Thursday, January 23, 2014


I've been doing some work in the outer suburbs of Melbourne of late. Its made me aware of the trends most suburban blocks seem to have out here - very grubby front yards, with lots of weeds & too long grass. The plants are probably bought from the friendly Bunnings which seems to be the only place to buy anything remotely green in these parts. I think the majority of these dwellings have people who don't care too much about their garden, which I find oddly unsettling, but I've come to realise that there are probably more people who fit this category than not. Anyway, there are a few landscapes which have piqued my interest. They have tried at least...& it IS a change from the too long grass and multitude of weeds. This street, I'm in today has four houses with four completely different landscapes amongst the weeded frontages. One is your typical cottage garden complete with box hedges and standard roses. There are a few daisy bushes, Nandina domestica balls & Rosemary (obviously a favourite here, its everywhere). Although the box need a trim, its a very nice garden. Next we have a rock/black coloured mulch combo with Cordilines, Liriope, mondo grass & succulents. There is a retaining wall which divides the garden bed & grassy area. This wall is red and looks wonderful. Its not something I usually would go for but in this setting it works. I'm also not a fan of coloured mulch - it has no beneficial properties to it & some people say it could add nasties to the soil with the dyes used. Not a fan of mondo either so what makes this landscape work? The more I look at it, the more I like it. If I were to do it, I'd use different mulch and plants but the basic structure is good & I think thats what makes a good landscape. If you have the basic bones of a landscape, it should work out fine. 

The third landscape in this street is mostly succulents and natives. Again, the structure is there and it looks great. Except the David Austin roses looks a bit silly. BUT each to their own :) again stone is used in this landscape but they have used normal mulch. They also have a pebble path... Ugh, I dislike pebbles in landscapes. Sure, they look pretty but the maintenance to keep them that way almost isn't worth it. Also depends on the particle size. The fourth landscape Is very basic. It has no lawn (concrete or paving) and three oddly placed shrubs... In this this case, two Cypress shrubs with a lily pilly in between. Besides the fact that these will all grow way to big for where they are, it just looks what have I learnt? Landscapes work best once you have the foundations or good structure. And using plants which go well together. You can't pass up the classics like the good old cottage gardens, however these modern rock/mulch combos aesthetically work too. Incorporate that with a water feature and low to medium height plants - lovely and adding colour to a wall or fence (not mulch!!) is a delight! The bush landscape with a smattering of river stone & natives & succulents works well too. If you are going to have front lawn, please keep it mown. Love the smell of freshly mown grass... Sigh and on that note, I must be off...