We’re very lucky to live where we do here on the western end of the Florida Panhandle. We enjoy more than our fair share of differing terrain ranging from sandy dunes to sheer cliffs, open fields to pine forests. During a recent landscaping makeover, we had the chance to recreate the look and feel of one of the few environments not found in our immediate vicinity.
Landscaping Inspiration: The Foothills of Oneonata
When the Hill family wanted to update the landscaping surrounding their Pensacola property, they wanted to recreate the look of the mountain forests and rocky valleys found in Oneonata, Alabama.
Home of the annual Covered Bridge Festival, Oneonata is a quiet little city nestled in the Murphree Valley. Surrounded by the Red, Sand and Straight Mountains in the northern end of Alabama, the area is part of the Southern Appalachians. The forested terrain found there is hilly and dotted with boulders of sandstone and limestone outcroppings.
Natural Stone and Native Foliage
To recreate the feeling the Hill’s wanted, we started with revamping the hardscape. The parking area of the driveway was refurbished with a new, multi-hued paver parking pad. This added a palette of natural colors picked up by new natural stone retaining walls and flagstone pathways.
In all, we brought in nine truckloads of natural stone from the Oneonata area. We softened the look of all that rock with beds of native oakleaf hydrangeas and encore azaleas, accented with bright yellow-green pops lemon ball cedum. Edges were filled with grassy clumps of dwarf mondo grass and variegated dionella.
For spaces that need more ground cover and fall color, we built up areas of low growing and disease resistant drift roses. The vibrant blooms work especially well with the deep mulch of pine straw and dry beds of river rock found throughout the yard.
We love how this project came together. It truly recreates the sensation of walking through the forested foothills of Oneonata that the Hills wanted to bring to their property.