Mel and Dave are an inner city couple who have decorated their terrace house with eclectic style, including vintage trinkets and furniture. Unfortunately their creative flair has not extended to their backyard. With their first baby on the way, they want to create a space that they can use to entertain their friends, family and neighbours. To get the garden in shape for spring, Charlie redesigns the backyard by recycling some of the existing features and creating a user-friendly entertaining space around the large tree that takes centre stage in the garden. To celebrate their new garden, Juliet works with the couple to pull together a Mediterranean style dinner party complete with pomegranate martinis, which in future will feature fruit from their own newly-planted pomegranate tree.
Tips and tricks on how to get a luscious lawn:
Charlie Albone gives the following advice: “Preparation is key to a great lawn so be sure to remove as many pebbles and stones as you can, and get the area as flat as possible. You’re then ready to lay your lawn but, be sure to follow these guidelines to keep it looking good all year round.”
• Most grasses prefer sun but buffalo will tolerate some shade and there are some good new buffalo varieties. Couch is a good choice for the most drought tolerant lawn.
• Its important the soil can absorb water, so test the soil by seeing if the water penetrates quickly. If it doesn’t, treat with Yates Waterwise Soil Saturator.
• Preparation is vital when laying turf, so spread and rake in Yates Dynamic Lifter Turf Starter, which is an organic manure and water crystal in one, to give your new lawn the best start.
• Lay the turf on the prepared soil, making sure you never start the roll at the same place, as this will promote more even coverage.
• Fertilise with Dynamic Lifter Advanced for Lawns, which combines rich, composted chicken manure with all those extra nutrients that lawns love.
• Water well every day for the first few weeks until the lawn is established
• Once established, mow the lawn at least once a week, never cutting more than 1/3 of the length and watering immediately afterwards to assist in recovery.
• Keep your mower blade sharp to ensure clean cutting edges. Otherwise you’ll end up with a dried out looking lawn
• Try mowing in different directions to combat compaction
• Grass needs nutrients just like any other plants so fertilise with Yates Dynamic Lifter Advanced for Lawns at least twice a year to help grass grow evenly
• Water regularly – a good watering once a week will keep your turf adequately drenched. Add wetting agent, such as Waterwise Soil Saturator if your soil repels water.
If you’re planning on making over your garden, think about reusing things where possible to save money and keep an old style charm about your outdoor space:
• Recycle old bricks and lay them down in unusual patterns to level out ground for furniture and create funky paving stones
• Plants around the bottom of a large tree can help to soften the harsh landscape to give old features a new lease of life. Feed with Acticote Pots, Planters and Garden Beds - an easy to use 12 month controlled release fertiliser with instant booster.
• Recycle old pieces of wood to create a feature wall or bench
Inspiration for creating the perfect outdoor dinner party
You don’t have to have a carbon copy of your neighbour’s outdoor furniture to host a stylish party. For those that love a vintage and eclectic look inside the home, exercise your creativity, then extend your interior decorating and design skills to your outdoor space as well.
• Buy old wooden chairs from op shops and markets and get creative by painting and varnishing them with your own designs
• Make sure any furniture you do have is clean and tidy in time for the party season – clean wooden and metal chairs and tables with a mild detergent but be aware that iron rusts. Be sure to sand the rust down, prime and repaint using rust resistant paint to help keep your furniture living longer
• Auction houses, ebay, op shops and yard sales can be particularly fruitful when looking for anything from furniture to pots and sometimes it won’t even cost you a penny. Try trawling top suburbs for things people have thrown out and discarded in the street – just be sure to check for wood rot and other associated nasties!
Creating the perfect Mediterranean dinner party
When cooking for a number of people, it’s a great idea to host a buffet style dinner. It’s often easier to run things in and out of the kitchen onto tables in the garden than have a sit down meal – your furniture may not accommodate the number of guests you have invited and your lawn may be uneven, creating havoc at a sit down dinner.
L-shaped candle holders
• Attach a small L shaped bracket to small pieces of wood
• Varnish to protect them from the elements
• Attach to a fence or wall at varying heights to create shelves to hold small tea lights and candles
• The perfect way to create a romantic European twilight setting
• Fill the garden with larger wax candles. These can be used all year round and don’t need to be brought inside
• Wax candles available from Stacks of Wax – www.stacksofwax.com.au
• Fill terracotta pots with olives, feta chunks, stuffed grape leaves, hummus and pita bread for a mezze style starter
• Recycle old tiles by painting in bright colours and use as place mats and to decorate the table
Pomegranate martini recipe
Pomegranate martinis are the perfect cocktail to enjoy this spring, a perfect cocktail for an evening garden party. And it’s good for you – the fresh pomegranate juice is full of antioxidants so you don’t have to feel too guilty!
Chill martini glasses and coat rim in sugar by dipping into water, then sugar crystals
• 1 part vodka
• 2 part fresh pomegranate juice
• 1 tea spoon sugar syrup
• Dash of fresh lime juice
• Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
• Halve pomegranates & scoop out seeds. Crush seeds in a mortar and pestle to create the fresh pomegranate juice.
• Make sugar syrup by mixing sugar and water over heat.
• Mix pomegranate juice, sugar syrup, vodka & fresh lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.
• Strain into pre-prepared martini glasses. Add a few pomegranate seeds to the glass as a finishing touch.