Welcome Phil, I missed your introduction when I was in Texas. My husband and I normally spend a couple of months in Holmes Beach each winter but missed out last year because of Hurricane Ike. You and your wife are in for a treat in Seattle if you have never been there. Google Kubota Gardens, their web site has driving directions on it and it is a must see. Mr Kubota used plants native to the area, which is best, so you may get ideas how to adapt native species for your garden. And of course the Seattle Japanese Garden is a work of art.
I have seen beautiful Norfolk Pines pines in your area and they would be wonderful at the back of your garden. Or perhaps you have neighbors with them for borrowed scenery? Don could probably give you some great ideas for plants since many of the plants he uses may work in Florida. I am is Zone 5, so many of the plants I use probably wouldn't work.
Have a great trip, it sounds like you are doing your homework before planning your garden. If you are ever in the mid west Chicago and Rockford Il. have wonderful Japanese Gardens to inspire you.
Perhaps next winter when we are in Florida we could meet you both, I would love to see your garden project.