OK, so before I get too far into this, I have a small confession to make. We have hired a professional landscape designer to come up with a blueprint for our new landscape. No, we aren't rich. We have a small yard so the cost was actually reasonable, and we need help. Lots of it. I have all the design sense of a blind cave shrimp and my husband would frankly rather have his fingernails removed without anesthesia than do any yard work to begin with, so there you have it.
The designer we chose is very familiar with Florida-Friendly landscapes. She didn't flinch when we told her we wanted NO grass in our new 'do. Neither did our neighbors here in wonderful, tolerant South Seminole Heights, an urban neighborhood of old homes and eclectic homeowners near downtown Tampa. I also liked the designer's holistic approach. After visiting our property twice, she's made recommendations for guttering to solve our water flow problems, with the gutters tying into rain barrels. She's also talked us into a second gate for our new privacy fence so we could move our kayaks to the unused side of our yard where we can actually get at them much more easily than their previous home behind the shed. Duh! Sometimes it just takes a fresh eye to point out the obvious.
So we will have a wonderful, professional design soon. But we're determined to install it ourselves. In the meantime, we are under orders to remove virtually everything currently growing in our yard. Whew -- it's a lot of work.