Attracting Butterflies To Your Miami Garden – The 16 Best Butterfly Attracting Plants For South Florida

Attracting Butterflies To Your Miami Garden – The 16 Best Butterfly Attracting Plants For South Florida

Butterfly gardens are easy to create and butterflies bring joy every time they flutter by.

So, if you love butterflies and if you enjoy having nature around your home, then install a butterfly garden. Butterfly gardening not only brings butterflies but also a small host of other wonderful wildlife to your doorstep.

South Florida, Miami and all of the surrounding cities and suburbs of Dade and Broward counties are perfect spots to create a year round and fully functioning butterfly garden. Caterpillars, which transform into butterflies, require special kinds of plants to feed upon and these plants grow extremely well in the South Florida sub-tropic planting zones. These are called hostplants.

In this article we will highlight the best plants for Attracting Butterflies To Your Miami Garden – Our 16 Favorite Butterfly Attracting Plants.

These host plants are amazing sources of nectar and other flowers that provide food for those winged beauties.


Firebush Hamelia Patens Florida Native Plant with Zebra Butterfly

Native Firebush Plant with Zebra Butterfly

Firebush, Hamelia patens, is a native to Florida and is perfect for south Florida and the Miami area! This beautiful perennial grows year round in our sub tropic heat and produces flowers from late spring until the first frost (as if there were frost in Miami). This semi-woody shrub can reach fifteen feet in height and produces bright red flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, including the zebra longwing and gulf fritillary butterflies.

The Hamelia patens grows and flowers best in full sun and it is best to trim your Firebush to five or eight feet tall. It works well in hedges, mixed borders, or as a stand-alone shrub. Firebush can be planted in any well-drained soil and will do best if it is watered regularly until it is established. Once this native south Florida plant has caught hold it is amazing at attracting both birds and butterflies.


Firespike Odontonema strictum with Hummingbird plant for south florida

Firespike with Hungry Hummingbird

Firespike is known botanically as Odontonema strictum and adds a bright red pop to your south Florida garden and is perfect for attracting hummingbirds and several species of butterflies that feed on the nectar. The Odontonema strictum grows between 4 to 6 feet tall and produces clusters of 3-inch-long, tubular red flowers.

Firespike can be planted year-round in Florida and blooms best under full sun.

Ruby Red

Ruby Red Pentas - Egyptian Star Cluster Butterfly Garden

Ruby Red is a Great Butterfly Attractor

This Ruby Red Pentas also known as Egyptian Star Cluster and Pentas lanceolata is a south Florida plant that produces some of the most vivid red flowers of any of the Pentas.

It blossoms from spring until fall and bares 3″ flower clusters that will attract butterflies and other nectar loving creatures like bees and hummingbirds to your gardens throughout summer The Ruby Red is an upright rounded shrub-like tropical perennial that is often grown as an annual.


Blue Porterweed

Parantica_Aglea_Butteryfly-on Blue Porterweed Stachytarpheta Jamaicensis

Parantica Aglea Butteryfly on Blue Porterweed

Blue Porterweed also known as Stachytarpheta jamaicensis is one of the most popular of South Florida’s butterfly attracting plants, with brilliant blue flowers appearing partway up the funky, swirly, upright stems.

This plant is a fast grower and best kept between 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall.

The Blue Porterweed is best in part sun and partial shaded areas. Trim the shrub occasionally to keep it shaped. Give these plants a regular watering, but don’t keep them overly wet.



Jatropha Tree

Jatropha Integerrima Jatropha Tree Butterfly Attractor South Florida Planting

Jatropha Attracting More Than Butterflies

The Jatropha integerrima aka Jatropha tree produces scarlet flowers which attracts a ton of beautiful butterflies and it blooms 365 days a year.

The dwarf Jatropha tree (Jatropha integerrima ‘Compacta‘) is the one to buy…it stays smaller and denser and is the one most commonly sold at nurseries.

This red flowering tree is actually a Jatropha shrub and can be trained to a single trunk or grown as a bush. Keep the trunk free of baby shoots to maintain the tree look.

One of South Florida’s most consistent butterfly attracting plants, Jatropha is also a favorite with hummingbirds.

This tree is a fast grower – the dwarf variety gets only 6 to 8 feet tall. It needs full to part sun and a well-drained spot.

Ruellia Brittoniana

Ruellia brittoniana the Mexican petunia as a butterfly insect garden attractor in south florida

Insects Love The Ruellia

Ruellia brittoniana the Mexican petunia is a tender evergreen perennial that forms colonies of small and medium sized stalks it has a maximum height around 3 ft.

The lance-shaped leaves are to 6-12 inches in length and are 1/2-3/4 wide. It blossoms scores of trumpet shaped blue beauty flowers that accent the bluish metallic cast the leaves give when grown under hot sunny conditions. This Mexican petunia is very good at attracting swarms of admiring butterflies.

Varieties with white, pink, and many shades of blue are available, as are dwarf versions.

Almond Bush

almond bush Prunus glandulosa south florida miami insect butterfly gardening

Humans Are Not The Only Wildlife That Finds The Almond Bush Attractive

The flowering almond bush (Prunus glandulosa and Prunus triloba) put on a spectacular show in the garden, which makes this a great butterfly and natural wildlife attractor. For smaller areas chose the P. glandulosa, or dwarf flowering almond as it grows between 4 and 6 feet tall and equally wide. The Almond Bush produces white or pink flowers in mid-spring.

Select a planting site that receives full sun to partial shade. Flowering almond prefers a loamy soil that drains well, but keep away from salty water and salt saturated air.



Turk’s Cap 

Turk’s Cap Malvaviscus arboreus south florida hummingbird garden

Hummingbirds LOVE the Turk’s Cap

The Turk’s Cap is also known as the Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii it is a spreading shrub that grows between 2 to 3 ft but, it can reach heights of 9 ft. if left unattended. The bright-red petals resemble a Turkish turban, thus the name Turk’s Cap. The flowers never fully open. They overlap to form a loose tube with a protruding staminal column. This is a perfect flower type for bee’s, butterflies, hummingbirds and other nectar gathering insects.




monarch-caterpillars-common-milkweed-south florida butterfly plant

Monarch Caterpillars Working On Transforming Into the Big Beauty Monarch Butterfly on the Milkweed Plant

The Milkweed is the king plant for the king of butterflies, the Monarch. It is also very important for many other insect species like Milkweed Bugs, and Milkweed Leaf Beetles that only eat milkweed.

Common Milkweed grows up to six feet tall. It has large, broad leaves, usually four to ten inches long. They sometimes have red veins and have flowers that are pinkish-purple clusters which often droop.

They are very hardy plants and grow nearly anywhere in any condition.



Purple Passionflower & Purple Passion Vine

Passiflora incarnate purple passion flower south florida botanical garden Passion Fruit Vine For Butterflies and HumansPurple passion-flower, also known as the Passiflora incarnate, is an herbaceous vine that can climb and sprawl up to 25 ft. Local wildlife such as butterflies, moths, bees and more love this plant…

BONUS: This passion flower plant produces a delicious edible fruit.



Cassia Trees

Desert cassia Senna polyphylla south florida gardening

Dessert Cassia is a Great Garden Center Piece. Awing your friends and pleasing your butterfly followers.

Cassia trees are known for their bright yellow insect attracting display. These trees come in several varieties and sizes: Desert cassia, Cassia surattensis (“Scrambled Egg Tree”) and Cassia fistula (“Golden Shower Tree”). All three varieties are incredibly beautiful in full bloom and they make perfect small-space trees.

Desert Cassia

Desert cassia (Senna polyphylla) grows only to 10 feet tall with spring and fall flowers. This little giant is salt-tolerant, evergreen and an ideal centerpiece for your butterfly garden.

 Cassia Surattensis 

Cassia surattensis grows between 12 to 15 feet high. It is another butterfly attractor that blooms twice – in spring and fall. It stays green with thick foliage year round. This tree is very happy in South Florida.

Cassia Fistula

Cassia fistula blooms in summer and occasionally blooms in the fall. It produces incredible cascading flower clusters that sometimes are so prolific you can barely see the green leaves through the flowers.

Fistula can grow to heights of 30 feet, but can be easily maintained at 20 feet in home landscapes. They’re salt-tolerant and fast growers.

Pagoda Flower

Pagoda flower Clerodendrum paniculatum butterflies love this plant

Pagoda Flower Clerodendrum Paniculatum, Butterflies Love This Plant

The Pagoda flower also known as the Clerodendrum paniculatum is an erect, open semi-woody shrub with large evergreen leaves and huge clusters of orange-red or scarlet flowers. It is a bush with multiple stems and grows between 3 and 5 ft, spreading 2-3 ft across. The leaves have heart shaped bases and the individual flowers are only about 0.5 in long but are arranged in massive panicles up to 1 ft or more in height. The pyramid shaped flowers are somewhat like that of a Japanese pagoda. The flower blooms from summer through autumn with additional sporadic flowering throughout the year in warmer environments like south Florida..




Lantana-Bandana-Red Butterfly gardens in south florida

Lantana-Bandana-Red Butterfly Gardens in South florida

Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants The genus includes both herbaceous plants and shrubs growing between 1.6 and 6.6 ft tall. Their common names are shrub verbenas or lantanas or also called the Viburnum lantana.

Lantana’s aromatic flower clusters called umbels are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets.

Lantanas are useful as honey plants for nectar seeking insects and are excellent for butterfly gardening. Butterflies which are attracted to lantana flowers are most notably Papilioninae (swallowtail and birdwing utterflies). Hesperiidae (skippers) and certain brush-footed butterflies (namely Danainae and Heliconiinae), as well as some Pieridae (e.g. cloudless sulphur, Phoebis sennae) and Lycaenidae (e.g. the aforementioned lantana scrub-hairstreak), also like to visit the plants’ flowers.

Plumbago Auriculata

Plumbago auriculata leadwort plumbago and skyflower for butterfly gardens

Chose Skyflower for Big Beautiful Butterfly Gardens

Plumbago auriculata is called by several common names, leadwort, plumbago and skyflower, it is an evergreen shrub with semi-woody stems that grow between 3 and 10 ft height. Plumbago can be pruned to grow like a vine, pruned to become more compact like a shrub, or left to sprawl with its long, gracefully arching branches. It produces 2 in light yellowish green leaves and a sky blue flower that is about 1 in long with 5 petals spreading about 1 in across. In South Florida and Miami this beauty blooms all year long.

A white flowered variety (P. auriculata var. alba) is available. The cultivar, ‘Royal Cape’ has intense cobalt blue flowers.

A favorite of butterflies, plumbago also is one of the most popular flowering shrubs in Central and South Florida gardens. It is very fast-growing, has few problems and is almost always smiling.

Plumbago does best in light, sandy soils with good drainage. Do not add lime to the soil; plumbago likes a slightly acidic pH..


Coontie Palm - Florida Native Plant - Alta Butterfly Habitat

This Florida Native Coontie Pleases The Rare and Once Thought Extinct Alta Butterfly

As a south Florida gardener you should take the time to discover the Florida coontie. It is a Florida native plant that is well adapted to the south Florida heat. Its recent increased use in landscapes has encouraged the presence of the rare Atala butterfly, which uses coontie as a larval host plant.

The coontie, an unusual Florida native, is a cycad—a “living fossil.” These primitive plants were a dominant form of plant life during the dinosaur age.

Coontie Species. Some botanists report only a single coontie species in Florida (Zamia floridana), while others feel the coontie has several species such as Z. integrifolia, Z. pumila, and Z. umbrosaZ. pumilais

This herbaceous plant looks like a small fern or palm. Typically they are 1–3 ft. high. The coontie has stiff, featherlike leaves, up to 3 ft. in length


Atala Butterfly

Alta Butterfly For a Full Butterfly Garden

Alta Butterfly For a Full Butterfly Garden

The coontie serves as the sole host plant for larvae of the rare Atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala), once thought to be extinct in Florida. The hungry larvae are able to withstand the coonties’ natural toxins and, in turn, incorporate them into their tissues, rendering the larvae and adults unpalatable to various predators, particularly birds.








Corky Stem Passion Vine

Corky Stem Passion Vine with Zebra Longwing ButterflyThe Passiflora suberosa is commonly known as the Corky Stem Passion Vine. It gets tiny green flowers that are about the size of an adult fingertip. Planting this passion vine is one of the easiest ways to make your yard a butterfly habitat for some of the following major butterflies; Zebra Heliconian, Gulf Fritillary and Julia Dryas.






So there you have it folks! A highlight of the Best Plants for Attracting Butterflies To Your Miami Garden – The 16 Best Butterfly Attracting Plants For South Florida. No matter what county or city in south Florida you may live (Broward County, Dade County, Miami, Coral Gables, Davie, Ft Lauderdale or anything in-between) these plants will surely attract dozens if not hundreds of beautiful and colorful butterflies to your home or office garden.

Want a Butterfly Garden at your home but don’t have the time? Give us a call. We love butterflies and will perform a professional install in no time at all…

Tropical Garden Design Miami

Tropical Garden Design Miami

Tropical Garden Design-South Florida Style


South Florida sits  25° 46′ 26″ N / 80° 11′ 38″ W.  That’s tropics baby. Hot and humid during the summer, breezy and temperate during the fall/winter. A tropical climate that’s perfect for sun bathing, swimming and ohhh yes, gardening. Miami is a mecca for growing exotic flowering trees, tropical fruit trees, fragrant shrubbery, orchids, vegetables and hummingbird and butterfly flora. If you like to garden like me, South Florida is a Tropical Garden Designers Paradise!

The sun is always shining in South Florida, which makes for accelerated growth. Landscapes mature quickly in the Sunshine State providing homeowners with instant satisfaction. No need to wait 40 years for a mature tree, we can grow it in half the time. That privacy hedge you long for can be had in just a couple years. Butterfly flora always blooming. Such an perfect climate for a Tropical Garden Design.

Here’s Landscape Designer Brent Knoll’s top 10 Tropical Garden Design ideas for South Florida.


1. Pergola- If you’ve got the space for it, then you need a pergola for an exotic flowering vine like a Jade flower or New Guinea trumpet vine. Majestic structure with a stunning flower!

tropical garden design

Jade vine


2. Trumpet Tree- The trumpets are sounding! This is what I always tell my clients when I plant this exotic flowering bush from the tropics of South America. The foot long bell shaped flowers are sweetly scented, with a variety of colors ranging from purple to coral. An amazing plant for any Tropical Garden Design.

Tropical garden design

Sweetly scented trumpet flowers


3. Want to cover up an old fence with something stunning and easy to grow? New Guinea trumpet vine is one of my favorite flowering vines. Vine grows quickly, treating you with hundreds of tubular hot pink flowers that will make your jaw drop in wonder.

tropical garden design

New Guinea trumpet vine


4. Privacy hedge- Bamboo is my favorite impact plant and makes a wonderful privacy hedge. Fast growing, non invasive clumping bamboo comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Plant some butterfly and hummingbird flora around your bamboo and you’ve got my favorite tropical garden design of them all, Tropical Butterfly Zen.

tropical garden design

Bamboo hedge


5. Hummingbirds- You would think that we would have more hummingbirds in Tropical Florida than we do, but we’re only graced with their presence from November to the 1st of April. Don’t bother with the hummingbird feeders, you’ll attract ants and wasps. Instead plant turks cap, ruby red pentas, firespike and firebush. You’ll be gauranteed to have hummingbirds visit your Tropical Garden in no time.

tropical garden design

Hummingbird nectaring on hibiscus


6. Koi pond- Tropical Zen Gardens wouldn’t be complete without a Koi pond. Imagine the Zen feel of colorful Koi swimming in a pond surrounded by papyrus, water lilies, and iris.

tropical garden design



7. Tropical fruit trees- No tropical garden design would be complete without tropical fruit trees like mango, papaya, banana, avocado and mulberry. Rejuvenate your soil with organic material and plant away!

tropical garden design

Jak fruit tastes like juicy fruit bubble gum


8. Butterfly gardens- As a landscape designer in Miami for over 20 years, I’ve become very fond of the numerous native butterflies we have in South Florida. I’ve also become a specialist in attracting these beautiful creatures to my gardens. By planting flowers like ruby red penta, lantanta, milkweed, corkystem and porterweed, your Tropical Garden design will become a Sanctuary overnight.

tropical garden design

Monarch nectaring on a daisy


9. Tropical flowering trees- As a member of the tropical flowering tree society, I get to exchange horticulture information with tropical flowering tree collectors from around the world. As a designer, one of my favorite trees to plant for my clients is the Joy Perfume tree. Loaded with jasmine scented white blooms, this tree is a focal point of any Tropical Garden Design.

tropical garden design

My favorite flowering tree, the Joy Perfume tree


10. Exotic flowers- No tropical garden design would be complete without exotic flowers like monkey brush, passion flower and the bat plant. The bat plant flower from Thailand is over 20″ long from the top of the hood to the base of it’s whiskers.

tropical garden design

Bat flower


Need help getting started?

Landscape Designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design has been creating Tropical Garden Designs in Miami and South Florida for over 20 years. His knowledge of the soil, plant selection and maintenance, makes him a specialist in this field. Brent provides in person consultations as well as garden design and installation. Not sure what to do first? Call Brent at 3054965155 and speak to to him personally. It’s time to get the direction you need to beautify your landscape and get the Tropical Garden you’ve always dreamed of. Call Brent Knoll today!


tropical garden design

Brent Knoll with clients Ana and Jorge Fors


Landscape ideas for your South Florida front yard

Landscape ideas for your South Florida front yard

10 Landscape Ideas for your South Florida front yard

1. Mediterranean Garden

landscape ideas

Mediterranean Garden Design

Meandering brick paths accented with juniper, topiary balls, Italian cypress and Greek statues.

2. Tropical Paradise

landscape ideas

Tropical Landscape Design


Beautiful fuschia colored bougainvillea, foxtail palms and decorative pots atop keystone columns.

3. Gaurdian Cats

landscape ideas

Tropical Garden

 Pialeah ferns line this brick walkway along with walking iris, imperialis bromeliads and black bamboo.

4. Exotic waterfall

landscape ideas


Exotic flowering plants like giant shrimp, congo roho and water ferns flank this gorgeous waterfall.

5. Eclectic and colorful

landscape ideas

Look at those wild colors

Firey crotons, flaming bromeliads and cairn markers spark interest at this South Florida home.

6. Incredibly edible

landscape ideas

Incredibly edible

 Tropical bamboo and butterfly flora surround these raised bed gardens.

6. French formal with sensual curves

landscape ideas

French formal garden

Sculpted paisley hedges of Ilex and Gold Mound, mondo grass and Japanese blueberry.

7. Bamboo garden

landscape ideas

Tropical bamboo

 Baby blue bamboo with pink Belinda’s dream roses, purple ruellia and red pentas

8. Tropical joy

landscape ideas

Joy perfume tree and black bamboo

Joy perfume tree, black bamboo, podacarpus hedge and gold mound

9. Sanctuary garden

landscape ideas

Sanctuary garden

Exotic black and blue bamboo with pinwheel jasmine, fragrant stemmadenia trees and gold mound

10. Hummingbird and butterfly haven

landscape ideas

Beautiful butterfly garden

Orange chrysanthis, bean pole tipi, red and pink pentas

Need help organizing your landscape ideas?

We don’t always have the right ideas to beautify our properties and if we do, sometimes were not sure how to organize them. Landscape designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design has been beautifying Miami for over 20 years. Our reviews on Houzz and Yelp reflect our commitment to good customer service and excellent quality of work. Call Brent at 3054965155 to schedule a professional one-on-one consultation and get the beautiful landscape design you’ve always wanted. 

Garden ideas for the fall

Garden ideas for the fall

Garden ideas for the fall

It’s that time of year again. The time of year us South Floridians cherish the most, the Fall/Winter. With temps consistently in the 90’s and humidity at 100%, I personally roasted this summer.  The mosquitos alone will drive a person batty! But hope is just around the corner, and with that we return to the outdoors to enjoy nature.

The fall/winter weather in South Florida is some of the finest in the world. While the rest of the states are freezing and under drifts of snow, we’re enjoying day time temps in the mid 80’s. That’s pretty sweet! During this time, it’s no wonder South Florida is hot spot for snow birds and vacationers.

garden ideas

Vacationing in South Florida during the fall

Not sure what to do with this super fine weather? Why not spend it sprucing up that front yard or putting in that organic garden you’ve always wanted. Ya know, it’s the perfect time of the year to plant a fruit tree or two. Whatever your aspirations might be, you might need a few garden ideas to help  with the transformation. Landscape Designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design has a few garden ideas to share. With over 20 years experience beautifying South Florida, he’s seen it all.

Without further ado, here’s Brent’s Top Ten Garden Ideas for the fall.

1. Get organized- one of the main reasons the majority of South Florida landscapes look bad is because there messy. Get a couple big garbage bags and gather up all those dead palm fronds. Any broken pots laying around? Throw em out! Spring cleaning in the fall I always say. You’ll be surprised how much better things look when the yard is cleaned up.

garden ideas

Time to clean up that yard

2. Butterfly gardens– South Florida weather is perfect for attracting butterflies and no better time to enjoy them than in the fall. Get those gardening gloves on, grab your shovel and plant some milkweed for the monarchs, corky stem passion vine for the zebras and a citrus tree for the giant swallowtail. Soon you’ll be chilling in your hammock, surrounded by your fluttering friends.

garden ideas

Monarch resting on kale leaf

3. Fruit trees- another great garden idea for the fall is to plant some fruit trees. Fruit trees like mango, avocado, lime and jak fruit thrive in our temperate climate, producing quickly and providing wonderful shade when the temps creep up. Fruit trees are beautiful and delicious!

Garden ideas

Mango tree

4. Organic garden– for us gardeners, there’s no better time in the year to plant your herbs and veggies than in the fall. Crisp lettuce, tender broccoli and juicy tomatoes thrive in the cooler fall/winter weather. Garden ideas for organic gardening include bean pole tipi’s for your beans and cucumbers. Let those vines climb, which means less bending over.

garden ideas

Fresh organic vegetables from your garden

5. Hang a hammock- got a couple coco palms that are close together? Get yourself a hammock and tie it up. Mid day temps in the 70’s, butterflies fluttering about, a little Bob Marley music, a pina colada…You get the idea.

garden ideas

Time to relax

6. Bougainvillea for color- is there anything prettier than a bougainvillea bush in full bloom!? Breath taking aren’t they. With over 100 colors to choose from, these tropical bushes have graced Florida landscapes for years. Choose a nice sunny spot, dig a hole, add compost and plant your favorite color. Mine is fuscia!

garden ideas

Bougainvillea colors number in the 100’s

7. Fragrance- After a long day at work, there’s no better feeling than being welcomed home by fragrant flowers in your front yard. Fragrant flowers for the fall would include almond bush, roses, and gardenias. All easy to maintain and thrive in the cooler drier climate of our fall/winter months.

garden ideas

Fragrance is ideal for any garden

8. Hummingbirds- Another great idea for your fall garden is to attract hummingbirds. The hummingbirds migrate through South Florida from November to April and love to nectar on sweet flowers like firebush, firespike and ruby red penta.

garden ideas

Hummingbird nectaring on salvia

9. Bird bath- One of my favorite past times is to sit and watch birds taking turns at a bird bath. Position the bird bath near a small tree as the birds need to feel sheltered. Remember, the fall/winter months in South Florida are dry, so be sure to keep your bird bath clean and full of water.

garden ideas

Sparrow taking a bird bath

10. Entertain- enjoy the fruits of your labor and entertain your family and friends. The weather is so divine from December through March, take advantage of it. Sit around a campfire eating smores and telling stories or invite your friends to a garden brunch. You’ve worked hard to make your garden beautiful, enjoy it!!!

garden ideas

South Florida weather is perfect for entertaining


Need help with your Landscape Design?

Sometimes we have all the garden ideas in the world but just need a little help organizing them. Folks, Landscape Designer Brent Knoll from Knoll Landscape Design is here to help you get back on track. Brent has been beautifying South Florida for over 20 years and knows what works and what doesn’t in our tropical climate. Give him a call today at 3054965155 to schedule your one-on-one consultation and get your garden looking beautiful once again.

garden ideas

Landscape Designer Brent Knoll





How to choose a Top Landscape Designer in Miami

How to choose a Top Landscape Designer in Miami

Top Landscape Designer ~ How should you choose your designer?

When looking to design your landscape, begin with the right designer.

Landscape design greatly increases both the beauty and the value of your home.  Far from an extra, a gorgeous landscape is the FIRST impression visitors, potential buyers, and neighbors get about you and your home. It showcases your style and taste and shows your community the level at which you are concerned with keeping an aesthetically pleasing, nature friendly, and generally inviting neighborhood.  Landscape design is also an investment, and with every good investment, it’s important to do your research to make sure that you invest soundly and properly.  Your decision to design a fresh or new landscape begins with choosing your designer.

top landscape designer

Brent Knoll happy with his garden tour

Landscape Designer ~ What should I look for?


The first thing you need to look for in a top landscape designer is experience in the area in which you live.  Every region and climate has particulars which will come into play in your design.  Your designer must understand the soil quality, prevailing environmental conditions, plant materials that work for your zone and location, and many other factors in order to make recommendations which are realistic and which will truly give you the results you’re looking for.  

Artistic Talent 

We all know that categorizing art as “good” or “bad” can be a relative thing.  Different people enjoy different types of artistic expression.  But let’s be honest.  Two people may carry out the same artistic task, and one may do it in a way which is voted more pleasing by general concensus.  We tend to classify those broadly approved of artists as “talented” or “good” at what they do.  When it comes to choosing a top landscape designer, look for their portfolio on their website or ask to see images of their work.  Their pictures will showcase their ability to carry out a truly aesthetically pleasing design.  Find a designer whose work resonates with your own artistic taste, and you will find a match that you should be able to work well with.

Broad Range of Design Styles

Many landscape designers specialize in one or two types of designs, and while the argument may be made that they are specialists in those areas, they may not offer the artistic flexibility required to give you the particular style you are looking for.  Versatility regarding style is essential because each design client is unique, ecclectic, or purist in their own way and needs to be able to be fully heard and understood as they express their aspirations for their garden space.  Find a top landscape designer who seems “style flexible” enough for you to comfortably offer all your ideas, knowing they will all be considered workable for the designer.  If you can, view their website and peruse their list of styles offered to get a feel for their adaptability.

Reviews and References

Finding a top landscape designer who is professional and easy to work with will be greatly reflected in the reviews available and references offered by the designer.  Research web sources such as Yelp, Houzz, and Angie’s List to read reviews which will give you first hand insight from past clients regarding the reliability and competence of your potential designer.  Sources like Houzz also offer colleague reviews so you can see what other professionals think of your designer as well.  Contact your potential landscape designer and ask for references and samples of their work as well to get a well-rounded feel for what they offer.

top landscape designer

My happy clients, the Fors

A Designer Who Offers Installation and Other Follow Up

Knowing how to use AutoCAD or a design program to create a paper design and truly knowing from hands-on experience how the design will work out in the real world are very separate things.  A design and an installation can be at complete odds in moving from paper to planting.  Meeting a landscape designer who strongly encourages you to use his/her company for the installation process means that you have met a designer who is confident in the full extent of their design abilities.  This designer is one who will go to great lengths to create your design as a personal artistic expression, often going so far as to hand-pick every plant which goes into their design.  This designer will also offer follow up visits to track the progress and upkeep of their designs, often suggesting tried-and-true fertilization programs and other amenities. Again, view your landscape designer’s website, check out client reviews and references to see to what extent your potential designer will walk with you through the landscape design process.

top landscape designer

landscape plans

Community Involvement

We all know community involvement is important.  How present we are with our friends, families, neighbors, and communities is a measure of our investment in these areas.  All relationships require constant care, and a good landscape designer is also a good member of their neighborhood.  Has your designer been known to organize community events, educate by offering workshops or lectures, or participate in community service?  Don’t be afraid to ask about this important personal aspect of public outreach.  

top landscape designer

Brent Knoll and Sarah Reimer with the kids


Last, but certainly not least is communication.  The landscape design and installation process are just that, a process which takes time, thought, and calculated orderly moves to execute.  Your landscape design process may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to several months, and during this time, rest assured adjustments will be made, opinions about plant materials and placement may be reevaluated etc, and you will need a landscape designer who will be available to communicate with you on a multimedia level.  A top landscape designer will be available to you via phone calls, consultations, texts, videos, emails, and possibly through social media.  They will make every venue of communication accesible for you so that you can feel comfortable with the entire design process.  Feel free once more to locate their business reviews and ask their references about their ability to communicate during the design process.

What mistakes should you avoid when seeking a landscape designer?

Now that we have discussed some key pointers in finding the top landscape designer for you, let’s go over some don’ts that can be serious road blocks to having a smooth and painless landscape design process.

DON’T use an inexperienced designer.

An inexperienced or beginner designer may seem appealing on several levels.  Maybe they’re offering you a “good deal” or you want to help the beginner out, but a smart beginner will apprentice under a master designer first in order to give quality service to their clients.  You’ll be better off finding someone with some experience, and the more experience, the better.

DON’T use a “Landscape Service” over a Landscape Designer.

Landscape service companies are best known for offering landscape maintenance like lawn care and fertilization, but they may try to offer you design and installation as well.  While some of these companies may have a good designer working for them, many of them don’t and you may be the recipient of a generic and unsatifying “design” and an underpar installation.  Generally, the employees of these companies are not soil experts, plant experts, or designers and therefore may know little when it comes to giving you a landscape which is worth your time and money.  Leave the maintenence to these companies, and the design to the seasoned landscape designers.

DON’T use a designer who doesn’t get your style.

Again, landscape design is art.  Choose an artist who resonates with your personal style and taste.  Schedule a consultation with your potential designer, and tell them your ideas.  See how they resonate and collaborate with you on the project.  Do they understand your personal flair?  Do they seem to have experience with what you are looking for?  Can they readily make plant and material recommendations that seem to perfectly fit your ideas?  For a pain free way to get some of this info on your designer, look again at their website portfolio and design styles offered to see if you may be a good match to work with each other.

DON’T use a designer who has no web presence or references.

The web is the modern easy access way we find much of what we’re looking for.  And web presence is more than just having a great website.  It’s about social media, interacting with your audience, and participation on review-based websites like Yelp, Houzz, and Angie’s List, making your info and your references readily available to potential clients.  Not providing these things to clients may mean shady business, lack of innovation, or laziness.  While this isn’t always true (many old businesses which are very established in their communities haven’t caught up to the available technology), it’s certainly an angle to consider.

DON’T look for fast-food service.

Let’s face it.  We live in a fast-paced world.  We’ve learned to want what we want and want it now, and while that’s good for creating efficiency, it can hamper quality.  Expect your designer to give you a window of at least 2-4 weeks to complete your design.  Remember, a busy designer is a GOOD designer!  DO expect them to stay in great communication with you throughout your process, but realize that a great design takes time.  From the consultation, to picture-taking, constructing your design, researching plant material, compiling price lists and proposals, giving presentations, okaying material with you, making plan adjustments, scheduling installation, etc, there is a lot going on!  Be prepared to set aside the time needed to allow the landscape design process to flow naturally.  The beauty which will surround you will give you years and years of enjoyment as a reward for your patience.

It’s time to find your landscape designer!

Knoll Landscape Design is a versatile and sustainability-focused company which has been serving the Miami, South Florida area for over 20 years.  Landscape Designer Brent Knoll knows the soil, the plants, and the climate of South Florida with the deep awareness that comes from continued hands-on experience and personal attention to every aspect of his client’s designs.  He knows what works in our rocky, sandy soil, and can guide you into a design that will look fantastic AND thrive.  Brent has the aesthetic eye of an artist and knows a broad range of landscape design styles.  He offers installation and all the follow up you need to make sure your project flourishes.  He is a excellent communicator, a fan of social media, and is excited to share his reviews and references with his clients.  In his spare time, he has created several community gardens, hosted many workshops and lectures, and participated my many enjoyable community service projects.  If you are in the Miami-South Florida area, and are looking for a designer for your project, give Brent Knoll a call at 305.496.5155.

top landscape designer teaching group about organic gardening

Brent giving a garden tour