabama or even other parts of Florida; what grows well in those regions don’t typically thrive as well here at the beach, or if they do it’s because they’re more labor intensive to maintain and keep healthy.
Native plants by their very nature are perfectly suited to our region and require less water, fewer fertilizers and provide food and shelter for butterflies, small animals and migratory birds. A landscape plan focused on native plants will blend in with the surroundings giving a natural, attractive look and provides a genuine “sense of place” with our beautiful SoWal environment.”
Jen's top 5 tips for landscape planning
- Take inventory of what currently grows and thrives naturally on your home site or the surrounding area. If you’re having difficulty identifying plants – snap a picture and take it to your local nursery expert.
- Include a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals in your plan. Doing so adds beauty for you and benefits nature.
- Plan irrigation that’s focused on a drip system rather than “spray” or sprinklers. Plants, trees and shrubs in Florida’s sandy soil will get the best results with direct watering via drip system.
- Do research online about native plants:
- Seek out local native nursery experts who have firsthand expertise about plants, trees and shrubs.
Jen Jones, owner of Nature of the Beach has a degree in Environmental Science and has been in the landscape industry for over 25 years. Her specialty is in native plant landscape and butterfly gardens. She’s a long-time 30A resident and volunteers with the South Walton Turtle Watch and the Choctawhatchee Bay Alliance Lake Watch program monitoring water quality for South Walton’s Coastal Dune Lakes. Contact Nature of the Beach: [c] 850.635.1892 [e] firstname.lastname@example.org