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Backyard merbau decking in Ashburton landscape design

Status quo So we understand the direction in which the planting trend is moving, thought that it was best to explore what’s been happening to date. (But please bear in mind that this is a very generic summary though!) There was a strong urge to mimic English gardens – so the cottage garden style. Then came the movement to go native and explore the delights we have on offer …

What is it? What is rock mulch? I get this question a lot. It stems from the general perception that “mulch” only relates to material made from chipped wood. Rock “mulch” is basically a groundcover material made of your chosen size of screenings, pebbles or small rocks. Now you’re going to ask me, what are these in turn as they all seem to mean the same thing? In fact …

Biophilia What does Biophillia actually mean and how is it important to garden design?  It is a fancy term or does it carry more meaning? The term “biophilia” means the “love of life or living systems.” It describes a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. It tries to explain why humans strive to connect with nature and the world around us. For me, maybe …

How do I know I have clay soil? It’s relatively easy to do a basic soil type test to help you understand your soil profile. It’s called the hand texturing or extrusion test. Basically, you take a fist full of your soil, wet it so that you are able to shape it into a ball.  Then you lightly “extrude” the ball using your forefinger and thumb and see whether …

Do you want to learn what it takes to create your dream garden? A space that you love to look at and spend time in?   We have developed a free comprehensive eBook just for you!   This 17-page eWorkbook will help: Map out your existing garden and identify problem areas Brainstorm new ideas Clarify what you want before contacting a landscape designer or contractor If you are not …

My association with roses goes back to my childhood.  For me, it was the distinctive perfume of the rose that my mum grew that drew us to this plant.  Even risking a cut or two from its thorns just to take as many deep breaths in of its intoxicating perfume! My mum is the real gardener in the family and who has the most green fingers.  There is nothing …

Jasmines – love them to bits!  Have a look around right now and they should be at their flowering best.  I’m writing this from my deck where I’ve surrounded myself with the variety of my choice. Reminds me of home. Reminds me of my childhood experiences.  Can’t go wrong with a scented garden! There are many species and styles of jasmine available.  The biggest difference between jasmine varieties is …

The most important thing to do in spring for your productive garden is planting. It is a task that will pay off big dividends! So forget all those other spring tasks you’ve got on your plate at the moment and get planting before it’s too late! I know it’s hard to get organised.  I have young kids and a busy work schedule but I do love the taste of …

With spring well underway, I’m sure you’ve come across them.  Swarms of soft bodied insects swarming around and eventually ruining your young buds. They are present in my garden too.  Used to attack my roses but much less now, having implemented some preventative measures discussed below.  However, they still attack my hellebores! Here’s some insights into what aphids are and what you should consider when dealing with them. What …

Propagating succulents Succulents are one of the easiest of plants to propagate!  Depending on the species of succulent, they can grown from seeds; you’re able to create mini me’s from their leaves/stems; or set off wee cute little baby versions of them themselves and which are aptly called pups! From leaf Pick one of their leaves, leave the wounded end to dry (called callousing) for about a day then …

Given that spring is around the corner, I thought of writing up on this topic as a value add so that you’re able to refer to this for some ideas on how to approach growing your own herbs!  Soon it’ll be time to sow your herb seeds to grow into young saplings you can plant out when the frost risk is minimal and the ground warms up! Have a …

What is it? What does “productive garden design” mean for me, personally? Is it a garden with a vegetable patch?  Maybe some fruit bearing trees thrown in? Having edibles secretly injected into your outdoor spaces?  Or is it something practical for the family with young kids to forage through and discover the bounty of nature? Does it need to be aesthetically pleasing? What about inviting wildlife into the garden? …

Given that spring is not that far off, I thought of writing up on this topic as a value add so that you’re able to refer to this for some ideas on how to approach growing your own herbs!  Soon it’ll be time to sow your herb seeds to grow into young saplings you can plant out when the frost risk is minimal and the ground warms up! Have …

Water features in your garden Water features are perfect for large gardens as well as for small courtyards. They will transform your garden into an amazing space! Sometimes it’s a bit confusing to choose which one will be appropriate in your garden.  When choosing water features for your garden, try to consider the price, the size of your space and the design of your garden. We’ll explore each feature, …

Hello, I’ve pulled together some features that a home-office should have, in my view.  Yes it’s plant based of course, as I’m a plantaholic designer!  Anyway, there was so much to write on this topic that I have broken it down to two articles. Part 1 Why have plants in the workplace and the how to use them effectively Part 2 Maintenance considerations and the types of plants you …

Hello, I’ve pulled together some features that a home-office should have, in my view.  Yes it’s plant based of course, as I’m a plantaholic designer!  Anyway, there was so much to write on this topic that I have broken it down to two articles. Happy reading! Part 1 Why have plants in the workplace and the how to use them effectively Part 2 Maintenance considerations and the types of …

Role of a tree A tree is a key piece in your garden framework.  Depending on the tree of choice, it will add height and beauty to your garden and determines which part of it is shaded.  Its an important investment to realise your dream garden’s full potential!  So choosing the perfect tree is key for designing your dream garden! How trees help wildlife There is a current trend in …

What sort of sounds? What does “sounds in the garden” mean for me, personally? Is it the rustle of leaves and undergrowth as we walk path? Could it be the wind billowing softly that makes it exciting to be in the garden? What about the birds and then buzz of the bees? Other insects maybe? What about the delightful sounds of moving water as it laps around edges of …

People are attracted to movement in the garden.   It creates an interest of all sorts.  Here are some of my tips to create it! Doncaster – water feature view Maribyrnong – water movement Blackburn Glen Waverley Water cascading into a pool, for instance, always attracts attention from most people, especially young children!  If created to provide a subtle sound effect, it will not only add a visual wow factor …

Thought I’d quickly share some of my gardening tips for getting your garden ready this summer.  Every keen gardener I know is worried about the forecasts for this summer – it’s predicted to be hot and dry so best to get your preparation underway to tackle the heat and ensure your garden survives the onslaught!! Irrigation A key gardening tip is to ensure that your irrigation system, if you …

Bluestone – what is it? Bluestone is not a geological term but refers to different types of stone depending on which Australian state your located. In Victoria Bluestone means Basalt. Basalt is one of the most commonly occurring igneous or volcanic rocks used in construction.  It is supplied as building blocks, cobblestones and statues.  Bluestone paving comes in all shapes and sizes and until recently it was the trendiest …

Thought it may be worthwhile doing a writeup of the main questions I get asked about paving. Hawthorn East – granite Ashburton B Blackburn – bluestone Glen Waverley Ashburton A Vermont South B Brighton Caulfield Camberwell Maribyrnong Surrey Hills Paving v decking Which one should you go for?  Basically it boils down to a couple of considerations ranging from your personal preference to use of space and cost drivers.  …

Trellises or frames are probably one of the more useful structures to be considered in garden design.  Why? They add a bit of visual interest and are at times functional!  Therefore, if you’re thinking of creating a space that seems like an enclosed room or a special destination where you want to be in the garden, don’t hesitate to use one! With trends in landscape design shifting towards ideas …

Why?   Gardens are where growth energy gets created and nurture.  It is as important for your garden to attract good energy as it for your home interiors to bring you luck! Which method?   There are a couple of ways in which start the process of designing a feng shui garden.   Note, however, that the information in this article is based on the general principles and are …

With working lives becoming busier and its becoming more expensive to travel to an oasis, why not create a home oasis of your own?  A balcony garden is a perfect initiative!! Personally, its not about adding to clutter, but its about organising your space to be more of what you need in life with plant friends along the way and which can improve the air quality to boot!! There …

LOL.  Well that’s my reaction.  I just have never liked artificial plants.  I love that modern tech has made them almost lifelike though.  But they can’t give you what real plants can.  The sheer joy and satisfaction of watching your little baby grow and bloom and at the same time enliven the space that it’s in!   Pros of  artificial plants   Well … just to humour this topic …

What’s so popular about it? The Monstera deliciosa plant is a non native that’s getting popular again.  And for good reason.  It’s simply gorgeous and easy to look after. I came across one recently on a site inspection.  Such a beauty and probably worth a lot with its propagation value and sheer size!  It definitely adds to the tropical, lush or jungle feel.  Whichever design intent appeals to you! …

Best practice   It is our practice to organise a site meeting for the initial consultation, so that we can visualise the area we will be designing.  That’s best practice. We charge for our initial consultations.   Preparation is Key!     We strongly believe in being value for money so we come prepared.  Once contacted, we send you a short questionnaire prior to the initial consultation so that …

With everything getting smaller these days, how do we get the most from our outdoor areas without feeling claustrophobic? Design Tips! Here are some simple tips in getting an awesome design underway for your small garden or outdoor space! Choose the right plant palette – go for the smaller dwarfs and cultivars and don`t forget to layer them and group their sizes accordingly to create the visual effect you want.  …

A retaining wall using sleepers are not difficult to install and can definitely be attempted by any DIYer with a bit of time and muscle! Sleepers generally come in two types – treated pine or red gum. Although we have installed some in railway sleepers (looks amazing but it is costlier). What’s the right type of wood based sleeper for you? Using treated pine sleepers for building a retaining wall …

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It’s a must have!   In our garden designs, an irrigation system is one of the things we insist that our clients invest in.  Parveen has a live example garden which is not irrigated on purpose. We can prove how cumbersome it gets, over time, when you don’t have an irrigation system.  Even the toughest of plants will wither and perish over a prolonged period of lack of watering.  …

We get asked this a lot so we’ve decided to clarify a few urban myths on this topic.  Specifically, how people perceive the skillset required to be a designer, landscaper (i.e. landscape contractor) or a gardener.   Landscaping and landscape design   Landscaping is a 4 year apprenticeship.  Its a commitment of 4 days a week of on-the-job training and 1 day a week at TAFE. The TAFE landscaping …

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The rare occurrence Occasionally, we meet clients who are well researched and have a reasonably good idea of what they want and how much it will all cost.  All they needed from us is to complete the picture by confirming a couple of things they were thinking of doing and a quick sketch of what the overall result will look like. In this instance we will usually offer to …

Hellebores or winter roses are definitely one of my favourites! The onset of some cooler weather and some cooler nights encourage hellebores to put on some new growth which foretells an exciting flowering season on the horizon!  Hellebores are definitely one of the stars of a winter garden when few other plants are in flower. The old fashioned hellebores bloom face down whilst the new varieties are more upright.  …

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Motivation Adding value to your property with effective landscaping is easy to achieve if you follow a few simple rules. Whether it is your home or an investment property, adding value will be a key consideration when looking to design the garden and construct it. The main elements when adding value are aesthetics, budget and low maintenance. Questions to ask yourself – aesthetics When looking at how to design …

Well its nearly spring and if you’ve not been blessed with the delights of flowering buds from your fruit trees, you will be soon.  Oh imagine the bountiful fruit on my trees, you say.   But then your hopes come crashing down when you venture out and inspect the fruit trees closely. That was me this morning.  This is me now.  Feeling annoyed.  Extremely annoyed.  My horticulturist qualified gardener or …

Ensure that your instant turf receives plenty of water, the turf should be moist but not wet. Depending on the season your turf may need to be watered daily. * Do not install your instant turf in shade areas.  Consider artificial lawns in those circumstances.  There are turf types that are sold as suitable to grow in the shade, however, from experience, they do not take as well as …

Spring is nearly here!  I can’t wait to see my garden awaken although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the winter display thus far.  Benefits of designing a garden catering for seasoning impacts I guess!  Yes, selecting plants is so important.  Especially the right plants!  I can imagine the beautiful influx of butterflies, native bees, cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets that will visit my garden soon.  Not to mention the colourful floral display …

Staging for sale Sprucing up the outdoors shouldn’t be ignored when preparing your home for potential buyers. Here are 8 key things you could do when you’re staging your house for sale: De – clutter & tidy up – get rid of bits and bobs and broken down items lying around.   Get rid of dead or dying bushes, pull out the weeds and mow the lawn. Repair – minimise spend …

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Coming from the tropics I love colour and a lush green look.  There are many that tick these boxes but I have found Bromeliads to be the most versatile.  They have varied texture from soft to hard/serrated and come on all sort of colours and fun patterns such as spots!  It has been fun learning about them over the years and implementing them in my garden designs.  I found …

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Feature plant: Plectranthus spp⁠⠀
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What I love about this one?⁠⠀
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Well, it's:⁠⠀
🌱 shade loving⁠⠀
🌱 flowers in summer through to autumn⁠⠀
🌱 unlike other members of the same family it forms nice neat shrubs⁠⠀
🌱 soft lilac flowers⁠⠀
🌱 beautiful foliage too and a purple underside to its leaves⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Do give it a go! It's relatively low maintenance and not fussy. Just needs an annual prune in late winter/early spring when you see the new growth emerging! 💚⁠⠀
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Landscape Designs Blog | Inspiring Landscape Solutions