I don’t know what a Florida landscape should look like.
This idea has been bothering me. I can't shake it.
Is “should” even a useful way of thinking about a region’s landscape aesthetics?
What’s the challenge? The challenge is that Florida (especially South Florida) has been sold as a tropical paradise. People come here expecting lush foliage, big flowers, bright colors - all year round.
Like any place that’s marketed mostly to tourists, it’s posited as an escape. A place where the rules are different, where you can discard reality and live out a fantasy. "Whatever you want, sir."
Landscape doesn’t work that way.
Southwest Florida isn’t a dream. Intervening with landscape is intervening with reality. And reality always offers resistance. Aesthetic decisions have physical consequences. Here are a few images that show our region’s evolved plant communities.
Maybe they offer a starting point for how we can design landscape better.