With summer officially gone and the temperatures cooling down, now is the best time to get stuck into your garden – but where to start?
Just like your home, the landscaping needs careful planning too. Whether you plan on copying a display home style garden you like, or simply mixing up elements and features of various displays you’ve seen as inspiration – it is always a good idea to grasp on the ‘theme’ of your own home first.
Once you decide on how you want your overall home to look, the landscaping can then be started. To help you get in the mindset of a landscape designer, here are some tips and advice to help you achieve your own low maintenance (but very stylish) garden in the front and back of your home.
A popular West Australian garden design which is creative, low-maintenance and still modern. Seen at the Modena Display.
A Garden Design ‘On Theme’
When choosing a garden design, think about the feel and style of your home first and foremost. This helps later down the track when choosing which outdoor landscaping materials to use.
If you want a cheerful country cottage feel to your home, then consider a front garden filled with a profusion of flowers and smells of roses and lavender. Inside the home, you could continue the cottage theme with ornamental plants while in the backyard you could set up a herb and vegetable garden.
Are you a passionate traveller? Your home may be filled with souvenirs and quirky world décor inside, so why not extend the theme to the outside with elements from countries you enjoyed visiting. Consider bamboo lining the backyard fence for that Bali vibe, or creating a Japanese-inspired garden complete with a rock garden, koi fish pond and plenty of moss covered stones.
On the contrary, if you want a modern but minimalist home, then artificial turf combined with mulch and native flora and fauna will be a great low maintenance (but still presentable) option for you.
These are just some examples that showcase the importance of having a good flow from the home to the outdoor area, something that’s often referred to as ‘Feng Shui’. Read more about Harmonising your home with Feng Shui.
Wanting strong green vibes? Flowering plants seen in abundance outside the Vermont display home
A Planned Garden Design with Looks and Substance
What multi-purposes and functionality do you want from your garden? You should also factor in children and animals which can influence your garden design and choice of plants and materials.
Asking questions like these will help you evaluate what you truly need:
- Do you want to grow produce? Ensure you have dedicated areas where your veggies can thrive and receive adequate sunlight and water. Alternatively, you can always grow veggies and herbs inside.
- Do you want it to be a relaxing retreat? Think water-feature and shade.
- Do you want it to be an entertainment space? Large open grass space allowing the kids to run and play.
- What direction to the sun is your garden facing? Not all plants love the sun, especially the hot WA sun – so make sure to only put durable sunlight plants in direct sunlight.
Planning your garden layout before planting is essential too, so you know how much actual garden space you can work with. Basic items such as paths, garden taps, drains, outdoor lighting, a service area for the bin and maybe a clothesline should all be in place or planned before buying the plants.
Want your garden design to compliment an entertainment area? The trick is to have splashes of visually appealing plants in strategic areas that are out of the way of where the action will be.
Planting Time in WA
Choosing your plants is one of the most exciting parts of establishing a garden, but don’t rush. With so many choices out there, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice and lose sight of what you really need.
Before you go shopping, make a list of your wants and stick to it. Impulse buys can come later.
While there are some beautiful plants and flowers to choose from, Western Australia’s own native plants are often overlooked for more exotic but high maintenance plants. If you’re seek a low-maintenance (but still stylish) garden, then consider purchasing native plants, which are unique, visually appealing, durable and easy-to-grow.
Integrating WA plants into your backyard will not only help with wise water management (they require less water, saving you in more ways than one) but they also bring a little bit of local wildlife into your backyard. Who doesn’t want to wake up to birds singing in the morning?
For a full list of native WA plants to fill your garden visit lifestyle.com.au/plant-guide/wa-plants.
One last thing – get your trees in quickly because they need the most time to mature!
Is your garden design lacking in something? Get creative and add a focal point, like this singular tree which will help add privacy when it finishes flourishing.
Working around focal points is another handy tip when planting. When done right, they direct you visually and either move, engage or surprise you through the garden experience. The trick is to make them stand out but not stick out while staying connected to the rest of the garden, either through shape or colour.
A great focal point seen in many front landscaping designs are a singular specimen tree, or a sculptural feature. In the backyard, a popular focal point could be a water feature such as a birdbath.
Another trick is to focus on unity. The best gardens are generally those where plants seem to belong. A good start is to have a backbone of taller foliage plants to create a skeleton, then fill the lower-growing feature areas later.
And as for colour? Choose plant colours according to the colour wheel. Colours close together on the wheel produce a cohesive effect, while teaming colours from different sides creates a contrast. Depending on your personal style, a little contrast in the garden is fine, but perhaps too much could jar the senses.
Either way, don’t let focal points or colour wheels overwhelm you now. Just start small first and once you get going, creativity will come to you as you go.
Caption: Get creative: sand is seen in this front garden design, along with cactus plants, rocks and circular fake turf. A nice visual contrast between ‘desert’ and ‘lush green’ seen at the Riviera display.
Lawn & Order
A good-looking lawn can be a luxury in Western Australia. To reduce watering, choose the best lawn for your lifestyle, your suburb type and the amount of water you will have available.
Undecided about whether real or fake grass is for you? There’s a lot of factors to consider – children, pets and how much effort you’re willing to put in. We recently wrote a blog about it – read more here.
For keeping the rest of the design in order, consider having gravel areas with a few feature pots, some quirky ornamental items or experiment with beach sand for a beach vibe.
Caption: Artificial grass is a low-cost and low-maintenance option while still being comfortable and stylish. Seen in the backyard of the Amherst display.
Creating a garden design is a big process and it’s hard to cover it all, but hope this article has started you off with the right mindset.
In summary, know the theme of your home, balance looks with substance, invest in hardy and water-wise plants, think with creativity and consider whether real or fake grass is for you.
You may be looking at a patch of barren, uninviting earth right now - but rest assured - once you get started you will feel immense satisfaction as you watch your hard work pay off. Now that’s rewarding!
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