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MEET THE MAKERS

Backyard

Innovative people and their amazing outdoor spaces

CREATIVE AUSTRALIAN LIVING

Create a no-dig garden Attract native birds

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Revamp your outdoor furniture

SUMMER-PROOF YOUR GARDEN Shading solutions & greywater for plants PLUS Choosing the best soil | Outdoor cooking tips Growing kale | Add lasting colour with plants


3D Sails are designers and manufacturers of innovative shade solutions from the backyard garden area or swimming pool to the entertaining deck or outdoor area, entry foyer or alternative vehicle protection on or off the driveway area. They can even manufacture outdoor or cafĂŠ style blinds to decks and caravan annexes. All of our shade sails or structures are made from top quality galvanized steel, cast aluminium joiners and finished in 316 stainless steel hardware to ensure your shade investment will be here for generations to come. We primarily use Rainbow Shade Shade-cloth on domestic work offering a 10 year guarantee on material components. Waterproof membranes that are also available for specific

jobs are manufactured from join welded Ferrari PVC fabric which is also recognised as one of the most stable and long-life materials on the market. Covering both commercial and domestic installations on the South Coast area of NSW from Merimbula to Nowra and inland to Canberra 3D Sails offer an obligation free quote and shade design service and in many cases can provide simulated computer images of the design in a huge range of colours and UV levels to suit almost all requirements. Visit our websites www.3dsails.com or www.facebook.com/3dsails where we update our clients recent installations or call 1300 888 509 to discuss your shade requirements.

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Backyard CREATIVE AUSTRALIAN LIVING

Managing Editor Karen Booth Editor April Ossington Email: aossington@universalmagazines.com.au Designer Michael Ohanesian Sub-Editor Anastasia Casey Sales Managers National Sales & Publishing Manager & NSW Sales Emil Montibeler Mobile: 0411 424 335 Email: emontibeler@universalmagazines.com.au NSW, ACT & Qld: Miriam Keen Mobile: 0414 969 693 Email: mkeen@universalmagazines.com.au Vic, WA & Tas: Pilar Danlag Mobile: 0414 468 243 Email: pdanlag@universalmagazines.com.au SA: Sandy Shaw Mobile: 0418 806 696 Email: sandyshaw@internode.net.au Advertising Senior Designer Martha Rubazewicz Advertising Production Hannah Felton Publisher Janice Williams Subscriptions & Mail Orders Phone: 1300 303 414 Cover Photo Garden Design & Photography: Paal Grant

Chairman/CEO Prema Perera Publisher Janice Williams Chief Financial Officer Vicky Mahadeva Associate Publisher Emma Perera Associate Publisher Karen Day Circulation Director Mark Darton Creative Director Kate Podger Editorial & Production Manager Anastasia Casey Production Executive Renu Bhatt Prepress Manager Ivan Fitz-Gerald Marketing & Acquisitions Manager Chelsea Peters Backyard is published by Universal Magazines, Unit 5, 6-8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113. Phone: (02) 9805 0399, Fax: (02) 9805 0714. Melbourne office: Suite 4, Level 1, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne Vic 3025. Phone: (03) 9694 6444, Fax: (03) 9699 7890. Printed by Times Printers Pte Ltd, Singapore. Distributed by Network Services, Phone: (02) 9282 8777. Singapore & Malaysia Distributor: Carkit (F.E.) Pte Ltd, 1 Charlton Lane, #01-02, Singapore 539631, Phone: +65 6282 1960, Fax: +65 6382 3021, Website: www.carkitfe.com. This magazine may have some content that is advertorial or promotional in nature. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but the shifting sands of time may change them in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Environmental statement: This magazine is printed on paper produced in a mill which meets Certified Environmental Management System ISO4001 since 1995 and EMAS since 1996. Please pass on or recycle this magazine. www.universalmagazines.com.au * Recommended retail price ISSN 1448-5001 Copyright © Universal Magazines MMXV ACN 003 026 944 We are a member of

editor's note ith the warmer weather well and truly here, it’s the perfect time to get out in the backyard and complete those projects that have been niggling away at you during the cooler months. We all know garden work can be tough going but also very rewarding, so grab your partner, friends or kids and make a day or a weekend out of it — it can be the perfect family activity and an excuse to get outdoors. There’s plenty of inspiration this issue to get you started. Our designer gardens include an impressive self-sustaining garden in Mosman, Sydney. Its standout features include a lush green wall that is fed by water from the pond and the soil-less garden. In Brisbane, we are invited into SpurTopia, a small family garden with a focus on organic produce, recycling, sustainability and self-sufficiency. While many Australians revel in the hot summer weather, it can wreak havoc on your garden and sometimes it’s nice to have somewhere cool to escape to on those scorching days. Our backyard shade feature shows the latest options for shading your garden without blocking your view or overwhelming the space you have. Don’t let your edibles wither away in the summer sun either. Our summer shelter feature has you covered with plenty of solutions for shading your vegie patch. Outdoor entertaining is a huge part of the modern backyard and our outdoor cooking guide offers plenty of practical advice on designing your outdoor kitchen and making the most of your barbecue. Of course, part of outdoor cooking is supplying yourself with fresh produce from the garden. When growing edibles, it doesn’t hurt to think outside the box. With our focus on superfoods this issue, planting kale and pomegranate is easier than you think. Enjoy time in your backyard with family and friends this summer.

W

April Ossington, Editor

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10 MAKERS Build it up Outdoor structures that think outside the square

104

Protect your patch Don’t let aphids undo all of your hard work

106

Super power Add some kale to your vegie patch

108

Down to earth Get the low-down on garden soil

110

contents 20

For a sustainable future A story of sustainable living and home-grown organic produce

24

The growing family A love of gardening passed down through the generations

BACKYARD ESSENTIALS 60

Green and gorgeous

66

A contemporary courtyard with all the trimmings

34

Lean and green A self-sustaining garden filled with unique and rare plants

40

Tropical paradise This extensive garden features a range of different textures

46

Coastal hideaway Escape to a secluded courtyard with a focus on meditation

50

Hilltop haven An outdoor space that has it all — from bush style to tropical

56

Small and savvy Proof that bigger isn’t always better

120 GROW Fruit of the gods For something different, grow pomegranates

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112

Beauty in strength

OUTDOOR COOKING GUIDE 78

Choosing outdoor furniture that is both attractive and durable

DESIGNER GARDENS 28

WEEKEND PROJECTS

"Their backyard is nothing short of an outdoor oasis" 38

BACKYARD REVOLUTION

72

Throwing shade Explore the options for shading outdoor living areas

What’s cooking? Designing your outdoor kitchen, choosing a barbecue and how to cook … we cover it all

Colour your world Create a stand-out garden with colourful foliage plants

Keep your cool Innovative ideas to protect your edibles from the sun

YARD SHOP 102

116

Bird call Attract native birds to your backyard with a nesting box

REGULAR SECTIONS 8

Space for living Innovative outdoor living ideas

88

This weekend Products for weekend projects

122

Backyard stuff Tools, plants, screening and more

Grey matter Reuse your household water on the garden this summer

No diggity Save your back with a no-dig garden

130

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Doing Australia proud at the 2015 Japan Flower and Garden Show, Melbourne-based landscape and sculpture designer, Paal Grant, was awarded best garden design for his project, The Garden of the Little Wattlebird. Drawing inspiration from the raw elements of the Australian landscape, this interesting design features a curved decking seat that hugs a stone paved “conversation area” and fire pit. Stratums of plants skirt the space, creating a feeling of sanctuary and seclusion. Featuring the dramatic flight of the Australian Wattlebird, Paal’s unique sculpture makes a striking backdrop to this tranquil garden design. paalgrant.com

MADE IN THE SHADE

LIVING ART

The Aussie backyard can certainly benefit from some shade in summer but you don’t want to lose all your light. Instead of incorporating man-made shading solutions such as awnings, let plants provide shade with pleasant, dappled sunlight. Chris Slaughter from Scenic Blue Design suggests growing plants such as ornamental grape vine, bougainvillea and Chinese trumpet creeper over a standard timber pergola. scenicbluedesign.com.au

There’s no doubt that vertical gardens are all the rage now but the latest trend is having a vertical garden made entirely of succulents. Made from reclaimed Australian jarrah timber, this handmade vertical garden holds more than 50 individual succulents with a mix of beautiful mature specimens as well as smaller plants. fleurieugifts.etsy.com

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SPACE FOR LIVING

INNOVATIVE DESIGN

GREEN FURNITURE When it comes to greenery in your backyard, why stop at your garden bed? Constructed of concrete, the Harvest table in Raw comes with real, live wheatgrass that can be planted in the centre. Though it’s not just for wheatgrass — perhaps you would prefer to have fresh herbs at your fingertips during your meals? concretebenchtops.com

Ben Nicholson took home the Workshopped 2015 People's Choice Award with his unique deck chair, Wishbone. With the addition of rockers, the chair was designed as an alternative to the traditional deck chair. As the name suggests, the shape of the frame references that of a wishbone. Enabling it to be stored easily, it is designed to fold down to less than half its size, and is light and compact enough to take on a day trip. The spine and legs of the chair are constructed from sustainably grown Finnish birch plywood with an E0 emissions rating. A central bracket made from steel connects the spine and legs together and acts as a hinge for the legs to fold back. The seat is made from an environmentally friendly outdoor fabric. dropr.com/bennicholson

Photo: Patrick Redmond

WE LOVE the whimsy and intrigue created by this garden by Eckersley Garden Architecture in collaboration with Australian House & Garden. The Garden Cornucopia features a series of pergola-like structures. Constructed of timber and metal, the spider-like arms create a tunnel through the garden and are adorned with hand-blown glass lamps that make you feel like you are in a fairytale. e-ga.com.au

OPTICAL ILLUSION A cleverly positioned mirror can transform a small or awkward backyard, creating the illusion of more space and even tricking the eye into thinking it’s a different shape. An effective way of making a space seem brighter, a garden mirror can also be used in a dark area to obtain the reflection of light. Additionally, it’s a nifty way of extending and enhancing a pleasant view and covering up or drawing the eye away from an unpleasant one. rivasdesign.com.au

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the Makers

ECO CHIC Designed for a leafy suburban block with a north-west aspect, Refugium by Eco Design provides a space for entertaining, relaxation and reflection. A summer pavilion sits at the heart of this urban refuge, which won a Bronze medal in the Inspirational Gardens category at the Australian Garden Show Sydney. The bluestone tiles provide thermal mass, while the

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pond was included to help cool hot summer breezes as well as provide a pleasing focal point. A staggered brick wall at the back of the elevated pavilion and slim vertical timber battens along one side wall provide screening and a sense of enclosure. Foliage colours are chiefly silver, purple and deep green, which work in harmony with the timber of the pavilion and the stone paving. ecodesign.com.au

Photo: Peter Brennan

Think outside the box and transform your backyard with a pergola or pavilion


THE MAKERS

Photo: Peter Brennan

INTO THE WOODS Dubbed Open Woodland, this garden by Myles Baldwin Design features a split-level design and a cantilevered pavilion that hovers, in part, over a large reflection pond. Of clean, contemporary design, the pavilion presents a modern take on the outdoor room. The structure, built by Modify, features a solid roof for protection from sun and rain, while privacy is achieved through part-walls of vertical cedar battens. The slimline battens create a comforting sense of enclosure yet still allow sunlight and cooling breezes throughout. The open sections ensure a true sense of connection between the pavilion and the surrounding garden. mylesbaldwin.com

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THE MAKERS

Photo: Dale Cullen

LASER SHARP This spectacular garden in Mount Eliza, Victoria, features a Kuru summer house pergola in a natural rust finish by multiaward-winning studio Entanglements. The round window wall adds a sculptural quality to the pergola while the laser-cut design creates an almost mesmerising effect. We love the roof planters that incorporate greenery into the design. entanglements.com.au

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A NOD TO THE PAST Peta Donaldson of Natural Design drew inspiration from the architectural and interior styles of the mid-20th century when designing The Pavilion. Serving as a water feature with its shimmering glass mosaic tiles, the circular plunge pool is certainly the statement piece of this design. A round opening

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was created in the pavilion roof directly over the pool, bringing natural light into the space. Other standout features include the suspended stainless-steel cocoon fireplace and textural feature wall comprised of white polyurethane 3D panels in Lump Sculpture Studio’s Fish Scales pattern. naturaldesign.com.au; lump.com.au

Photo: Peter Brennan

THE MAKERS


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for use in l Applications. Suitable tia en sid Re d an l al cia er area or to create person cy screening in Comm Q iva BB Pr a d to an e op tiv dr ra ck co ba De Ideal for iding a unique tios and pergolas, prov pa fice. as ch su s ea ar er around the home or of undercov e us of es ac sp te iva pr

*easyscreen nature decorative screen featured

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TURNING JAPANESE Part of Lisa’s Garden by Ross Goodman Design, the pergola was designed as an informal and private resting place. In keeping with its Japanese influences, the structure was painted in Dulux Symphony Red that creates an exciting mood. The

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informal screen of wood placed at varying heights produces an interesting feature and allows light to pour in, while the Merbau timber decking represents a Zen garden’s peace and tranquillity. Screwed into the frame is a small shelf to accommodate candles or act as a tray for a teapot and cups. rossgoodmandesign.com

Photo: Patrick Redmond

THE MAKERS


Photo: Peter Brennan

THE MAKERS

FEELING BLUE Sometimes incorporating a pavilion or pergola is less about offering protection from the elements and more about creating a feeling or encouraging people to use a space in a certain way. Such is the case for this design by Andrew Fisher Tomlin, a

leading landscape designer from the UK. With its simple design and serene colour palette, the pavilion creates a calm and soothing atmosphere in this garden. Its ultimate purpose is to encourage its owners to use it as a space for quiet contemplation and sun-bathed relaxation. andrewfishertomlin.com

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THE MAKERS

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Photo: Dale Cullen

FLOWER POWER This gorgeous Flower Pole pergola by Entanglements certainly commands attention. Its laser-cut flower and butterfly design creates a femininity that is contrasted by the spiky roof planters. The bubble candle wall adds texture and interest to the pergola that is finished in natural rust for a modern aesthetic, while the Boab Tree sculpture adds a nice touch to this interesting garden.


The view of Brisbane’s CBD just a stone’s throw away

FOR A SUSTAINABLE

Future

Call it the Prague spring. An immigrant Brisbane family turns the tiny yard of their rented home into an organic, sustainable garden

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BACKYARD REVOLUTION Words & photos: Claire Bickle oman and Jana are an inspirational couple who migrated from the Czech Republic five years ago to start a new life in the busy inner-Brisbane suburb of New Farm. Three years later, when their beautiful daughter Lada was born, they set out to create an organic, productive environment where recycling, sustainability and selfsufficiency were at the centre of their daily lives.

R

Harvesting pumpkins — a family favourite

Lada doing the quality assurance test on the Brazilian spinach

As Roman puts it, “Lada was the inspiration for us to show her that we were doing something positive to save the planet at a time in her young life when climate change was really something we needed to be concerned about.” The fact that they rent their home hasn’t deterred them one bit — if anything, it has encouraged them. And it doesn’t stop there. There’s a real sense of community within the five-unit building and all the residents are inspired by and get to share the bounty of Roman and Jana’s passion for living sustainably. The couple started gardening as children, with their grandparents. In both families, due to necessity, there was a tradition of farming livestock and growing food. Roman is an engineer of sustainably designed buildings but has partially retired to enjoy the lifestyle change they’re pursuing: to enjoy precious quality time with his young family and, with the help of Jana, a full-time mum, to create what he calls their “small kingdom” — aka SpurTopia — and host popular workshops on sustainability.

A CHANGE OF CLIMATE It wasn’t all roses to start with. Roman and

Jana had left the cool, temperate climate of the Northern Hemisphere for warm, subtropical Brisbane. There was a lot to learn. The exciting novelty of being able to grow crops all year round soon gave way to a steep learning curve as to what grows when — all the challenges of growing in such a climate. “We quickly learnt that planting potatoes in late spring and summer resulted in potatoes rotting in the ground,” says Roman, “and the sowing of seed in spring does not require the warming of the soil via the use of alfoil. In Brisbane’s climate, that equals cooked seeds that won’t germinate.” Another eye opener for the couple was learning how to deal with Australia’s harsh summer temperatures. Mulch and shadecloth became vital tools for summer gardening success. The SpurTopia garden covers just 100 square metres but this small space meets a

large percentage of the family’s food needs. Even in this very busy part of the inner city, there’s still a wonderful array of visiting wildlife — some welcome, some not. “Growing organically is just common sense because it is directly linked to the health of people,” says Roman. “No chemicals or GM are used. Gardening organically reduces the global carbon footprint and means outdoor physical exercise, connectivity to nature and mental wellbeing.” When it comes to garden design, Roman and Jana draw on a variety of ideas: everything from raised beds, bathtubs and wicking pots to bamboo teepees, no-dig methods and even traditional garden beds. Roman’s wicking containers made from Styrofoam boxes and PVC pipe have been a huge success, turning the concrete driveway into another productive part of the property. Asking Roman what he’s particularly proud of in the garden, we half expect him to mention

“When it comes to garden design, Roman and Jana draw on a variety of ideas: everything from raised beds, bathtubs and wicking pots to bamboo teepees, no-dig methods and even traditional garden beds” BACKYARD

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BACKYARD REVOLUTION Bees are an important part of any sustainable backyard setup

SpurTopian honey is the best tasting honey I’ve ever eaten

SPURTOPIA’S TOP 5 GARDENING TIPS

1 2 3

Making the most of the space available

“Beekeeping has become one Roman’s favourite pursuits. The beehives have been a mindboggling success — within the first year the Spurs collected more than 120kg of honey from each hive” these clever recycled containers. Roman thinks for a moment then says, “We’re proud of the whole garden and everything in it that we’ve successfully created, grown, consumed, shared and the hundreds of people we’ve inspired, educated and worked with via our on-site workshops, garden events and talks.” We ask if there’s anything different about this garden compared with others. Roman says it’s not only a rental property but also includes a large expanse of concrete. Undeterred, they grow many edibles in the marvellous wicking pots whose styrofoam insulates the plants from

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the cruel heat that black plastic pots tend to attract.

WHAT’S GROWING? In all, says Roman proudly, “There are 150 or more varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruiting plants in our garden. Some of our greatest successes so far have been pumpkins, subtropical greens and amaranth grain species. “We like to have what we call volunteer plants. These are plants that readily selfseed around the garden, never needing to be replanted — things like lettuce, dandelion,

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Don’t hesitate to start a garden. Just start, but start small and then expand as you gain confidence. Join a good gardening club. The Spurs are members of Brisbane Organic Growers. Plant volunteer plants — edibles that will readily self-seed such as lettuce, amaranth, basil, coriander, dandelion, pigeon pea and so on. Use varied garden styles: traditional garden beds, no-dig, wicking planters, pots, and fences, railings and trellises for climbers. Grow your own sprouts and microgreens. Even when on holiday you can still grow your own fresh produce simply and quickly in the smallest of spaces, such as a windowsill.

pawpaw, amaranth and nettle.” Other edibles you’ll find in this urban forager’s paradise are passionfruit, naranjillas, yacón, lab lab beans, water chestnuts, Brazilian spinach, nasturtiums, mints, shallots, aloe vera, mangoes, pawpaws, bananas, avocados, tropical peach, sugarcane, dandelions, nettle, Lebanese cress, basil, pepinos, society garlic, radishes, mulberries, lavender and pineapples. That’s just a snapshot of what is growing. Beekeeping has become one of Roman’s favourite pursuits. The beehives have been a mindboggling success — within the first year


BACKYARD REVOLUTION

SUSTAINABLE SPURTOPIA Roman and Jana make all their own cleaning products and reduce household energy use via solar hot water and a solar oven. They use aloe vera to make toothpaste, shampoo and moisturiser and are now experimenting with it in their cooking.  They harvest water from the roof with two 5000-litre rainwater tanks and distribute it with a gravity-feed watering system using a recycled vacuum cleaner hosepipe and fittings. Greywater is used to irrigate the bananas.  Pest control is almost a nonissue as the garden is a natural ecosystem where pests are controlled by predators such as birds and a huge variety of beneficial insects.  They make protein traps with stewing bones popped into old olive oil tins with holes in the bottom so the protein-rich larvae and maggots will drop out the bottom, ready to be scratched up and consumed by the chooks.  They produce a large percentage of their fertilisers on-site thanks to their worm farms and chooks. Worms are a great resource and with three working farms — one conventional and two made out of Styrofoam boxes — the recycling of kitchen waste is a breeze. They also make weed tea and use seaweed/fish emulsion mixes.  Composting is completed by the chickens. What the worms don’t get in the way of household scraps and garden refuse, the chooks scratch over and eat, while their manure is mixed with straw to create a nutrient-rich fertiliser. The chook run is set under established avocado, pawpaw and tropical peach trees, giving the chickens much-needed shade through summer.  They preserve garden produce and take sustainable living one step further by inviting people into their haven to teach them how they can make changes in their everyday lives through gardening, beekeeping, natural parenting techniques, wicking pot creation and more.

the Spurs collected more than 120kg of honey from each hive. Once harvested, the homegrown produce is Jana’s domain. Kitchen favourites are smoothies, cakes, preserves and jams, teas, kombucha, seed crops and pickles. The excess is shared with other residents as well as bartered for other goods within the local area. The couple’s passion and holistic approach permeate every aspect of their lives. For them, life is beautiful; each of us really should slow down and live in true peace and happiness, cherish every day and be less of a consumer and more of a giver. This philosophy is addictive and one can’t help but come away from an afternoon with this family feeling revived and full of optimism. As Roman sums up our chat, “I am truly positive about the future of our planet.” You can find these delightful people at spurtopia.com and on Facebook.

Red amaranth is not only prolific but also exquisitely ornamental

“There are 150 or more varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruiting plants in our garden. Some of our greatest successes so far have been pumpkins, subtropical greens and amaranth grain species”

SpurTopia’s vegetable garden grows right up to the back steps

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ABOVE Left to Right: Cooper, Bailey, Paul and Debbie

WORDS & PHOTOS: CLAIRE bICKLE

THE

Family GROWING

This gardening family from Minden in South-East Queensland are doing what they love: growing, caring, learning, sharing and having fun

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ebbie and Paul Aitcheson and their sons Cooper and Bailey are all involved in their family business, The Chilli Patch. She says it has been a rewarding experience raising her two boys and establishing The Chilli Patch. “Growing plants and selling them at markets has taught the boys valuable life lessons such as responsibility, caring, giving, looking after each other and learning how their food grows.” The Aitchesons’ two-acre patch is a cornucopia of edibles and they all love nothing more than to step outside and pick a bowl of greens for a salad for the evening meal. In the 20 years they have lived there they’ve battled through the weather extremes Queenslanders know too well. “Summer days of 40°C are a frequent occurrence and winter nights that plummet to -6°C can challenge the most positive gardeners,” says Debbie. Paul adds that heavy frost in the winter months is sometimes so severe “the hoses are frozen solid and turning the tap on is virtually impossible”. The Chilli Patch is their work 24/7 and they love it. Surprisingly, they don’t see as much of each other as you’d think because there are so many different jobs that need doing every day.

D


BACKYARD REVOLUTION

Wonderful watermelon, a must grow crop throughout the warmer months

Herby the cattle dog

Beautiful eggs all in a row

Chicken watching is a family pastime — nothing better than free-ranging chooks

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Every productive garden should have a duck or two — the eggs are fantastic for baking

Pumpkin of all shapes and sizes are grown on the property Chillies of all kinds grow in abundance at The Chilli Patch Aussie the lamb that came to stay — the place just wouldn’t be the same without him

Other produce from animals on the property includes honey, milk and meat. Among the Aitchesons’ organic methods is the use of their flock to compost the plants that don’t get sold at the markets. The chooks eat the overgrown plants, then dig through the soil and turn it all over, breaking it down, consuming bugs and turning it all into a nutrient-rich, humus-rich compost/soil mix. This fabulous soil mix is then used in bathtub beds. They also use vertical gardens and Paul maintains traditional garden beds throughout the cooler months, using rotary hoeing and tilling. With the cost of water, it’s too expensive to keep the in-ground beds up and running through summer. Fertilisers used are mostly mushroom compost and manures sourced from local farmers, including cow, alpaca and horse. Sugar cane is the main mulch used to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Paul and Debbie confess they are not the most successful composters — worm farms are their recycling method of choice. They do have the odd tumbler that produces decent amounts of compost, though, and are mad keen recyclers: carpet underlay, bathtubs, Besser blocks — the list goes on. Every inch of their roof is water catchment space and heavy downpours have become entertainment for the family, who rush to Cooper’s bedroom to watch the water run into the tank. Paul has set up a good irrigation system, which helps reduce water wastage.

WELCOME AND UNWELCOME VISITORS

TOP TIPS

1 2 3 4 5

Put lots of love into your garden.

If space is limited, go up by using vertical gardens. Recycle whatever containers you can — egg cartons for seedlings, for example. Use organic methods for pest and disease control to keep you and your garden healthy. Get out and get your hands dirty, but be careful to wash them afterwards, especially when using potting mixes.

Debbie has the title of Seeder and Paul is Potter and Maintainer. Everything is grown from seed, which means seed-saving is an important task. Bailey takes it on wholeheartedly as one of his favourite jobs.

IN THE BLOOD Both Paul and Debbie gardened as children. Paul’s family owned a farm in Aitcheson Street, Moggill, and for many years grew a great variety of vegetables and fruit. Debbie’s dad was a great inspiration, growing an amazing range of edibles in their Brisbane

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backyard. Now, Paul and Debbie are passing on their love of gardening. Chickens are a must in all productive gardens, including the Aitchesons’. Cooper is the family chicken whisperer and his feathered flock includes Araucana, Australorps and a few mixed bantams and hybrids. “He happily collects from six to 14 eggs daily,” says Debbie, “and takes kitchen scraps to the chooks every day.” Paul says they love having their poultry freeranging but lock them away at night to protect them from marauding foxes and wild dogs, as they’ve lost many a bird over the years.

For pest and disease control, the Aitchesons use a range of natural solutions such as chamomile, chilli and garlic sprays. If there are a few holes in the leaves, so be it; their customers would rather a few munch holes than a chemical cocktail all over the produce. Brushtail possums are a bit of a pest, but mosquito netting is effective and easy to use. It’s light and allows the sun through so plants can grow, which eliminates the process of covering and uncovering the plants morning and night. Besides the possums, a wonderful range of wildlife frequents the property. Bandicoots come to steal the odd bit of cat food, plus there are tortoises, a great range of birds including owls, as well as snakes, and it’s not uncommon to see wallabies bouncing past. There has even been a magical visit from an echidna. The Aitchesons are very proud that they’ve turned the almost treeless block into an amazing productive garden sporting large established trees, which provide muchneeded shade. Still, with two children and a business, the garden can often be put on the backburner. “We try to have some small areas under cultivation for home produce and these are special spaces that we love to tend in our rare spare moments,” Paul says. “If we had more time it would be different,” Deb adds, “as we have so many ideas about what we would like do and achieve.”


BACKYARD REVOLUTION

Just a handful of the many basil varieties the Aitchesons grow for sale

Bailey getting one of their traditional beds ready for the next season’s planting

“Growing plants and selling them at markets has taught the boys valuable life lessons such as responsibility, caring, giving, looking after each other and learning how their food grows”

So what do they love to grow? “Zucchini, pumpkin (Cooper’s favourite), tomatoes, corn, watermelon, rockmelon, chilli, amaranth, cucumber, beans, kang kong, mustards, sunflowers, strawberries, potatoes, microgreens galore and a massive range of other herbs,” they tell me. They all love to cook, too. The boys’ specialty is colourful salads, while an over-abundance of zucchini saw Deb research a range of recipes on how to use them: zucchini slice, fritters and bread are now family favourites. The boys love their pumpkins and top of the menu is pumpkin and rosemary lasagne, as well as the odd pumpkin scone or two. With the great range of herbs grown, herbal teas are a breeze. The selection is vast but the favourite is lemongrass and ginger. It’s a given that this generous and caring family share their produce with friends and family when the glut comes, especially when there is an egg overload. Other methods of dealing with excess are dehydrating and jam making. The Aitchesons have been members of the Queensland Herb Society for 16 years and say they have learnt a lot from being a part of this group. They strongly recommend joining a similar group or gardening club. “An elderly lady once told us that if you don’t learn something new every day, your mind will start to give up,” says Deb. Gardening certainly is a never-ending learning experience. Both Paul and Debbie agree that once it gets into your blood, it never leaves. For more information on The Chilli Patch, visit thechillipatch.com.au or their Facebook page, The Chilli Patch.

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Creeping along this looming wall, the Ficus creates the ultimate statement piece

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DESIGNER GARDENS

GREEN & GORGEOUS This garden is extremely hardy, yet warm and inviting BACKYARD

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DESIGNER GARDENS

LEFT AND ABOVE The courtyard is fantastic for entertaining and features a range of hard-wearing materials built to last the test of time

WORDS: KATE MCKEE he owners of this serene innercity courtyard sought to create a contemporary, private and lowmaintenance garden space that was suited to outdoor entertaining. They also wanted the living area to incorporate a centrepiece that drew the eye, which, in this case, was a custom-made floating stone bench seating and elegant water element. They called on boutique landscaping company Bell Landscapes to design and construct the entire project and bring their vision to life. “Being an inner-city terrace, privacy was critical, so we endeavoured to create a private sanctuary where the owners could relax, entertain and enjoy the space with minimal maintenance,” says Mark Bell, director of Bell landscapes. In order to create a sense of privacy, bamboo and Elaeocarpus plants were used to provide height and seclusion while also protecting them from the heat of the westerly sun. To soften the brick wall and create a soft green wall, Bell landscapes used Ficus, a creeping fig. “Ficus was used to create a green wall where very little space was available,” says Mark. The Ficus will eventually create a stunning blanket over the imposing high walls.

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The light coming from the charcoal water bowl creates a great atmosphere at night

“The water bowl gives the setting a sense of peace and adds another architectural element to the courtyard�

The grass-covered coffee table adds a unique touch

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On each side of the entry stairs were retaining walls comprised of unstable and unsightly red brick. These were repaired and rendered and purposely left unpainted in order to continue the minimal, earthy theme. One of the key features of the space is undoubtedly the floating stone bench seating that offers a cutting-edge, contemporary look. It is cantilevered over the garden so that at night, it appears to float effortlessly over the plants beneath. Stainless-steel, in-ground spike lights were installed throughout the garden and beneath the seating to give it the suspended appearance at nightfall, while stainlesssteel, submersible lights were installed in the charcoal water bowl, with all lighting operating automatically via a timer system. The water bowl gives the setting a sense of peace and adds another architectural element to the courtyard. The placement of the water feature works in harmony with the burst of green plantings that nestle around its base. The water bowl can also be used as a firepit in the cooler months. The overall contrast between the lush green plantings, pale-grey 500mm x 750mm stone pavers and dark, charcoal-painted walls makes for a striking visual and contemporary effect.


DESIGNER GARDENS

These contemporary bean bags are the perfect place for a cat nap

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This outstanding garden is like a little slice of paradise

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DESIGNER GARDENS

lean & Green A self-sustaining garden is the picture of a green future BACKYARD

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This amazing tree acts as the centrepiece of the backyard

WORDS: ANNABELLE CLOROS PHOTOS: PETER BRENNAN n a mission to clad built structures with living, breathing plants — and with a brief to create a self-sustaining garden — Mark Paul and his team from The Greenwall Company have created something special for a family in Mosman, Sydney, where sustainability is key in this stunning space filled with unique and rare plants.

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“The space allows the family to enjoy the built-in lap pool as well as the fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden” — Mark Paul

This column of textural plants creates a runway to the fish pond

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Containing sandstone instead of soil, the backyard posed a challenge for the Greenwall Company, which instead embraced this obstacle and made it into a feature of the space. “We built the garden around these challenges and it


DESIGNER GARDENS

Full and lush, this amazing green wall is certainly the statement piece of this garden

The round leaves of the Nymphaea gigantea create an interesting feature in the fish pond

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ABOVE The stunning space is made up of more than 260 species of plants, many of which are endangered species and unique to Australia thanks to Mark collecting them from abroad LEFT Native to Australia, the Nymphaea gigantea also produces a pretty blue flower

has helped shape and become a unique aspect of the outdoor area,” says Mark. The project encompassed numerous aspects including the use of EcoPillows (a pre-grown living roof) on the various roofs, green walls and pseudo green walls as well as a fish pond and a chicken coop — the number-one priority of the build. “The main purpose of the space is an outdoor area that’s used for family gatherings, parties and barbecues in the summer,” says Mark. “It allows the family to enjoy the built-in lap pool as well as fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden.” A standout point of the outdoor space is that the garden has no irrigation, ensuring it is completely sustainable. “There is no irrigation except a drip line to the trees on two parameters for seasonal watering,” says Mark. “The green wall watering system [consists of] water pumped from the fish pond, which takes fish waste to fertilise the wall. The garden is soil-less and uses recycled media created from 96 per cent recycled materials that would otherwise be destined for Australian landfill.” The green wall and roof are unique thanks to more than 260 species comprising them and the rest of the garden, several of which are rare and endangered from Australia and around the globe. With so many beautiful and unique plants in the one garden, the durable nature of these species ties them together and enables them to flourish in a soil-less climate that many might think is impossible. Not only is this green paradise meant for relaxing, it is also an engaging space that is full of surprises waiting to be discovered. Whether they’re gathering freshly laid eggs from the chickens, picking vegies or simply sitting by the fish pond, for this Mosman family, their backyard is nothing short of an outdoor oasis.

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This varied selection of plants frames the lap pool perfectly

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DESIGNER GARDENS

TROPICAL PARADISE This diverse and textural garden encourages exploration

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The oversized bluestone boulders complement the stone feature wall on the exterior of the home

WORDS: APRIL OSSINGTON PHOTOS: GLENN WEISS eaturing an abundance of lush grass and a variety of textures, this expansive garden is the pièce de résistance for One Wybelenna, an impressive new home just outside of Brisbane. With the residence located approximately 14km away from the CBD in the peaceful and leafy suburb of Brookfield, the team at Boss Gardenscapes had plenty of land to play with. However, they had to be sympathetic toward the humid, subtropical climate typical of the area and ensuing water restrictions. The clients were keen to create an expansive lawn and garden with plenty of native screening trees and shrubs, but were conscious of the need to balance this with efficient water use in consideration of the large 6700sqm site. A sustainability theme was specified in the

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brief, which extends from the architectural and landscaping design concepts through to the ongoing use of the property. “The new residence stands as an architectural work of art on its own so the garden was to be designed to complement the architecture without detracting from the strong lines and detail,” says Micki Stewart of Boss Gardenscapes. Spanning across the entire front of the home, the striking entry garden features oversized bluestone boulders, which were hand-selected from a local quarry to create the backdrop for several advanced Dracaena draco trees as well as a mixture of succulents including aloe, cactus, agave, sedum and native grasses. The main attraction, however, is the Brachychiton rupestris, with its elongated bottle-shaped trunk. “The architectural nature of the plants perfectly complements the design of the home,

which is striking yet restrained,” says Micki. “A mass planting of winter-flowering aloe not only attracts birds but provides a stunning silhouette.” The garden is separated into different zones that are connected by meandering walkways and resting places. “Garden art and water features produce an eclectic mix of landscaping that enlivens the space and transitions it from contemporary architecture to a garden to simply absorb and enjoy,” says Micki. “Rolling green lawns and a well-positioned timber and stone bench under a magnificent stand of gum trees complete the relaxed atmosphere.” A broad selection of native and subtropical screen trees and grasses were chosen for the tennis court and perimeter gardens. Several varieties of lilly-pilly are the perfect match for Tristaniopsis laurina, Elaeocarpus eumundi and E. reticulatus, while fiery red Melaleuca


DESIGNER GARDENS One of two green roofs, this large roof garden is situated on top of the garage. Mirroring the entry zone, this space works to soften the view from the house

“The architectural nature of the plants perfectly complements the design of the home, which is striking yet restrained” — Micki Stewart

ABOVE A high timber acoustic fence was installed around the property by the builder so the choice of screen trees was paramount to ensuring the fence’s visual impact would disappear over time

ABOVE The expansive feeling of the landscape is assisted by the gardens flowing onto extensive lawns, which in turn blend into the mass plantings of the perimeter gardens

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This selection of angular and textural plants creates a contemporary feeling in the entry garden

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A broad selection of native and subtropical screen trees and grasses were chosen for the perimeter planting and tennis court

DESIGNER GARDENS

ABOVE Away from the rest of the garden, this area provides the perfect place for quiet contemplation

viridiflora and Callistemon add some vibrant colour to the mix. These are underplanted with drifts of native grasses such as Lomandra confertifolia ‘Tilga’, Crackerjack and Pennisetum alopecuroides mixed with other strappy foliage such as Hymenocallis speciosa, Liriope muscari and Dietes flavida. The courtyard and pool gardens contain Plumeria obtusa, Rhapis excelsa (commonly known as the lady palm), bromeliads and ferns, which provide a soft, tropical resort look. All plants were chosen for their low-maintenance and water-efficiency qualities. Interestingly, the original pool on the property was converted into an underground storage tank to capture run-off rain water, with a capacity to hold 150,000L. The irrigation system is tailored for each specific zone, which minimises wastage and ensures certain plants aren’t overwatered. The addition of green roofs aids in cooling, improves air quality and supports local biodiversity. Providing colour, texture and enhancing the architecture, this garden is certainly the icing on the cake for this impressive new home. The interesting and varied garden zones provide places for quiet contemplation as well as unique areas to entertain family and friends.

The garden zones were designed to be viewed from the bedrooms

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COASTAL HIDEAWAY A sophisticated and contemporary space, with a true meditative essence WORDS: RICHARD KELLY PHOTOS: ALEKSANDRA VUCKOVIC fter our initial consultation and meetings with the clients, the brief was to create an outdoor design that addressed existing privacy issues and formed a strong and seamless connection from the interior to the exterior spaces. They sought a design that was sophisticated, contemporary, timeless, sensual and functional. The design layout was to embody asymmetrical aspects incorporating strong biomorphic and fluid organic forms. This would serve to soften the static and rigid framework of the enclosing walls. Some of the challenging aspects relating to this project were the external environment and the

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microclimate, which has a heavy coastal exposure and salt-laden winds, mixed with extreme weather conditions. Cold winters follow extreme heat and penetrating sun in the summer, all of which had to be taken into consideration in relation to materials and plantings. The final selection of plants needed to be able to withstand the location and the environmental factors. The proposed outdoor room was not so much about views to the coastline (which the clients already had on the upper levels of the residence), but about the view provided when looking down from within the home’s interior. It was also about creating a habitable space with meditative qualities. The initial space was a tight triangular wedge shape, so we had to think spatially and creatively

to deliver a functional and aesthetic outcome. Our intention was to deliberately create a series of large block walls that would help delineate and divide up the space and assist in losing the triangular visual. These walls would serve the clients well by providing privacy for the guest bedroom and office, and by creating the opportunity to inject suitable finishes and treatments for the walls. The main function of the walls however, was to create a much more habitable space by reducing the dominant south to south-west winds. Colour and material selections were crucial, as choice and composition had to blend seamlessly with the interior renovation and serve as a suitable canvas for the future planting selections. The colour selection of Murobond’s


DESIGNER GARDENS

The Buddha statue hiding behind these bushes contributes to the meditative quality of the garden

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“Plant design and final selection were to replicate a deep-sea coral garden when viewed from above�

A striking succulent display

The differing depths of the blocks in this feature wall add a unique element to the space

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DESIGNER GARDENS LEFT The clients wanted the plantings to be exotic, low maintenance, as well as drought and sea salt spray resistant

Underlit plants create a magical feeling

Licorice black was used to paint the walls. Grey exfoliated granite and blackbutt plantation timber set off the basalt cube blade walls and also helped to ground and anchor the space. These elements provided a sophisticated backdrop for future fabric and furniture selections. The clients also sought to create an aged feeling to the space. They didn’t want the appearance of a pristine new garden and were happy to let the Corten steel bleed onto the walls to give the space a feeling of being there for some time. They also chose to leave the ironbark decking boards to grey and silver in colour, creating a similar effect of establishment. Our plant design and final selection were to replicate a deep-sea coral garden when viewed from above and from various rooms on the lower level of the house. The garden was a symbolic gesture of the nearby reefs, where the clients frequently enjoy diving. The planting selection included a mixture of rare and mature species. The rich colour of the foliage contrasted with the solid surfaces, and provided a unique vibrancy and interest with the constant spot flowers that play with the frequently changing light within the space, creating a deepsea abyss that is maintenance-free. Unique lighting effects and design were created for night time viewing and mood effects. Lighting strips were placed under specifically designed floating granite stairs and the timber daybed. The guest bedroom forms a strong link to the Torch Cactus garden, which feels as though it is within arm’s reach while you are lying in bed. A monolithic blade wall made of basalt cube tiles separates the spaces making them feel like private areas. The basalt cubes outside the office are up-lit along with some selected plant species such as the Aloe ferox, the Agave stricta and the ‘Ghost Torch Cactus’. The lighting provides a magical and surreal environment. We have been told that guests who stay here become immersed in the space and upon waking in the morning are all full of smiles. The meditative garden located on the eastern side of the site, is used for meditation, yoga, reading, drinks and breakfast. It is framed by giant Agave atrovirens, with under planting of aromatic ‘Creeping Pink Thyme’, which contrasts perfectly with the large Dracaena draco and its underplantings. These plants provide a strong initial framework to balance with the secondary partition, which supports the copper water wall. There are speakers located throughout the garden to add to the atmosphere of the space. This space was developed and designed beyond our clients’ expectations to create memorable experiences that enrich the occupants’ daily lives. BACKYARD

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The water lilies create an interesting pattern in the pond

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DESIGNER GARDENS

HILLTOP HAVEN From the bush-style front garden to the tropical backyard, this is a design delight

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This area provides welcome relief from the harsh Australian sun

The rear garden creates an interesting contrast with its tropical style

“Native plants were used around the creek and pond. They give the garden an authentic bushland look and feel and attract native birds to the space” words: karen booth PHOTOS: PATRICK REDMOND t the end of a hectic working day, or come the weekend, could you imagine anything more relaxing than spending time in the bush surrounds of a front garden or amid the tropical splendour of a stunning backyard? For the rear garden of this home, designer Paul Trotter, managing director of PTA Landscapes, explains, “The brief was to create a backyard oasis, a place of retreat and escape with a warm, natural resort-style feel. This outdoor haven features a natural freeform plunge-style pool with beach areas for sun worshipping, a thatched gazebo from Bali, a wood-fired pizza oven for relaxed entertaining, and tropical

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plants carefully selected to tolerate cold Melbourne winters.” The front garden, which Paul also designed, has an equally relaxed feel, but the look is inspired by the Australian bush. “The creek along the front of the house is fed by natural rainfall and provides the constant sound of water in motion as it flows from the creek bed on the north side to the pond and water feature on the south side of the house,” says Paul. Native plants were used around the creek and pond. They give the garden an authentic bushland look and feel and attract native birds to the space. The plants also complement the timber decking and Castlemaine natural slate paving.


DESIGNER GARDENS

This small bridge adds a quaint and endearing feature to the garden

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DESIGNER GARDENS

ABOVE The perfect spot for sun-drenched breakfasts and lunches OPPOSITE TOP This wood-fired pizza oven adds character to the garden and provides a fun activity for when guests come over OPPOSITE MIDDLE AND BOTTOM Originating from the creek that flows along the front of the house, the water in this pond provides a serene outlook and the ultimate white noise — the gentle trickle of water in motion

“The goal was to introduce a lush, hot-climate plant palette that was tolerant of Melb ourne’s winters” — Paul Trotter “Given the house is situated on a hill, wind minimisation was very important in the rear garden, so a solid, rendered-block wall was built. This created a courtyard effect where the plants could flourish within a protected microclimate,” says Paul. “The goal was to introduce a lush, hot-climate plant palette that was tolerant of Melbourne’s winters.

We included Washingtonia robusta for strength of form and Waterhousea floribunda for elevation and its changing leaf colour. For seasonal flower displays, there are clivias and camellias.” Creating sustainable gardens is a priority for PTA Landscapes. Sustainable elements in this design range from granitic gravel

paths that allow rainfall to penetrate the soil rather than creating run-off, and the pond and creek that are fed by natural rainfall as well as stored rainwater that is captured from the roof. Completed 10 years ago, this project was built to improve with age, proving the true worth of a well-designed sustainable garden. BACKYARD

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The plants that grow between the pavers make this space come alive

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DESIGNER GARDENS

Small & Savvy A petite garden proves that fresh produce can be grown anywhere WORDS: RACHEL FALZON f you have a small inner-city garden or courtyard, you may be thinking that a flourishing vegetable garden is out of reach. However, as this garden shows, space need not be a hindrance and an attractive and productive garden can go hand in hand — even by incorporating a water feature, a barbecue, seating area and ornamental plants. When the owners of this garden approached Steve Warner of Outhouse Design, they had a clear design brief. They wanted a

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functional space that would suit the family — which includes young children — with a productive vegetable garden as well as an attractive outdoor entertaining area. The site was the challenge, as it was a petite size of only 10m × 3m, so space maximisation was a key issue. “Because of the restrictions that the small size introduced, it was important to utilise the vertical space. Steel spirals that are 1.8m in size serve as trellises for peas and runner beans and provide a decorative element,

while a dwarf apple tree is espaliered against the north-facing wall, which also serves to screen the washing line,” explains Steve. “We made sure the vegetable bed enjoyed a full-sun position, which worked in our favour as we could then have the seating in the more protected area of the garden.” The owners had the decision of what edible plants were to be included in the garden. They chose vegies and herbs that they often cook with, including spinach, lettuce, chilli and rosemary among other

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Creating cohesion, the cabinet beneath the barbecue matches this outdoor bench perfectly

Cleverly placed lighting highlights the important elements of the courtyard

The vegetable garden is edged with sandstone, which helps unify the space

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This urn water feature creates a delightfully rustic feeling to the space

edibles that are rotated as the seasons change. “We used companion planting such as marigolds, which work as a great natural pest deterrent and provide a colourful, cheery addition that the children love,” says Steve. Cleverly, the Outhouse Design team introduced edible plants, such as thyme, to do double-duty and provide a decorative element within the garden beds as well as between the pavers. This allowed them to break up the hard paving area, and support additional softscape areas for water penetration. “We wanted a combination of vegetables and herbs that the family would cook with regularly as well as those that provide interest and are educational for the children,” says Steve. The vegetable bed’s location close to the kitchen allows the children to easily see the growing process happening before their eyes — from seed to plate, as the family grows, harvests and cooks their produce. The proximity to the cooking area of the home also means the produce is likely to be used and will encourage experimentation with herbs and vegies when creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen. The colour scheme, layout and ornamental features create a classic design, but the garden as a whole has a strong functional element. The key design features are: the vegetable garden; the water feature, which cools the space; the barbecue and seating area, which includes built-in storage as an ingenious space-saving element; and lighting that ensures the garden can be used at night during the warmer months. “Sustainability was a key concept driving the design,” says Steve. “Where possible, existing materials were incorporated into the new design or recycled. The worm farm uses organic matter that would otherwise be going to landfill and provides a natural fertiliser for the garden. The layout also utilises solar passive design principles.” This garden proves that with a clever design, even the smallest space can be used to produce fresh, healthy fruit and vegies that the whole family can enjoy.


DESIGNER GARDENS

“The vegetable bed’s location close to the kitchen allows the children to easily see the growing process happening before their eyes — from seed to plate, as the family grows, harvests and cooks their produce”

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The Whirl dining setting by Gloster creates an interesting contrast against the aged timber decking, coshliving.com.au

BEAUTY IN STRENGTH Enhance your garden with outdoor furniture that is not only attractive but can withstand the test of time WORDS: karsha green o matter which material you have a preference for, outdoor furniture is subject to every force of nature so it needs to be constructed from quality, durable materials and cared for properly.

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CHOOSING YOUR MATERIAL METAL Stainless-steel and aluminium are the most commonly used metals in the production of outdoor furniture. But don’t be fooled, even though these materials are advertised as being low-maintenance, the occasional wash is required and discolouration will most likely

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occur after prolonged periods of use and exposure to the elements. When purchasing stainless-steel pieces, check with the supplier what grade it is — marine-grade steel would be the ideal option. Aluminium, although it is slightly more expensive, is a great alternative to stainless-steel. Lightweight but sturdy, aluminium furniture is available in a range of trendy designs and powder-coated colours. Castaluminium furniture is increasingly popular as it is extremely durable, long-lasting and incapable of rusting. As cast aluminium is solid throughout, it is sturdier than other metal furniture, making it hard to bend or break. To clean, simply hose off or wipe down using soapy water.

TIMBER The main reason many people choose timber furniture is because of its natural and organic aesthetic. While it does look amazing, timber also requires the highest maintenance out of all common outdoor materials. The most popular wood varieties are teak, cedar, oak, pine and eucalyptus, all of which have natural oils that protect against decay, harsh weather, high temperatures and humidity. However, splintering, greying and water damage are common problems with timber that require re-sanding, oiling and waterproofing — maintenance that many homeowners are hesitant to commit to. Timber is suitable for use in particularly sunny outdoor areas, as it doesn’t stay hot in the same way metals and plastics do.


Timber furniture adds warmth to this outdoor dining setting. Image courtesy of IKEA, ikea.com/au/en/

BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

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BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

REVAMP TIMBER FURNITURE •

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Start by brushing any dirt and cobwebs off your furniture. If mould, algae or mildew are present, this will need to be wiped off with a damp cloth and cleaning solution. Ensure the furniture is completely dry before you begin the next step. Sand back the timber to open the grain and remove any scratches or discolouration. First, use a medium-grit sandpaper and then finish off with a fine-grit sandpaper. Electrical sanders can be used with caution. Remove all the dust from your furniture and work area. Wipe furniture with a tack cloth to pick up any residual particles. Scrub your outdoor furniture with a timber cleaning solution, wash it off then allow to dry. Apply two coats of water- and UV-resistant furniture oil and allow to dry.

ABOVE The monochrome cushions on the Portofino outdoor teak occasional chair and ottoman create a contemporary look, xavierfurniture.com.au

TEAK FURNITURE Used widely on boats and in outdoor furniture, teak has a slightly waxy feel and a goldenbrown colour. Slow-grown teak is probably the best timber there is to resist sun and rain but it can be pricey.


Phone: 02 4966 8760 Email: swiftfurniture@froggy.com.au

www.swiftfurniture.com.au

For your nearest stockist please contact swifts


BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

EXPERT TIP Wicker furniture doesn’t like sunlight so make sure to cover it when not in use for long periods of time.

Contrasting colours in the same material adds an interesting element to this outdoor lounge area. Kobo modular sofa, wintonsteak.com

The Papillon range by Brown Jordan is a contemporary take on wicker furniture, duneoutdoorluxuries.com.au

WICKER AND WOVEN MATERIALS Assuming a rather casual, cosy look, wicker refers to the weaving process using materials such as bamboo, rattan or cane. Both versatile and lightweight, wicker furniture traditionally boasts a natural aesthetic. However, with the introduction of woven synthetic materials and resins, the material now comes in a variety of colours and designs with an even easier maintenance brief. These synthetic alternatives tend to be the most commonly used in outdoor settings as they are stronger and more durable against moisture and heat. Modern wicker furniture also tends to have an aluminium frame, which the wicker is wrapped around, providing an even stronger product that will last the test of time. Although man-made, these synthetic materials are still prone to mildew if in contact with excessive moisture, as well as splintering if continually left in the sun. Regular cleaning is recommended for wicker as it generally can’t tolerate harsh or abrasive treatments.

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CARING FOR WICKER FURNITURE  

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Remove dirt and debris with a brush or vacuum. Clean with soap and water but be careful not to soak as it will weaken the fibres. Dry thoroughly. Sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any peeling paint. Touch up with paint as necessary.


Heading our way, the New Bellevie Range by Fermob Bellevie Sofa | Bellevie Arm Chair | Bellevie Low Table

Available in 23 colours

440 High Street, Prahran VIC 3181 Open Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm P 03 9510 4561 E info@classicwithatwist.com.au

classicwithatwist.com.au


The bright purple hue of Little Ruby is really something special

COLOUR YOUR WORLD While flowers are often the go-to for adding colour to a garden, there are several plants that feature brilliant hues as well WORDS: TODD LAYT lants with colourful foliage, blossoming flowers or simply elegant green plants can make a backyard shine. If you walk into any retail nursery, you will find them in abundance but most are short-term gardening plants that won’t stand the test of time. If you’re after a more durable, long-lasting variety that really has that wow factor, there are several options out there. Here are some of our favourites.

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PURPLE AND MAROON Little Ruby™ Alternanthera dentata ‘LRU30’ PBR This plant tops the list with its gorgeous, deeppurple foliage and compact, low-growing form. It is more cold tolerant than the common varieties, suitable for Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, as well as in Adelaide and Melbourne either near the coast or in sheltered areas with some frost protection. Variegated Tanika™ Lomandra longifolia ‘NPW3’ PBR This is an excellent foliage plant that contrasts beautifully against Little Ruby Alternanthera or red plants such as “red more often” nandinas. It works well in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. It pays to cut this plant back every couple of years or so to keep the foliage vibrant with new growth.

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Sweet Mist™ Phormium tenax ‘PH0S2’ PBR The only compact purpurea type in the world, Phormium tenax is known to be much tougher than P. cookianum varieties. It does well in Sydney but if it’s planted more than 25km away from the coast or in the west, it prefers sheltered positions. This plant also performs very well in Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide. Sweet Mist’s size makes it a great plant for smaller gardens or for mass planting in landscapes. Blaze™ Dianella tasmanica ‘NPW2’ PBR Now you can get the beautiful colours from purpurea varieties in a Dianella. Blaze Dianella is a very tough plant with extreme heat tolerance. It has beautiful deep-purple foliage throughout the cooler months of the year that turns green in summer to cope with Australia’s famous hot weather. Use in sheltered gardens in Sydney if in the west, and anywhere in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. Wyeena™ Dianella tasmanica ‘TAS300’ PBR Wyeena has stunning variegated upright-toarching foliage and is extremely frost and cold tolerant. Use in sheltered gardens in Sydney if in the west, and anywhere in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Resilient Blaze is more deep purple in colour


BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

EXPERT TIP In Queensland, try Lucky Stripe instead. This strappy leaf plant has clean, contrasting white and green foliage and does well in both wet and dry soil. It can tolerate both humidity and drought. Sweet Mist is pictured in front

Bamboo Creations Nursery has the most diverse bamboo range in Melbourne B B Bamboo Creations Nursery offers a huge range of bamboo for commercial landscapers and home gardeners. Clumping bamboo comes in various colours and height to suit you requirements with very little maintenance C once established. Bamboo can be grown as a quick hedge, a beautiful ornamental, or as an amazing living o sscreen. All our products are locally grown and have been tested for Melbourne’s extreme conditions. With yyour creative ideas and our design expertise, together we can make your garden look truly magical.

Check out our website for nursery opening times and the events that we attend. 50 Meadowbrook Way, Riddells Creek, Melbourne, Victoria p. 1300 654 454 m. 0411 465 652 e. info@bamboo-plants.com.au www.bamboo-plants.com.au

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Silverlawn will add a touch of magic to your backyard

SILVER AND BLUE Silverlawn™ Liriope muscari ‘LIRSS’ PBR Create a silver lawn groundcover or a great green wall with this spreading, low-growing Liriope. To keep it tidy, mow it in late winter each year. Silverlawn makes a wonderful contrasting groundcover and works Australia-wide including in very cold regions and humid areas. Cassa Blue™ Dianella caerulea ‘DBB03’ PBR For blue foliage all year-round, Cassa Blue is the go-to plant for beautiful contrasting colours. It is suitable for Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. In Sydney, it does better in raised gardens with reasonable drainage, which helps it cope better with humid summers.

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Cassa Blue creates a soothing effect in this garden


Liriopes THAT MAKE A GREAT

LAWN ALTERNATIVE FOR HEAVY SHADE The one mow per year lawn alternative that works where turf won’t live. Ideal between pavers, in heavy shade or full sun.

Isabella® Liriope muscari ‘LIRF’ PBR A one mow per year lawn alternative that tolerates frost, drought DQGKXPLGLW\,WKDVEHDXWLIXOSLQNÁRZHUVLQVXPPHU

Silverlawn™ Liriope muscari ‘LIRSS’ PBR Clean variegated foliage that almost looks silver from a distance. A one mow per year Liriope that tolerates frost and drought.

www.ozbreed.com.au


BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

Blush features vibrant red foilage

RED EXPERT TIP It’s a good idea to include a substantial amount of plants with colourful foliage in your garden. While flowers come in and out of bloom, they will provide nonstop colour so your garden will look vibrant and interesting all year round.

Obsession makes a great border plant

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Obsession™ Nandina domestica ‘SEIKA’ PBR Every now and then, a revolutionary plant comes along, and Obsession is exactly that. This non-invasive, drought, cold and humidity tolerant Nandina is an improved selection of the popular dwarf Nandina (Gulf Stream). Not only does it have red foliage in winter but it also grows vivid-red, fine leaves in the warmer months. Instead of three months of red foliage in winter only, as with the common form, it has an average of nine months of contrasting red foliage. In comparison to standard Nandina that grows green leaves as well, a majority of Obsession’s new growth is red. This vivacious plant keeps its dense, upright growth habit and doesn't spread with age, so it's great as a low hedge, shrub or feature in a garden. Blush™ Nandina domestica ‘AKA’ PBR If you like the broader leaf of traditional Nandina but want red more often with cleaner foliage, Blush is for you. It is the only medium-dwarf Nandina that gets red new growth in spring and autumn. This red-flushing compact shrub is extremely drought, cold and humidity tolerant and grows well all over Australia. However in warmer climates such as mid-to-northern Queensland, the colour won't be as red. With the beautiful Australian natural environment in mind, it is a safe choice if you live near bushland as it doesn't spread seed. In winter, this variety is far more vivid red than other varieties with the bonus of red new growth in the warmer months. ozbreed.com.au


Transform your garden into a private paradise! Thinking about a no-fuss improvement to your front or backyard? Want some privacy in your personal space? Looking for ways to remove unsightly views from your garden while broadening your space? Want to do all the above in a cost-effective and low maintenance way?

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For more information on how you can use bamboo panels to achieve your beautiful garden dreams instantly, visit our website on: www.infinitypanels.com.au


Straight drop awnings are great for smaller spaces. Weinor awning, petermeyerblinds.com.au

EXPERT ADVICE

throwing shade Make the most of your backyard with the latest shading solutions WORDS: tom lockley

MAKING A SELECTION

hanks to our temperate climate and laid-back attitude, outdoor entertaining has become a fundamental part of the Australian lifestyle. In the warmer weather, an outdoor area is the preferred spot for a relaxing sun-drenched breakfast, weekend lunches and garden parties. However, the harsh Aussie sun means outdoor areas should benefit from some type of protection. A beautiful and functional outdoor entertaining area is a great way to add extra living space to your home and obtain that sought-after indoor–outdoor living environment. However, choosing a design that complements your home and your lifestyle can be tricky.

AWNINGS Awnings can be installed as permanent, demountable or retractable sources of shade over the exterior of windows and doors. They can be cut to a variety of sizes and shapes to suit different homes and most have a sturdy construction, making them ideal for weathering high winds and heavy rain. Otherwise known as retractable awnings, folding-arm awnings have the advantage of shading an area from heat or rain when needed. UMBRELLAS An umbrella is a versatile shading solution for your garden as it can be easily retracted when not in use. The beauty of a free-standing

T

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According to Simon Meyer from Blinds by Peter Meyer, there are several types of awnings, all offering a range of benefits and suited to a range of purposes. “An entry-level choice when it comes to price, open awnings are ideally suited for installation under eaves as they have exposed arms and fabric — they can also be fitted with protective hoods. Offering a bit more protection, semi-cassette awnings shield the fabric and when the front rail is fully closed, the mechanism is tucked away safely. Ideal for all applications, cassette awnings offer superior protection to both the fabric and mechanism. They last longer and create a more streamlined, aesthetically pleasing look when compared to other options. When choosing between cassette, semicassette and open arm, appearance and budget will be the main considerations. In regards to the latest technology, the range of Weinor awnings feature Dyneema long-life tape in the arms, which offers an alternative to the traditionally used cables or chains that tend to stretch and break down over time. Utilising technology used in the manufacturing of parts for aircrafts, these awnings also feature dropforged arms that are designed to take strong loads, while a patented floating tube gives constant fabric support as the awning extends to its full projection. This gives the fabric more tension and helps limit the wrinkling that can occur in awning fabrics,” explains Simon.


BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

The Syncra 2 (fix/uno fix) adds an extra pop of colour to the garden, markilux.com.au

This Weinor awning blends with the natural surroundings, petermeyerblinds.com.au

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BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

umbrella is that it can be moved depending on the position of the sun or the area you are spending time in. Those with a sturdy base can be used over your outdoor dining table at lunch and then moved to your grass area while the kids are playing. Some outdoor dining tables even come with a hole in the middle that accommodates an umbrella, though most can be propped up beside your table and angled over it to provide sufficient shade. Compact spaces such as courtyards and terraces often can’t afford the space taken up by umbrella posts and bases. Therefore, a wall-mounted umbrella can be a great solution, providing shade while taking up minimal space. These umbrellas can be quite easily and affordably installed by a DIY enthusiast, using a variety of fixings depending on the wall surface. The extending arm of a wall-mounted umbrella can be moved to follow the sun and even tilted slightly to block out low afternoon sun, giving you sufficient coverage at all hours of the day. Best of all, when you’re finished outside for the day, the canopy closes while still attached to the wall-mounted arm and folds neatly up against the wall. It can also be removed for seasonal storage. The latest outdoor umbrellas are constructed with water-resistant aluminium or stainlesssteel frames and components, as well as weather-resistant fabrics for ultimate durability. Modern fabrics also feature UV protection and thus provide superior protection from the sun.

EXPERT TIP For the best sun protection you can get, choose a fabric with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 50+.

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This motorised retracting awning features a Soltis92 shade fabric, outriggerawnings.com.au

The Baggön/Svartö hanging parasol with base is a simple shading solution, ikea.com/au/en The Paraflex wall-mounted umbrella is the ultimate space saver, instantshadeumbrellas.com.au


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PROTECTION STYLE

When it comes to offering protection for your outdoor areas from harsh sunlight, strong wind and rain, Outrigger Awnings has everything covered. Since 1994, Sydney based Outrigger has been designing and manufacturing stylish custom-designed fabric structures for domestic and commercial applications. Our extensive range of motorised and manual awnings utilise the highest quality rainproof and shade fabrics that should last from 18 to 20 years. Outrigger currently manufacture retracting awnings and sails, batten awnings, outdoor blinds, cantilevered awnings and stylish carports. Why not create your own outdoor room as an additional living area to be enjoyed all year round.

Call us now or visit our website for your free design consultation.

(02) 9905 8473 info@outriggerawnings.com.au www.outriggerawnings.com.au


BACKYARD ESSENTIALS

SHADES Perfect for contemporary homes, shades offer an easy way to protect your space from the sun or add a design element to your outdoor room. Engineered and manufactured in Germany, C4sun’s automatic shade sail systems are flexible, functional and beautifully designed, and offer superior shade coverage for anyone looking to protect a larger entertaining area. The sophisticated technology for tensioning the sail and reducing wind pressure is concealed within the masts, both in standard and designer models, while the mast houses various stainless-steel cables and routing mechanisms to ensure safe, maintenance-free operation. The sails can be tapered to suit individual design requirements, offering a unique, personalised shade solution. House of Bamboo’s Nature Shade Sienna series features a range of contemporary patterns that will create a feature in your outdoor area. Each design allows different amounts of air flow and light filtration for an interesting effect.

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An electrically furling shade sail is a modern method of shading, c4sun.com.au

The Nature Shade in Sienna will add style to a space, houseofbamboo.com.au


AUSTRALIAN MADE BBQS & OUTDOOR KITCHENS

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AUSTRALIAN MADE | FACTORY DIRECT | 25 YEAR WARRANTY The Lifestyle “Designer Series” Outdoor Kitchen range Waterproof Laminex® cabinets coupled with elegant aluminium framed glass doors in the colour of your choice. An Australian made BBQ, your choice of additional appliances and stone benchtops complete the best quality most durable outdoor kitchen you can buy. Talk to the experts at Lifestyle BBQs on 02 9773 6245 to discover how you can create your ideal Outdoor Kitchen.

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From pizza to dessert, you can cook anything on the Island Gourmet Elite, heatlie.com.au

WHAT’S COOKING? An efficient design, the right barbecue and a bit of knowhow will help you make the most of your alfresco kitchen

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OUTDOOR COOKING GUIDE

The Collaroy barbecue is perfect for a poolside cook up, lifestylebbqs.com

WORDS: ANDREA MEAD omeowners wanting to extend their living space and make outdoor entertaining a year-round proposition are turning to outdoor kitchens as the perfect solution. And as one of the hottest outdoor design trends, outdoor kitchens can also add value to your home. A well-designed outdoor kitchen with quality appliances can be a real selling point for many homes — and they provide an ideal environment for relaxing with family and friends.

may need to have plans drawn up and submitted to council for approval. Likewise, many authorities require a flame-failure device to be connected to gas barbecues, which is a standard feature of the Heatlie Island Gourmet and can be fitted to all Heatlie barbecues at the time of manufacture. However, this feature can’t be fitted afterwards so be sure of what you need before making your purchase.

PLAN RIGHT

Of course, budget is a big consideration in any home renovation project. It’s a good idea to do plenty of research before you start and also try to maintain a realistic approach. As well as building materials, you’ll need to factor in appliances, a barbecue, benchtops, shading and protection, even floor coverings and furniture.

H

This kitchen certainly enhances this outdoor area, limetreealfresco.com.au

Whether you’re incorporating an outdoor kitchen into a new build or adding one to an existing home, it’s a project that requires careful planning. With each state having different requirements for outdoor enclosures, talking to your local council should be your first step. You

BUDGET FIRST

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OUTDOOR COOKING GUIDE

This modular outdoor kitchen features a sink and fridge, lifestylebbqs.com

CHOOSE YOUR TYPE The next big decision is whether you opt for a built-in or modular system. There are many module-based kitchens on the market that are cost efficient and look fabulous. However, if you’re aiming for a more customised and upmarket space, it can pay to engage a builder who will design and construct an appropriate outdoor kitchen for your home. Also, consider whether your outdoor kitchen will be a fully contained external one — complete with fridge, sink and benchtops — or simply an adjunct to your existing kitchen. When it comes to benchtops, granite and stone are popular options for outdoor kitchens, mainly because most barbecues need to be installed into a noncombustible bench. A Heatlie barbecue is an exception as its design deflects heat away from the bench. This means it can be installed directly into materials such as MDF and wood, which gives the homeowner numerous design options. Construction, the material the barbecue is made from and the availability of a warranty and after-sales service are other important considerations when it comes to choosing a barbecue for your outdoor kitchen.

Artisan Signature 3000E fourburner built-in barbecue, beefeaterbbq.com

QUALITY ADVICE My best tip is to buy for the long term. Opt for a unit that comes with a 10-year warranty, that’s made in Australia and that offers the ability to buy customised products and spare parts down the track. This approach will definitely save you money in the long run. Also, consider whether you really need a hood or if this is simply aesthetic, and beware of gimmicky trends such as infrared burners, lava rocks and ceramic briquettes. In my experience, they often don’t live up to the hype. It’s also important to plan ahead: minimise additional regulatory costs by choosing the gas service most suited to your purpose, either bottled or natural (piped) gas. Most barbecues have an option of LPG or natural gas, however it pays to make this decision when you design your outdoor kitchen so the natural gas connection can be installed during the building process. Some barbecues, such as the Heatlie units, allow for a retro-fitted natural gas system, but it’s best to make this decision before you purchase. And, remember, a licensed gas fitter needs to make the conversion and installation.

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Built-in barbecue with flat lid and BBQ wok burner, smeg.com.au/outdoor


Island Gourmet Elite Ideal for outdoor kitchens Ready to install into any benchtop, including timber, MDF and granite Sleek and modern stainless steel design Easy to clean and maintain LPG or natural gas Solid, durable and Australian made Hood and freestanding cabinet also available

For more information and stockists visit:

www.heatlie.com.au or email info@heatlie.com.au 8376 1999 9330 Ph (08) 08 8374


WEATHERPROOF IT Protection from the elements is another important factor. A roof or sail will protect your outdoor kitchen from the rain and sun and encourage you to use the area throughout the year. Your appliances, barbecue and cupboards will need to be protected from the weather — even stainlesssteel barbecues and appliances will rust if exposed to the elements.

COOK LIKE A PRO Always pre-heat your barbecue before cooking and make sure the hotplate is ready to sizzle. Likewise, get meat out of the fridge at least 10–15 minutes before placing it on the barbecue to ensure it cooks evenly. Rather than loading up your barbecue with everything on the menu, consider which foods will take the longest to cook and stagger cooking times accordingly. As a general rule, get the sausages, steaks and chops on first, followed by kebabs, vegetables and seafood. If you have a warming drawer or rack, use this to keep food warm rather than running back and forth to the kitchen. Marinades are great for adding flavour to meats and seafood, but using too much on the barbecue can cause meat to burn. Drain excess marinade from meat before placing it on the hotplate and resist the temptation to douse the meat in leftover liquid once it’s started cooking. Another way to get great flavour into your meat is to use a rub. Learn how to work with different temperature settings on your barbecue — not everything needs to be cooked at the maximum heat setting. Likewise, many hotplates will have areas that become very hot and others that carry a more moderate level of heat. The trick is to discover where they are as this will enable you to cook different types of food at the same time. Many meats need to be well cooked, but you certainly don’t want them charred or burnt. Start with a high heat to sear steaks, lamb chops, sausages and chicken, then reduce the heat and cook for a longer time to ensure meat is cooked all the way through and to prevent burning on the outside. With vegetables, less is best. If your barbecue has a hood, try cooking a roast, whole baked fish or pizza. For the perfect pizza, cook it for 15–20 minutes with the hood down, though make sure to check it regularly. If you don’t have a hood, allow an extra 5–10 minutes.

EXPERT TIP Extra-virgin olive oil tastes great and has many health benefits, however it’s not great for barbecuing as it has a low smoking point. Instead, choose an oil that has a high smoke point, such as coconut oil, and keep the extravirgin olive oil for salad dressings.

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This barbecue area features appropriate protection from the elements, limetreealfresco.com.au

Modern barbecues can cook pizza to perfection

Cooking a roast on the barbecue will save your home from that lingering meat smell. Island Gourmet Elite, heatlie.com.au


OUTDOOR COOKING GUIDE

POSITION IS KEY When it comes to the design of your outdoor kitchen, position should be the number-one consideration. Choosing the right location will ensure you can use your outdoor kitchen all-year-round, so think about the area’s proximity to the other parts of the house, how to optimise views and privacy factors. Outdoor kitchens that lead seamlessly from a home’s internal living areas or kitchen are ideal, but free-standing, gazebo-style outdoor kitchens can also work really well. It’s worth considering how you will use your outdoor kitchen — incorporating a dining area or relaxed alfresco living space are both great ideas. A window increases the efficiency of this alfresco kitchen, limetreealfresco.com.au

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Photo: Mireille Merlet

OUTDOOR COOKING GUIDE

Roast vegies taste even better on the barbecue

GO VEGO Modern barbecues with solid-steel hotplates are ideal for cooking vegetable stir-fries, pancakes, omelettes and flat breads — basically anything you can cook in a frypan or wok. A solid-steel hotplate is also a much healthier option than an open-grill barbecue as food isn’t exposed to the naked flame, which can cause carcinogens. A good-quality hotplate will also require a minimal amount of oil for cooking — I use a light olive oil spray on the hotplate before cooking stir-fries and most vegetable-based dishes and find this works a treat. A barbecue with a roasting hood is also a vegetarian’s friend, enabling you to bake dishes such as spinach and ricotta ravioli, vegie lasagne or moussaka.

Andrea Mead owns and manages Heatlie, a producer of quality Australian-made barbecues. She is an avid barbecue cook and outdoor entertainer and fires up her Island Gourmet Elite most weekends for family and friends. heatlie.com.au

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Roast vegetables taste extra delicious on the barbecue. Simply place a baking dish full of your favourite vegies on the barbecue with the hood down and cook for approximately 40 minutes on a medium heat or until vegetables are just tender. Crumble over feta and cook for a further 10 minutes. This vegie feast is great served with fresh basil pesto or a chimichurri sauce made from parsley, garlic and vinegar along with warmed flat bread.

CARING FOR YOUR BARBECUE Cleaning as you go is definitely the best method for keeping your barbecue in top shape. There’s nothing worse than gearing up

for a barbecue and realising your unit wasn’t cleaned the last time you used it. However, if you have a good-quality barbecue, the task shouldn’t be onerous. Scrape the hotplate immediately after use. If it’s particularly messy, lift out the hotplate once cooled and give it a quick blast with a pressure cleaner. Remove and empty the fat container and you’re good to go next time. If your barbie has been neglected during the cooler months, give it a good clean. Scrub the hotplate, check the gas bottles are full and ensure the gas hose and regulator are in good condition. Protect your barbecue from the elements both when cooking and when not in use — a cover is a great idea.

“When it comes to the design of your outdoor kitchen, position should be the number-one consideration. Choosing the right position will ensure you can use your outdoor kitchen all-year-round” — Andrea Mead


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Evergreen Baby

Looking to add some greenery to your backyard but don’t have a lot of time? Lomandras may be the answer

I

f you’re after an easy “plant and forget” option for your garden, a Lomandra may be exactly what you need. These droughttolerant plants require hardly any trimming, fertiliser or any other chemical treatments. While most varieties are tough, beautiful and suitable for the Australian climate, not all lomandras are the same. You will need to select the right one for your situation. First, you should consider the size of your garden bed and select a plant that won’t outgrow it. Another determining factor is the microclimate of your garden. Is the area you’re planting in mostly arid or moist? Or do you need a plant that will work in both wet and dry conditions?

EXPERT ADVICE While these tough Lomandra varieties are drought tolerant, they will need to be watered thoroughly for eight to 13 weeks until established.

If you choose carefully, you will have a wonderful, low-maintenance, hardy plant that will complement your garden for years to come. Evergreen Baby™ Lomandra labill. ‘LM600’ PBR — More compact than other lomandras and growing to approximately 40–45cm high and 45cm wide, this tough, little plant is Phytophthora root-rot resistant, making it great for both wet and dry conditions. It will only require trimming every three to five years and once established, may only need occasional watering during dry periods. Along with its attractive, fine-leaf, evergreen foliage, this plant also gets lots of golden flowers in spring and is a sterile form so won’t overrun your garden. Shara™ Lomandra fluviatilis ‘ABU7’ PBR — This is a great evergreen alternative to Poa for hot and cold climates. Its Phytophthora, drought and frost tolerance make it perfect for wet or dry conditions. It is a very tidy, compact plant that grows to approximately 45–55cm high and 50cm wide and has masses of yellow flowers that sit above the foliage. It is also a very soft plant to touch, making it child friendly. This plant will only require trimming every three-10 years.

Nyalla™ Lomandra longifolia ‘LM400’ PBR — This tough plant is perfect for coastal areas that receive salt-laden winds but it also works well inland. It has fine-leaf foliage that looks like a grass tree, however it grows faster, has no trunk and doesn’t need annual trimming. This lowmaintenance plant can be cut back every three to 10 years. It tolerates drought and cold well and from September to October, has small yellow flowers. Tanika™ Lomandra longifolia ‘LM300’ PBR — For more than a decade, this plant has been performing well in tough landscapes across Australia. This low-maintenance Lomandra is a non-seeding plant and is excellent for dry areas and sloping land, though wet areas should be avoided. It will tolerate frost and drought and grows to approximately 50–60cm high and 65cm wide. Another variety that is soft to touch, it is suitable for homes with children. It has small, yellow flowers from April to October and only requires trimming every three to 10 years.

GET THE LOOK OZBREED Website ozbreed.com.au

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Nyalla

THIS WEEKEND  PLANT AND FORGET K

Shara

Tanika

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THIS WEEKEND  TRANSFORM A SMALL SPACE K

A vertical garden is the perfect way to add greenery and style to a small space

P

icture this: a garden wall of spring flowers or your favourite herbs and vegetables. All this, and a great deal more, is possible with PAPS Vertical Gardens — and at a fantastic price. PAPS Vertical Gardens has designed an easy-touse vertical garden system that’s ideal for balconies, courtyards, decks or even larger backyards. This innovative new system, developed in consultation with leading horticulturalists and landscape designers, offers the simple-to-install, cost-effective green wall solution the home landscaping market has been waiting for. The system comprises a slimline frame and pots, which simply hook on and off the frame. You can choose between a free-standing frame (1500mm high, 600mm wide and 300mm deep) and a wall-mounted frame (1320mm high, 600mm wide and 250mm deep), which comes pre-drilled. Both frames are powder-coated, hold 18 pots and, at your request, can be fitted with a simple drip irrigation system that waters

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from the top down. Designed to suit a large range of plants, the recyclable, UV-stabilised pots come in boxes of 10. The system can be bought online, at leading nurseries and garden centres throughout Australia, or from the PAPS Vertical Garden Display & Garden Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield South. This is a one-stop shop for all your vertical gardening needs, from organic soil (with the right nutrients and drainage for green walls) to plants. The garden centre also offers a swap-a-pot service, which means you can purchase a pot once and then swap it for the cost of a new plant. PAPS Vertical Gardens’ speciality is green wall design and consultation, the cost of which is deducted from your purchases if you buy your plants and vertical garden system from PAPS Vertical Gardens. The company also provides an installation service, which comes with a three-month free maintenance program. The company also offers ongoing maintenance at very competitive prices.

GET THE LOOK PAPS VERTICAL GARDENS Vertical Garden Display & Garden Centre 612 Glen Huntly Road, Caulfield South Vic 3162 Phone (03) 9523 7369 Website papsverticalgardens.com.au Facebook facebook.com/pages/Paps-Verticalgardens/684456594984142


THIS WEEKEND  ADD SOME WOOD-LOOK FENCING K

Pre-finished timber-look aluminium systems for any outdoor or garden application

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hen designing a garden or outdoor room, there are many factors you have to take into consideration: Who will be using it and how will it be used? Will it be a space for entertaining, children’s play or both? What atmosphere do you want to create and is privacy important? Ensuring your outdoor space complements the house and surrounding landscape is important as well as considering practical issues such as cost and maintenance. The key to success is to have a clear vision, so sitting down and planning your new outdoor area in fine detail is of paramount importance. Thankfully, by choosing Knotwood, you can tick many of your must-have items off your list at the same time. Knotwood manufactures timber-look aluminium systems which can be used as an alternative to timber or aluminium across a wide range of applications. Combining function with form, Knotwood can be used for anything from fencing, decking, shutters and gates to handrails and privacy screens, ensuring a fully coordinated look throughout your outdoor space. All Knotwood systems work together and are available in more than 30 timber-look colours

as well as a full range of powder-coat colours, giving you the flexibility to match any design. You can also rest easy knowing your outdoor area will keep its clean, uniform finish from the day you install it. As Knotwood is made from aluminium, it is impervious to all the things that plague natural timber such as rotting, cracking, termite attack and susceptibility to fire. The quality-controlled manufacturing process combined with the inherent strength of aluminium also makes Knotwood immune to warping and rust. Unlike steel, the properties of aluminium allow for very high heat dissipation, making it a decking material that will stay cool, even in direct sunlight. Knotwood is designed and manufactured in Australia, so you can be sure it will hold up to Australian conditions. All the finishes are UVresistant and will not fade, flake or chip. Longevity is assured, too, with the full product range carrying a 15-year manufacturer’s warranty. With Knotwood, you get a consistently clean finish that has all the natural advantages of timber without any of the drawbacks. You also receive an extremely low-maintenance, longlasting product that is cost-effective, time-saving and looks great.

GET THE LOOK KNOTWOOD Phone 1300 KNOTWOOD Email sales@knotwood.com.au Website knotwood.com

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These modern screens offer privacy, functionality and creativity all rolled into one

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reat landscape design is achieved when every element of your outdoor space is taken into consideration, from the types and positioning of plants to structural elements including paving. The functional components of your garden should also be taken into account when creating a cohesive and attractive space. As well as creating an opportunity to add style and flair, outdoor screening can add extra functionality and comfort to your garden. Easycraft’s range of decorative and privacy screening, Easyscreen, is ideal for both outdoor and indoor applications. It’s suitable for use in undercover areas such as patios and pergolas, providing a unique backdrop to an outdoor cooking

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area or to create private spaces around the home. Easyscreen is available in four designs: Halo, Nature, Studio and Retro. All are available in standard and mini sizes with materials to suit semi-exterior and interior use. The standard semi-exterior option is ideal for undercover use where you want to create some privacy without losing the feeling of being outdoors. The semi-exterior range is made from 9.5mm-thick hardboard measuring 2745mm x 1218mm. The mini range of decorative screens is perfect for creating a unique look to finish off a feature wall or entrance area. The use of multiple panels, both vertical and horizontal, is an easy way of producing a creative, visual

impact. The mini range is also great for smaller feature partitioning or simply used as wall art. The mini range is also available for both interior and semi-exterior use. The semiexterior version is made from 9.5mm-thick hardboard and measures 1200mm by 600mm. All Easyscreens come pre-primed and ready to paint so you can add your own final touches to complement your overall colour palette.

GET THE LOOK EASYCRAFT Phone (07) 3906 7200 Website easycraft.com.au


THIS WEEKEND  ADD STYLE AND PRIVACY TO YOUR SPACE K

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THIS WEEKEND  ADD SOME PRIVACY TO YOUR BACKYARD K

Now you can have hedges and green walls that will look pristine year-round

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rtificial hedges provide instant privacy and beauty. They also save you money and time as zero maintenance is required. That means no watering, no feeding, no pruning and, of course, no dead plants. Designer Plants specialises in exquisite artificial hedges supplied as individual panels that can be cut to shape and attached to any stable exterior surface. Just imagine: a hedge that looks immaculate all year-round but never needs trimming, or a green wall that is always lush and leafy but never needs clipping. If you’re looking for an instant effect or a no-maintenance way to add greenery to your garden, Designer Plants has the solution. “Our panels are made to copy nature so they blend seamlessly into the existing landscape. The results are immediate, guaranteed and stunningly real,” says company owner, David Eden. For your convenience, Designer Plants offers pre-built hedges for use in courtyards, entertaining areas, patios and balconies. Or, if you prefer, the company can custom-make freestanding hedge walls, which are either mobile or static. Designer Plants’ custom creations extend to planters built or clad in the material of your choice. Options range from timber cladding to wrought-iron pots. There is a wide choice of panel styles, including photinia, ivy, laurel, cypress, elm and box wood.

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Designer Plants also offers artificial grass for vertical surfaces. Designer Plants’ artificial plant panels, which are covered by a full five-year manufacturer’s warranty, are UV-treated and resistant to rain and frost, making them ideal for all climatic conditions. The other advantage is you don’t need a professional installer. You can do it yourself or just call your local handyperson. “We pride ourselves on the depth of our product knowledge and work with our clients to ensure all options and issues are explored,” says David. “We give clients the garden they have always dreamed of, at a fraction of the price, in just a few hours. They never have to spend another back-breaking weekend of maintenance. So save your sanity and be the envy of family and friends with a garden that looks immaculate 365 days a year.”

GET THE LOOK DESIGNER PLANTS Phone 1800 617 341 Mobile 0422 478 982 Email sales@designerplants.com.au Website designerplants.com.au


THIS WEEKEND  SET UP YOUR BAMBOO SCREENING K

Whatever your screening or fencing needs may be, bamboo is the answer

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ooking for a natural way to add privacy or screen your garden? If so, Bamboo Habitat’s bamboo screens are ideal. These easy-to-manage, 1.2m-wide screens can be joined for a continuous, seamless look or framed for a more structured appearance. They can be cut down into smaller sections (to create a gate, for example) and they can be made to follow a curved line, making them perfect for use around circular objects, such as water tanks. Finished using traditional firing methods, the Smoked range is Bamboo Habitat’s largest.

Smoked screens have a wonderful, earthy scent and a scorched, woody-brown tone, which is the perfect natural backdrop to plantings or art. If you prefer a more traditional look, the Natural Delta is the style for you. You can let it weather to a soft blonde/grey tone or enhance the light colour with Bamboo Habitat’s exclusive Bamboo Honey UV-tinted marine varnish. Bamboo Habitat offers customers a plethora of choices. The Delta style, for example, is available in three heights (1.5m, 1.8m and 2.1m) and two colour options, Natural and Smoked. Then there

is the Smoked Moku, with an upmarket hardwood timber detail (this screen stands 1.8m high) and the Smoked Congo, which has a staggered top (available with a height of 1.8m through to 2.1m). For quality, all screens are made from full, round bamboo poles (not split) and are strung internally with 3mm galvanised wire, ensuring structural soundness for around 15 years. For convenience, Bamboo Habitat offers an installation service in the Sydney metropolitan area and on the NSW South Coast, and if you can’t collect from the Sydney warehouse, an Australiawide, door-to-door freight service is also available. If you want to complement your screening with garden decor or water features, Bamboo Habitat can assist customers to buy direct from its sister business in Bali or coordinate orders/ shipments on their behalf.

GET THE LOOK BAMBOO HABITAT Phone (02) 4294 1385 Email info@bamboohabitat.com.au Website bamboohabitat.com.au

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Enjoy the endless versatility of eco-friendly black bamboo screening panels

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ustralians have long been captivated by the natural allure and endless versatility of bamboo screening. It enhances the look of any garden and works with any landscape style. Best of all, it is affordable, quick and easy to install, resistant to moisture and termites, and is eco-friendly. Bamboo screening looks fabulous whether used as cladding on an existing fence, as a privacy screen for a deck, patio or balcony, as a backdrop to a sculpture or fountain, or as an architectural feature. In small spaces where clutter will make an area look messy and feel

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smaller, bamboo screening can be used to hide outdoor gear, bins, pool equipment and the like. Bamboo screening is also an environmentally friendly solution as it is a quick-growing, high-yielding plant. It is said that one hectare of land will deliver 60 tonnes of bamboo but the same land planted with trees will only yield 20 tonnes of timber and those trees will take many more years to reach maturity. Infinity Panels offers an array of affordable black bamboo screening that can be used to enhance any garden. The screens’ natural

texture and warm tones create a resort feel and are the perfect way to offset a planting palette of vibrant green foliage and vivid blooms. The 1m-wide bamboo panels are available in three heights (1.8m, 2m and 2.4m) and are coated with a clear water-based lacquer (no artificial colours are used). These panels can be installed vertically or horizontally, or you can try a combination of both. The important thing is to never compromise on quality. Your screen needs to be able to withstand the elements and hold up against the test of time. Of course the price is another benefit.


THIS WEEKEND  USE SCREENING FOR A RESORT FEEL K

The wholesale price is about 35 per cent less than you’d pay for bamboo screens at a hardware chain and the quality is undeniable. It also pays to find a supplier that can offer design advice. Infinity Panels’ expert staff are on hand to custom design a screening solution that will transform your garden. They can also offer advice on how to use their black bamboo capping and edging for a fully coordinated look. For those seeking more, Infinity Panels now offers a personalised garden design and landscaping/installation service.

GET THE LOOK INFINITY PANELS Warehouse: 6 Bricker Street, Cheltenham Vic 3192 Mobile 0411 118 858 Email sales@infinitypanels.com.au Website infinitypanels.com.au

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Add a bespoke quality to your landscape design to enhance the space and your experience

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here’s no denying Australia’s affection for a beautiful backyard, and as research keeps telling us, it’s also integral to our health and wellbeing. Yet with so many backyard ideas on the market, you can be hard-pressed to find something truly unique — and there’s nothing worse than a space that doesn’t reflect your personality and taste. Enter Matt Hill. His bespoke landscape sculptures hint at something intrinsically Japanese, which can be explained by his fivemonth-turned-seven-year stint dodging visas and snowboarding in northern Japan. Years passed,

and Matt has since returned to Australia bringing a raft of fresh ideas with an innovative flair and unparalleled talent. His company, Matt Hill Projects, specialises in landscape lighting and sculptures, predominantly in — though not limited to — spheres and cubes. Each piece is made to order so you won’t find a backlog of sculptures sitting on a shelf ready for sale. This ensures his clients get the unique, bespoke piece missing from their outdoor areas. However, for Matt, the underlying concept behind his work is to create something that will capture your imagination during the day and, lit up by 12-

volt waterproof LED lights, ignite it come nightfall. With such unique and individual sculptures, Matt has truly created a niche market for himself. He focuses on simple, geometric shapes as well as lighting and shadows to add drama to his pieces. Having such personal work displayed in the homes of many, it’s no surprise Matt delivers and installs his sculptures himself to ensure the integrity of the space. He has an array of accomplishments under his belt so you know his work is worth the investment. In 2013, his Simple Sphere project won Best Small Sculpture at the Albert Park College Art Show in Melbourne, and last year he was invited to be the feature artist for Sculpture at the Mt Eliza Art and Design Show, Melbourne. Matt Hill is an artist/ sculptor/designer, but according to him, he “just likes to make things”.

GET THE LOOK MATT HILL PROJECTS Phone 0406 656 387 Email info@matthillprojects.com Website matthillprojects.com

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THIS WEEKEND  DECORATE YOUR GARDEN K

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THIS WEEKEND  PROTECT YOUR FURNITURE K

Ensure that your outdoor furniture stands the test of time

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hile outdoor furniture is generally built to last, even the toughest materials will experience some wear and tear over time. This is particularly the case in Australia with its unpredictable weather and harsh sun. Luckily, there is a solution that will help your furniture maintain its look and condition for years to come. Boasting a solid reputation for more than 100 years, Guardsman offers an extensive range of furniture care and repair products. It has recently released a new collection of outdoor furniture protection products that comes with an impressive five-year warranty, meaning your furniture is covered for all stains and accidental damage. The warranty also

includes free professional advice on how to handle accidental stains and in-home visits by an authorised technician to remove stubborn stains or fix accidental damage. Guardsman Outdoor Care Collection features three products — Weather Defence Fabric, Wood and Metal Protector. Weather Defence Fabric Protector creates an invisible barrier against mould, fungi and mildew and repels moisture without affecting the appearance and breathability of fabrics. It prevents many common outdoor stains from occurring, making cleaning easier. Guardsman’s Wood Protector repels moisture and common outdoor stains to protect furniture while enhancing the wood’s natural

beauty. It can be used on most types of wood including teak and cedar. Lastly, the Metal Protector inhibits rust and corrosion caused by exposure to the elements that can damage or cause discolouration to the finish of furniture. Until February 29, 2016, Guardsman will be running its “Win a 5 Star Outdoor Experience” promotion to celebrate the launch of the Outdoor Care Collection warranty product range. The competition may be entered by purchase and registration of an Outdoor Care Collection warranty from participating retailers. The prize includes one of three outdoor experiences — sailing on the Great Barrier Reef, a Sounds of Silence dinner at Uluru or a Harbour Bridge climb.

GET THE LOOK GUARDSMAN AUSTRALIA Phone (02) 8867 3333 Website guardsmanaustralia.com.au

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The most superior screens on the market!

One of nature’s best building materials! All environmentally friendly! Bamboo is sourced from renewable plantations. Made from full bamboo poles (not cut in half). All internally wired with galvanised wire to ensure long term structural integrity. Easy to install Bamboo Habitat screens can be manipulated to follow the line of raking fences, corners and other challenging applications.

Contact Bamboo Habitat for your nearest stockist Phone: 02 4294 1385 Email: sales@bamboohabitat.com.au Web: www.bamboohabitat.com.au


Photo: Patrick Redmond

However, there is some debate around phosphorus and detergents. The whole idea of grey water-safe detergents with low or no phosphorus is misleading as phosphorus has no effect on grey water but rather on the soil and plants it comes into contact with. A little bit of phosphorus is good for most plants. Generally, liquid detergents are preferred because powders tend to be bulked up with salt, which is more of a concern than phosphorus in soils. The concept of garden friendly is admirable but, unfortunately, there are no standards to measure any detergent against to determine eco, garden or environmental friendliness. But use those marked NP or garden friendly, and you’re on the right track. Bathroom grey water is sometimes used on gardens provided it doesn’t contain too much soap, bubble bath or shampoo.

GOING GREY There are different ways to use grey water, including bucketing water from the washing machine right through to installing an automatic grey water diversion and irrigation system. Before you purchase and install any kind of grey water recycling system, you need to contact your local water authority, council or health

Grey water can be used safely on non-edibles

GREY MATTER CHOOSING PRODUCTS

The wasted water that gurgles down your drains can be reused on your garden he use of grey water has become an important water conservation resource that’s easy to employ in a water-wise garden. With our experience of droughts and enforced water restrictions, many gardeners are embracing the reuse of water to keep their gardens alive. Sydney Water has estimated that the average household (3.5 people) produces 586L of waste water a day, which roughly translates into about 350L of grey water that could easily be recycled. Most states adopt the generation of about 100L per person per day of grey water from bathrooms and laundries. Did you know we can use more than 40 per cent of our mains water supply just on gardens during the summer months? This puts a huge demand on our fresh water supplies, which can be

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dramatically alleviated by choosing the right plants, employing smart landscaping techniques, capturing rainwater and reusing grey water. Accounting for up to 70 per cent of waste water, grey water is the household water that has been used in the bath, shower, spa, hand basin and washing machine — not the water from toilet flushing (black water). Kitchen sink waste water is not recommended for garden use because it may contain high levels of fats, food residues and other impurities, all of which can affect the long-term health of soils and clog irrigation filters and drip lines. Experts advise that recycled laundry (washing machine) water is best for use on the garden as long as you use environmentally friendly soaps and detergents (low-phosphorous products are marked “NP” on the packaging).

Reusing grey water from the laundry is easy, but the right choice of laundry products is essential. Many chemicals go into most laundry products and these could kill beneficial insects and soil microbes, as well as damage your plants. Laundry powder packaging will inform you about the product’s ingredients, but here’s a good guide. Choose laundry products that are: • Low in phosphate and phosphate-free • Low in sodium (salt) • Readily biodegradable • Liquid rather than powder • Concentrated • Suitable for use in cold water You can also take an extra environmental step and choose laundry products, such as Ecostore laundry liquid or powder, that are made from plant-based ingredients, are palm-oil free and don’t contain petrochemicals.


YARD SHOP department. Regulations vary across Australia regarding what house water can be recycled, the method of installation, treatment (if any) and the type of irrigation system that can be used. What type of grey water system you choose will depend on your budget, where you live, your existing plumbing network and the landscape of your garden. Grey water systems are either diversion or treatment systems. Diversion systems: These filter and directly divert grey water from the laundry or bathroom to the garden for immediate use. The water is not stored for more than 24 hours, if at all. It needs to be spread over a minimum area. Every square metre of irrigation area can usually accept 5–10L of grey water each day. (Requirements vary from 10 to 20m² per person, depending on the soil type.) Treatment systems: The quality of grey water is improved by filtering or otherwise treating it. Treated water can be stored for longer, is of a higher quality and can be used for toilet flushing and clothes washing as well as on the garden.

IRRIGATING WITH GREY WATER The safest way to transport grey water to your garden is through sub-surface irrigation pipes. These need to be at least 10cm below the mulch

It is recommended that you don't use grey water on native plants

An eco-friendly detergent will be gentler on your skin as well

Warning signs must be fixed at all grey water outlets and at the boundaries of the irrigation areas

or ground surface. Make sure the diversion system selected has Australian Standard Watermark approval and contains a filter to trap any debris, such as lint or hair, which may be in the grey water. A layer of mulch on top of the irrigation system prevents grey water rising to the surface. Monitor your grey water carefully to make sure no run-off escapes from your property. Occasionally, check the pH level of the grey water and soil and remember not to use grey water on any below-ground food crops such as vegetables with edible roots, bulbs and tubers (potatoes,

carrots, beetroots and onions). You need to ensure no edible part comes in direct contact with the water. We recommend that grey water be used around the root zone of fruit trees or in the ornamental garden — not on edibles or native plants. Our thanks to Sam Milani of Grey Flow (greyflow. net.au) and Dr Ross Mars, wastewater specialist and permaculture teacher from Water Installations (waterinstallations.com), for their expert assistance with this feature. BACKYARD

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YARD SHOP

Don’t let aphids undo all of your hard work in the garden

protect Photo: Diane Norris

your

patch Often strongly associated with roses, aphids can wreak havoc in the vegie garden too losely related, aphids, scales, mealybugs and whiteflies are all sap-sucking insects. They also produce honeydew, a sweet, sticky liquid that oozes from them as they suck plant juices from various plant parts. One problem is that wherever the sugary honeydew solution lands (leaves, fruit or stems), sooty mould can take hold. This ashen-looking fungus does not infect plants but can interfere

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with photosynthesis, affecting plant growth and causing leaf drop and unsightly, sooty-coated foliage and fruit. Aphids are especially common on roses but can also affect plants in the vegie garden. They particularly like beans, peas, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, potatoes and cabbages. Apart from sucking, they can transmit diseases to many edible crops when they move from plant to plant.

Their actions can result in young foliage looking distorted or curled. Leaves become yellowed and growth is stunted. These soft-bodied insects are about 2.5mm long and usually wingless and pear shaped. They can be green, black, grey or milky-cream in colour, depending on the climatic zone, species and host plants. They have tiny mouth parts perfectly designed to suck the juices from plants.

EXPERT TIP Aphids are attacked by a wide range of predators including parasitic wasps, ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies. Growing suitable flowers, such as Good Bug Mix, throughout the year will help maintain the numbers of beneficial insects.


Aphids are one of the ladybeetle’s favourite snacks

The aphid life cycle is unusual in that females give birth to live young and can do so without mating. Aphids lie dormant through winter as eggs and hatch in spring as wingless females. The females quickly disperse the next generation of aphids and the cycle continues throughout the growing season. Be warned: these pests reproduce quickly.

PLAN OF ATTACK Try one of the methods below to rid your garden of these pesky pests. 1. Use your fingertips or a soft, moist cloth and simply wipe aphids from stems and/or foliage. This is a little time consuming but very easily done and the effect

An aphid infestation can be easily tamed with a bit of elbow grease

is immediate. Monitor every day or two and repeat until you stop seeing them. 2. Wash these little sap suckers off with a strong jet of water from a hose. Again, you may need to check back after a couple of days to see if there are any more aphids on your plants. You can then wipe off the soaked aphids with gloved hands or prune the damaged shoots or foliage. 3. Attract beneficial insects to your garden by planting flowering annuals and companion plants and letting your herbs go to flower. Most predatory insects, such as ladybirds, hoverflies, parasitic wasps and lacewings, love aphids. You can buy ladybirds from insect breeders such

as Bugs For Bugs (bugsforbugs. com.au). Being voracious predators, ladybirds will clean up an aphid infestation in no time. It’s important to realise that pesticides, even organic types, kill not just pests but also beneficial insects. 4. Leave ants alone. Ants will not bring aphids to a plant; in fact, the aphids are usually there first. Ants are attracted to the sweet honeydew produced by aphids as they suck sap. Trying to keep ants out of a garden is impossible but it’s good to know they are useful decomposers and predators that drag aphids away. 5. Refrain from over-fertilising plants. When you give aphidinfested plants too much nitrogen-

rich fertiliser, you’re merely adding to the aphids’ feed and that, in turn, will increase their numbers. 6. Weed your vegie patch or ornamental garden regularly and keep a lookout for aphids as you go. 7. Prune shoots from plants that are heavily infested with aphids — cut them from the plant, aphids and all, and bin them. 8. Apply eco-oil, neem oil, horticultural oil or soapy spray. These products work on contact with aphids but you may need one or more applications. Look under leaves, too, as that’s where these pests often like to hide. 9. Homemade recipe: mix two tablespoons of pure soap flakes in 1L warm water, use as a spray.

(Leppington) Pty Ltd ABN 36 001 123 726

1675 The Northern Road Bringelly NSW 2556 Phone: (02) 4773 4291 Fax: (02) 4773 4104 Email: sales@lpcmilk.com

Suppliers of certified poultry and cow manures. Fresh or composted delivered in bulk. Great for all types of agriculture industries. Poultry manure which can be spread in residential areas, golf courses, sporting ovals and parks. Also ask us about our reduced low odour. Member of Australian Organic Association

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YARD SHOP Blue Curled Scotch

Photo: Diane Norris

Tuscan Black (Cavolo Nero)

Redbor

Green Curly Two Peters

Red Winter

SUPER POWER Hailed as a superfood by healthy foodies, kale is relatively easy to grow yourself ale is a cultivar member of the brassica family and is treated as an annual or biennial. Most kale varieties have upright, green to deep blue-green leaves with fringed or wavy edges and long petioles (leaf-stalks).

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IDEAL CONDITIONS Kale prefers a nitrogen-rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0–7.0. If the soil is too acidic, add lime. If the soil isn’t rich, dig in organic compost or well-rotted manure. Ideally, choose an area in full sun.

PLANTING Kale likes cool temperatures, and frost will sweeten its taste. Cultivate in February for a winter harvest by either sowing

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seeds directly into the garden or transplanting seedlings.

GROWING Keep young plants well-watered to encourage tender, sweet leaves. Apply mulch to keep soil moist and cool, control weeds and protect plants from the heat of late summer. Kale will also benefit from regular applications of a liquid fertiliser, such as Seasol, during the growing season.

PICK AND EAT Kale leaves should be ready for harvest around two months from planting. Young leaves can be used fresh in salads, while mature leaves can be used as a cooked green. Picking the lower leaves allows the centre of the plant to continue

WHAT’S COMPANION PLANTING? Companion plants assist in the growth of others by attracting beneficial insects, repelling pests or providing nutrients or shade. Kale’s companion plants are celery, onion, potato and beetroot.

to produce and become “tree-like”. Alternatively, the plant can be allowed to mature and leaves harvested all at once.

PEST CONTROL Kale is troubled by many of the brassica pests and diseases, such as cabbage white butterfly, aphids, snails and slugs. All can be controlled using non-chemical methods. Healthy kale, grown in rich, well-drained soil, will be better able to withstand these problems.

EXPERT TIP Crop rotation is highly recommended. Don’t plant kale in the same place the following year. This reduces the likelihood of pests or diseases building up in the soil.


GRASS

REINFORCEMENT

Do you need to protect your lawn from vehicle, pedestrian and animal traffic? All Stake Supply offers reinforcement solutions for all grass types and environments. Visit grassreinforcement.com.au to see how we can help you maintain and protect your lawn. • •

GR14 mesh for verge street parking – stop cars creating ruts in your lawn TR4 mesh designed for protecting grass against wear and tear from pets and people

• •

UV stabilised, recycled material and easy to install with long term proven results A complete range of grass reinforcement solutions are available from as little as $5 a metre

Phone 1300 130 123 or visit grassreinforcement.com.au


YARD SHOP Typical topsoil can be purchased from your local garden supplies store

Down to earth Soil is an important part of any garden so it’s vital you choose the right one WORDS & PHOTOS: SANDI PULLMAN here’s truth in the saying, “Soils ain’t soils.” Another truth of gardening is that not all soils mix well together. Soil is one of our most precious assets and yet we really don’t give a lot of thought to it. Gardeners often say, “This soil is old, so it’s time to buy in new soil to regenerate it.” A misunderstanding about soil is that all you need to do is add compost, animal manure and organic fertiliser and that will regenerate the old soil and make it like new. If you must buy in soil to help raise the level of the garden, it’s important to understand what you are purchasing. There are lots of landscape suppliers who have been around for generations with a great reputation and, unfortunately, there are also those who do not fit that description. As with all purchases, it’s a case of buyer beware.

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EXPERT TIP The use of mountain soil is a better choice in the garden to help obtain more body and texture.

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SELECTING SOIL There are many different types of soil for different uses in the garden — soil that’s good for filling, mountain soil, topsoil, budget soil, lawn mix and even a five-way mix that’s ideal for growing vegetables. Step one is to decide what you need it for. If you are growing vegetables, you need a soil with some sand component and lots of organic matter to hold the moisture and provide nutrients. If you are repairing or establishing a lawn, you will need to buy some topsoil mixed with organic matter and fertiliser. If you are planting natives, a three-way mix is the go as it only contains manure, which is not high in nutrients. (Remember that most native plants don’t need a lot of fertiliser.) Fill soil should only be used to fill up large areas before the good-quality topsoil is placed on top. Be careful when using fill soil as it usually comes from


COST VS QUALITY Buying large quantities of soil can be expensive and price often determines what you choose. Remember, with soil, you always get what you pay for. Cheap soil can often bring with it a whole new set of problems such as new weeds sprouting, which will make that cheap soil expensive because you have to spend time and money eradicating the weeds. When buying soil, compost and mulch, you need to make sure it’s clean, which means sterilised. Sterilisation is when the temperature is raised above 60°C to kill all the pathogens and weed seeds. Soil is sold in cubic metres and can be home delivered for a charge. Alternatively, you can roll up with your trailer and load it yourself.

Quality composted soil is the only way to go for a healthy garden

work sites and can contain lots of undesirable material and may not mix in well with the existing soil, causing drainage problems. Budget soils should also be avoided as they often can become hydrophobic, which means they don’t absorb moisture. Adding compost and wetting agent, along with manures, will help the soil absorb moisture more effectively. But, unfortunately, all these additional products can cost a lot of money, so it might be cheaper to buy a better-quality soil in the first place. Before buying soil, it’s a good idea to first understand what type of soil you already have in your garden, as not all soils mix together harmoniously. For example, if you have a sandy soil, mixing clay into it isn’t really going to improve it. Sandy soil has large spore space (gaps between the particles) and the clay will only fill these spaces by bonding the particles together, making the soil worse. The same applies in the reverse situation, so the best way to improve sand or clay soils is to

add lots of compost and animal manures and to dig it all to at least a spade’s depth. Another common trap is when topsoil is dumped on top of heavy clay soil and not mixed in. This situation can result in the lawn and/or garden beds becoming saturated during a heavy downpour because of the lack of drainage through the underlying clay, resulting in an expensive repair job.

HOW MUCH DO I NEED? Here’s a simple formula to help you work out how much soil you need to buy. When measuring, remember to keep all units of measurements the same — millimetres, centimetres or metres. H×L×W=V H: height L: length W: width V: volume Example: 0.2m × 2.4m × 1.2m = 0.576m³ (cubic metres of soil).

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KEEP your cool Protect your fruit and vegies this summer WORDS: CLAIRE BICKLE PHOTOS: ANGELA KRISTENS & 123RF hen it comes to growing edibles, summertime can be a real challenge — the temperatures we experience remind us why it’s called a sunburnt country. Whether you’re in Hobart or Darwin or anywhere in between, success in the vegie patch this time of year means careful planning. Bitter vegies, hydrophobic soils, sun-scorched produce, split fruit, fruit fly and grasshopper damage: does this sound like your summer vegetable gardening experience? Despair no more. With sensible planning and a few hours of preparation, you can be on the road to successful summer harvesting; to healthy plants and good produce. So how can we keep those edibles going and protect them from our sizzling summer sun? Here are a few tips.

EXPERT TIPS

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THE SCIENCE First, we’ll look at the reasons why summer gardening can often seem like a futile exercise. When we look outside in the heat of the day and see our edible crops wilting under the direct assault of the sun, it can be distressing. Come the late afternoon, these plants soon

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spring up, showing little sign of the earlier distress. Or do they? Don’t be fooled: continual upset due to water stress, heat trauma and wind damage will eventually affect production and will also increase disease and pest attack — and even cause death. Transpiration, in very basic terms, is the process whereby plants lose moisture from the pores (stomata) within their

leaves, flowers and stems. This is important because it creates the continual draw-up of moisture and nutrients from the roots. When you see your plants droop in the midday heat but perk up again in the afternoon, it’s because they are losing more moisture than they can replace in the heat of the day, especially if the soil has dried out. But in the cool of the afternoon, this moisture loss has diminished.

• Liquid seaweed, applied to the root zone and used as a foliar spray, strengthens plants against weather extremes and makes them less susceptible to disease and insect attack. • Has your soil already become so dry that when you water it just runs off? Apply the re-wetting agent Eco-hydrate mixed with seaweed. • Mulch, mulch and more mulch! Blanketing with lucerne, sugarcane, pea straw, bark, leaf litter and even pebbles will prevent moisture loss as well as protect your soil from temperature extremes, weed infestations and erosion. • It’s in the soil, so go back to basics. Good soil structure with high levels of organic matter in the form of compost and manure will help your garden beds retain moisture more effectively and hence relieve your plants of water stress.

ABOVE LEFT Cloches can be easily covered during the heat OPPOSITE A simple frame is all you need to throw a shade cloth over on a hot day


THINKING AHEAD Design for the microclimate: Know your aspect — which direction do the prevailing winds come from? This can have a bearing on which edibles will succeed and which will not. Plant your crops with this in mind. Consider the use of taller-growing species to create shelter from prevailing hot winds and the heat of the sun. Choices may include sweet corn, sunflowers, cosmos, rosellas and amaranth. Even bamboo teepees can be used for this purpose with climbing vegetables for coverage, such as snake beans and cucumbers. Plant some flowering species and herbs among your edibles, too, as these will act as living mulch, attracting pollinators and beneficial insects as well as being a possible shade source, depending on the height of the species chosen. Cater to the climate: Sometimes, growing certain edibles at the wrong time of year will invite failure. Even if you’ve chosen the right edible for the season, certain select cultivars and varieties will do better in specific areas. For instance, with tropical tomatoes, choose varieties that are region-specific or locally proven to do well. It’s a good idea to join your local seed-saving club. Instead of pushing on with spinach, brassicas and lettuce, why not choose more subtropical-friendly varieties such as Malabar spinach (Basella alba), rocket, chicory, kangkong, Egyptian spinach (Malu khia), amaranth, perennial coriander … the list goes on. Research subtropical greens, learn how to grow them and use them as substitutes in everyday cooking.

THE SOLUTIONS Movable shade cloth igloos: Super simple. All you need is some poly pipe, star pickets, zip-ties and shade cloth. You can make them as long and as tall as you like. Even some lengths of bamboo or light, untreated hardwood timber will work; you just have to tie the pieces together and, perhaps, tent-peg the frame down. Hanging baskets: On a smaller scale, old wire hanging basket frames covered in shade cloth can be popped over individual patches of seedlings. These will also protect plants from insect attack. Shade sails: Don’t have much time? Just sling a piece of shade cloth loosely over your patch and peg down with bricks. If you want to get more elaborate, perhaps set up shade sails or permanent wooden structures (pergolas, archways, larger frames etc), over which shade cloth can be draped or removed as needed. Even a large deck umbrella can be of help. Branches: A simple yet effective way to protect newly planted seedlings or soft-leafed vegies is to take a branch or two (for example of eucalyptus) and stick them in the ground around your seedlings or plants — the

leaves will give shade. Even if the leaves dry out, they will still provide protection and relief for your edibles. Shade house: When germination of seedlings is the task at hand, a purpose-built shade house is optimal for protection as the plants can become established before being planted out. Shade houses come in all shapes, sizes and prices and can even be erected using second-hand materials and a bit of labour. Pot it: Growing your edibles in pots or containers means you can change their location quickly. Super-hot day forecast? No worries, it’s time to move the blueberries to the shade under the verandah. Pots also need mulching throughout the summer months to prevent the mix from drying out quickly. Pots will dry out much faster than garden beds, so be sure to monitor your containers daily and water if necessary. Irrigation: Drippers are the best method for efficient and effective delivery of water to plants as they are less prone to evaporation than spraying types. Keep your systems free from ants with a regular flushout and do a general check of the system every month or so. claire-bickle.com

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No-dig gardens are ideal for courtyards or even balconies

NO DIGGITY Creating a no-dig or raised garden saves water, the soil and your back WORDS: DANIELLE WHEELER PHOTOS: DIANE NORRIS ermaculture is guided by three ethics: care for the Earth, care for people and fair sharing of resources. Designers and practitioners aim to work with nature, which saves time, money, energy and natural resources such as water. It’s also about reducing work. Don’t dig! Digging is hard, physical work and can damage the soil. Gardening above ground level encompasses a host of different techniques, including no-dig gardening, lasagne layering, raised garden beds, mounded beds and deep, portable garden containers. Each has the same principle: you do not dig into the soil, you create a garden space by raising the soil level. It’s easy, practical and sustainable. No-dig gardening involves building up a garden bed on top of the existing soil, lawn or concrete or even building a garden bed off the ground. You can buy movable containers or get DIY kits that can be easily assembled into a raised garden bed. As well as being strong among permaculture practitioners, no-dig gardening has been promoted by many pioneers within the organic gardening movement, including Masanobu Fukuoka, Australian Esther Dean and Americans Ruth Stout and Patricia Lanza.

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WHY NO DIGGING? • Digging damages the soil. Soil isn’t just dirt, it’s a complex natural web of soil particles, minerals, air, organic matter and microorganisms such as worms, fungi and bacteria. Left to their own devices, all these elements reach a state of balance suited to the climate and surroundings. They all work together to cycle nutrients, assist plant growth and prevent diseases and soil degradation. When you sink your shovel into soil, you disturb its delicate balance. • Digging brings poor-quality subsoil to the surface, displacing topsoil. This is particularly true in Australia where our soils tend to be old, with low levels of organic matter and a usually thin layer of topsoil. Instead of digging in organic matter, it’s far better to lay it on the top and leave the worms to dig it in while they wriggle through the soil. That way, the organic matter can be better broken down by microorganisms in a more oxygen-rich environment. • Digging significantly compacts soil. Digging has traditionally been thought of as a way of aerating soil, but it really does the opposite. By cutting off the top layer of soil, you make a “container”, which you then fill with fluffed-up soil. So, while the top bit might be aerated, the effect is quite shallow and results in a hard pan a shovel-depth below ground. This can cause drainage problems in clay soils and water stress in dry conditions by preventing

roots travelling deeper in search of water and nutrients. If you don’t disturb the soil, worms, microorganisms and plant roots will make air passages and cycle nutrients from deeper soil up to the top layers. • Digging doesn’t get rid of weeds. Really persistent weeds, such as onion weed and nut grass, rely on digging to spread their bulbs and rhizomes around. Unless you remove large amounts of soil, it’s almost impossible to remove every tiny bulb or little piece of root. Smothering is the only way to stop these weeds in their tracks, as it prevents the plants from photosynthesising. This asphyxiation slowly starves and weakens the plant and stops it reproducing. Other weeds with long tap roots, such as dock and sorrel, are almost impossible to dig out. Smothering is the best technique for their removal too. Weeds that spread by seeds love digging — you’re planting their seeds for them! And digging can also bring thousands of previously dormant seeds up from below ground, giving perfect conditions for germination. Blanketing with mulch stops weed seeds germinating. • And, finally, digging is hard work. Gardening should be pleasurable, not exhausting. No-dig gardening’s focus is on building up instead of digging down and is much quicker and easier than traditional digging techniques.


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BUILDING A RAISED GARDEN BED There are slight variations to the method of building no-dig raised gardens. Sydneybased no-dig pioneer Esther Dean perfected a method she used extensively for building raised beds for disabled and elderly gardeners using recycled materials. She has even built gardens on concrete driveways and up high on old bed bases to allow access for people in wheelchairs.

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Permaculturists use a technique called “sheet mulching”, which has been used to grow food all over the world. American gardener Patricia Lanza coined the term “lasagne gardening” to describe the multilayered approach she developed for increasing soil fertility and food production without tilling. While some minor differences exist, the main process remains the same:

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Build the raised garden bed of bricks, blocks, stone or timber — preferably recycled materials. We used second-hand railway sleepers.

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Slash or mow long grass and weeds (you can do this first), leaving the clippings in place. These clippings will add organic matter as they break down.

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Apply a generous amount of lime and blood and bone. The blood and bone will accelerate the breakdown of weeds and grass, while the lime promotes the composting of organic matter.

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Throw any untidy seed-free organic waste on the garden bed. This could be kitchen scraps, unsuccessful compost, weeds that haven’t flowered yet or old grass clippings.

Soak paper, cardboard or old cotton clothing (jeans are great) in water, then lay them over the whole area in overlapping layers. If you’re building the garden over hardy weeds or grass, such as kikuyu or couch, you’ll need paper up to 15-sheets thick.

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Add a layer of straw or lucerne hay. Split it into biscuits about 15cm thick off the bale.

GOING UP Raised beds are another no-dig gardening method and can be built at varying heights to suit your needs. They have many benefits: • Increased drainage. If your soil is heavy clay or you’re at the bottom of a hill and find your plants struggling to cope with sour soil and too much water, raised beds can create good drainage and get plant roots up above sodden soil. How high you go really depends on how wet your position is. Tropical gardeners traditionally built mounds of soil. For most gardens, two bricks or a couple of untreated hardwood railway sleepers is usually high enough. • Improved access. Older gardeners and people with back problems or reduced movement find raised beds much easier to work in. If you work sitting in a chair or wheelchair, build the garden to the height that is most comfortable for you. If you’re planning the garden for someone else, take a chair out with you and sit in it when you determine the bed’s height. Make sure you can reach all areas of the bed, so don’t make the garden too wide. Modular garden beds are available from many hardware and gardening outlets or you can have beds made from old water tanks or corrugated iron. Old bathtubs make great containers for no-dig layers but you will need to add extra drainage holes as the plug hole usually isn’t big enough. • Built-in seating. Many gardeners like to sit while working and kids love to climb. If you build a raised bed within a thick wall of brick, timber or mud brick, you can sit on the side of the bed while you work. This can reduce fatigue, increase your use of the garden space (by giving you a nice place for a cuppa) and keep your trousers clean. It also keeps enthusiastic dogs off the garden.

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Thoroughly water the layers now before adding the next layers.

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BUILDING A RAISED GARDEN BED

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Add 10–15cm of rotted manure, compost or mushroom compost. This aids decomposition and provides plant nutrients. Water well.

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Add a 10cm layer of clean, weed-free mulch such as straw, sugarcane, rice hulls or sunflower husks.

KEEPING IT GOING

If you’re building raised garden beds higher than one level, repeat the layering process a couple of times as per these instructions.

A sheet-mulched garden will settle over time as the organic matter decomposes into rich soil that has fantastic waterholding capacity, teeming with soil life. In a raised bed, you will need to top up the level as the garden sinks but you’ll be adding mulch regularly, anyway, to prevent weeds and water loss. Hügelkultur beds do drop significantly in height as the wood material decomposes but this can be easily adjusted as part of your normal feeding and mulching routine. Danielle Wheeler is a permaculture designer and scientist who teaches permaculture courses in western Sydney through Humble Designs Permaculture.

If you have enough room for several beds, you can sort your plants into related groups

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Pull back the mulch to plant large seeds and seedlings into pockets of compost or organic potting mix. Water well.

MATERIAL MATTERS A waist-high garden can seem like a big “resource guzzler”. Don’t be tempted to fill the space with next door’s rubbish. If you have a big area to fill, try the ancient German technique of hügelkultur (mound culture). This method uses woody waste, such as large prunings and branches, which slowly rots down to form carbon- and nutrient-rich soil. It’s a great way to dispose of prunings and save on materials at the same time. Build up layers of branches and logs until you are within about 60cm of the top. Cover with a layer of hay (or leaves) and water in to settle the hay into spaces and then build up a couple of layers of sheet mulching minus the newspaper layer. Raised gardens are extremely water efficient because the organic matter holds water well and keeps moisture available to the roots of the plants. Because your garden is so well mulched, you use less water than on a garden with bare soil. Over time, the water-holding capacity of your garden will increase, so you’ll need to water less.


AILDM

AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF LANDSCAPE DESIGNERS AND MANAGERS

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WHATEVER STYLE YOU LOVE, A DESIGN BY A MEMBER OF AILDM MAKES A GARDEN THAT CALLS YOU HOME.

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AILDM designers • have formal qualifications in landscape design • know how to ‘read’ your site and understand your needs to create a unique garden design, just for you • create the right spaces and places in a garden, designing paving, decks, retaining walls and water features with accurate documentation for council approval and construction

Designs Pictured Above: 1. Arthur Lathouris 2. George Adams 3. Russell Wyatt 4. Steven Warner 5. Matthew Cantwell

• really know their plants. Choosing the right plants creates a lush and delightful garden, filled with life and colour but still easy to maintain • show by being a part of AILDM that they are true professionals, committed to design excellence, sensitive environmental management and continued professional development

G O O D G A R D E N S s t a r t w i t h G R E AT D E S I G N E R S For a water wise garden design contact your AILDM member.

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Visit our website to find an AILDM designer near you. Toll free: 1300 131 280 Fax: 02 8080 8173


BIRD CALL Want to attract native birds to your garden? This easy-to-make nesting box will do the trick any native birds rely on hollows in trees for nesting and breeding. As suburbia expands, trees are often removed, reducing the number of havens birds can find for breeding. The introduction of one or more nesting boxes into your garden space is a wonderful way to provide shelter for birds and a safe place where they can lay eggs and raise chicks.

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though these are heavy and solid to handle. Marine ply can be considered, too, as it is waterproof and durable. Never use CCA (copper chrome arsenic) or other chemically treated pine as it is toxic. Also, don’t use chipboard as it’s feeble and will virtually dissolve when wet. Galvanised or nickel-plated screws are best for joining all parts.

SUITABLE MATERIALS

WEATHERPROOFING

Timber is the best material for a nesting box because of its insulating properties. Ordinary building or pressure-treated pine is suitable. Western red cedar is another good choice or you can use Australian hardwood species,

For weatherproofing, it’s preferable to use a water-based lacquer or natural oil finish. A good finish is Livos Natural Wood Oil (livos.com.au) or BioPaint (bioproducts.com.au). Don’t use creosote or any form of

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petrochemical. The inside of the box, however, should always be left natural — untreated and unpainted.

HANGING TIPS To make a comfy lodging, add a couple of handfuls of shredded bark or wood shavings to the bottom of the nesting box, again making sure the material you choose is untreated. Ideally, the lid should be hinged and slope down from the back to the front of the box. The lid should overhang the front and sides of the box by at least 25mm. Three small (less than 10mm) drainage holes need to be drilled in the bottom of the box along the front edge to allow for drainage.

Photo: Diane Norris

WEEKEND PROJECT


WEEKEND PROJECT Roughen the inside walls with coarse sandpaper or notch with a circular saw before construction as this will enable the chicks to climb out when they’re ready.

PLACEMENT Nesting boxes should be placed where people, cats, foxes and dogs will not disturb them. They need to be sheltered from the prevailing wind and the hot sun. They can be attached in various ways, but make sure they are firmly

positioned and stable with a slight forward lean to assist young birds to exit as well as help drainage. Place a strong piece of wire through an old garden hose and hang from a fork in a tree so the nest box rests against the trunk. Don’t tighten the wire around the tree as it will damage the bark. Avoid disturbing the nest box once it’s installed. It may take some time for birds to accept it and take up residence.

The rainbow lorikeet is a species of parrot found in Australia

WHAT YOU NEED • 1.5m × 19cm × 1.25cm-piece of untreated timber • 20cm × 2.5cm galvanised nails • 3cm × 2.5cm self-tapping screws • 32mm or 54mm hole-saw drill bit (for entrance hole)

• Wood saw or circular saw • Sandpaper • Screwdriver • Tape measure & pencil • Drill

WHAT TO DO

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Cut the wood along the pencil lines using a wood saw (or circular saw) and sand the rough edges.

Carefully mark the timber into six sections, clearly writing the panel part on the timber as you go. The measurements are: back panel 45cm × 19cm; base 15 cm × 19cm; front 20cm × 19cm; one-piece roof 21cm × 19cm and two side panels each 19cm wide and 25cm on the back and 20cm high at the front. This allows the roof to slope.

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Nail or screw one of the sides to the base of the nesting box then nail them both to the back section. Be careful to hammer gently to avoid splitting the wood.

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Using the hole saw, make the entrance hole for the birds before fixing the front panel to the sides. Rest the front panel on spare timber to do this. Lightly sand the hole.

Secure the other side panel into position.

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Place the box on its back and secure the front panel to the sides. The panels should all fit together snugly without any gaps.

Native plants, such as grevillea, attract native birds to your garden

The lid can be screwed on now. The use of screws makes it easy to remove the lid to clean out the nesting box.

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Paint or lacquer the outside of the nesting box only (leave the inside raw — unpainted and untreated) and secure to a tree.

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FRUIT OF THE

Gods Think outside the box when selecting a new addition to your fruit and vegie garden WORDS: GAIL THOMAS ith the growing interest in Middle Eastern food, the pomegranate is coming under the spotlight in all manner of culinary applications. Punica granatum has been valued as a symbol of fertility, prosperity and abundance since ancient times. The health-giving properties of its roots, leaves, bark, flowers and fruit have been recognised and used in folk remedies throughout Asia, the Mediterranean and North Africa for millennia. In recent times, modern medicine has rediscovered the potent anti-ageing and disease-fighting properties of this ancient

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fruit with ongoing studies into its use for many ailments including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and breast and prostate cancers. The pomegranate is today’s new wonder fruit due to its high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, though ancient populations were aware of its benefits thousands of years ago. In Morocco, the dried and ground peel of the fruit is used to treat gingivitis, irritations of the intestinal mucous membrane and diarrhoea; it’s also combined with henna as a hair treatment. The regular consumption of pomegranate juice and fruit is also thought to be a contributing factor in the great age

attained by many citizens of Georgia and neighbouring Azerbaijan, where pomegranates are a major crop.

THE IDEAL CONDITIONS Pomegranates are drought resistant and best planted in full sun, but do require water to achieve best results. They will grow in a range of well-drained soils and climates; however, areas with a Mediterranean climate are most likely to produce flavoursome fruit. These hardy, multi-stemmed, shrubby, deciduous trees will grow to around four metres high and four metres across and produce vibrant orange/red flowers in spring. There’s a number of varieties available but Wonderful,


GROW POMEGRANATES

PLANTING AND CARE A single trunk with four or five main branches is the preferred form of framework for a pomegranate and, once shaped, suckers should be removed as soon as they appear. A light pruning is best done in winter to maintain a bushy shape and remove any dead wood. A tree with a slightly weeping habit is preferable as the heavy fruit will bend down the ends of the branches. There is also a miniature variety of pomegranate that grows to around 1.5m high and makes an impressive and colourful ornamental statement in the garden. It can also be clipped into a hedge, but the fruit is only decorative. Pomegranates mature in late autumn, the heavy fruit showing a leathery skin in hues of either rich red or creamy yellow. If picked in perfect condition without any splits, the fruit will keep for a long time while still retaining flavour and juice.

a Californian variety first propagated in 1896, is the popular choice for its spectacular showy colour and excellent flavour.

NOW ENJOY When it comes to removing the arils from the fruit, this can be done by cutting the fruit into quarters and extracting the kernels with a spoon or your fingers from the white membrane. Rolling the whole fruit with your hand will help loosen the kernels but, when

extracting them, do so over a bowl so as not to lose the juice. The arils are highly nutritious, perfect as a topping for breakfast cereals, in yoghurt, sprinkled through salads or in dessert applications, not only adding eye-catching jewel-like visual appeal but also contributing fresh, zingy flavour. Try sprinkling some into couscous or into a delicious salad of creamy fetta or goat’s cheese, pine nuts and rocket. The arils can also be juiced and added to

salad dressing, marinades, drinks, smoothies and cocktails. Rich and unctuous, pomegranate molasses is made by boiling down the juice. It’s a favourite in Middle Eastern cuisine, adding a sweet tartness to all manner of both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s now readily available at food stores. Grenadine syrup, made from pomegranates, is a popular ingredient in mixed drinks as well. BACKYARD

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A TOUGH CHOICE Acacia ‘Dazzler’ is a hardy, dwarf native shrub, which grows to approximately 80cm high and 1m wide at maturity, with vibrant green foliage that creates the illusion of a soft, compact mound. This plant is a valuable addition to any garden as its fine foliage adds texture and its rounded shape, a softening effect. With a low water requirement once established, Acacia ‘Dazzler’ is easily maintained — simply prune as required and fertilise annually with a slow-release native fertiliser. This shrub prefers a sunny or partly shaded position in free-draining soil and is frost hardy and drought tolerant. While looking spectacular in domestic landscapes, Acacia ‘Dazzler’ is also well suited to commercial projects because of its hardiness. (03) 5629 2443

BINDIIS BE GONE Unfortunately, bindii is synonymous with summer but, luckily, there is a solution that is both easy and chemical free. The Fiskars weed-pulling tool works by grabbing the weed and root system and removing the plant in its entirety. It also features a handy ejection mechanism so you don’t have to get your hands dirty or hurt your back with this time-consuming job. fiskars.com

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Stuff CHICKEN’S DINNER While having chooks in your backyard is rewarding, it involves a little more than just feeding them scraps and collecting their eggs. The overall health of your flock is very important, so keeping their feed safe from rats, birds and mice is crucial as these pests spoil your expensive feed by bringing unwanted diseases into your chicken house. A Red Comb chook feeder solves all these problems and saves you quite a bit of money from lost feed over a year. Your neighbours will be happy also as no longer will rodents move into the area looking for chook feed. So you’ll be doing your part in keeping the neighbourhood free from these unwanted pests. redcombchookfeeders.com

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TWICE AS GOOD Convert your organic waste into nutritious compost for your garden in as little as two weeks. The unique two-chamber design of this composter allows you to fill one side while the other is curing. It holds 140L of compost, is easy to fill, turn and empty, and has an adjustable air vent for increased ventilation. This space-efficient unit is rodent proof as well. compostinghome.com.au


BACKYARD STUFF

GREEN SCREEN Perfect for privacy screening on balconies and in courtyards, the Lanna garden screen is great for garden lovers with limited space. Mounting points are built into the rear and base, so the screen can be fixed to a wall or even a floor if a free-standing configuration is required for dividing spaces. A galvanised wire mesh gabion filled with river pebbles forms the base and assists with anchorage where floor mounting is not possible. It will also absorb any excess water from the pots. The Lanna garden screen is made from galvanised steel with a black or white semi-gloss finish and comes complete with 50kg of polished river pebbles and 20 terracotta pots to get your green thumbs in motion from the get-go. utedesign.com.au

BUG OFF New citrus foliage is a magnet for aphids, which are sap-sucking insects that deplete the plant and cause leaves to curl. Aphids also produce honeydew, which is a sweet, sticky substance that attracts ants and black, sooty mould. Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental spray is a combination of natural pyrethrin and vegetable oil and will control sapsucking insects such as aphids. It’s certified by Australian Certified Organic so it’s perfect for gardeners wanting to use a more natural method to control pests. yates.com.au

SAVE WATER & MONEY Harvest the rainwater that falls on your roof and can keep your garden green with a Polymaster tank. Just imagine: no more high water bills. Polymaster tanks can be fitted to a drip irrigation system or the water can be used for car washing. It can also be plumbed into bathrooms and laundries. Polymaster slimline tanks, designed for maximum volume and minimum footprint, are available in two modern styles, several sizes and more than 22 Colorbond-matched hues. For peace of mind, these tanks come with a 10-year warranty and have a seamless self-supporting roof structure for added strength. Underground tanks and large round tanks are also available. polymaster.com.au

LIKE A PRO

SANS MESS When composting, do you find that a trowel just doesn’t cut it? The Ladies compost scoop enables you to shovel just the right amount of compost into your pots without any mess. It has a waxed FSC beechwood handle, brass ferrule and a stainless-steel head. annabeljames.co.uk

Designed to withstand a demanding workload, the Victa Pro hedge trimmer is powered by an easy-starting 26cc, full-crank two-stroke engine and has a built-in clutch for durability and safety. It features a 24in (600mm) double-shear-action, stainless-steel blade with a 25mm cutting capacity to deliver a fast cut. Advanced shock-absorbing suspension mounts that reduce engine vibration help to significantly lessen operator fatigue. The double-sided hedging blade ensures the job is completed quickly with a professional finish. Difficult jobs are made easier with the 180° multi-position, rotatable rear handle, providing versatility for the user. The ergonomic wrap-around handle design enables maximum comfort and grip while operating in both horizontal and vertical positions — a handy feature when you are trying to access hard-to-reach areas. bunnings.com.au

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BACKYARD STUFF

GREEN THUMB The GreenSmart pot is ideal for balconies and small patios as well as large backyards and paddocks. With its unique visual water level indicator and built-in reservoir, the GreenSmart pot will provide healthier, fresher vegetables and herbs with low maintenance and no water wastage. Its cross-cut overflow holes prevent overwatering and mosquitoes breeding in the reservoir and create an air cushion between the potting mix and water reservoir for the roots to be aerated, which enhances plant growth by about 30 per cent. The depth and width of the pot enable a wide range of plants to be grown. greensmartpots.com.au

PEBBLE PERFECTION No matter what the time of year, weeds need pulling and gardens need mulching. Mulching is the best way to retain moisture in your soil (which means less time watering) and keep weeds at bay (less time weeding). It is also a great way to improve your garden’s appearance, either for your own enjoyment or to enhance its sales appeal. Pebbles are an attractive, cost-effective choice that continues to look as good as the day you first put them down. Mawsons river pebbles come in three colours (Mansfield, Ovens/Whorouly and Seymour), in various sizes. Drop into a Mawsons site or stockist to discuss how you can transform your garden. mawsons.com.au

SAVE WATER The winner of the Smart WaterMark Consumer Product of the Year Award in 2012, the waterefficient Wobble-Tee sprinkler is proudly Australian owned and made. It has a low-flow rate and is suitable for the backyard or even larger spaces. Plus, its internal filter allows for connection to a variety of water sources. wobble-tee.com.au

CLEAN LINES If your backyard is looking a little scrappy after the cooler weather, you might want to break out the line trimmer for a much needed tidy up. The Rover R2600 Curved Shaft line trimmer has a 25cc, two-stroke engine for greater durability. The Spring Assist starting technology will reduce your starting effort while its convenient adjustable handle helps reduce vibration and operator fatigue. The curved, two-piece shaft provides greater balance and a clearer view of the area being trimmed. This versatile trimmer can fit a variety of attachments as well. When using your line trimmer, it's a good idea to wear enclosed footwear, protective eyewear long pants and a long sleeved shirt. rover.com.au

JUMP START A relatively new addition to Australian backyards comes in the form of round in-ground trampolines. These blend into your garden and are made with a built-in retaining wall so installation can happen in less than a day for minimal cost. The trampolines come in four sizes and have the option of an enclosure. As the exclusive supplier of these in-ground gems, Oz Trampolines is offering free delivery Australia-wide. oztrampolines.com.au

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BACKYARD STUFF

CLEAN UP Forget traipsing sand or mud through your house, the Pope Summertime garden shower is easy to assemble and connects directly to your 12mm garden hose. You can adjust the height and spray angle to suit your needs and take advantage of the flow-control tap to avoid a cold-water start. Simply push the base spike into your lawn and use the tripod legs for extra stability, and you’re set. popeproducts. com.au

ON-TREND SCREENING Herringbone from OUTDECO is a unique play on an artisan pattern that is contemporary yet respectfully traditional. The options of diagonal, diamond-shaped or chevron patterns are evocative of artisanal architecture from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. These patterns break up large, imposing rectangular surfaces and offer a complementary effect to organic foliage. The patterns have been refined to an 80 per cent privacy level and have a mid-range visual impact for an artistic effect. outdeco.com

IT’S OK! If you haven’t seen one... we designed it that way

15

15YR WARRANTY *

INCL.20M OF HOSE & FITTINGS AUTO RETRACT & LOCK 15YR WARRANTY* EASY TO INSTALL AUSTRALIAN MADE “ALMOST INVISIBLE”

p: 0417 252 622 e: info@rolaway.com www.rolaway.com

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DIRECTORY

Gorgeous outdoor lights 137 Alexander Street, Crows Nest, Sydney, NSW 2065 t. 02 9436 4516 f. 02 9906 2667 e. sales@lightsite.com.au

www.lightsite.com.au

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DIRECTORY

CUSTOM MADE DECORATIVE SCREENS | WALL ART | LETTERBOXES | FIRE PITS | GATES | FENCES | SCREEN DOORS | GARDEN FEATURES - THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS

3/169 Newell Street, Cairns | p 040 09 726 6 128 8 | in nfo@ @occea anblu ueliving g.com.a au | www.oceanblueliving.com.au Australia Wide e De elivveryy | 100% % Austtralian n Made

Outdoor Artwork Stylish and Practical

CHECK OUT OUR CURRENT CREATIONS ON FACEBOOK

Backyard CREATIVE AUSTRALIAN LIVING

Weathervanes • Windsocks • Sun Dials • Model Windmills • Water Pumps • Gate & Fence Panels

View the entire Glenview range online at

www.glenviewproducts.com.au For more information call Bob on 02 9449 9892

To advertise in the new-look Backyard magazine, call Miriam Keen on (02) 9887 0604 Email: mkeen@universalmagazines.com.au

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New website. New look. New ideas.

NEED SHADE?

MENU

KITCHENS Projects

We can cover all your outdoor areas and provide you with comfort and protection with our great shade products.

Contemporary

ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS PROJECT VISIT WEBSITE

Giant Swinging Umbrellas • Shade Sails Clear Drop Alfresco Blinds Vinyl Banners • DIY Shade Sails

The Complete Home team knows that sometimes a makeover is due. And we’ve given our website a fresh new look where you'll find the best ideas for your home project.

completehome.com.au Riverina Shade Solutions 3685 Sturt Highway, Gumly Gumly NSW 2652 P E

128 | BACKYARD

02 6922 8910 F 02 6922 7354 riverinashade@westnet.com.au W www.riverinashade.com.au


index DESIGNER GARDENS — WHO TO CONTACT Green and gorgeous (page 28) Bell Landscapes belllandscapes.com.au Lean and green (page 34) The Greenwall Company greenwall.com.au Tropical paradise (page 40) Boss Gardenscapes bossgardenscapes.com.au Coastal hideaway (page 46) Urban Exotic facebook.com/Urban Exotic -157207144312388 Hilltop haven (page 50) PTA Landscapes ptalandscapes.com.au Small and savvy (page 56) Outhouse Design outhousedesign.com.au

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS All Stake Supply ...................... 107 Aussie Heatwave Fireplaces .... 85 Australian Institute of Landscape Designers & Managers .......... 115 Bamboo Creations Nursery ..... 67 Bamboo Habitat .................95, 101 Cinajus ...................................OBC Classic with a Twist .................. 65 Designer Plants ........................ 94 Direct Compost Solutions ...... 109 Doggierescue .......................... 129 Dunn & Farrugia..................... 111

Easycraft ................................... 15 Ecodesign ................................. 83 Entanglements ....................... IBC Glenview Products .................. 127 Guardsman ............................. 100 Heatlie ....................................... 81 House of Bamboo ....................... 6 Infinity Panels ......................71, 96 Knotwood .............................19, 91 Lifestyle BBQs .......................... 77 Menai Sand & Soil .................... 39 Ocean Blue Living ................... 127

Organic Fertilisers ................. 105 Outrigger Awnings ................... 75 Ozbreed ................................69, 88 PAPS Vertical Gardens ......... 5, 90 Pope Products .......................... 13 Riverina Shade Solutions ....... 128 Rolaway Underground Hose .. 125 RSPCA ..................................... 119 Swifts Outdoor Furniture.......... 63 Terra Firma (Aust) .................. 126 3D Sails ....................................IFC The Light Site.......................... 126


• metal garden art • garden sculptures • outdoor wall art • privacy screens

• backyard furniture • fire pits + burners • pergola designs • letter boxes

342 Jasper Road, Ormond VIC 3204 I Ph: 1300 886 811 I sales@entanglements.com.au I www.entanglements.com.au

DISTRIBUTORS AUSTRALIA WIDE Here’s an easy way to make a statement in your landscaped garden or outdoor living space. Architects, Interior Designers, Landscapers, Retail & Domestic Home Owners turn to Entanglements, where professional metal art is designed, manufactured and delivered from our Melbourne studio showroom. Incorporate our fire burners & backlit lighting for night time entertaining. Choose from our existing ranges or send us your image and let our expert designers and Metal Workers help you create your vision. We operate Australia wide and can ship around the world.


STONEFLOORS & STONEWALLS DISPLAY, SALES & WAREHOUSE 32 Bryant Street, Padstow NSW 2211 Ph: 02 9773 5677 Fax: 02 9773 5644 Email: info@cinajus.com Online Catalogue: www.cinajus.com

Issue#13.5 2015  

Welcome to the new-look Backyard, the magazine for those who don’t just dream of an amazing garden, they want to get out there and make it h...

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