There are three feature types of plants in the front garden, where less is more. Viburnum is hedged along the inner fence line, Boston ivy is used as a rambling ground cover and crepe myrtle trees provide height. The combination creates a garden that can be enjoyed, with less time spent in gardening gloves.
Placing the plants in groups allows them to be pruned quickly and easily, as opposed to tending to multiple varieties throughout the year. It also simplifies the feeding application and makes watering more efficient, as there is nothing begging for more water.
Simplicity is key
In the front garden, an ivy ground cover creates a lush layer of what the family terms a ‘forest floor’. The altered Victorian bluestone steppers provide a service path into the depths of the garden. This leads the eye into the distance to create the illusion of space.
Simplicity was the key to the garden with the focus on the stunning crepe myrtles and beautiful bluestone stepping stones without detracting from the weatherboard house.
This unique garden design walks the line between beautiful aesthetics and resource-wise principles. In the front garden, the family created a simple scheme with a welcoming feel. Opting for just a few elements makes for easier pruning and by grouping plants with similar needs, less water is wasted.
The back garden required more labour – the first job was to remove the plants that weren’t working in order to enhance those that were. The beautiful deciduous ginkgo trees were not touched, instead another tree was added to increase their impact as they change throughout the year. A cool, shaded spot under the trees was reserved for the winter-flowering camellias, where they would need very little additional watering.
The trick to successful topiary is to work with robust, evergreen varieties. Rosemary blue lagoon (bottom hedge) and hawthorn (grown above) are particularly forgiving. The beauty of these varieties is that there’s no wrong time or wrong way to prune them. They just need attention about three times a year and they can withstand a good cut back.
With water restrictions in place, great care was taken in choosing the lawn. A low-maintenance soft leaf buffalo, paired with drip-line irrigation and rainwater tanks was eventually chosen as it is a great broad leaf summer grass. It does pull back a bit during winter but it still retains its colour, and it’s not as invasive as other summer grasses.
The teak furniture is offset by the lush greenery. Find similar table, $1195, and chairs, $400, from Lister Teak, (03) 9735 4010, listerteak.com.au.