Palm Beach’s lush vegetation and manicured lawns make the area a renowned tropical getaway. For gardening tips and insight, we checked in with landscape architect Mario Nievera, of Nievera Williams Landscape Architecture, whose prominent residential projects were recently presented in a beautiful tome, Forever Green ($75, Pointed Leaf Press).
PBI: What trends are you seeing in landscape design?
MN: Low maintenance and low water landscapes. In Palm Beach County, the trend is to remove ficus plants and use combinations of other plants to make up a hedge.
What's a common landscaping mistake every homeowner should avoid—and how?
Drainage is often overlooked. People wonder why a plant isn't surviving, and it’s usually a below-grade problem like drainage that's causing it. Many people think all plants grow in Florida, which is not the case. Shade, wind, moisture and heat limit the plant choices.
What's something every garden should have?
We are big on water elements. The sound, color and feel of water is so important in South Florida gardens.
What advice do you have for creating a beautiful landscape in a small space?
Make sure every view is beautiful when you're sitting in the garden. A weed in a small garden is amplified to the size if a tree, so pay attention to the details!
What are some particular plants or flowers that are perfect for Palm Beach?
Way too many to mention! In my book, I mention many, but there's a slew of natives and low water plants I love such as native holly and firebush.