With the harsh Australian sun and long dry spells without rain, it can be hard to maintain a quality garden while also keeping costs and maintenance to a minimum. Landscape designer Matt Leacy, of Landart Landscapes, says it's not as difficult as we think.
All it takes is the right knowledge, a few pointers from the pro and we can all have the garden of our dreams. With Leacy's top tips, every Australian can build their own little piece of paradise in their own backyard!
1. Use Fast Growing Plants and Small Pots
This simple tip will benefit every Australian looking to make the most of their garden. Using small plants is particularly ideal for large blocks. Buy them in tubes of 100mm pots and you can cover more ground within your budget. Ornamental grasses, for example, are fast growing, hardy plants that require minimum water once established and work well in our climate. With many having unique flowers, they come in a variety of sizes and colours meaning you can easily create your desired look. Pockets or mass plantings of this kind can successfully complement any garden.
2. Densely Planted Gardens
Densely planting your garden is extremely beneficial for a full and luscious look. You can reduce desertification by shading the soil from the full impact of the sun and protecting it from harsh winds – both of which tend to dry the soil out very quickly. Shading the soil will also make it difficult for weeds to grow, keeping your maintenance minimal. Ensure you don’t pack the plants so tight that their root systems compete for nutrients in the soil - for this tip, pick a spot that allows your plants plenty of room to grow to their full potential.
3. Introduce Succulents
As a fab asset to any garden, succulents are traditionally very colourful plants that can cope in challenging soil and direct sunlight. Carpobrotus, Senecio, Sempervivums, Crassula , Aloes and Sedums all have unique and amazing colours, shapes and textures. Succulents require minimal care and look incredible in just about any environment – adding a huge variety of shapes, forms and levels to your overall landscape. To sustain their striking appearance, if you are keeping them in pots – your best option is to re-pot them annually with a potting mix that incorporates a slow release fertiliser.
4. Pick the Best Plants for your Elements
Picking the right plants for your garden plays a huge role in the cost and upkeep of them. It is essential to choose plants that not only look great but will also handle all elements thrown at them. A couple of great low maintenance plants suited for large areas are Beschorneria, Echium and Westringia. These plants all work well together and if you add some ornamental grasses and succulents you will have an amazing effect without all the fuss!
5. Creeping Vines
Have an unsightly backyard wall or garden fence you want to cover up? Climbing vines are the perfect solution. Unlike other plants, these vines can be trained, usually done with wire, to grow around or on anything of your choice. Along or up walls, or even to accent window frames. One of the least invasive that requires low maintenance and very little TLC is the trusty star jasmine. It can grow in sun or part shade, so is very reliable and perfect for up the side of the house where consistent sun and shade can be tricky.