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Home & Design: Inside & Out

Get your property up to par in 2019 thanks to advice from the pros…

INSIDE: Keep and Toss

What brings you joy. Love it or hate it, thanks to her new Netflix show, Marie Kondo has taken over the home improvement space with her much-debated KonMari method, which advises thanking your possessions for their service and folding clothing in her very-specific (and very compact) style.

Just about everything. Clean and organized spaces are just the beginning as homeowners embrace function and style, finding a place for everything and only investing in pieces that make sense for their lives.

The comfort. Forget stiff chairs and scratchy rugs, designers are leaning in to comfort, pushing homeowners to spend money on lucious fabrics and family-friendly living spaces.

The internet. The novelty has worn off for many, says DIGS owner Leslie Matus, who encourages her clients to think local. “Buying online is not always the most economical, due to shipping, quality control and cost issues,” says Matus. “Sometimes the 20 percent is worth more than the headaches.”

Color. Embracing the beauty of everything from jewel tones to feminine pastels means infusing homes with a kick of color. The less adventurous can invest in a few new throw pillows or planters, while the brave can layer paints, fabrics and rugs for more drama.

Grey. It had to end sometime. Designers are moving away from this favorite neutral toward warmer neutrals like taupe and black and white accents.

Light-colored floors. From birch and white to light oak, homeowners want an open, airy feel to flow through the entire house.

Boho accessories. While natural elements are here to stay (for now) the tapestries, fiber art and faux succulents are a few to let go.

OUTSIDE: Q&A With Harvey Bernstein, Horticulturist at Pinecrest Gardens

What are some easy options for people looking to add to their yards when it comes to plants or trees?

It’s less costly to work with the site environment than attempting to plant a garden that needs special care to thrive, otherwise you may end up planting trees that are a nuisance and ultimately need a professional tree felling service to get rid of them. Most developed areas in Miami-Dade County have been built on former pinelands, hammocks, drained sawgrass prairies, or filled mangrove swamps. Typically, a fill layer of soil has been placed over limestone.

Using plants that can tolerate our low-fertility, alkaline soil conditions, seasonal rainfall patterns, and windy periods can make local gardening much easier. There are many native plants that are superbly adapted to garden use and bring the added benefits of providing food and shelter to birds, butterflies, and native pollinating insects.

It’s also important to maintain your landscape like any

We often desire fast-growing trees that are inexpensive and fill in quickly, but it’s best selecting other species that are appropriately scaled to the landscaping design when mature. We get a local tree cutting service because we don’t want trees that will grow too big, crowding out other plants and even being a property hazard in storms.

What fruit trees thrive in Pinecrest/Gables?

Avocados and mangos are old favorites that do particularly well in our area, and taste great. New dwarf varieties of mangoes are much easier for the typical homeowner to manage and have excellent fruit. There are many different banana varieties that are much more flavorful than store bought varieties; they are a quickly maturing fruit that are very easy to grow.

What is the best way to figure out where to plant your trees/plants?

Take into account the light and water needs of the individual species. Plant those that need filtered light under a sun-loving tree. Plant fragile plants with little wind resistance in the protection of other plants and structures. If you live along the coast, plant salt-resistant species. Make sure that water-dependent types are planted with an effective irrigation system in place or within reach of a hose.

The internet can be overwhelming for amateur gardeners and horticulturists! Do you have any favorite websites or apps for information/guidance?

The Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a tremendous resource. Local and national plant specialty societies can have websites of varying usefulness, but membership provides a doorway into entire networks of plant lovers and highly experienced experts. The Connect to Protect network is a way to restore native plant habitats to our home gardens.

What are your top 3 tips for working toward a green thumb?

Become a volunteer at a local garden, such as Pinecrest Gardens, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, or the Kampong.

Become certified as a Florida Master Gardener (contact the local Cooperative Extension Service office in Homestead).

Read, read, read postings online in various forums such as Dave’s Garden and Palmtalk. Search out information at floridayards.org and The Institute for Regional Conservation.

Andrea Carneiro
Author: Andrea Carneiro

Andrea Carneiro
the authorAndrea Carneiro
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