Going Green with Brendan Moar

Having a green thumb has taken on a new meaning as Aussie gardeners become more eco-friendly, says TV gardener Brendan Moar.

This includes shifting away from the "cute cottage" look that dominated the 1980s and replacing box hedges and topiary with grasses and succulents.

"Green consciousness has become quite mainstream," says Moar, who has been a landscape architect for 16 years and hosts Dry Spell Gardening on the LifeStyle Channel.

"Even as little as ten years ago, to start using those words like `climate friendly' and `sustainable' all felt a little bit earnest."

But while Moar thinks the eco shift is a good thing, he says it's important that the new consciousness isn't hijacked by marketing interests.

"I think sometimes when things become mainstream they loose their meaning or they loose their power because people are just using them willy nilly either to just sell a product or to jump on the wagon," he says.

Moar credits the boom in gardening shows like his with driving Aussies to strive for more creative outdoor concepts.

"People's desire levels have been increased because of what they've seen can be done," Moar said.

"They've seen how it can be achieved and even though they may not have a great affinity for plants, or they don't have green thumbs, they like the idea of being able to use their gardens and live in them and be part of them a lot more.

"Their appetites have been whetted and now people are starting to expect all sorts of things."

Recently back from a trip to Thailand, Moar says Australia has set the bar when it comes to using outdoor spaces.

"In many ways (Australia) sets a bit of a standard in terms of outdoor living and the most desirable and exciting way to do that," he says.

Moar's passion is for "contemporary, sculpted spaces" that suit the owner's needs.

"The gardens that I enjoy creating are gardens that are very much in touch with the environments they're in, and that express a lot about the people who they're for," he says.

"They're very seductive spaces, they're spaces that say a great deal about Australia and the way that we like to live in our gardens."

Moar describes his own garden in Sydney's inner-city is a "series of spaces".

"It has periods of looking really great and periods of not looking so good when it's been a little unloved," he says, laughing.

"It's a fairly eclectic groovy little backyard. I use it for being in."

The lifestyle program which Moar fronts sees him face a different landscaping challenge each episode - from a sparse hilltop site just outside of Canberra, to a tiny terrace in Sydney's inner-city.

"The gardens that we do are very much about pushing the boundaries," he says.

"I don't think there is any point in doing anything that is pedestrian, that is regular, which you've seen before.

"I certainly don't want to hang around for a hour watching a TV show and at the end of it just have a lame-o, average, dull kind of garden."


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