Jacksonville Beach, Florida, residential landscaping transformations are a specialty of Rockaway, and the Johnson residence was no exception. Landscape Designer David Holloway provides a walking project tour on a spectacular May afternoon. Landscaping Foreman Alex and his crew conducted the tear-out and installation over a few days.
“It was a major transformation from what we started,” said Holloway. “What we have now is a clean, easy to maintain, and quite classy-looking installation. And as far as Ms. Johnson goes, she is absolutely over the moon. So, it’s a great turnout.”
Holloway began the tour at the front door, where he’d installed a beautiful ceramic pot. “I like to incorporate pots, especially in these tight little areas because it’s a spot where you can’t put plants,” said Holloway. “By using a pot that matches the front door, you get a cool connection between the two spots. And then, it allows you to change the colors in the pot. If you celebrate Christmas, you could do poinsettias. You can change this out seasonally and keep it all fresh. If you are having a party, it is a great way to spruce up quickly.”
Front Bed Landscaping and Hardscaping
The existing turf and flower bed were removed, and upgraded landscaping and hardscaping were installed. Low-maintenance Blue Daze was installed as a colorful ground cover within one quadrant of the newly graveled flower bed. “The star of this area is going to be this European Fan Palm,” said Holloway. “As it matures, it will get a very distinctive-looking trunk. And that will slowly, very slowly grow only a few inches each year. We’ve got some step stones that conveniently allow you to walk over to the back gate but also, from a design standpoint, allow you to separate the areas. I use it to cut off the Blue Daze, stopping and starting with something else. And then, we have Pringles Podocarpus as our foundational plant. They will get approximately 24-30” tall, not much taller than that. And so they’ll stay relatively low upfront. And in the foreground, this is Carissa Emerald Blanket. This will stay very low and spread out and, over time, cover a good bit of the stonework. Where you see the stone interacting with the grass, a bender board is installed. So, it keeps the edge nice and tight; it keeps people from getting hurt while doing maintenance.
Right Side Yard Landscaping and Carpentry
The tear-out and landscaping of the side yard were critical to the success of this project, as beyond the privacy fence on the property line is a busy highway. “Down on this end, we’ve got a ligustrum tree, which was one of Ms Johnsons’ requests,” said Holloway. “We’ve got some foxtail fern along the base. And we’ve got some foxtail fern again over on the left side of the driveway. And then we had our carpenters create this solid panel, which helps a little bit on the noise abatement, better than a plant would. And then, we’ve started some jasmine, which will eventually climb on the panel and help to soften the look of the panel. Lastly, we did brand new grass. She had no grass living here. We spray a fungicide after we do any sod application knowing that the customers will be watering. And that’s just one little we always do that you don’t get from other people. We do warranty our sod for a month. And it takes care of it if there is a disaster or something goes on. We added three large podocarpus over here against the fence where there was a hole. And then we added some ornamental grasses to mitigate the beautiful green box.”
Left Side Yard Landscaping and Screening
The final portion of landscaping completed for this project was the left side yard between the homeowner and the next-door neighbor. “Originally, there was a crape myrtle here, and she had a crape myrtle over where the ligustrum is now as well,” said Holloway. “She wanted to go a little bit lower, so we went with an orange bird of paradise, which, when it blooms, will look really pretty with this house, and being close to the beach, I think it’s a very appropriate plant. We then tied in a few foxtail ferns, which we used over the ligustrum tree. And instead of using the viburnum, which we had before as the blocker for the air conditioning unit, we went with regular podocarpus. In this case, it makes for a narrower and easier-to-maintain plant so that she has a very good block and takes up far less space. And in her case, it also ties in with the fact that we used the dwarf podocarps in front of the porch. So this has turned out to be a great project.”
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