Landscaping in the Southeast


Your yard is an integral part of the natural environment: how you design and manage your yard is directly linked to the fragile ecosystem that gives your state its beauty and uniqueness. Landscaping for a southeastern yard provides you with the opportunity to create a yard that is asset to your state's ecosystems instead of a burden. Whether your goal is to create a playground, provide habitat for wildlife, or simply reduce your water and energy bills, you can easily do so by adopting a few simple guidelines.

Getting Started

The University of Florida Extension Service has created a Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program (FY&N) to guide you through all of your landscaping needs. Most of the principles apply to other southeastern states as well. To begin landscaping for your yard, use this step-by-step guide from FY&N to determine the needs for your yard's site condition.

  1. Make a sketch of your yard.
  2. Collect a soil sample and take it to your county Extension office for pH testing and yard recommendations.
  3. Create a landscape design for your yard.
  4. Visit a nearby native plant nursery to begin choosing your favorite plants!

Keep in mind that the elements of designing a landscape for a particular reason (attracting wildlife, xeriscaping, firewise landscaping, etc.) can call for different use and placement of trees and plants. Begin by choosing which kind of landscaping you would like to do and then design your landscape with those elements.

Landscape the Environmentally Friendly Way

exotic plants

Invasive Exotic Plants

Help to control the invasive exotic species that overwhelm and displace native Florida vegetation.


Fertilizers & Pesticides

Tips on how to reduce your fertilizer and pesticide use.

flower with bugs

Integrated Pest Management

The environmentally sound alternative to pesticide use.



Use this organic or inorganic material in your garden or landscape in areas that are hard to maintain or prone to erosion.



Landscape with slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water and establish a waste efficient landscape.


Landscaping for Wildlife

Bring nature close by welcoming it into your backyard.


Firewise Landscaping

Protect your home from fire by creating defensible space.


Using Native Plants

Use the right plant in the right place. Native plants are best adapted for local conditions.