DOs and DON’Ts for preparing your tropical outdoor space

Costa Rica’s endless allure of stunning physical attributes includes a landscape of varied terrains, descending from mountains to valleys, and moistening from dry plains to rainforests and wetlands. In the center, the country’s spinal cord consists of volcanic peaks that have blessed the soil with rich nutrients that nourish everything from traditional blooms, like begonias, hibiscus and roses, to lush canopies of palm and bamboo. Costa Rican soil is ideal for growing spices, vegetables and fruits, including avocados, bananas, oranges, tangerines, mangoes, guavas, papayas and much more.

With visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, remember that every site is unique within the context of a complex tropical landscape. Soil conditions and natural elements can vary significantly from one property to another, with each presenting its own set of challenges and opportunities. That’s where landscape architecture comes into play, with planning and design services that can provide an optimal framework for your colorful visions to help ensure that you get it right the first time.

With fertile soil and endless possibilities, here are some tips to consider before breaking ground on your own private slice of Costa Rican paradise:

DO the research: If you want reality to resemble your dreams, then start by researching soil conditions and ensuring that you are focused on plants that will thrive in those conditions. You should also ensure that the plants and trees that you are bringing together will be good neighbors that will complement each other, both genetically and aesthetically.

DON’T start an invasion: An important reality to consider in the above research is that not all beautiful things get along. Some plants grow at phenomenal rates in optimal soil conditions and can overshadow the elements that neighboring plants and trees depend upon. Others may spread like weeds and can counterbalance essential nutrients in the soil.

DO plan for the future: Costa Rican soil conditions are known to spur rapid growth, so it is essential that your landscaping plans account for a fertile future. Ensure that trees are planted far enough away from your home to allow them to grow freely without threat of structural damage, and be sure that plants are spaced far enough apart so that they won’t compete with each other for sunlight.

DON’T cut yourself off: When designing your landscaping plans, don’t forget the beauty of the things that brought you to Costa Rica in the first place. If you’re embracing a tropical outdoor lifestyle, then be sure that future growth of your landscaping choices won’t interfere with your breathtaking views, or with sun and wind patterns that optimize your personal spaces. Also be very aware of the species of insects and fauna that various plants and trees will attract to your property. Some make for better neighbors than others!

DO think low-maintenance: Another consideration tied to Costa Rica’s ideal soil conditions is the issue of long-term maintenance. If you are eyeing an outdoor lifestyle, the constant presence of landscaping crews might detract from that vision, while pruning and mowing isn’t something that most people aspire to do during their down time. Furthermore, if you plan on being out of the country for long stretches of time, there will certainly be costs associated with maintenance contracts in your absence.

DON’T plant out of season: The best time to plant along Costa Rica’s southwestern Pacific coast is between May and August, when rainfall will help ensure that the roots of your plants and trees get a healthy start. Planting can be done out of season, but the odds of everything taking hold are greater during the rainy season.

Backed by more than a decade of experience, Redizon is the Costa Ballena region’s leading landscape architecture firm. The company offers a full gamut of site development services to help ensure the success of your landscaping projects, from initial planning and preparation, to construction and ongoing maintenance.

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