by Brent Knoll | Jul 7, 2014 | Education, Landscape design
Let’s talk about the best landscape design options for you.
Choosing the best landscape design for your Miami, South Florida home sometimes can be tricky. There are many design elements and variables to sort through, it’s easy to see why a person can be confused when trying to decide what the best landscape design is. You want a landscape that’s not only beautiful, but fits your personal needs as well, for example having a tree that provides great shade and fruit, like a mango or avocado tree. You can’t decide whether to go with a Mediterranean look or Tropical Design? You have many design choices with numerous landscape elements to consider. You’re design should flow with the architecture of your home, inside and out.
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design is here to help. Brent has over 20 years of designing gardens in South Florida and has put together his top ten landscape designs for beautifying your outdoor space. In this article he’ll discuss the best landscape design for Miami and the elemental factors that make them work. So what is the best landscape design for your Miami, South Florida home? Here’s Brent’s top ten landscape designs for Miami:
1. Mediterranean Landscape Design– Mediterranean gardens are best known for their casual elegance. The inspiration for these gardens comes from the coastal areas of Spain, Italy and France, this landscape style combines relaxed materials and plants with formal accents and designs. Imagine spiral topiaries, lavender, cypress trees and ornamentals combined with terra cotta pots, tiered fountains, roman columns and greek statues. That’s a pretty picture!
Mediterranean Landscape Design
2. Tropical Landscape Design– Tropical Landscapes in Miami are a slam dunk as South Florida is…Tropical. Imagaine a Tropical Landscape full of hummingbirds and butterflies, exotic flowering bat plants whose whiskery flowers are 20″ long, fragrant trumpet flowers perfuming the night air and the creaking sound of bamboo as it sways in the wind. Small waterfalls flowing in to ponds filled with papyrus, lotus flowers and koi fish. The icing on the cake is lying in a hammock between two coconuts as you sip cold ginger tea and listen to the birds sing. That’s paradise….Tropical is the best landscape design in Miami and South Florida when it comes to lushness, rapid growth, and plant variety.
Tropical Landscape Miami
3. Edible Landscape Design– Edible landscaping is an infusion of herbs, fruits and vegetable plants combined with hummingbird and butterfly flora, ornamentals, nectar plants to attract pollinators, fruit trees and shrubs. The object of an edible landscape design is to create a beautiful, yet practical organic garden, one that provides for your basic needs of aesthetics, privacy and shade, but can be eaten from as well. This is a great way to say good by to all that lawn grass and expensive upkeep by planting lot’s of crisp lettuce, fresh herbs and vegetables. Your shade tree becomes a delcious mango tree. Privacy hedge a passion flowering vine on fence giving you fruit all year long. In my opinion, Edible Landscapes are great way to become empowered about growing your own food and setting an example for the community. Are Edible Landscapes the best landscape design for being sustainable, growing food and making the most of your taxable property…Yes! For more information on edible landscaping in Miami, visit our friends Easy Edible Landscapes at http://www.easyediblelandscapes.com
4. Certified Wildlife Habitat– These gardens hold a special place in my heart as they’re all about connecting with Nature. With the continued development of Metropolitan properties, more of the natural environment is removed including the soil, to be replaced with huge homes, concrete and small lawns. In my line of work as Landscape Designer, I’m digging all day long in construction fill, bottles, concrete and whatever is left over from the site. The first step for creating balance is to take care of the soil by rejuvenating it with organic material. Then we plant the prettiest of native trees, shrubs, flowering vines, butterfly and bird attracting plants, grasses and ground covers. The result is a outdoor space full of song birds, butterflies fluttering about, frogs singing at night and a place for all to find solace, a natural sanctuary. This is the best landscape design hands down for attracting wildlife to your Miami home.
Certified Wildlife Habitat
5. Butterfly and Hummingbird Haven– the name says it all! The one consistant element in all my gardens are the butterflies. I can’t help it, they’re so much fun to be around. Always fluttering, chasing and nectaring, so tranquil and elegant. It’s easy to attract butterflies in our temperate climate. In one Miami garden alone, I attracted over 30 of native species. It was butterflies gone wild!!! Great thing about butterfly plants, they also bring in the hummingbirds. Plants like ruby red penta, firebush and firespike are great for nectaring, while corkystem passion vine, milkweed and cassia serve as the larval plants. Combine those elements and you’ve got buffet line for our little friends and entertainment for hours. For attracting butterflies, the butterfly and hummingbird haven is the best landscape design for this purpose.
Zebra butterfly nectaring on firebush
6. Healing Garden Design– If there’s a garden I’d prefer to install the most, it would be the Healing Garden. In our fast-pacing, chaotic world, it’s easy to feel the effects of stress and become unbalanced or even ill. If you’re looking for an incredible way to bring healing and meditative calm to your space, then you’ve met your future garden. With restoration of the body, mind, and spirit at its heart, it is infused with many divine and delightful elements. We use things like sacred geometry, scent, color, sound therapy, water features, herbal and medicinal plants, meditation and prayer niches, edibles, and various wildlife attractants among others. Imagine being greeted with the fragrance of a joy perfume tree each time you come home from work or relaxing on a bench near a fountain listening to song birds. Butterflies always in chase, hummingbirds nectaring on native flowers. If you want a Sanctuary, a place of solace, Healing Gardens are the best landscape design in Miami for finding balance and peace of mind.
7. Sacred Sanctuary Design and Labryths– With our days typically filled with work, home life, social life, hobbies, etc., we can lose sight of the sacred. And yet this part of our life is (for many of us) the most crucial and central need we have. Imagine having a garden truly set apart as a holy place for meditation, prayer, and worship, and as a reminder of all that is divine in your life. We encourage the use of things like sacred geometry, crystals, prayer flags, meditation benches and other sacred symbols as templates for these designs. Wildlife attracting plants like firebush for the butterflies and surnam cherry for the birds will bring balance to any space, ecouraging sanctuary and peace for all.
Sacred Geometry Design
8. Raised Bed Gardening– Imagine having an organic marketplace in your own back yard! The Raised Bed Garden is a classic approach to growing herbs and vegetables. Raised Bed Gardens are neatly contained and easy to work, this simple design offers everything you need to begin growing the healthy herbs, fruits and vegetables you and your family deserve. Raised bed garden frames can be made with wood, metal, stone or plastic. The wood raised bed frames are build with 2″ pine, cedar, cypress or teak, are normally 2′ to 4′ wide, 4′ to 10′ long, and are 10″ deep, filled with organic soil, seasonally planted with seeds and starter plants and fertilized organically. These little raised garden beds are the best landscape design approach for beginners to grow their own food.
Raised Bed Garden
9. Bamboo Retreat– Adding bamboo to your landscape can be perfect for many situations. Let’s say you’ve got a building next to your property that you don’t want to see anymore or don’t want your neighbor to see you skinny dipping in your pool, bamboo as a privacy hedge is ideal due to it’s fast growing nature and non invasiveness. (we only install clumping, non running bamboo at Knoll Landscape Design) The Bamboo Retreat Designs we create are lush, tropical, exotic and elegant, each unique in presentation and impact. Imagine a small bamboo forest surrounding a clear water limestone pool with koi fish, water lillies, orchids and flowering bromeliads, a true vacation getaway in your back yard!
10. Edible Forest Design– If your tired of throwing money away for costly yard upkeep and want to make the most of your property by growing your own food, then the Edible Forest is the landscape design for you. This sustainable “green” design combines concepts like permaculture and companion planting. This self-sustaining microclimate involves the layering of plants and fruit trees according to height, sun tolerance, and growth habits, creating tiny forests that mimic nature and work in beautiful harmony to produce a constant yield of fresh organic deliciousness! Replace your lawn grass with crisp lettuce, fresh herbs, nutritious vegetables and fruits. Tear out that whitefly destroyed ficus hedge and grow a super sweet surnam cherry hedge. Remove that invasive schefflera tree and plant a mango tree, surrounded by papayas and sweet potatoes. With this new style of landscaping you’ll grow enough food for your family and have enough to give to friends. Edible Forests are the best landscape design for making the most of your organic gardening space.
Edible Forest Garden
Need a consulation or design?
Whether it’s a mediterranean style landscape with tiered Italian fountains, a Tropical Paradise with exotic orchids and waterfalls, or just showing off your prize lemon tree in your Edible Forest, you have many choices for landscaping your South Florida property. Need direction for where to start first? Maybe a consulation will shed light on what style of landscape best suits your architecture? Have the ideas and just need a landscape design? Knoll Landscape Design is ready to help you get started. With over 20 year designing and installing gorgeous landscapes, Landscape Designer Brent Knoll knows the best landscape design for your property and is just a phone call away at 3054965155. Call today and get your property looking great!
by Brent Knoll | May 29, 2014 | B-Edible Landscape, Education
Banana Fun Facts for Edible Landscaping
1. A banana is an edible fruit produced by several kinds of large herbaceous florwering plantsi in the genus Musa.
2. The majority of the bananas grown these days are a clone of one another originating in Southeast Asia which could lead to problems with fungus and soil born diseases.
3. Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea.
4. The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant in the world. That’s one big herb!!!
5. Bananas are one of the easiest edible landscape fruits to grow producing huge clumps of bananas all year long. Usually over 100 bananas in each clump!
6. The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called “hands”), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. Each individual banana is called a finger.
7. Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their potassium content and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium.
8. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, and western Africa. Today we consume over 100,000,000,000 annually making them the 4th largest agricultural product in the world.
9. Bananas like rich organic soil, like composted horse manure. Make your own organic soil with composted vegetable scraps!
10. Edible landscaping with bananas creates microclimates great for growing herbs, vegetables and berries all year long.
11. Want a great garden idea for growing bananas in your space? Try growing bananas in an edible forest, an edible landscape or in pots in your patio garden.
12. There are around 1,000 different types of bananas but most are not edible. The banana grown mostly for commercial food is the cavendish.
13. Ever wonder why organic bananas taste better? Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. Gross!!!
14. Ever had fried plantains? Delcious! Plantains or fried bananans constitute a major staple food crop for millions of people in developing countries. In most tropical countries, green (unripe) bananas used for cooking represent the main cultivars.
15. Easy to grow and fruits all year long in Miami and South Florida, making it my favorite edible landscape plant of all time!
Go to www.easyediblelandscapes.com for the latest and greatest garden ideas regarding edible landscaping in South Florida.
Call 3054965155 to have your edible landscape installed today!!!
by Brent Knoll | Jan 23, 2014 | Education
Power of Plants
Like many things in life, we don’t always see the forest for the trees, and losing appreciation for the plant life around us just happens. We may begin to see our living landscapes as just utilitarian, aesthetic, or even invasive. While our attitudes may vary, the plant life around us still represents one of the most vital parts of our survival…This is the Power of Plants.
Like all of the natural world, plants are here to give us life, the Power of Plants is amazing. We eat them, eat the things that eat them, and when we pass on, they recycle our own remains, repeating the process again and again. We are, in fact, a true product of the landscape of our planet. With such an undeniably intimate relationship, it would be hard to believe that the indigenous wisdom and humble offerings of the plant kingdom could not be totally vital to life!
Breathe deeply… In… Out… Ahhh, the sweet feeling of vitality rushing through your veins. Just the simple act of breathing thick, oxygen-rich air is enough to make us say, “THANK YOU, PLANTS!” Once again, the basic throb the earth’s heart is “heard” from the plants, pumping oxygen into the air to fuel our own bodies. Even in the involuntary act of breathing, we are partaking in the fruits of the plant world…. Wow.
And the plants just keep giving… There’s really no end to the things our foliated friends do for us. They blanket our surroundings with the fresh, clear, healing color of green. They provide medicine and offer up their wisdom to science to help humanity create myriads of healing modalities. They provide protection from the elements, building and industrial materials, food, and shelter. Their forests, open plains, and deserts evoke emotions and fuel spiritual growth with the quiet lessons they whisper. They surround us with natural art, dramatic, colorful, subtle, intricate, and mesmerizing… And scent… Fresh cut grass, an open rose warmed lightly in the midmorning sun, or crushed lemongrass… If you stop for a minute and think of all the things plants GIVE to us, you can’t help but hear them all whispering, “I love you. I’m here for you.”
So, perhaps not seeing the whole forest… but just seeing a single tree… can be a great thing. The next time you look at an ordinary tree or bush, or walk across your lawn, take a moment to realize the impact of that green space. What feeds there, rests there, takes shade or cover or raises it’s young there? If we can realize the impact of the presence of each plant around us, we just may see the world with completely new eyes…Thank you Universe, I bow to the Power of Plants.
by Brent Knoll | Oct 29, 2013 | B-Sustainability, Education
Certified Wildlife Habitat-One gardeners story
Brent was asked this week to demolish a garden, a certified wildlife habitat, which he has been keeping for the last 20 years. Over that course of time, it grew from the client’s little herb patch into a lush floral wildlife sanctuary. When you entered the canopy area, you were surrounded by the silent vibrations of various butterflies, the quiet hum of bees, and the soft scutter of countless varieties of lizards and insects. You could truly FEEL the living aura inside this gorgeous space. It was in this garden space where Brent learned the value of butterfly larval plants, attracting bees, and many other important botanical/natural discoveries. He trimmed, planted, and tended this beautiful space, each passing moment creating more and more life and energetic abundance. But some good things come to an end.
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll
This beautiful sanctuary was in a gated community with a board making decisions concerning the landscape. For several years now, the board has issued complaints about the garden being “too wild”. With the garden now prolifically producing papaya and bananas, they became concerned that snakes and other “unwanted” creatures might come in, and ordered the garden be heavily scaled back, and the banana to be removed…
What the board wants, the board gets, and we complied and removed 4 truckloads (packed high) of vegetation from the property. It was truly difficult to see years of growth demoed in a matter of minutes and hours, crammed into a truck bed to be hauled off. The butterflies and lizards hovered and scurried, bees buzzed around the cut blooms in the truck, every one as if to say “what’s going on?”. The garden is now a butchered shade of itself…just like that, this beautiful certified wildlife habitat was gone.
Zebra butterfly in flight
Over the last few days, we’ve talked about this incident, and the words of a friend surfaced. As we walked with him through our bamboo nursery weeks back, he mentioned something he called “loss of biophelia”. Biophelia is by definition ” an innate love for the natural world, supposed to be felt universally by humankind”. While this should be innate as the definition states, in our urban areas, we truly have developed extreme “loss of biophelia”. We’re afraid of weeds, bugs, dirt, rain, wind, sun, and so much more. Many urban people never set foot on natural ground in the course of their day. It seems so strange, and yet it is a truly pervasive part of our culture.
Brent Knoll and his soil
What’s the danger? As we see it, the danger is quite real. We believe that humanity is part of this beautiful natural world! We sprang up from it; it nourishes and gives us physical life, and in the end, we pass back to it. Through our industrialized material-focused near past, we have become a culture of people who have separated ourselves from nature and used nature to our benefit, and in the process learned to disregard what consequences which may await us. We have pushed forward in the name of progress, and though we have made many gains and VALUABLE gains at that, there truly is a price that has been paid. We have lost our connection to the very natural world that has yielded everything we have created and come to love.
Sparrow having fun in the sun
And this is somewhat natural, as we are collectively a yet adolescent species. Parents of adolescent children know that no matter how much money or supplies (both necessary and luxurious) they furnish their children with, they may not get so much as a thank you at the time. Many of us become much older adults, perhaps after marrying or having children of our own before we realize the great sacrifices our parents made in order to raise us well. Sometimes it’s even not until the passing of that parent that all the lights go on and true gratitude is achieved. While that may seem a tolerable process in human family life, we certainly can’t allow ourselves to come to that place with planet earth. It’s vital to the safety of our future generations that we turn the bus around in good time. And I think it’s this awareness that can help us make the switch into a more mature understanding of the true sacred value of our natural world.
Deb’s certified wildlife habitat
What can we do? We can reevaluate. We can learn to be truly grateful for what earth offers us, and begin to participate with focused awareness in all that surrounds us. If you have a mango or lemon tree that doesn’t seem to make fruit to feed you, it may be that pollinators are deficient in your neighborhood due to a lack of flowering plants. Plant some flowers. It may be that your soil is deficient. Bring in the insect and microbial life with some fresh compost, and top it off with organic natural mulch. And if you are on a board for your community, have this conversation with the other members. We love fruit. We love herbs, vegetables, flowers, honey, and all that nature has to offer! Therefore, let’s get connected to that process! Ask the board to provide a community veggie space! Ask your schools to plants veggie and fruit gardens and get the kids involved! Go outside and play in the dirt! Commune with nature and talk to it! Feel the vital connection between this good green earth and you!!!
Anole lizard on bean pole tipi in edible garden
At Knoll Landscape Design, we are excited about creating not only gorgeous aesthetically pleasing landscapes, but organic, flowering, aromatic, juicy, life-glorifying certified wildlife habitats! We want to help our neighbors in South Florida to see the intensely stunning natural tropical holy land that we’re blessed to call home!! If there’s any way that we can assist you in getting the garden you desire or help you to connect with your outdoor space, please let us know. Message us here or call Brent Knoll at 305-496-5155.
Fragrant almond bush
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ~ Anne Frank
by Brent Knoll | Mar 11, 2013 | B-Butterflies, Education
Making your landscape a butterfly garden
South Florida hosts wide range of exquisite butterfly species. More than a dozen or so types of butterflies can be seen around our area all year. Swallowtails, Zebras, Fritillaries, and Monarchs are just a few of the majestic little garden dwellers that you have the opportunity to encounter in your very own yard. Seeing as there are so many butterflies in our South Florida landscapes, it makes a great deal of sense that there are so many native plants in our area that are butterfly attractors.
Two monarchs getting to know one another
Butterflies have a very intimate relationship with plants; they feed on the nectar of flowers and lay their eggs on leaves and stems. Native plants have become markedly dependable for their nourishment and shelter, and so by incorporating more native butterfly plants in our landscape and gardens we will become an honored host. Plant these host plants and you’ll have a thriving butterfly garden in no time.
One of the best plant choices to bring butterflies into your life is Milkweed. Butterflies absolutely love milkweed nectar and you will love how their striking orange, pink, and red flowers liven up your landscape or garden. Milkweed is also relatively inexpensive and, living up to its name, grows very quickly in virtually any soil condition. As a South Florida native, milkweed, in addition to its butterfly attraction, will do wonderful things for your soil and surrounding ecology. Milkweed is an important element in any butterfly garden.
Queen butterflies having lunch
When you attract butterflies to your garden with food they will come and go, but when you give them a place to lay their eggs, well they’ll be there all the time! There are many plants in South Florida that are larval plants, however few compare to the Corky Stem Passion Vine. The corky stem is a larval plant to Zebras, several types of Fritillaries, and the Julia butterflies. The corky stem passion vine is also reasonably priced and grows very rapidly. This is an ideal vine for privacy fences. The flowers are not especially striking however the massive clouds of gorgeous twirling butterflies more than make up for that.
Corky stem passion vine
A very important consideration for butterfly attraction is to be mindful of any chemicals you might be using in your garden. Butterflies are very fragile creatures. Commercial fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides are lethal to butterflies and their larva. Brent uses safe organic means of pest control but even some of his organic methods must be undertaken with great care to preserve the winged beauty of his garden spaces. Brent uses an organic pest control product that is essentially an organic bacteria. This bacteria has no effect on the plant but it is toxic to caterpillars and other bugs that feed on our fruit and vegetable plants. When Brent is spraying this on his tomatoes, peppers, squash, and other edible plants he must very carefully avoid getting any of it on his butterfly plants. Brent remains vigilant in his application of these agents and, as a true lover of butterflies, takes the greates care in keeping them safe and comfortable in his gardens.
There are so many bright, vibrant, and beautiful butterfly plants that can be utilized in our area all year long, and Brent knows them all. In Brent’s garden, when you are experiencing the breathtaking display of endless swarms of butterflies as far as you can see, it is difficult to imagine at that moment that there could be any butterflies anywhere else. When Brent unleashes his famous, “Butterflies Gone Wild” it surely seems as though every butterfly in South Florida is in eager attendance.
Butterflies transcend all ages
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll knows butterflies and Brent knows butterfly plants. Whatever the taste and whatever the budget, Brent can turn your home yard and garden into a favorite destination for butterflies everywhere. Give him a call today at 3054965155 and turn your South Florida landscape into a butterfly haven!