Charlie Albone’s Gardening Tips

Selling Houses Australia gardening guru Charlie Albone hit the web to answer all your gardening and landscaping questions. If you missed it, here’s the transcript.

LifeStyle: Hi everyone, hope you enjoyed the show. Charlie is online now so send through your gardening and landscaping questions.

Nerida10: Our house has been on the market for 4 months. We live on 5 acres. How important is it to have the paddocks cleared, as ours have cobblers pegs up to my neck?

Charlie Albone: I would make sure the paddocks are as clear as possible to make it look as manageable as possible.

Vivienne: Hi charlie, just watched the show, fantastic but could you tell me what you used on the walls? Tthey said concrete tung and groove panel however when I google it I cant find it…

Charlie Albone: It was a James Hardy fibre cement board

garden novice: Charlie – I want to increase screening and privacy around my garden. I have a 1.8metre fence down the side and would like to have around 2.5 metre privacy all around. I would like to use bamboo as the garden is largely tropical living near the beach. What do you suggest?

Charlie Albone: Bamboo is a great screen and it makes a vertical accent that takes up little ground space... make sure you go for a clumping bamboo and not a running one.

Tracy: Hi Charlie - love the show - what was the little building at the front?

Charlie Albone: It was the old tuck shop from the community centre days ... we made it storage as the budget got tight by the time we got to it!

Kate: Hi Charlie, what plants survive with little sunlight?

Charlie Albone: Walking Iris looks very lush in little sunlight and look at peace lillies - sensation is a great variety.

Kate: Hi Charlie, love the show, can you tell us what the Oxley backyard was "really" like because it looked crazy!

Charlie Albone: It was mental!!!! John was a great guy would loved his garden and I felt terrible ripping it to pieces!

Kate: Hi Charlie, are you married?

Charlie Albone: Yes thanks ...last October.

James: Bad luck Kate

Nat8: Hey Charlie, just wanted to say this is the best series yet and I absoloutley love your work. Do you only work for selling houses? Or do you still get hired privately for fixing regular backyards?

Charlie Albone: I still do private work take a look at my website

LEONIE: Hi Charlie! What is your favourite thing about being on the show?

Charlie Albone: Travelling ... Port Douglas is a great place to work.

Kate: Hi Charlie, what has been your favourite and your hardest Selling Houses projects yet and why?

Charlie Albone: Favourite was Berowra Waters ... yet to be aired ....hardest Chatswood that was a real tip!

fiona: Hi... can you give me advice about what type of tradesman/professional is the best to get advice about how to fix our yard to make our house more sellable? We have bad soil and can not grow anything, just weeds - lots of uneven pavers, a short rock retaining wall that some of the rocks are falling off and at the rear is a large dirt wall which weeds grow on…

Charlie Albone: Look for a landscape designer or a landscape contractor at A.i.l.d.m or L.C.A.

fiona: did they end up selling the port douglas property?

Charlie Albone: Not yet but the market is so tough up there.

Jedi: Hi Charlie.. what's your garden like?

Charlie Albone: I grow a hell of a lot of veggies and have green walls all the way around the perimeter, there is also a few cosy entertaining / dining areas and I’m about to put in a huge pond to replace all the lawn.

Mark: Hi Charlie, Iive in an apartment which has a balcony with very little direct sunlight. I still want to make an impact.. What plants do you recommend I use?

Charlie Albone: Look at Spathiphyllum 'Sensation' - huge impact for low light levels.

Jedi: Hi Charlie.. what are your tips for achieving the best lawn on the block?

Charlie Albone: Constant water and fertiliser ..... be rid of it I say!

partyprincess_jess: Hi Charlie, how can you improve the look of an above ground pool?

Charlie Albone: Tough one .... screening with plants will soften it where as timber or bamboo screening will make it stand out more

James: Charlie are there any climbing plants that can get by on around four hours sunlight a day?

Charlie Albone: Hoya or Stepanhotis

Susan: Hi Charlie, my flatmate is a plant serial killer. Her latest victim is a new guinea impatiens, it sits on the balcony and gets regular drownings, Any tips to stop the killings?

Charlie Albone: Try Succulents?

Mark: Hi Charlie, love the show. What's the house you're most proud of so far?

Charlie Albone: My own!!!! No the Berowra Waters one coming up looked great when I left it!

Kerryn24: Hi Charlie, Selling Houses Australia is my favourite show. How long does it take to film one episode?

Charlie Albone: Andrew does one week and we do three days make over

Steven: Hi Charlie, love the show. But, I just have to ask where you get Buffalo at $4.50sq meter when here in the West they are asking $10.50. Any suggestions for a cheaper alternative?
Charlie Albone: In Port Douglas! Try Kikuyu it’s cheap but it grows like wild fire

Mark: Charlie, do you and Shaynna really work that much harder than Andrew?? ;) seems like it.

Charlie Albone: YES!!!

Jacqui52: Hi charlie, have bought a house with a garden challenge, house in elevated position with land around house sloping away at 40 degree angle, also in southern end of QLD, any ideas on planting and landscaping?

Charlie Albone: Lots of levels: Decks, retaining walls, cut and fill!

fiona: Where’s the best spot to grow veggies? Sun/shade?

Charlie Albone: As much sun as you can give them.

Melscott: Hi charlie, love the show, how many episodes left in this series? Will there be another? I sure hope so!

Charlie Albone: There is 10 all up ... not sure about another yet

Kimi2: Hey Charlie. Random plant question....My brother has been tending to a gorgeous Japanese Peace Lilly for months now and he can't get it to flower? Is there any secret?

Charlie Albone: Treat it badly so it stresses out and then it will flower

Mark: Have you travelled much Charlie? Which country has the best gardens?

Charlie Albone: Yes I have luckily and I love the gardens of the U.S and Europe

Tracy: Don’t you like lawn?

Charlie Albone: Hate the stuff ... way too much effort!

Ralph4: Hey Charlie mate, love your work. Any tips to get rid of snails.. feel a bit bad about stepping on them..

Charlie Albone: Set beer traps (I mean it too) - google them.

fiona: Where do you get the trades people from on the show? Do you get cheap labour?

Charlie Albone: We try to use the locals were possible

partyprincess_jess: Could you build a deck around an above ground pool with stairs or would that look crap?

Charlie Albone: Could look OK but plant around that too

Kerryn24: Great episode, why do you think the house did not sell?

Charlie Albone: Shocking market ... nothing was selling.

James: Coming from the UK and moving to Australia, I found the change of climate a challenge when it comes to growing veggies. Any tips?

Charlie Albone: Make sure you have good air flow around the plants .. humidity is a killer.

Tracy: How did you get recruited to the show originally?

Charlie Albone: Through the design association A.L.D.I.M.

Joanne23: How on earth do they arrange all the tradesmen and labourers to do a whole house makeover in just one week?

Charlie Albone: Filming is just one week there is also a two week prep stage

Kerryn24: Hi Charlie, I'd like to start a veggie garden, any tips? Also which veggies are easiest to grow?

Charlie Albone: Lots of sun and lots of water ..... try lettuce and rocket, stuff you use every day

MrsH: Hi Charlie, love the show! Do the home owners get much/any input in the changes you make?

Charlie Albone: Luckily not

Ralph4: Any good websites for DIY plant/garden design? Trying to redesign my garden all by myself... not going so well.

Charlie Albone: Have you thought about having a consultation with a landscape designer?

fiona: we are in QLD with hot summers, won't the veggies wilt with lots of sun

Charlie Albone: They should be OK… at least six hours of sun for a good crop

Vikki21: Do you, Andrew and Shaynna really get on as well as it appears on TV?

Charlie Albone: Yes, it’s sickening, we are good friends

fiona: Is working with Andrew annoying – I find English people annoying

Charlie Albone: Me too

Susan: Are you happy to settle in Australia or are you planning to move back to the UK?

Charlie Albone: I love Australia and I have lived here longer than I have ever lived in the UK, so I think I'm staying.

fiona: If lawns are too much work, what are nice looking alternatives?

Charlie Albone: I'm changing mine over for a massive pond! Dicondra works well too

Kerryn24: Hi Charlie, what can I plant in my garden that will grow quickly and give instant colour. My daughter is getting married here at the end of the year? I'm in Dural, NSW.

Charlie Albone: Pandorea climber grows really quickly and has a great flower

Tracy: Do you get a hard time from the owners on the show or do they generally help / support you?

Charlie Albone: A bit of both really

Melscott: Don't know about the pond idea, a constantly wet labrador and 3-year-old doesn't sound easier than mowing once a week

fiona: does andrew spend much time here or in england?

Charlie Albone: He lives on the Gold Coast

partyprincess_jess: Just saw on inspired exteriors that you did a landscape job in Grays Point. Did you like the shire?

Charlie Albone: Love the Shire!

Kerryn24: Hey Charlie, how can I build a deck on a budget?

Charlie Albone: Tough really .... use only treated pine

fiona: do you ever think shaynna's interiors are ugly?

Charlie Albone: Why? Do you?

fiona: They're OK, but not very practical a lot of white furniture, so if you moved in and put your own stuff wouldn't look as good

Kerryn24: Hi Charlie, great show! Do you think much of organic gardening and farming?

Charlie Albone: Yes, my garden is all organic, but with Selling Houses it’s not really in the design brief

Kerryn24: Can you tell me what I can do to my bare back yard, I don't really have a green thumb. Where should I start?

Charlie Albone: Have a chat with a landscape designer or contractor

fiona: Do you do much work on the show or do the tradies do all the work and you just hold a couple of shovels and smile for the cameras?

Charlie Albone: I wish! I thought a TV job would be crazy but I’m still doing the work and have the rough hands to prove it

James: Most punters on the show spend a bit of money then seem to want to add thousands to the asking price. Does this annoy you or do you let Winter worry about that?

Charlie Albone: I leave that to Winty ... but it is annoying, like they want money instead of shifting the house

Susan: Have you always wanted to be a gardener or have you ever tried to pursue any other career options?

Charlie Albone: I though about being a fireman but I’m petrified of heights

SimoneBee: Ever thought about developing your own show on landscaping? You'd get a bigger budget!

Charlie Albone: I would love to .... write to the LifeStyle Channel and give the idea some support!

Vikki21: What is an "organic" garden?

Charlie Albone: Basically it means no chemicals or pesticides on the plants so the garden is as natural as possible

fiona: does Andrew still do his real estate shows in the UK?

Charlie Albone: No

Vikki21: I have what appears to be borers in some tall Budleas - should I try to treat them or should I just get rid of the plants?

Charlie Albone: If buddlejia is tal it’s probably old, I would cut it down hard to about three feet and let it sprout again .... trow away the borer infected wood

fiona: How do you keep bugs on the plants without pesticides?

Charlie Albone: You keep them off with natural methods

partyprincess_jess: Do you watch Relocation Relocation Charlie? It’s my fave after Selling Houses!

Charlie Albone: Yeah it’s a goodie that one ... I reckon Kirsty and Phil are getting it on!

Jeremy: Hey Charlie, how does this whole program work? Because I thought this episode was really well researched... is there someone that does this? Or does the team switch it up on the fly?

Charlie Albone: Yes Jeremy you are a good researcher!

fiona: How do you get your house on the show?

Charlie Albone: Apply through the LifeStyle website

delilahblue: Would be great to see yours, Shaynna’s and Andrew’s gardens!

Visit the Selling Houses Australia Extreme show page.

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Posted by LasheaReport
Hi Charlie, big fan you do marvellous work. Question, I would like to create some privacy along my back fence. Can you suggest some plants that grow tall (6m-8m)
Not a fan of bamboo. What can you suggest?
Posted by Kath53Report
Hi Charlie, We are in Perth and are looking at putting down some turf. I have been looking at Nara, it will only be available in Perth for the first time in May. Is this as drought tolerant as it claims? Will it be suited to the Perth climate and soil? Thanks very much. Kath
Posted by Pam23Report
Hi Charlie. Thanks for all your inspiration with gardening ideas. Watched the program about the Erskineville house and garden makeover and was very interested in the vertical garden idea. What material did you use and where do you get the hanging pots from?
Posted by Report
Charlie i am doing an assignment on you and o would like to know what the design process is, you use when going to build a garden, factors you take into account etc
Posted by ChristineReport
I am looking at a old wooden house which is up on brick piers, but it has bad termite damage can I get ride of the termites to renovate