Our client’s design criteria was simple. No lawns. No mowing. Something to suit their lifestyle (two busy professionals with teenagers at home). This meant a garden that required very little maintenance yet complemented their newly renovated Californian bungalow-style home.
The site for the intended garden was very open and windswept, with harsh exposed fence lines. The only sign of green was next door’s landscaping and out front on the nature strip in the form of two huge eucalypt trees. It was a completely blank canvas to start with but nonetheless a challenging site.
When choosing plants for the front garden, it was important that they not only look good all-year-round, but also as requested, require little care. Colour was also important as the space needed some brightening up. The selection included Cornus kousa, which over time will form a beautiful canopy for shade in Summer and a great show of blossoms in late Spring. Rhaphiolepis indica was chosen as it’s a hardy shrub that has a stunning white flower display. Euonymus japonicus ‘Tom Thumb’ is ideal for borders and ow hedges and a great alternative to the high-maintenance water-user, English box.
In addition to the the selected water-wise plants, a 4 x 2000 litre water tank was installed under the house, mostly supplying the water for the rear vegetable garden or for washing the family dog. The front garden pretty much takes care of itself and only needs a little water during Summer.
Just prior to Groundswell undertaking the garden transformation, our client imported a huge terracotta warrior statue from China for the new space. The statue’s commanding presence is an eye-catching addition to the garden and is lit with uprights at night.
Locally sourced bluestone slabs are a great example of the “reuse and recycle” philosophy. We love to use the unwanted bluestone slab off-cuts as paving due to their size and enduring quality. River pebbles were also carefully placed in the voids between the slabs.
The unseasonal recent weather has presented its fair share of challenges to Melburnians, with blistering heat, a recent drought that included water restrictions, then the onslaught of frosty cold with deluges of rain. Despite this, and the other difficulties of the location, this garden has successfully weathered harsh conditions and continues to thrive.
This garden was been featured in: Backyard Magazine (Sustainable & Water-wise Gardens edition)