Page 1


MEET THE MAKERS Innovative people and their amazing outdoor spaces




NZ $10.99 (INCL. GST)

ISSUE 15.5 AUS $9.95*

PLUS Grow your own hops | Learn all about beekeeping Install a trampoline | Plant an olive tree | Garden lighting

Your Complete Garden Edging Solution

131137 ࠮9(5.,!      ࠮=(3<,!      ࠮+0@!       ࠮(=(03()3,!      ࠮*<:;644(+,!    



^ ^ ^ M V Y T I V Z Z  J V T  H \

࠮:;965.!      ࠮:(-,!       ࠮:/(7,()3,!      ࠮+<9()3,!      ࠮,3,.(5;! 





~10 YEARS~


greenlines gardenware

Structural Guarantee See website for T & C’s


Editor April Ossington Email Features Writer Louise Smithers Editorial Assistant/Writer Stephanie Russo Designer Michaela Primiano Sub-Editor Michelle Segal Sales Manager Miriam Keen Mobile: 0414 969 693 Email:

editor's note bout five years ago, my husband and I purchased a gorgeous four-bedroom home on NSW’s Central Coast. It was like something out of a storybook, located on a quiet cul-de-sac and equipped with an impressive outdoor area and swimming pool. While we had every intention of making it our future family home, we have decided to sell it as we work in Sydney and the commute was too taxing for us. Over the last few months, we have been busy getting the house and garden into top shape. We cleaned the paved areas with a high-pressure hose, re-oiled the decking, laid new pebbles on the paths and called on the expertise of a pool specialist to ensure the pool was sparkling. While it was a bit of hard yakka, it taught me what can be done in the backyard to really make a good impact. (On that note, stay tuned next issue for our outdoor maintenance feature.) One of my jobs was to fill the bare patches in the garden beds with new plants. Of course, first you must consider the style of your garden. With the pool and Queensland room, it was definitely tropical style, and existing plants included bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) and palm trees. When you are doing up a garden to sell, you want something that looks good straight away — you certainly don’t want to have to wait until a plant flowers or fills out. I wanted to add some quick texture and colour to the garden and I decided strappy-leaf plants were perfect in this case. To complete the tropical look, I selected plants including Cordyline fruticosa ‘Rubra’, dragon trees [Dracaena draco] and Phormium tenax ‘Yellow Wave’. I also added some Bangalow palms along the pool. We finished all the garden beds with red chipwood. I couldn’t believe the impact it made and the yard looks brand new. It really makes the green foliage pop as well. Now the house looks so good I almost don’t want to sell it anymore. One of the great features of our home is the massive Queensland room that connects to the house and looks out to the pool and yard. When I think about our time in the house, my favourite memories are sitting in the Queensland room entertaining friends and family. As it’s completely enclosed, it also adds another dining area or lounge room year-round, not just in the warmer weather. I always thought it could make a great garden office as well if you worked from home. Outdoor structures can be a real asset to your home. If you are thinking of adding one to your house, take a look at our outdoor structures feature in this issue. It shows the different options available and what they can be used for. Whether you are doing up your garden to sell your home, or your backyard simply needs sprucing up, our designing with plants feature in this edition provides expert advice on creating a cohesive and tranquil look — and combining colours in the garden for the best effect. I hope you enjoy this issue.


April Ossington Editor


Advertising Art Director Martha Rubazewicz Advertising Production William West Publisher Janice Williams Subscriptions & Mail Orders Phone: 1300 303 414 Cover Photo Garden Design Dale Johnson, Liz Beale and Ross Peck Photography Patrick Redmond

Chairman/CEO Prema Perera Publisher Janice Williams Chief Financial Officer Vicky Mahadeva Associate Publisher Emma Perera Finance & Administration Manager James Perera Creative Director Kate Podger Editorial & Production Manager Anastasia Casey 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 KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore. Distributed by Gordon and Gotch, Australia. 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. * Recommended retail price ISSN 1448-5001 Copyright © Universal Magazines MMXVIII ACN 003 026 944 We are a member of

With over 3.5 acres of plants, pots, water features and garden decor youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re guaranteed to find exactly what your outdoor area needs. Our friendly staff are on hand to offer professional advice seven days a week; why not call or visit us today.

ADDRESS: 200 Forest Way, Belrose NSW 2085 PHONE: (02) 9450 1606 EMAIL:




A bloke and his block This landscaper’s personal garden is the real deal Under the mango tree A densely planted garden that’s full of fruit trees




The sky’s the limit Westpac’s new outdoor space at Barangaroo South



Up and away An award-winning DIY garden that impresses Industrial entertainer A small urban courtyard with a big difference


Blurred lines A contemporary resortstyle garden transforms a rather awkward block High on a hill This Santa Monica garden is inspired by Mexico and Morocco Subtropical oasis Outdoor entertaining in the Sunshine State



Work and play Add a pergola, studio or gazebo to your backyard Greener pastures Design your perfect garden


122 GROW Fruit of the Gods Grow your own olive tree

102 The life of bees Everything you need to know about beekeeping 108 On your grass A great choice of grass for varied environments 112 Seeing red Give the red-shouldered leaf beetle the cold shoulder 114 Sweet and juicy Learn how to grow your own luscious stone fruit 118 GYOB (grow your own beer) Plant some hops in your garden and get brewing

WEEKEND PROJECT 120 Hang up on me Make a quirky rack for hats, umbrellas and coats



Space for living Innovative ideas for outdoor living 28 Snapshot A quick look at some inspiring backyards around Australia 88 This weekend Handy products for weekend projects 124 Backyard stuff Tools, screening, furniture and more 130 Index of advertisers

“The pair took a hands-on approach to landscaping, breathing new life into their backyard one plant at a time”44

10 MAKERS Take a seat Garden seating for every backyard

FFree ree D Delivery eliveryy A Australia ustralia w wide. ide

Use the code ‘outdoor’ when ordering for a 6% discount.

1300 393 004 Rated by parents as Australia’s best trampoline company according to

FOLLOW US BackyardGardenDesignIdeasMagazine outdoor-living

don't miss a beat Keep in touch and up-to-date

FAMILY FUN FLOWER POWER Governor of New South Wales, David Hurley, and wife Linda Hurley have dedicated a new rose in honour of all the wives of Governors of New South Wales throughout history. “Our nation was founded on many qualities and one often overlooked is the strength, resilience and dedication of the Governors’ wives, who contributed greatly to the building of our modern nation,” says Linda. The Governor’s Wife rose was bred by Richard and Ruth Walsh and The Rose Society of NSW, who collaborated with Linda Hurley, as co-patron, to create a small but attractive grandiflora rose with clusters of blooms which are a blend of pink, red and orange. “The blending of such colours is symbolic of the blending of the many skills, activities, beauty and personalities of the women who worked alongside their husbands, the Governors of New South Wales, to enhance our community,” says Linda.

Many Australians will have fond memories of jumping on a trampoline in the backyard, whether their own or at a friend’s house. With gardens continuing to shrink, frustrated families yearn for an in-ground trampoline of their own. Thankfully, there is a solution — round in-ground trampolines that easily blend into small gardens. What’s more, they have a built-in retaining wall and installation takes less than a day. Available from Oz Trampolines in four sizes, and with the option of an enclosure and basketball kit, there is something to suit any garden or budget. And for your convenience, Oz Trampolines offers free delivery.

RED HOT RIGA No, it’s not a ping pong table or an air hockey table. It’s the RIGA brazier barbecue table, though, apparently, it can be used as a dining table with the appropriate seating (and, of course, when it has been turned off). We love a good multipurpose piece that saves space. Fuelled by wood and charcoal, the barbecue table features Argentinian stainlesssteel grids and comes with a sleek ceramic lid that acts as the tabletop when the barbecue is not in use. When you cook, the fat flows into a grease collector that can be put in the dishwasher — very handy. What will they think of next?


SPACE FOR LIVING I’LL BEE ONLINE A new online training course was launched by the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and Plant Health Australia to make it easy for beekeepers to find out how to care for honey bees in accordance with the new Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice. The Biosecurity for Beekeepers course explains why biosecurity is important to beekeepers, describes the main pest threats to hives, and shows how to check hives for any sign of pests that can reduce bee numbers. It’s free if you’re a commercial beekeeper while for hobby beekeepers it costs $20. “It should take around 90 minutes to do the course,” says AHBIC chairman, Lindsay Bourke. “Once completed, there’s a short test to fill in and then you get a certificate to demonstrate that you are qualified in procedures under the new Code.”

RECONNECT ME Winner of the American Architecture Prize in 2016, Hans-Petter Bjørnådal has constructed a meditation garden deep in the Lithuanian forest of Anykšciai. Gapahuk is a Norwegian archetypical design for a meditation shelter. This type of shelter provides protection from the rain and wind, gives warmth from a fireplace, and faces the landscape to connect with nature. The shelters are used for individual meditation or simply to rest in while out hiking. Based on the idea that one feels happy being in nature, breathing clean air and listening to birdsong, these shelters encourage a deeper spiritual experience through a direct connection with nature. The premise is for people to stop and go inwards in order to relax the mind, body and spirit, which in turn helps them to find harmony with others, with the environment and, of course, with themselves. BACKYARD


the Makers

IT’S TUB TIME If you have a claw-foot bath tub that has outlived its usefulness, why not turn it into an outdoor sofa or chair? Just such a thought occurred to three landscape design students from Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology — Dale Johnson, Liz Beale and Ross Peck — whose tub-turned-backyard-seat was the highlight of their Awash With Nature display garden for the 2017 Melbourne International


Flower & Garden Show. The tub’s rusted exterior adds character while the white enamelled interior provides a cool, smooth back rest which is a blessing in summer. The final touch is a custom-made, well-padded seat cushion with some scatter cushions for maximum comfort. If you Google the topic, you’ll find online tutorials that will guide you through the process of transforming an old cast iron clawfoot tub into a low chair, couch or bench-style backyard seat.

Photo: Patrick Redmond

Whether you need somewhere to sit and chat, or recline and unwind, there are many ways to take a seat in your garden



Photo: Amelia Stanwix

When you enter this garden, you immerse yourself in a world where Mother Nature is celebrated and natural materials are used in countless creative ways. Designed and built by Phillip Withers Landscape Design for last year’s Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, the award-winning garden, dubbed I See Wild, presented two interesting approaches to outdoor seating. The first: Stumpies — hand-painted log stools from Pop & Scott. Painted in the folk art tradition, each stool is made from a single piece of sustainably sourced Australian hardwood and finished with a natural timber oil. Part of the charm is that no two stools are the same. The dimensions of each varies and because each is painted by hand, the artwork differs slightly. The other form of seating is custom-made natural bluestone creations featuring a sawn flat top — just add a cushion and you’re set.;


| 11

PLASTIC IS FANTASTIC They reside at the pricier end of the market, but if you're a lover of modern, minimalist design and you think plastic is fantastic, there is a plethora of designer polyethylene outdoor chairs, stools and recliners to delight. One eye-catching example is the Genus Wave lounger. Perfect for beside the pool or on the deck, the lounger is made from rotationally moulded virgin polyethylene. The moulding


process means there are no joins and the use of polyethylene means the furniture is extremely hard-wearing, so it won’t stain, rot or succumb to mildew — and it has a high level of UV resistance so fading isn’t a problem. Because the material is so tough, the Genus Wave lounger comes with a lifetime guarantee; it’s a great choice for rainy and windy areas, as well as coastal climes where salt spray can be a problem for other materials.

Photo: Patrick Redmond


WANT TO BE THE ENVY OF YOUR NEIGHBOURS WITH THICK LUSH LAWN? Earthlife Lawn Blend will achieve this for you Earthlife Lawn Blend is a complete lawn conditioner and fertiliser, containing minerals, trace elements, available silica and soil friendly microbes.

Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Choice



Free Call 1800 819 003

"I have been gardening for over 30 years, with my major interest being the lawn. I have studied lawns and their maintenance extensively and have used just about every technique and product on the market from chemical to organic to slow release, I have tried them all. This year has been the worst that I can remember for lawn grub infestation. The grubs had just about destroyed the lawn completely. I do not spray for lawn grubs as I just wait til their cycle is over, then I used your Lawn Blend. The response that I have achieved from your product is without doubt THE BEST that I have ever experienced in my 30 years of lawn maintenance. When you are a devoted gardener you know when you have achieved a result that gone to the next level. This is what I have experienced with my lawn since using your product. After application, a response was noticeable within a week, the grass was greener but without the burst in leaf growth that is experienced with other fertilizers that are much higher in nitrogen. The quality of the lawn has continued to improve each week since application. At the moment I would have to say that the lawn is in the best condition that I have seen for many years. Colin, your product is absolutely sensational." Paul Setch â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A convert to Earthlife gardener.

JUST HANGING ABOUT Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thought we have the Mayan Indians to thank for the hammock. Approximately 1000 years ago they made hammocks from woven tree bark, then sisal fibre, but as the idea spread around the world, different materials were used, from rope to canvas and, in more recent times, fabric. For those who prefer the woven look, there are plenty of comfortable and durable modern options. Designed by textile artist Tammy Kanat for Robert Plumb, this Australian-made hammock is constructed from polyester rope and is available in two colours: black and grey. The construction also features New Guinean Rosewood timber slats, brass fittings and stainless-steel fixing rings. Of course, a hammock isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t much good unless you have a place to rest a drink or your phone. Here, the Southie side table steps up to the task. The Southie is also Australian made and available in various sizes and colours.



CUT IT OUT Stools are the most versatile form of garden furniture. They give you somewhere you can sit (obviously!), if they have a flat top they can be used as a side table for a sun lounger or outdoor sofa, and they can even be used as a footstool. Because they’re lightweight, they can be moved from deck to patio to poolside if needed, they’re a great form of seating for kids, and because they’re small (the stools, not the

kids) they’re easier to store out of sight when they’re not needed. The variety of designs and materials is diverse, but one arresting example is the Gingko stool/table from Kit & Katast. The stools, which are a feature of this garden designed by Ian Barker Gardens, are made from stainless steel and have a powder-coated finish. The colour of the stools references the stone wall that forms a backdrop to the gathering space.;


Photo: Patrick Redmond


| 15

WORD ON WOOD It really is true. Timber never goes out of fashion, certainly not a timber garden bench. While styles do come and go, the natural appeal of timber garden furniture, whether you choose to keep it well oiled and regularly re-stain it to maintain its original hue, or let it go silvery-grey with age, still imbues a garden with a sense of warmth that no other material can ever quite match. Danish design studio Skagerak has been making inroads into the Australian market with outdoor furniture that ranges from the sleek and modern to the classic and contemporary â&#x20AC;&#x201D; such as the Regatta lounge bench, shown here with matching side table. The Regatta range, ideal for the garden or terrace, is built out of teak (a timber with a lot of natural oils that repel water) and seat cushions are available in sand, dark grey and marine. There is also a matching lounge chair.




Photo: Patrick Redmond

Swinging or hanging Egg chairs bring a retro vibe to an outdoor space and provide a great place to curl up and relax after a tiring day. The Maia Egg swing chair from Spanish outdoor furniture label Kettal, available in Australia from Mobilia, is a case in point. It is made from strong synthetic fabric that is handwoven over a polyester-coated aluminium frame and it comes with one seat cushion and two back cushions made from long-lasting Protex fabric. The chair can be suspended from the accompanying stand or it can be hung from a sturdy tree branch or pergola roof beam. The Maia Egg is a quality piece with a price tag to match, but you can find swing and hanging outdoor chairs, sometimes called pod chairs, in a variety of styles and materials across a range of price points. And it’s not just adults who love them — they’re a firm favourite with the kids, too.


| 17


COLOUR YOUR WORLD If you like colour and character, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a fan of recycling, if you like your garden furniture to have a story to tell, then the ee-i-ee-i-o collection from Think Outside ticks all of the boxes. Made from recycled 44-gallon oil drums, ee-i-eei-o is the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signature collection and it makes a bold, joyous and quirky statement. It features a range of outdoor decor (sculpture, planters, drink coolers, letterboxes) as well as furniture, like the Throne chair shown here teamed with the Throne footrest, which is sold separately. Because the metal drums have typically been employed by several companies, the exterior surfaces are a kaleidoscope of colours and logos, which means each handcrafted piece will have a unique colour palette and history. The ee-i-eei-o furniture collection extends to stools, bistro chairs and tables, low loungers and coffee tables.


Watering Technology



/holmanindustries /holmangarden




One Touch Watering Full Control at your Fingertips Take your watering to the next level with smart bluetooth technology. With our HOLMAN iGardener app, you have full control of your watering schedule across our Smart Valves, 6 Zone Controllers and 8 Zone Controllers; all from your smartphone. HOLMAN - Still proudly Australian Owned for over 50 Years.



Ideal for Misting and GreenWall systems with shorter run-times, down to seconds.

A rustic edging around some rainbow chard.

Tools at the ready for a day’s work.


his block

For this talented landscaper and former nurseryman, traditional gardening is all about food, fun and fowls Words: Megg Miller Photos: Marcel Aucar magine the havoc an errant broody hen and chicks could create in a picture-perfect veggie and flower garden. Though not a regular catastrophe for Ian Nash, it’s one of the challenges he works with on his two-acre (almost one hectare) house block in Teesdale in rural Victoria. Ian has combined his love of horticulture with an equal passion for purebred fowls. His stunning Silkies and Hamburg chickens have spacious, well-maintained yards and, in the main, the birds are kept separate from the gardening area.


LANDSCAPE ROOTS A landscape gardener, Ian specialises in the restoration and maintenance of traditional homestead gardens. From this he has learnt


the clever use of hardy plants and waterwise techniques that are as as relevant today as when originally established a century ago. Ian credits his current passions with growing up with backyard chooks and a productive garden. He recalls, “I never gave the backyard much thought; it was simply where food came from. It was an area Dad called his own and was a well-organised, high-producing garden.” He says it was also the starting point for his love of nature and that he wants kids today to experience this. It’s one of the reasons he runs workshops with children on keeping chooks and starting a veggie garden. “It’s thanks to Dad and his garden that I went on to do a four-year horticultural course,” says Ian. “I realised I could have a good outdoor job creating and maintaining gardens and also put fresh food on the table. I hope I can inspire a few kids to follow a similar path.”

A chook with a look of its own: one of Ian’s favourites, a Silkie.


Ian’s natural, informal garden wonderland.

TACKLING THE ISSUES Once the land was purchased, Ian admits to great impatience to get started. He’d spent years working in retail nurseries and was ready to start his garden and freelance business. The block was a blank canvas with just a few established eucalypts. “I couldn’t rush in like I wanted to,” he says. “I knew I had to take the seasons into account. It’s hot and dry in summer; windy and very cold in winter. Heavy falls of rain are common in winter and spring. These result in lots of topsoil being washed down the gently sloping land in the yard and dictated the plan of the veggie beds. “I knew, too, that with rocky soil it wouldn’t hold moisture well and so whatever I planted needed a low requirement for water.” Large-scale composting was a priority, so Ian quickly established poultry yards so he would have a regular supply of manure and litter. His gardening work gave him access to lawn clippings, prunings and other organic matter. After trying several methods of composting, he settled on building large rectangles with straw bales and filling the centre with poultry litter, green waste from his work, animal manures, blood and bone and certified organic Dynamic Lifter. This was well mixed and dug, kept moist and turned at six weeks; the process continuing until ready.

“Ian is adamant an attractive garden can be established without costing the earth. He uses foliage plants extensively because they look good all-year long” A GROWING PLAN The garden has evolved slowly: there are lots of natives and succulents in the front of the house and a range of feature gardens, trimmed hedges, fruit trees and the food and flower areas in the backyard. Ian says it’s all a reflection of the plants he wanted and where he could establish them. A friend contributed ideas, offering him a different perspective, but time and a good understanding of local growing conditions have largely determined the style and scope of the garden. Veggie gardens and flowerbeds have been raised and bordered with rocks. There are no disciplined rows such as Ian’s father favoured; irregular shapes appear haphazardly placed but are pivotal in slowing the flow of water after heavy rain. Ian thinks outside the square. The garden design is unconventional: eye-catching sculptures from recycled materials like barbed

wire and wooden fence posts are strategically sited, while formal and informal elements, such as hedged natives and colourful bulbs, grow happily side by side. You almost need a map to find your way through the meandering paths in the veggie area. Growth is abundant due to the fertile soil and herbs vie with cut flowers for space alongside broad beans, rocket, caulies and cabbages, silverbeet and root veg. These beds are a riot of colour: purples and greens, blue-flowering borage, multicoloured silverbeet, kale — the list is endless. Thymes of different colours grow over retaining rocks, rosemary and curry plants may be hedged and shaped — there are delightful surprises wherever you turn. Extensive bay tree hedging is becoming established on the southern edge as a wind barrier but Ian also hopes it keeps adventurous hens from discovering the nearby veggies. BACKYARD

| 21

Poppies attract bees to the veggie garden.


LEFT Edible plants plus works of art create a feast for the eye as well as the stomach. BELOW Succulents and garden art oddities. BOTTOM Ian uses straw bales for compost hubs and to construct raised garden beds.


IMAGINATION AND BALANCE Ian is adamant an attractive garden can be established without costing the earth. He uses foliage plants extensively because they look good all-year long. He sows them in clumps rather than as single plants and repeats these again and again. Extra interest is achieved with contrasting hues of green or foliage texture. Then there’s the hedging that creates neat formal pockets. Drought-tolerant homestead plants, like geraniums, are scattered everywhere. Natives, including correas, grafted grevillea (they are hardier), small wattles and even a feature boab tree are thriving. Another standby is succulents. “I love their sculptural quality,” says Ian. “They are hardy and useful for smothering weeds. Many flower over winter, which is great for bees. I’m mad about succulents and could create a garden with these alone.” We can all benefit from Ian’s strategies, including raised garden beds, which improve the organic content of soil and prevent plants, especially natives, suffering wet feet. Selecting appropriate plants is a must, of course. Ian has found hardy grey-leafed natives and cottage favourites are ideal where water is short. Succulents are another option. Ian also groups plants with similar water needs together. Spring classics such as hollyhocks, foxgloves and delphiniums grow in Ian’s garden alongside water-loving vegetables. Do as Ian does and spread paths with gravel,

which is easy to weed and maintain and, if shovelled around succulents, suppresses weed growth. Practices like crop rotation, selfseeding and even saving your own seed are sustainable and cost-effective. Bees are integral for pollination, so selecting flowers and herbs that bloom one after another keeps these helpful insects visiting. The Iceland poppies Ian grew last year proved a great magnet. Sustainability is a key driver for Ian Nash but he admits gardening has to be fun, too. His colourful, verdant Eden suggests he has achieved the right balance.


1 be afraid to use edible plants, such 2 Don’t as bay trees, in a more formal way; for To attract bees, plant flowers and herbs that bloom at different times of the year.

instance, as hedging.

3 gardening is not just for the veggie 4 Organic patch; it applies to the overall garden. Make sure you always have a compost hub of some sort.


| 23

Sometimes gardens just look better when they aren’t completely perfect.

Pretty purple blooms.


mango tree

Good topsoil helped by careful composting has created a densely planted garden with abundant fruit trees Words: Jen Stitt Photos: Jen Stitt & Dan Guthrie an and I moved to the mid-north coast of NSW 14 years ago when we purchased an 810-square-metre block, home to an old fibro cottage and a magnificent mango tree. Over the years we have removed, planted, transplanted and replanted many trees and shrubs to create what is now a densely populated garden. From the beginning we were blessed with good topsoil that has slowly been delivered to us from Big Brother Mountain, which sits directly behind us to the west. In summer, he protects us from the westerly heat and winds (our block faces east-west). Over the years I have collected all my neighbours’ grass clippings, which would have been thrown into the bush, and redirected them



to our garden as mulch. This, in turn, has built a couple of inches of new topsoil — and one can never have enough organic matter to add to the soil. I simply leave the grass clippings in a pile to heat up and compost down to kill off any weed seed, then spread it.

MAKING THE BEDS To make our garden beds, we always chose the easy option of the “no dig” method, basically sprinkling the soil with animal manures and adding lime or dolomite to sweeten it (we live coastally so the soil tends to be acidic). We then cover the area with half a dozen layers of newspaper, give it a good soak, then place straw on top. Usually, when doing this, a breeze arrives and makes the laying of the newspaper difficult, so it’s always handy to have the hose

This mango is ready to be picked.


A bountiful harvest of mangoes.

JEN’S TOP TIPS soapy water for orange 1 Spray citrus bug in August. using the “no dig” garden 2 Try method to make brand new garden beds.

3 Pick your mangoes as soon 4 as the first flying fox comes Take hardwood cuttings of figs and grapes in winter.

to visit your garden.

ready to dampen it down. We leave it for a good month before planting out to make sure all the grass below has died off properly. Digging the edge at the beginning of the process always helps with maintenance afterwards. In doing it this way, we need no herbicides and have minimal hard work. Our garden is not dissimilar to a permaculture garden or ones that existed in many backyards a generation or two ago: a combination of fruit and flowering trees and shrubs (native and exotic), vegetables, herbs and many hardy, old-fashioned perennials, which give it an overall feel of a cottage garden. We were very fortunate that our huge old

mango was planted on our southern boundary — it provides us with wonderful shade and doesn’t hinder our winter sun. It also provides an area to grow shade-loving plants.

SETTING BOUNDARIES We deliberately planted deciduous trees on our northern boundary to get the benefit of the winter sun and help screen us from the neighbours. The plants we chose here were a couple of Japanese raisin trees (Hovenia dulcis), which grew extremely quickly from seed. They produce a most unusual fruit which is actually the swollen peduncle, or stem. The taste is a mixture between a pear and a raisin.

Further along the boundary is a black shahtoot tree (a type of mulberry) grafted on a dwarf root stock, which means it only grows to a comfortable three metres. The fruit from this is a longer drupe than the conventional mulberry, non-staining and sweet when only half mature. The only problem we have is getting any of the fruit since the pheasant coucal has found it and has now brought his wife along to join in the feast. It’s the age-old thing: you have to share. It doesn’t seem to be 50-50, though. Next is a Fuji (Fuyu) persimmon. This is a newer, non-astringent fruit type you can eat before it fully ripens and it doesn’t make your tongue furry as the old varieties did. It is a very BACKYARD

| 25

Concrete planters add a modern edge.

pretty tree with a lovely habit and shape; also wonderful autumn colour. An edible fig takes the next space. I grew it from a hardwood cutting taken in winter from a well-performing fig growing in a friend’s garden. These strike really easily from cuttings. The pomegranate is another good old favourite with a wonderful spreading habit, vibrant orange flowers and exquisite rubycoloured fruit. It provides the chooks with shade from the direct summer sun.

SOME CITRUS Citrus trees grow extremely well in our neck of the woods. We inherited a lovely old Joppa orange which is excellent for juicing. We have fresh orange juice from June to November and wonderful-eating Valencia oranges earlier in the season. An elderly mandarin takes pride of place in the chook yard, giving the birds excellent shade in the heat of the summer. Our Tahitian lime is abundant with fruit most of the year and once a year I make lime pickle, which never goes astray when we have curries. Last of all, we have a Meyer lemon, a really juicy variety and not a very large tree. One problem with our citrus trees is the


“Over the years I have collected all my neighbours’ grass clippings, which would have been thrown into the bush, and redirected them to our garden as mulch” orange citrus bug, which loves the soft new growth. A way to combat this problem is to spray each tree in August when the citrus beetle is in its juvenile stage. Do this with soapy water, though make sure it really is soap (like Sunlight) and not detergent. The bronze orange bug (which we call the citrus bug or stink bug) is very hard to see at this stage, but it’s there. It’s usually the smell of the citrus bug that makes you aware of them a couple of months later. So remember, get onto it early in August and you should have less of a problem.

FRUIT OF OUR LABOR We also have a jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora), another lovely small subtropical fruit tree and a bit of a curiosity to a lot of people as the fruit is borne on the trunk of the tree. When ready in the spring, the fruit is a shiny black berry that is slightly larger than a grape. You need to break the skin with your teeth to suck the contents

out. It has a white flesh with a seed inside. There’s usually a fight with the satin bower birds over this one. Vines are an important part of our garden as they give us privacy from our neighbours while taking up minimal space. Grapes are excellent; being deciduous, they allow winter sun and provide summer shade, are extremely fast growing and easily grown from hardwood cuttings taken in the winter. Another fast-growing vine is passionfruit, a great fruiter in this area. Both grapes and passionfruit work well on a trellis or pergola, giving height in the garden when you’re starting off and also screening particular areas. We have recently planted a new patch of bananas, a much smaller-growing variety than our last lot. The old bananas had quite a remarkable history, having marched over a period of 50 years from our dear old neighbours’ place across into ours — a fair distance.

BACKYARD REVOLUTION LEFT This garden is wild and wonderful. BELOW Jen and Dan’s garden is full of fruit.

Sadly, their demise came just before Cyclone Yasi hit; afterwards, bananas hit $13 a kilo. We had dug them out to make room for something else. In hindsight, bad timing. Our mango tree is the heart of our garden, its canopy stretching over a large part of our yard. Over the years we have skirted its lower branches to lift it and allow sun beneath. This gives it look of grandeur when you stand below it and look up. Luckily for us, it’s a Bowen variety which means it bears good-sized fruit that isn’t stringy and is very palatable. Unfortunately, though, we are on the edge of the temperate and subtropical zones so we don’t get mangoes every year — only when we have had a dry spring, as we had last year. Hallelujah! Now we just have to share them with the possum as he (or she] has a particular liking for them. We’ve discovered the best time to pick our mango crop is when the flying fox come through and start to feast — that tells us the sugar content is right. They are still hard and green at this stage, which is good as the fruit fly isn’t able to sting them. We then put them away in a dark room to ripen, turning them daily. Once we’ve supplied the neighbourhood with mangoes, we cut the rest up and put them in the freezer so they last us a good part of the year. So there’s a brief glimpse — and we still haven’t talked about the asparagus and other veggies, the herbs, the native beehive and the chooks, all of which make our lovely garden a never-ending source of enjoyment and fulfilment. But that’s another story.

Jen Stitt is a full-time gardener who encourages and inspires other people in pursuing their interest in sustainable gardening. She has an Associate Diploma in Horticulture. Her partner, Dan Guthrie, is a constant sounding-board and excellent ideas man.


| 27


NATURE AND NURTURE What do you get when you combine an outdated 1920s California bungalow with the talented architects from Sydney firm Utz-Sanby? You get a seriously modern upgrade with an envy-inducing, neighbour magnet of a backyard. The home sits on a gently sloping block on Sydney’s Lower North Shore where the clients — a family of four — enjoy a covered deck, barbecue, firepit, sunken spa, pond, abundant


garden beds, lawn and all-round happy outdoor family times. “The clients saw the potential to have a beautiful garden and renovated the house to take advantage of the sloping block, while retaining the character and details of the original home,” says architect Kristin Utz. “We were all in agreement that the established trees (eucalypts and crepe myrtle) were to be retained. The master bedroom enjoys the northern aspect and views through the crepe myrtle.”

Photos: Marian Riabic

A quick look at some inspiring backyards around Australia



| 29


a necessity in any residence close to the beach, is outshone by the nearby bath and its enveloping tropical foliage, creating an idyllic spot. Interestingly, the tranquil outdoor atmosphere and abundant greenery is juxtaposed with the monochromatic interiors of the home. “I wanted a transparent house that you could see straight through,” says Sarah. “But I also wanted the design to be like a luxe resort experience so I could feel like I was on holiday every day.”

Photos: Paul Smith Images

GLASS HOUSE GARDEN Being at one with nature is an ideal all green-thumbed folk aspire to, and you can’t get much closer than stripping off and bathing in the great outdoors. We assume architect Sarah Waller (of Sarah Waller Architecture) feels the same, because she set up a five-star bathroom in her Queensland backyard. The outdoor living area is impressive yet simple, careful to remain a space of relaxation. The outdoor shower,



| 31

NORTHCOTE NOSTALGIA Victorian Italianate homes from the 1890s are as rare as proverbial hen’s teeth in Australia. Garth House in Northcote, an inner-suburb of Melbourne, is one such gem — one that that has undergone a transforming 21st-century facelift and extension. OLA Studio helped the Gerner family of five create more than just a stunning home, however; they now have an outdoor space that will suit their needs


as the children grow. The new alfresco area has everything a young brood needs: a sandbox, a spacious lawn where the children and family dog can play, a pergola and a paved courtyard area. The pavers were saved from the original home and provide a further connection to the site’s past. “The house is one of the originals on the street and it’s great that it can stick around for many generations to come,” says Manos Mavridis, architect at OLA Studio.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

Snapshot Snapshot



The Lifestyle Modular Outdoor kitchen range Visit our website, to see videos of our BBQs in action and get detailed information on how to specify your ideal Outdoor Kitchen. We manufacture in Australia and you buy direct from the factory. Lifestyle BBQs can be shipped Australia wide. Built-in and mobile BBQs also available.


Unit 6/9 Fitzpatrick Street, Revesby NSW 2212 SYDNEY PLEASE CALL: (02) 9773 6245 AUST WIDE CALL TOLL FREE: 1300 849 790 Open: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-2.30pm

Margaret River

This inner-city garden makes going to work feel like you are right at home.

THE SKYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S THE LIMIT Fancy catching a game of footy on the big screen while sipping a cold one with your work mates? With an outdoor commercial space like this, you could really do it in style 34 | BACKYARD



| 35

After work get-togethers and work functions are well catered for.

Words: Carrol Baker Photos: Florian Groehn his commercial landscape build is bold and innovative. It’s low key, but at the same time it’s also a little bit highbrow. And it’s raising the bar to dizzy new heights for inner-city commercial outdoor spaces to cater for employees and select events on site. The outdoor space is surrounded by monolithic towers, yet it sits comfortably within the landscape. Of course, this is testament to the skilled design team who delivered the project. The garden and surrounds are located at Barangaroo South, on the Sydney Harbour foreshore, an emerging and vibrant innercity hub and commercial precinct. The first organisation to take residency at Barangaroo South, Westpac’s new workplace features an expansive communal terrace and barbecue area overlooking Sydney Harbour. When designing outdoor spaces like this, aesthetics are key. This design needed to look good from all angles, including from the buildings that sit above it. And, of course, it needed to be functional — it was imperative the spaces serve their intended purpose and serve it to a high standard. This particular project involved dual briefs: the first was to deliver a functional paved landscape with select planting, lighting and



Thanks to a robust, generous-sized canopy and heaters, the area can be used no matter what the weather.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;The angular contemporary form of the precast raised tree planters creates a strong visual element within the landscapeâ&#x20AC;?

The large outdoor pavilion and bench seats are constructed from timber, the warm look of which softens the planter boxes and paving.


| 37


The Kink table and bench seats designed by Tait are a feature.

LEFT The contemporary pavilion and its surrounds look good when viewed from any angle, including from above. ABOVE Planter boxes teeming with a mix of soft textural plants and architectural-style plantings feature strongly.

integrated bench seating that would be a focal point for the tower, which is the first in a series of three. The second brief was devised in collaboration with Westpac to create a multipurpose entertainment precinct, with an outdoor kitchen and a large shade structure. The resulting design is visually striking. The team at Aspect/Oculus say the angular contemporary form of the precast raised tree planters creates a strong visual element within the landscape, “particularly when paired with the feathered stone paving and rich warmth of the spotted gum timbers used on the seats and canopy structure”. Underpinning the design of the contemporary terrace were several key elements. The design needed to be robust enough to withstand the waterside location and subsequent exposure to the elements, and the design needed to be malleable. The team at Aspect/Oculus say the idea was to create a multifunctional outdoor space that could be used for a diverse range of gatherings — a unique series of high-quality spaces that would cater for a variety of events including singular usage, larger events such as cocktail parties or weekly outdoor yoga sessions. The central hub of the design is the generous


outdoor kitchen space. Those who use it are well catered for all year round with barbecues, a sink and ample storage. Then there is the heating, outdoor speakers, a large outdoor AV screen and WiFi connectivity. Also present is a timber Kink table and bench seating, designed by Tait. The stylish bench seats extend past the end table leg in a distinct Kink design, enabling easy step-in access, and they can be fixed to level ground with concealed fixings. Given the rooftop location of this build, there were some challenges along the way. In this case it was the location of the outdoor kitchen and barbecue facilities. An intensive fire-rated ventilation and filtration exhaust needed to be incorporated within the canopy structure so cooking smells did not filter into the groundfloor lobby below. The design was tweaked and the necessary filtration fitted to the ceiling of the canopy, maintaining a streamlined profile. Organic products feature prominently in the design. Recycled spotted gum was used in the bench seating and also for the cladding that covers the canopy’s sturdy steel framework. Attractive large-format granite paving was used for the terrace, chosen because of its durability. Its neutral colour complements the colour

palette and reduces glare, which can be an issue in rooftop and waterside locations. The surrounding landscape is a blend of structural architectural-style plants such as agaves and flax, which are surrounded by groundcovers that spill over the garden beds, softening their hard edges. Selected wellplaced trees offer some shade. The team at Aspect/Oculus say plant selection was a key aspect of the design. They emphasise that planting a variety of colours and textures helps break down the terrace into a series of rooms that offer different levels of shelter and protection. The design also seamlessly addresses the constraints typically associated with a podium landscape, such as drainage, weight restrictions and soil depth, to provide an outcome that is beautiful, functional and comfortable. The team at Aspect/Oculus say by addressing key factors, such as climate, aspect, heritage, scale, user groups and material selection, their design philosophy centres around creating spaces that people want to be in: “We take great pride in creating areas that are stimulating, comfortable and innovative to ensure their longevity as well-used and well-loved places”.

41 Heathcote Road, Moorebank NSW 2170 p. (02) 9774 2944 p. (02) 9792 1610 e.


Sydney’s widest range of Timber Flooring in stock Over 20 species of Hardwood Decking & Screening Rustic & Reclaimed timbers in stock Feature Wall Panelling, Posts & Beams LVL’s, Plywood, Framing & Building Materials Large range of Hardware & Accesories available Trade-Only Prices available

We are the timber flooring and decking specialists At Abbey Timber we have one of the largest ranges of Timber Flooring, Decking and all types of external timbers for constructing decks, pergolas, privacy screens or any other DIY projects. We pride ourselves on the quality of products we sell, and the service we provide.



LEFT In creating the backyard, the pair adopted a DIY approach — opting for a subtle colour palette and lots of greenery to mask the Besser blocks. ABOVE A seriously cute pooch explores the garden.

Words: Alice Griffin Photos: North Sydney Council usan Cummins’ garden boasts an abundance of begonias, bromeliads, geraniums, ferns and native orchards. A green wall with more than 150 blooms borders the backyard, complemented by colourful flower beds and whimsical tree ornaments. After seven years of development, and thanks to their avantgarde approach, Susan and her partner saw this garden flourish beyond recognition. In 2011, Susan and Michael Jack became the owners of the property, situated in Sydney’s leafy North Shore suburb of Cremorne. The couple were under no illusions that the backyard would be the biggest challenge in their design overhaul. Decrepit and overlooked, the garden comprised random sheds, a lone jacaranda and a macadamia nut tree. Rather than opting for a design perfected by architects, the pair took a hands-on approach to landscaping, breathing new life into their backyard one plant at a time. First, they set their sights on the immediate eyesore — the unattractive Besser block and wooden fence that divides the space from the villas next door. While necessary structures, aesthetically, the walls meant the garden couldn’t be further from the duo’s dreams of an outdoor oasis ideal for entertaining. The solution came in the form of a well-meaning visitor. “A friend gave us a hanging frame and a rectangular planter with a geranium,” says Susan. “We bought more frames and containers and suddenly we had filled a section with cuttings.” The vertical garden was born. Creating cohesion between opposing materials and establishing harmony throughout the space, the Besser blocks, wooden slats and plastic planters were painted a shade

S UP AND AWAY An award-winning DIY garden proves that even when Besser blocks are involved, there can still be a silver lining


| 41

Small sandstone garden walls define the spaces and add textural interest.

Visitors are struck by the truly vast green wall, which features more than 150 planters.



of ironstone. This storm-grey hue would take attention away from the vastness of the wall and place focus on the garden’s main drawcard: the plants. Using more than 150 planters to cover the wall, the plant palette of this backyard was essential in creating the breezy, bright feel the pair desired. “With such a big wall, we focused on plants that were easily propagated. Family and friends provided lots of donations,” says Susan. Bromeliads proved the jewel in the crown of this Cremorne garden, the plant favoured for its unique flowering patterns and exoticism. Other favourites include ferns, begonias, succulents and native orchids. While the management of such a multitude of plant varieties takes countless hours, the flexibility of a vertical garden does have its benefits. “Parts of the wall are exposed to full western sun, while other parts are in shadow

for most of winter. Being able to move the plants around and working out which plants best suit each part of the wall has been fun,” says Susan. And as for many green-thumbs, the budding garden provides the perfect antidote to life’s pressures for Susan and Michael. With the statement green wall in full swing, gradually other design features came together. Sandstone was introduced to the backyard as the budget allowed — a mixture of paving slabs and small garden walls to bring texture and interest to the ground plane and create a low deck beside the home for entertaining. Introducing structural changes was a particular milestone for the couple, who were looking to create a captivating outdoor sanctuary. While both the peaks and pitfalls that accompany a major gardening project were to be expected, a historical discovery, courtesy of the previous owner Cecil Mann — a long-

TOP Two gorgeous statement-making hanging ornaments claim pride of place in the garden. ABOVE A diverse plant palette enlivens the wall, with bromeliads, ferns, begonias, native orchids and succulents proving year-round favourites.

serving editor of The Bulletin magazine from 1925 to 1960 — was not. “We found a few artefacts, the most interesting being a plaster cast of a cartoon-like face. The letters HOP are faintly carved in the plaster,” reveals Susan. A quick internet search identified the plaster cast to be a facsimile of Livingston Hopkins, an American cartoonist who worked for The Bulletin during the Federation era — the same period that the couple’s house was built. “[According to] Wikipedia, gardening was one of his hobbies,” says Susan. Bizarre discoveries aside, Susan and Michael’s transformed backyard is a wonderful BACKYARD

| 43

Susan and Michael have transformed the rear garden over the past seven years.


“The pair took a hands-on approach to landscaping, breathing new life into their backyard one plant at a time” Susan’s Cremorne backyard took home the title of the Most Beautiful Garden at the North Sydney Garden Competition.

Pops of pink and red decorate the wall.

ode to those who came before. The makeover was recently recognised by the North Sydney Garden Competition, with the property taking home the title for Most Beautiful Garden in the Single Dwelling category. But despite their success, the couple’s down-to-earth nature predominates; enjoying the everyday pleasures of the garden with friends and family is what truly makes their hearts sing. “We love the pops of colour that suddenly appear on the wall. It might be from the native orchids or it could be dark-purple bromeliads. Even the maidenhair ferns are thriving,” says Susan. “When people see the vertical garden for the first time, they always do a double take.”


Industrial Entertainer Designed for easy outdoor entertaining, this courtyard expertly blends functionality with aesthetic appeal


DESIGNER GARDENS Small garden, endless possibilities.


| 47

The greenwall is a living artwork to enjoy year-round.

Words: Kylie Baracz Photos: Karina Illovska reating an outdoor entertaining space in a small courtyard can be challenging; however, this innercity terrace proves that it is not only possible, the result can be idyllic. The owner of this urban home wanted to create a luxury garden space featuring a vertical garden, a pool, a lawn area and a covered dining space. As it needed to fit within a small courtyard (154sqm), the garden had to maximise function as well as evoke a feeling of spaciousness. The exterior also needed to match the industrial style of the property. To create this space, Jordan Glover from Winshore Building was commissioned. “We were able to create a private oasis in this area, which is set within a dense suburb of terrace living,” says Jordan. “This was further enhanced by the client’s request to have a plunge pool and covered outdoor seating space, which doubled as an enclosable parking spot.” When considering the entertaining area, Jordan and his team needed to minimise any disconnected space throughout the living and courtyard sections. The solution was to create a single open space with flush floor levels, allowing the internal living area to visually




ABOVE Natural light simply floods into the home through beautiful custom glass bi-fold doors. LEFT One of the bespoke steel awnings is neatly placed above the Juliet balcony on the first floor. OPPOSITE BOTTOM A blue antique door creates a bold feature while concealing the pool pump.

extend outdoors. Custom-made bi-fold steel doors create a natural flow between the internal and external areas. For the enclosable parking space, Jordan and his team needed to consider the limited space offered by the block size and the controls imposed by council. With this in mind, they constructed an external building within the courtyard featuring a bespoke sliding pocket door — this instantly connected the space to the courtyard for open entertaining. “The sliding door offered the capacity for the garage space to double as a covered outdoor dining area connecting to the courtyard,” says Jordan. This enclosable area was separated from the lap pool by sleek shutters and a glass wall, easily converting the space from a garage into an undercover entertaining room. To enhance its functionality, the space features stone floors, a ceiling fan, speakers and a television. An offform concrete bespoke benchtop with sink and integrated barbecue was also installed. The homeowner enlisted Justine Wilson, director of Vault Interiors, to style the space and add furnishings that would create a dramatic look and feel. “The featured bright teal colour added visual drama to the space. The furnishings worked well because they were adaptable and could be modified to suit the client’s needs,” explains Justine. “A featured multipurpose convertible table could be used either in the open courtyard or extended to sit 10 people if used undercover.” Other beautiful additions include two bespoke awnings, one above the steel bi-fold doors and BACKYARD

| 49


Dining or parking — this space provides for both!

“We were able to create a private oasis in this area, which is set within a dense suburb of terrace living”

The lush garden is a natural extension to the home.

the other mirrored above the Juliet balcony; a reclaimed brick wall, which complements the home’s industrial style; and French-pattern Botticino tumbled marble paving which was used throughout for its durability and stain resistance. A stunning copper pool shower was also installed to offset the greenery of the vertical garden. “The outdoor shower is a beautiful statement and the exposed copper pipes are in keeping with the interior details, which all have an industrial vibe,” says Justine. The vertical garden was planted by The Greenwall Co and


a small patch of grass was integrated to not only allow the owners to have a dog, but also to define the area as a garden as well as an outdoor living space. “The green wall was a stunning addition to the space as it acts as a living artwork,” adds Justine. “It has a big impact and is well suited to the external room feel.” To create the green wall, a stunning palette of plants was used, including Selenicereus chrysocardium (fern leaf orchid cactus], Begonia mazae, Arthropodium (rock lily], Callisia [basket

plant], Gazania tomentosa, Epidendrum (epiphytic orchids), agapanthus, Aloe ‘Topaz’ and Alcantarea (a giant bromeliad). Excavating the pool right on the boundary presented quite a challenge for Jordan and his team, enhanced by the sandy soil conditions and the location of a neighbouring tree. “As we were unable to use a machine to excavate in the sand, and also had to preserve the tree, we were unable to use soil-solidifying techniques, so we had to excavate the pool by hand,” says Jordan. The pool features include coloured LED lights that transform the feeling of the space depending on the setting and a blue antique door from India that cleverly conceals the water pump. A waterfall was installed below the door to create a blissful addition at the end of the pool. “The door brought all of the pops of blue that are found inside the property’s interior outside, making both spaces consistent,” says Justine. The homeowner’s brief was not only met, but exceeded with the inclusion of a stunning lap pool, enclosable car space and dining area, and a feature green wall, modernising this industrial urban terrace.

Plan your project with

• Over 250,000 images — all Australian • Over 250 quality suppliers • Over 25 experts • Useful downloads • Community of real Australians with real projects

This divine garden is full of different shapes and textures.



Blurred Lines

Resort-style living in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;burbs of Melb ourne


| 53


“Bluestone paving adds timeless charisma to the space”

WORDS: Louise Smithers PHOTOS: Jenna Fahey-White othing ruins the fantasy of a grand and functional yard faster than an awkwardly shaped block of land. Dreams of a lap pool are dashed and the expansive veggie patch you planned needs rethinking. The same was true of this Keilor Downs property in Melbourne. The clients’ brief was to design and build a series of functional, lowmaintenance entertaining spaces that blur the line between indoor and outdoor living. Apex Landscapes designed and constructed a series of creative solutions to promote usable space without compromising on comfort or aesthetic appeal. The use of an off-set spa in the pool and an open landscaped courtyard in the rear outdoor room helped to cleverly fulfil the brief. “The clients wanted somewhere visually stunning to enjoy time with their friends,” says Matt Seymour, director of Apex Landscapes. “The alfresco area creates an amazing amount


TOP The visually stunning front yard sets the scene for what’s to come out the back. RIGHT Chalk sticks, asparagus ferns and Dichondra create stunning colour contrast.

54 | BACKYARD Need Advice on your Turf or Lawn? • Turf Variety Information • Where to Purchase • Turf Care Information and Services



Turf Finder assists home owners and industry professionals to select a turf variety to meet their specific needs. Your preference may be for lower maintenance, shade or wear tolerance. Turf Finder spells out the differences between every turf variety sold across Australia. With a database of over 200 turf growers listed on Turf Finder, you will be able to source the turf variety you desire from a local reputable supplier. Turf Finder provides turf installation and maintenance advice. We’re also able to connect you directly with suppliers of turf products or services Australia wide, to help your lawn thrive.

Silvertop ash timber was used throughout the garden and house for contrast with the rendered finishes.

A striking aloe tree is the feature of the front yard.

An off-set spa in the pool helped the designer overcome the challenging shape of the block.



ABOVE This standout alfresco kitchen lets the natural light in. RIGHT Nothing beats a water view, even if it is person-made.

of undercover entertaining space, while the abundance of natural light entering through the clever incorporation of skylights adds practicality and functionality to that spot.” With “contemporary resort” listed as the style of choice, a pool and spa were essential. The crew from Apex Pools and Spas stepped in with a spectacular set-up featuring monochromatic ceramic tiling, with black glass mosaic tiles covering the raised spa and white ceramic tiles encasing the pool. Boosting its “contemporary resort” credibility, the spa boasts a spillover edge on three sides. An impressive and imposing aloe tree is the standout feature in the front yard and sets the tone for the rest of the green spaces. Bambusa texilis ‘Gracilis’ (slender weavers bamboo) and Bambusa oldhamii (giant timber bamboo) were used throughout the front and back gardens, with chalk sticks (Senecio serpens), asparagus ferns and Dichondra adding a dollop of floral magic and colour contrast to the base of the Japanese maples. Another inspiring planting combination is the silver birch trees emerging from the mass of buxus balls. Stone walling and silvertop ash screen boards cocoon the rear courtyard, while durable bluestone paving adds timeless charisma to the space. To ensure the contemporary theme was carried through each outdoor area, polished BACKYARD

| 57


Black glass mosaic tiles cover the raised spa while white ceramic tiles encase the pool.

ABOVE Stone walling and silvertop ash screens were used to embrace the yard. RIGHT The covered entertaining space offers an abundance of guest seating.

concrete creates a modern contrast with the paving and highlights the change in levels. As well as keeping the family happy, this sustainable garden also preserves water thanks to a watering system that runs from water tanks. Solar heating ensures the pool is at a comfortable temperature all year without affecting the power bills. “The garden courtyard in the rear entertaining space is my favourite part of the garden,” says Matt proudly. “This area was integral to the overall concept of the landscaped property and is a real familyfriendly entertaining space. The visual impact of the pool and spa from here is striking.” Apex Landscapes believes in creating outdoor spaces that are beautiful to look at and functional to live in. This allows them to deliver such stunning results as you see here.


The spa boasts spillover edges on three sides.




ONLY $14.95

HIGH ON A HILL Inspired by the exotic flavours of Mexico and Morocco, this Santa Monica garden is a feast for the senses 60 | BACKYARD

DESIGNER GARDENS A riot of colour and texture  this design is a showstopper.


| 61

Words: Carrol Baker Photos: Tim Beddows he garden that surrounds the rustic home and its cottages is a riot of colour: fuchsia, magenta, hot pink and burgundy prevail, with splashes of white, sunny yellow and vibrant orange. The leafy green foliage that seems to envelop it creates its own resplendent and enviable sanctuary on top of a hill in California’s Santa Monica, with a glorious vista beyond it. The main residence was designed by Kathryn Ireland and her team at KMI Interiors. Marc Appleton was the architect of the cottages and the landscape design was by Art Luna. The gardens, furnishings and outdoor decor combine to create an inspired space that’s



colourful and cohesive — a blend of global style infused with rustic touches. Katherine says the project echoes the effervescent atmosphere found in the souks (markets) of Morocco. “Combined with the gorgeous views that the home boasts, you could almost hear the hustle and bustle of a Marrakesh marketplace,” she says. Wrought-iron light fittings, intricately carved candelabras and ornately engraved chairs lend a unique earthy feel to the outdoor spaces. For Katherine, bringing the homeowners’ vision to life meant creating a timeless, old-worldly space, complete with interesting and unusual artefacts, furnishings and decor. “One of the main challenges for me was implanting that authentic, aged feel,” she says. “To take on a

TOP Outdoor beanbags offer a comfy spot for relaxation. ABOVE Rustic stone archways and beautiful paved paths are a feature of this expansive and charming landscape. ABOVE LEFT Set up in the hills — this home and garden is an ideal escape from busy city life. How’s the serenity?

Plenty of potted blooms bring rich colour and life to the space.


“Wrought-iron light fittings, intricately carved candelabras and ornately engraved chairs bring a unique earthy feel to the outdoor spaces”


| 63

Pots spilling over with vivid bougainvillea sit opposite a welcoming water feature.

project and attempt to make it look as though it’s from the 1890s rather than the 1990s can be quite a challenge — that’s why it was important to draw in vintage pieces that are true to the time period you are aiming to replicate.” A rough-hewn timber coffee table sits comfortably alongside a plush, colourful daybed, an artful blend of striped orange, blue, yellow and green. Floral patterned cushions in the same hues add another layer of colour. It’s vibrant and pretty as a picture; a space that is soothing and tranquil. Earthy rustic pots with colourful blooms spilling over their sides are everywhere to be seen. Oversized Guatemalan hammocks draped across the terraces, with plump cushions, create restful spaces with views of the rolling hills beyond. The home also has stables and in true Moroccan style, many artefacts, archways and carvings are horseshoe-shaped. Paving is of decomposed granite; the fine granite aggregate creates organic-looking pathways in keeping with the overall natural design of the project. Pea pebble and wooden decking were also employed, with natural construction materials once again injecting a warm and earthy look.


Given its location in California, which has seen little rain for some time, plants selected were hardy drought-tolerant species, along with a blend of evergreens, to create a natural leafy haven that would require minimal maintenance. In a corner of the verandah, an alfresco dining setting with a mosaic table and colourful selection of rattan and timber chairs sits directly under a leafy climber. It offers seclusion and shade on those sultry Californian summer afternoons and is much sought after as a place to relax and share a cool drink with friends. Throughout the gardens, there are ample places and zones to rest and unwind. Katherine has placed outdoor beanbags and directors chairs under a leafy tree to create a welcoming place to sit. The cottage-style garden beyond it brings colour and texture to the space. Nearby, rustic barrels are planted out with pretty blooms that overflow the confines of the barrel. In another section, the look is pared back, almost minimalist, with slimline pew-style timber chairs, a Moroccan-style lantern and a carved horse. There are so many delightful decorative and feature elements in this design that bring life and colour to the outdoor spaces. For Katherine, one standout is the generous, earthy-coloured

The home is a horse property — but a ranch like no other, with its Moroccan design influence.


Bright scatter cushions add another layer of softness and colour.

A hammock under a leafy tree spells the ultimate in relaxation.

pot that’s a centrepiece for the fountain. “It’s such a simple touch but it really adds something to the outside space,” she says. “Each of the pieces I chose work and fuse together to create this peaceful, harmonious atmosphere.” When designing an outdoor space, Katherine says it’s important to work with nature, but to

also let nature work with the colour palette and style you choose. “Allow the natural elements to enhance what you’re putting in your space; grow plants that will match your decor — the garden is such a fantastic space because you are not as confined as you sometimes can be in your home,” she says. BACKYARD

| 65

Subtropical oasis This serene outdoor sanctuary makes family entertaining a nature-inspired event 66 | BACKYARD

DESIGNER GARDENS The pavilion is a tranquil space in which to relax and unwind.


| 67

Words: Kylie Baracz Photos: Darren Kerr ounging in the backyard with friends and family is commonplace in Australia’s Sunshine State, whether by the pool or stretched out on the lawn. So when it came time to update their tired garden and pool area, this busy Queensland family wanted to create a place to relax and unwind that also tied in with their newly renovated, contemporary home. They commissioned Aaron Worth from Utopia Landscape Design to create a serene living space that would provide a balanced union between their home and garden while expanding the use of the pool area. “The outdoor entertaining space needed to extend the functionality of the pool area and provide a physical and visual connection to the house and backyard,” says Aaron. “It needed to complement the style of the house and the existing garden.” The family’s renovated Queenslander featured a modern interior and a contemporary colour scheme that blended with the traditional exterior. To thematically unite these features



with the garden and in-ground pool, Aaron and his team designed and built a standalone pavilion and boardwalk using the same materials and finishes employed in the family’s home. The new sanctuary was constructed using painted timber posts and features a plasterboard ceiling, Colorbond steel roofing, local sandstone paving and merbau timber decking to create a cohesive architectural look and feel. “Due to the various levels between the pool, lawn and rear verandah, the pavilion and new boardwalk were designed to become the connection between all of them,” says Aaron. The subtropical pavilion was cleverly constructed in a central location so that it draws the eye from the home’s entryway into the garden, creating the feeling of one large indoor-outdoor entertaining space. To make it comfortable in all weather conditions, the pavilion includes a fan and adjustable louvres for privacy and flexible airflow; also dimmable lighting for ambience. “The key elements of the landscape are definitely the pavilion and boardwalk as they provided huge lifestyle and functional benefits and a direct link to the materials and finishes of the house,” says Aaron.

Timber louvres create a private sanctuary.


TOP AND OPPOSITE TOP The pavilion materials and finishes reflect those used for the home. ABOVE The natural hues of the furnishings fit in nicely with the soft neutral tones of the timber. LEFT Where possible, sustainably grown timber was used for the backyardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s built elements.


| 69

LEFT The attractive timber steps lead you down into the inviting pool area. ABOVE Ample and lush, the lawn is a great place where the kids can play.

An outdoor barbecue area was designed as a separate space to keep smoke from cooking, as well as clutter, away from the pavilion, and merbau timber benches were built on-site to provide a variety of other places for the family to relax. LED low-voltage outdoor lighting was installed throughout the garden, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for the homeowners to enjoy after the sun sets. “The pavilion, boardwalk and landscape lighting tie the space together so well and have increased the outdoor living capacity for the owners,” says Aaron. To complement the new pavilion and timber boardwalk, Aaron chose greenery that would not only create privacy for the family, but would also add to the garden’s lush subtropical feel. The Utopia Landscape Design team planted species such as Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’ (peace lily), Ophiopogon jaburan ‘Variegata’ [variegated mondo grass) and Randia fitzalanii (a native gardenia) to create a tranquil outdoor environment. They also supplemented existing Waterhousia floribunda (weeping lilly pilly) and Murraya paniculata [orange jasmine) where required to create a screen between the home and neighbouring properties. An existing Plumeria acutifolia (frangipani) was also left as a beautiful reminder of the garden’s tropical location. For the lawn, Sir Walter buffalo grass was chosen for its drought and shade tolerance. This outdoor design didn’t come without its challenges. The family’s existing garden initially


DESIGNER GARDENS LED lighting provides a warm and inviting atmosphere after dark.

“Due to the various levels between the pool, lawn and rear verandah, the pavilion and new boardwalk were designed to become the connection for all of these areas”

The new pavilion welcomes you out into the garden.

had a substantial drainage problem which had led to inundation during bouts of heavy rain. To address this issue, Aaron and his construction team worked to install a network of drainage systems to stop any future flooding and damage to the new landscape. Another challenge faced was the sandy subgrade common in this area. This was improved significantly by Aaron and his team using rich imported organic soil which supported the garden’s introduced plant species. With expert planning and an eye for detail, Aaron and the team at Utopia Landscape Design were able to create a harmonious connection between the newly renovated home and the new-look outdoor living space. The seamless transition between indoors and out not only achieved the homeowners’ brief, but also provided a relaxing, subtropical living area for this young Queensland family to enjoy for many years to come. BACKYARD

| 71

PLACE YOUR GAZEBO… • Where you have the best view from your garden of a naturally beautiful scene in the surrounding landscape, such as the sea, mountains or a canopy of trees. • At the very end of a long, straight path in a formal garden or at the termination of a curvy path in a cottage or bush-style garden. • At a high point where you can sit back and look out over your garden or at the place in your garden where the gazebo will frame views from all four sides. • Where it will act as a focal point along an important view line or where it will help to block an unsightly view.

WORK AND PLAY Be it a pergola, backyard office or garden shed, outdoor structures can make our lives easier Words: Karen Booth For most of us, our gardens are places of retreat — somewhere we can go when we want to relax. But outdoors is also where we head when we want to entertain, which is why we need our outdoor living spaces to be inviting, practical, versatile and trans-seasonal, all in equal measure. Get the balance right and you’ll have an outdoor living zone that will quickly become your family’s new social hub, and add value to your property. At the heart of many alfresco living spaces is a structure of some kind. It might be a vine-clad pergola, poolside cabana, rustic hut, charming gazebo or custom-built outdoor room. But socialising and relaxing are not the only things


we like to do in our gardens. As each year passes we’re seeing more backyard offices and studios (for yoga, painting or whatever takes your fancy) and as for the garden shed, that’s always been a backyard staple but today’s offerings are much more sophisticated. Big or small, grand or modest … there is a lot that goes into the planning, construction and decorating of an outdoor structure. There are issues of siting and access, size and style, material selection, heating and lighting, and a whole lot more. There will often be building regulations to comply with and permits to apply for, builders and designers to engage and supervise, plus plans to be drawn up. But get it right and you will reap the lifestyle rewards.

PAVILIONS BY THE POOL If you have a swimming pool and you have the space, a pool pavilion (sometimes called a cabana or pool house) is a great idea. Says garden designer Justine Carlile of Justine Carlile Landscapes, “With the current trend for lifestyle landscapes, pool pavilions are becoming really popular. Homeowners now want a welldesigned landscape that includes a pool and an outdoor living area — and for many, the outdoor living area takes the form of a pool pavilion. This structure might be for outdoor dining, cooking or relaxing, often a combination of all three. “Pool houses are becoming increasingly better equipped, too, and are being designed as an extension of people’s homes. This means the quality of fittings and fixtures can be extremely high, sometimes even of a higher standard than the house fit-out.” At the higher end of the scale, a pool pavilion might include a toilet, shower and changing area, perhaps a bar, a television and more. At the more modest end, it might just provide shelter from the sun and a place to enjoy a cool


ABOVE Exuding charm, this traditional gazebo features built-in seating and a turret-style roof. TOP RIGHT This timber pergola, designed to make an entry statement, is entwined with wisteria. MIDDLE Boasting a cube shape, this outdoor room sits atop a raised deck. Both are built of timber. RIGHT This rustic-style structure can either be used as an art studio or for entertaining friends.


| 73

One zone of the pergola is home to outdoor sofas, the other a bar table and stools.

drink between laps in the pool. Budget, space and lifestyle needs will dictate what is included. “The biggest challenge,” says Justine, “is having enough space for the pool pavilion, and then once designed, ensuring that the structure complies with planning and building regulations as well as pool safety requirements.”

PERGOLAS WITH PANACHE Pergolas are a popular garden structure, whether used to define a path or entrance or create an outdoor living space. “Including a pergola has so many benefits, not least of which is that it allows you to take advantage of the amazing Australian climate. A pergola is a multifunctional space you can use to get away from it all or as an additional room for dining or relaxing. It also creates visual interest within the garden,” says Steve Warner, principal landscape designer of OUTHOUSE design. Says garden designer Mark Bell of Bell Landscapes, “When it comes to pergolas, we get two main requests. One is to provide an intimate space for one to two people that has shelter from the sun or rain and provides a place to sit and read the paper on the weekend or unwind after work. The other is to provide a lifestyle zone for entertaining and relaxation, so this means a larger-scale structure.” Pergolas can be directly attached to the house, usually adjacent to the home’s interior living area and kitchen. “This can create a great indoor-outdoor connection — you just have to be sure to select materials and colours that will complement the home,” says Steve.


BACKYARD ESSENTIALS Freestanding pergolas also have their place. Says Mark, “We are finding that custom-built, stand-alone pergolas are becoming more popular. The benefit is they can be built virtually anywhere and can merge into the landscape to become part of the garden. Using slats or battens for the roof is popular and has a very architectural look. If rain protection is required, though, a solid roof of polycarbonate or a similar semi-transparent product is most popular.” For the most flexible roofing option, Steve suggests a system like Vergola, which is comprised of moveable metal louvres. “With the added value of sensors, the louvres can automatically open and close in line with the weather, such as rain or high winds,” he says.

GAZEBOS AND HUTS While the word gazebo is now used to describe structures of various styles, for many it denotes something of more traditional or period design. Victorian-style gazebos have long been popular, also gazebos of colonial or English style, but they can be inspired by the Orient (such as the ornate pagoda style), of Asian or tropical influence (such as the thatched Balinese hut style), designed in the rustic, bushland style, or something of more modern design. To be considered a gazebo, it needs to be a roofed structure that stands alone and is open on all or most sides. A gazebo or hut is meant to stand out (in a good way, of course) so location and style are

HIS AND HERS We’ve all heard about man caves but in more recent years, the "she shed" has also come to the fore. Women are insisting they have a space for themselves and for some that space is out in the garden. It might be a place to enjoy a hobby, write a long-talked-about novel or simply relax in peace. It’s become such a strong trend there’s even an Australian book you can go to for some great ideas — She Sheds, published by Affirm Press. Of course, there’s still a place for the shed that doubles as a man cave. If dad likes to garden or fancies himself a home handyman, the shed can be a storage space, workshop and bolt-hole. And if you want some true-blue inspiration, grab a copy of Scott Cam’s new book, Scotty’s Top Aussie Sheds, published by Murdoch Books. You’ll find sheds that are a treasure trove of cricket memorabilia, tin toys or vintage tools, and others that are modelled after an outback pub or surf shack. OPPOSTE BOTTOM Designed for meditation, this hut sits in a tropical rainforest setting. LEFT A timber shed can be discretely tucked into a corner beneath an established tree.

A large range of steel carports, sheds & garages available for purchase online 24/7. We’re keeping our prices low, so you can keep your assets protected! View our range online today!

SHOP ONLINE CALL 1800 032 077



| 75

CHOOSING A SHED • First consider what needs to be stored and how valuable the items are. Many people are looking to store high-value items and those that require greater environmental protection than the typical economy garden shed bought at the local hardware store can provide. • The size of the items and clearance requirements will influence what size shed you choose and the door opening. Access is also a consideration and the depth — even height —of the shed will be determined by where it will be located within your backyard. • Garden sheds are manufactured from a variety of materials, with steel being the most predominant in Australia, and the most sturdy. Steel comes in a broad range of thicknesses and tensile strengths. For longevity, buy a shed with high (no less the G550) tensile strength. Tips supplied by Richard Gray of Spanbild. For more, visit

key factors, but the first thing to think about is how you and your family intend to use the structure. Will its purpose be largely decorative — more an architectural feature or design accent than a space to spend time in? Will it be a place for private reflection or somewhere you can sit and admire a lovely view, perhaps of a river or beach beyond the boundaries of your property? Or perhaps you have an outdoor spa that needs protection from the elements? How the structure will be used will influence location and access, size, how many support


posts it will have, how high or low any railings will be, the configuration of the furniture placed within it, whether lighting, heating and sound systems need to integrated — also, the planting and landscaping around the structure.

FOR WORK OR PLAY For those who work from home, an office in the backyard can be a blessing. You might opt for a prefabricated unit or pod, a converted shipping container or a custom-built structure, but whatever your preference, they all offer the

benefit of a dedicated space away from the noise and distraction of family life, not to mention a leafy outlook. Of course, it’s not just our home offices that are taking root out in our gardens. There are art and yoga studios, gyms, teenager retreats and outdoor living spaces that double as a spare bedroom when guests come to stay. Prefabricated units are an easy and stylish option, offering a broader range of choice than you may think. You don’t have to opt for the cabin look — sleek, modern options abound. When choosing a prefab or kit-form studio/office,


OPPOSITE With the right exterior paint colour, a garden shed can sit seamlessly within a backyard. ABOVE Garden offices come in various styles and can be repurposed as needs change. LEFT Built mainly using Corten steel, this outdoor room is made for entertaining.

consider the level of finish, detailing, insulation (acoustic and thermal), what maintenance is required and what optional extras there might be. If a repurposed shipping container sounds more your style, you can buy one and do the conversion yourself, but most people prefer to have someone else do the work from them. Look for a company that offers modified, outdoor room-style containers, complete with lighting, air conditioning and glass sliding doors. Custom-built structures are ideal if you have a tricky site or have very particular requirements, but whatever route you take,

your office or studio needs to be adaptable, now and into the future. You may work on your own today but if you needed to fit a second worker into your office, could you? And if you decide to retire, could your office easily become an art studio or a play space for the grandkids? As it’s a permanent structure in your garden, you need to be sure it can adapt to your changing needs.

GARDEN SHEDS REVISITED “Garden sheds are always popular as most of us lack storage for outdoor items such as mowers, rakes and gardening tools,” says Mark.

“Custom-built sheds are quite expensive so you can use kit-form sheds and dress them up by covering them with vines, planting around them to soften and screen the structure, or even paint them a dark colour such as Dulux Domino to help them blend into the garden. “The one exception may be if you have a small courtyard and you really cannot hide or ‘merge’ the shed into the garden, "continues Mark. "In this instance, it will always be in the line of sight and needs to form part of the overall design aesthetic, so it might be worth investing extra funds and having one designed and custom built so it becomes a feature of the landscape. Our rule is if you have to have it and have to see it, it should look great.” How we use our sheds has changed over the years, according to Richard Gray of Spanbild. “Originally, the majority of garden sheds were used for garden implement storage — mowers, garden tools, potting mix etc — but these days there is a lot more diversity in the usage application. Garden sheds are essentially transitioning into outdoor cupboards and being used to store a broad range of household items, bikes, wood — they’re even being used to protect pool pumps and equipment,” he says. “The most common sizes for garden sheds range from 1sqm up to 10sqm,” adds Richard. “There was a time when people wanted larger sheds and preferred a more traditional gable BACKYARD

| 77

Here, a cypress timber pergola works well with recycled red brick walling.


“Big or small, grand or modest ... there is a lot that goes into the planning, construction and decorating of an outdoor structure”

Be creative. This hut has a reclaimed timber roof and Corten steel detailing.

roof design, but as the urban environment has changed, with an increase in contemporary home design and a decrease in yard size, now slimline flat-roofed or mono-pitch designs, which fit more easily in narrow spaces down the side of the home and below eaves, have become more popular.”

STORAGE AND SCREENING Storage within your shed — or your garage if that’s where gardening tools, pool equipment, kids’ toys and the like are going to be kept — is the next step. What you’ll need are shelves, cabinets (on wheels or fixed), wall hooks and,


if you’re going to do some potting, benches. Gardening tools are traditionally hung on walls because it gets them off the floor and makes them easy to find. You can fashion your own wall mounts or use a ready-made system, such as the Harry Holders from Design by Them, a series of individual mounts, or the Burgon & Ball rack, specifically designed for garden tools. If you’re going to be storing chemicals or anything that could be toxic, you’ll need high shelves or lockable cabinets to keep anything that is potentially harmful well away from curious children and pets. While a shed can make a design statement,

Draw design inspiration from Asia or the Orient for a look that's exotic.

most people prefer to have it blend into the background. If the exterior of your shed isn’t that appealing, you can do a lot with tasteful painting and planting, or you can erect a freestanding screen — perhaps something in Corten steel with a laser-cut pattern or something built out of timber or wood-look aluminium slats. Most backyards have room for a shed, but that doesn’t mean you want it to be the thing that draws the eye. By tucking a shed into a corner, choosing an exterior colour that helps it blend into the landscape and masking it with garden beds or screening, you can have a garden that is practical and a pleasure to peruse.



GREENER PASTURES Complete your outdoor area with a beautiful garden Words: April Ossington ature is well known for contributing to feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. The practice of gardening itself can have positive effects on physical and mental health from heart disease to depression. “Without plants, the sense of wellbeing to any garden is lost,” says Chris Slaughter, lead designer at Scenic Blue Design. He also says that even incorporating the wrong plants into your outdoor space is better than relying on hard structures. Appropriately placed plants can soften an outdoor area, tie different elements together and add that finishing touch. Chris is asked to design gardens for a range of different houses, from federation and colonial to contemporary and beach, and he says that while there are no definite trends in garden style, the common theme is overwhelmingly the element of tranquillity. Chris says that once you incorporate a garden that’s at peace with the home’s structure, tranquillity will fall into place. “When considering the arrangements of plants, consider the home and its style as well as the desired mental and physical experience and apply a simple decorating rule of thumb,”


LEFT What would a garden be without plants? ABOVE Some of this gorgeous SuperFrenchTM Lavender will certainly introduce an element of calm into your garden.


| 81

ABOVE AND FAR LEFT Plants will only enhance any hardscaping or man-made features you have in your outdoor area. LEFT Take cues from the colour wheel.

The best combinations are complementary colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as purple and yellow. For a more adventurous look, contrast can be created by selecting every second colour on the wheel, often in a trio. Using two or three adjacent colours such as red, yellow and orange will create a harmonious effect. Of course, different colours will contribute to different feelings. For example, blues and greens are soothing while yellow is uplifting. It’s a good idea to choose a dominant theme colour and then work around it. Just like interior design, plant colours can be selected to match existing features and furnishings in your outdoor area to tie it all together. advises Chris. Widely used in landscape design, the colour theory involves the use of a colour wheel to help you create a garden palette that will be pleasing to the eye. Depending on the effect you‘re trying to create, there are a few different ways to use the colour wheel.


A NARROW BLOCK “Narrow blocks offer many opportunities with plant design,” says Chris. The challenge is reducing the tunnel effect and avoiding having to squeeze past plants as you walk through.

BACKYARD ESSENTIALS Red and green are complementary colours as they are opposite each other on the colour wheel.


| 83

See the umbrella-like Catalpa bignonioides in the left corner?

PRIVACY, PLEASE As houses get smaller and high-density living becomes more popular, achieving privacy in your backyard is becoming a challenge. While your instinct may be to put up walls, Chris says that can lead to creating a fenced-in feeling that may have more of a negative effect than a lack of privacy. In a project he designed for a home in Paddington, Sydney, the groundlevel abode was experiencing a lack of privacy due to a neighbouring apartment balcony on the first floor overlooking the home's outdoor area. Prized for its round shape and dense foliage, a Catalpa bignonioides was planted in the corner of the outdoor area against the retaining wall. Growing to a maximum height of 1.8m, it creates an umbrella-like canopy that blocks enough of the neighbouring balcony without compromising views.

First and foremost, you must consider the size a plant will be when it’s fully mature. In a recent project, Chris placed Liriope muscari at the side of the path. “This small, low plant will just lick the side of the patio,” says Chris. Behind this, he planted Rhaphiolepis indica — a dwarf evergreen shrub. Chris says the combination of these plants creates a sweeping effect that draws your eye away from the fence towards the sky. Chris also suggests selecting accent plants, such as the magnificent Acer palmatum or a Prunus snofozam, as their long trunks protrude the foliage into the air and aid in hiding certain parts of the garden.

CONNECTING THE DOTS While it may be tempting to create a garden with immediate maximum impact, Chris feels there is a benefit to be gained from letting the visual experience gradually unfold. “As is the case with a lot of gardens, we often think to visually expose the entire garden in one go,” says Chris. “I feel this steals the element of surprise, but it also removes the element of ‘what’s over there?’”


Don't let a narrow site cramp your planting style.


Flemingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nurseries supplies a range of designer trees such as the Catalpa bignonioides 'Nana'.


| 85


TOP LEFT, MIDDLE LEFT, LEFT AND ABOVE This verdant garden is simply full of surprises.

While an inviting garden can be created in many different ways, the best way is to include surprises throughout. “When we get this balance right, curiosity takes over and you have a garden that is drawing people out of their home and into the backyard,” says Chris. In a recent project, Chris was asked to unify a large corner block with a pool in the middle and an existing garden wrapping around the side and back. He decided to create a collection of rooms and tie them together with plant placement that would not only lead you around the different areas, but create an enchanting experience. One of the standout features was a series of stone steppers partially covered by Lomandra longifolia. The placement of the plant leaves means they sweep past your legs, slowing you down and creating a more physical experience. “You then find yourself walking through a collection of bamboo cane outcrops as if creating an archway to the next world,” explains Chris. “The bamboo in this instance was the Dendrocalamus minor var. amoenus, offering truly beautiful canes of silver–green and when mature, a cluster of large leaves weeping from the tops of the cane’s branches. It’s a great trick to clip the lower branches off the main cane to let it have some room to show off.”




Lavender Sensation Blue

Rhaphiolepis Oriental Pearl

Sensation™ Lavenders

Oriental™ Rhaphiolepis

Scabiosa Bliss Bombs™

• bee attracting • fragrant

• low maintenance • spot free

• bring butterflies to your garden

Lavender Sensation Rose

Scabiosa Bliss Bomb Blue

Rhaphiolepis Oriental Pink.

Whether grown in pots or garden beds, these plants will put on a great show ome plants are great for pots, others are best in the garden, but some lucky plants thrive in both environments. Of course there are differences in how you manage your plants, depending on whether they are potted or in garden beds. With pots, versatility is a big plus. You can move them around, there is a range of styles and shapes to match your requirements, and you can take them with you if you move. On the con side, potted plants dry out more quickly and suffer more easily from over-feeding or overwatering. To get the best result when growing plants in pots, use good-quality potting mix and mulch, add water-saving granules, install an automatic irrigation system and always choose the correct-size pot for the plant. Garden beds, on the other hand, are a good buffer to changes in the environment. This means soil will usually dry out more slowly



and evenly, and plants generally suffer less from over-feeding or over-watering. Potential negatives are you may not be sure of subsoil quality, a garden bed isn’t easy to move if you change your mind on location, and the wrong plant in the wrong place can cause damage to infrastructure (for example, due to falling branches). To prevent problems, properly prepare your soil before planting and choose plants suited to the conditions (for example, lavenders like free-draining soils and full sun; camellias like rich topsoil and thick mulch but don’t like heavy clay). There are several good all-rounder plants that thrive in both pots and gardens, starting with long-lived camellias. Look out for varieties which have a nice plant shape like the Slimline Camellia sasanqua or good flower power like the Floribunda camellia hybrids. Good-sized pots with quality mulch will see your camellias

thrive. Feed only in spring and summer with slow-release fertiliser and pot up into larger sizes from time to time, as required, to avoid problems with drying out. Spanish lavender is quite happy in pots or in garden beds. Either way, free-draining soils and full sun are a must. Sensation Blue (Lavandula pedunculata ‘Senblu’ PBR) and Sensation Rose (L. pedunculata ‘Senros’ PBR) are both ideal choices. They are low-maintenance and drought-tolerant once established and full of flowers to attract bees, butterflies and birds. Peak blooming time is spring, but they will flower year-round. Rhaphiolepis Oriental Pearl PBR and Rhaphiolepis Oriental Pink (R. indica ‘Rapopink’ PBR) are two more options. Both of these Australian-bred varieties are naturally rounded in shape without the need for pruning. Although flowering mostly during spring, they look sensational at all times of the year due to their

Sensation Rose lavender.

Floribunda camellia hybrid.


Scabiosa ‘Bliss Bombs Blue’.

Rhaphiolepis Oriental Pearl.

thick, glossy foliage and naturally tidy habit. They are salt tolerant and like full sun. Another great choice is Scabiosa ‘Bliss Bombs Blue’ (S. caucasica ‘SGIBL01-0’ PBR), a colourful perennial with old-fashioned charm that is often referred to as the pincushion flower because the delicate flowers resemble little pincushions. Scabiosa, which need good drainage and full sun, flower year-round in Australia with best blooming in spring. Group several plants together in pots or garden beds to achieve maximum impact.

Sensation Rose lavender.



| 89


If you like a tropical, Balinese or resort-style look, black bamboo screening is for you


or instant tropical or resort-style appeal, it’s hard to go past the allure of bamboo screening. Whether you’ve gone for a Balinese-themed backyard or just want to add a touch of the exotic to your garden, bamboo screening is the ideal choice. Bamboo screening can be used in a broad array of ways — as cladding on an existing fence, to screen out neighbours, as an architectural feature or as the perfect backdrop to tropical foliage plants or a garden bed full of flowers. And if you’re looking for a backdrop for a sculpture or water feature, bamboo screening is perfect for that, too. Infinity Panels specialises in high-quality, lowmaintenance black bamboo screening panels. Black bamboo adds a richness of colour to a garden or alfresco living space and is ideal for tropical, Asian or resort-style outdoor settings, as well as garden spaces created for relaxation or quiet contemplation. “Our bamboo panels are an attractive addition to any backyard, whether used as a fence or a feature. They look great behind a pool or spa or as screening around a thatched gazebo or Bali hut,” says Infinity Panels’ manager, Jacky Qian. “You can also use our bamboo panels to instantly transform a messy garden with unsightly walls into a relaxing space where you can unwind or entertain in private.”


Bamboo offers more than good looks, though. It is an extremely strong and durable material, which means you can be assured that Infinity Panels’ black bamboo screening will be long-lasting. You can also be assured that only the best-quality mature bamboo is used in the construction of the panels and that all bamboo goes through a stringent quality-controlled treatment process. “Another benefit is that bamboo panels are quick and easy to install. You don’t need any special skills, which means the average homeowner can erect the panels themselves, saving money on installation,” says Jacky. “And for those looking for an outdoor screening, privacy or fencing solution that is environmentally friendly, bamboo is perfect.” Bamboo is a high-yielding plant that grows very quickly, so plantations are easily replenished. It is said that one hectare of land delivers 60 tonnes of bamboo, but the same land planted with trees only yields 20 tonnes of timber and those trees take many more years to reach maturity. If you live in the Melbourne area, Infinity Panels can arrange delivery of your bamboo panels along with an affordable installation service if you prefer not to go down the do-it-yourself route. The company can also organise Australia-wide delivery.

GET THE LOOK INFINITY PANELS Warehouse 6 Bricker Street, Cheltenham Vic 3192 Mobile 0411 118 858 Email Website

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?

0411 11 88 58 | Warehouse: 6 Bricker Street, Cheltenham 3192

We bring you high-quality, specially-treated, low maintenance bamboo panels to allow you to achieve your dreams of a private and serene garden quickly and easily. You do not need special skills. A few hours on a weekend and you can sit and relax in your own personal resort paradise. No more watering hedges, no fallen leaves, no prunes.

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

Enjoy your outdoor space even more with a variety of lighting options for entertaining alfresco


hether you’re a seasoned gardener or have a barely-green thumb, there are practical tools that will help you step up your game this summer. Enter Holman Industries, a proud Australian, family-owned business that specialises in watering, gardening and plumbing products. Its major products include retractable hose reels, GreenWall vertical garden systems, tap timers, sprinklers and raised garden beds. Featuring the latest technology, Holman’s products are truly one of a kind — and they are manufactured for the Australian market and weather conditions. What's more, the company prides itself on designing products that complement the homeowner’s garden. They do this by using neutral, modern colours that create a natural, fresh and contemporary feel.


The latest offering from the company is an app-operated Bluetooth range of garden lighting that allows you to live a little brighter. It’s 100-per-cent DIY-friendly, safe and easy to install as a weekend project — no need for an electrician. The range features spot lights, deck lights and path lights, which are available in white light or full-colour spectrum RGB light. The lights are joined by weatherproof IP67 water-resistant Plug and Socket cables. These are sold separately to the lights and are available in a range of different lengths. This allows you total design freedom to set up the perfect garden lighting display. For ease of use, the lights are connected to the Holman Lightsource controller, which is programmed by the Holman iGarden app on your smart phone. You can change colours, light intensity and set automated start and stop times, all via the app.

If you’re looking for a way to transform your outdoor living area, this new lighting range is the perfect solution. It extends entertaining alfresco into the evening by giving customers a low-fuss, DIY way of illuminating their garden after dark. Whether that means lighting a garden path, making a backlit feature out of your favourite tree or creating a dramatic coloured garden light display, there truly is something for everyone.

GET THE LOOK HOLMAN INDUSTRIES 11 Walters Drive, Osborne Park WA 6017 Phone 1300 716 188 Email Website



| 93

With a flexible steel-edging product, you can give shape and definition to any garden


hen it comes to garden edging, you need a product that is strong, versatile and weather resistant — and you can’t get anything that fits the bill better than steel. With Greenlines Gardenware’s FormBoss range of no-maintenance, Australianmade steel garden edging, you can be the boss of your own garden design. Greenlines Gardenware offers a large array of easy-to-install domestic and commercialgrade steel edging solutions, ranging from flush edges to 450mm-high retaining walls. You also have a choice of galvanised steel, ZAM (exclusive looking and ultra durable) or Corten steel (that boasts a weathered finish), and various gauges to ensure the edging is the appropriate strength for your garden project. FormBoss edging systems allow you to create curves and angles with ease and,


thanks to the rounded top edge and hidden stakes and connectors, the finished result is elegant and clean. For a fully coordinated look, ask about FormBoss tree rings and premade raised planter beds, which are ideal for veggie or herb gardens. Once installed, FormBoss edging stays where it is put. Its strength, durability and longevity make it ideal for every application from family gardens and urban outdoor living spaces to commercial projects, and it comes with a 10-year structural guarantee. So impressive is the FormBoss steel edging range that it is frequently employed by leading Australian garden designers participating in the prestigious Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. FormBoss edging has played an essential role in a wide variety of display gardens, including the 2013 winner

of Best in Show. In recent shows, FormBoss edging featured in multiple display gardens, many of them award winners. Greenlines Gardenware offers a complete range of services, including free quotes, precurving of edging products and Australia-wide delivery. You can buy edging direct from the Melbourne factory or, if you prefer, from one of the ever-increasing number of re-sellers popping up all over Australia.

GET THE LOOK FORMBOSS Phone 13 11 37 Email Website



| 95

Now you can enjoy the great Australian backyard and do it with a lot less effort


ackyard entertaining is a fundamental way of life in Australia. We love having friends over for a barbie, playing in the pool, backyard cricket or just lazing on a Sunday afternoon with a cold beer or a chilled glass of wine. What has also become a fundamental part of our lives is the struggle to get our backyards looking good and staying good, especially for those big occasions when friends and family come over. Earthlife, a company based in Toowoomba, Queensland, understands these struggles and has developed some simple solutions to help Aussies grow fantastic-looking, healthy gardens and lawns. Best of all, Earthlife can help turn lazy gardeners into the envy of their guests. Earthlife rock mineral products create conditions that allow plants to grow as they are meant to. First, the products break up the waterrepellent crust that forms on all soil types, then they open up and condition the soil. Finally, they create a pool of nutrients in the soil. As a result, less watering is required for upkeep, fewer chemicals are needed, and you no longer have to stock up on different fertilisers for different plants. Most of the advice given regarding garden health and maintenance revolves around


composting, mulching and fertilising, both soluble and slow-release. No mention is made of minerals and the important role they perform. Combined with the necessary microbes, the minerals in the soil are the foundation upon which everything else is built. If your soil has a high mineral content, everything else you add to the garden works better and more efficiently. Another product dedicated to making gardening an easier, more enjoyable experience is the newly released Weedless. This breaks down the seed coating to help stop the weed cycle. With only a few applications of Earthlife products to your garden or lawn, it will begin to look after itself, leaving you more time to focus on enjoying the great Aussie backyard.

GET THE LOOK EARTHLIFE Phone 1800 819 003 Email Website



| 97


Give your children a jump-start in life with this premium range of trampolines range


any Australians have fond childhood memories of time spent in the backyard bouncing on a trampoline with siblings and friends — long, leisurely days spent jumping and learning new tricks. Now your children can create their own lifelong memories with Oz Trampolines’ safe trampoline range. Trampolines have changed a great deal over the years and are now available with many handy accessories, including nets, safety pads and roofs. Oz Trampolines believes in ensuring your children have an enjoyable yet safe jumping experience. Exclusive products that encourage a safe yet fun trampolining experience can be found in Oz Trampolines’ Premium range. This range includes the Pinnacle, which the company says is the best bouncing trampoline on the market, and the very popular in-ground trampoline, which is a perfect addition to any backyard. Both trampolines are constructed using premium European-made materials, are exclusive to Australia and come with generous warranties for peace of mind. As the in-ground trampoline seamlessly


blends into your backyard, it allows for a stylish, landscaped look and feel while creating a fun space for the kids. Oz Trampolines’ in-ground models are a safe option for younger children in particular as they are located at ground level and have an easy hop-on, hop-off system, which reduces the risk of injury. Oz Trampolines’ popular in-ground range includes round and rectangular models, and a variety of sizes to suit all backyards. Also on offer as optional extras are half or full enclosures as well as basketball kits. The company’s in-ground trampolines are quick and easy to install and have a unique built-in retaining wall system. This builtin retaining wall reduces the cost and time associated with preparing for an in-ground trampoline and installation can be completed in a day. These models also come standard with patented vented pads, allowing for great airflow, no noise and a better bounce. They are sure to provide your children with a truly enjoyable trampoline experience. Not only does Oz Trampolines thrive on creating premium products that provide a

safe and enjoyable experience for children, the company also believes in the health benefits of its quality products. Jumping on a trampoline is a perfect, low-impact exercise that is great for cardiovascular fitness (in both children and adults) and, most importantly, it's lots of fun. Trampoline jumping leads to better balance and improved posture, with an increase in flexibility and coordination. So, if you’re looking for a fun, healthy and safe way to create new memories for your children, and get them out of the house, a trampoline from Oz Trampolines offers the perfect solution. What’s more, the company provides free delivery Australia-wide.

GET THE LOOK OZ TRAMPOLINES Unit 3, 21 Leather Street, Breakwater Vic 3219 Phone 1300 393 004 Email Website


Selecting the right lawn for your area and your needs is the key to long-term success


hoosing the right lawn for your climate can be tough! You don’t want to install a beautiful turf only to find that it has died off or is looking patchy just six months later. Despite your best maintenance efforts, this could happen simply because the grass you chose doesn’t suit your climate or your needs. Installing turf is a big job and something you only want to do once. If you’re looking for the best type of lawn for your local climate, engage with the experts at Turf Finder. Turf Finder assists homeowners and industry professionals to select a turf variety that meets their specific needs. Your preference may be for lower maintenance, shade or wear tolerance. Turf Finder spells out the differences between every turf variety sold across Australia. With a database of more than 200 turf growers listed on Turf Finder, you will be

able to source the turf variety you desire from a local, reputable supplier. Turf Finder is there to help you choose the right turf for you, inform you of where to buy it and how to maintain it, linking you directly to suppliers of turf products and services Australia-wide, to help your lawn thrive. When it comes to turf, unfortunately there is no silver bullet. The independent advice provided by Turf Finder is invaluable as it objectively lists the pros and cons of each turf variety sold within Australia. Turf Finder also provides details of all turf farms that are members of Turf Australia as well as their state's peak industry body (Turf QLD, Turf NSW, Turf WA and Turf VIC). This helps consumers purchase turf from reputable suppliers that support the advancement and professionalism of the Australian turfgrass industry.

A good lawn can increase the value of your home by up to $75,000, so take the time to select the best variety for you and enlist the help of an expert to help you make that final decision. Luckily, Turf Finder has done the homework for you. Simply browse, read and determine what you need. Do it once, do it right!

GET THE LOOK TURF FINDER Unit 8, 967 Logan Road, Holland Park West Qld 4121 Phone 0412 197 218 Email Website


| 99

Designed by Valley Garden Landscapes

Timber provides excellent value for money and offers an array of benefits for your home


imber provides a way to enhance any home or garden; also any commercial or retail property. Hardwood timber can be used to create comfortable, attractive and flexible features ranging from internal flooring to outside decking and beams. When renovating a home, you eventually come to that pivotal point in the design process when you have to choose your flooring and decking. Enter Abbey Timber. Trading since 1976, Abbey Timber is a family-owned Australian business with more than 40 years’ industry experience. The company specialises in the supply of timber products and building materials, including timbers for decking and flooring. With the largest range of decking timber available on the east coast, Abbey Timer offers more than 25 different types of timber in several sizes and grades, so you’re certainly


spoilt for choice. The company also now carries a large range of structural hard and soft woods for all types of external applications, including large hardwood posts and beams. Picking out new wood floors or timber decking for your home is, first and foremost, a matter of deciding which look you like best. But, with more than 50 species of wood to choose from, it can be hard to know which is right for your project. To help streamline the process, Abbey Timber offers an extensive range of external timber for all types of budgets and designs. Plus, the company has qualified tradesmen on-site to help you with design ideas and product choice. Timber is versatile and can be used in a wide variety of ways. It is relatively easy to install and can be worked with simple equipment. Plus, as it is natural, it won’t break down into

environmentally damaging materials as it ages. For all discerning homeowners who want to add charm and personality to their abode, or create a stunning outdoor living space, timber is the perfect choice. Abbey Timber prides itself on the quality of its products, its excellent service and on meeting delivery deadlines. No matter what type of timber you are after, it is worth contacting Abbey Timber today.

GET THE LOOK ABBEY TIMBER PTY LTD 41 Heathcote Road, Moorebank NSW 2170 Phone (02) 9774 2944 Email Website


Designed by Valley Garden Landscapes



| 101

Warré hive.

THE LIFE OF BEES All you need to know about getting started in beekeeping Words: John Scott Photos: Diane crawford eekeeping can be a satisfying pastime and the rewards are very sweet indeed. Apart from the obvious — honey — there is also the improved pollination of plants and the joy of getting to know an amazing community that works so hard for the hive. There is also a great deal of satisfaction to be had in helping such an important part of the environment that’s under attack from a number of threats, many of them caused by human activities. Bee populations are in crisis and its something backyard beekeepers can help adress. Starting out in beekeeping can seem a daunting task; there’s a lot to learn and quite a lot of new equipment is needed. But in many ways, bees are very easy to keep — as long as you don’t mind a few hundred of them buzzing around while you undertake the tasks necessary to manage them. As with most new ventures, it’s good to start already equipped with what you’ll need, so here’s the rundown for keeping bees.



It’s wonderful to attract bees to your garden or even have a hive or two.

Langstroth hive.


RIGHT You'll need some essential equipment — full bee suit, gloves, hive tool and smoker. BOTTOM Take a peek inside a Top Bar hive.

THE BEEHIVE You’ll need to decide what type of hive you want to use to keep your bees. Three that easily comply with relevant state regulations on beekeeping are Langstroth, Top Bar and Warré. Langstroth hives are the conventional commercial beehives most people will be used to seeing. These hives are readily available from beekeeping equipment suppliers. A small amount of construction is usually required, but this is quite easy. Top Bar hives and Warré hives will usually have to be made as supplies are not very common. Designs are easily found via an internet search for plans for the hive you wish to use. The type of hive you choose will depend on your reason for keeping bees and how willing or confident you are to make your own hive.

BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT There are a few bits of equipment you will need to keep bees. These consist of personal protective equipment (yes, the bees will sting you if they can!) and tools to manage the hive. The basics include: • Bee suit, which can be a half or full suit and will also include a veil — I recommend a full suit • Beekeeping gloves • Hive tool • A smoker Other equipment you may wish to get: • Honey extractor • Uncapping knife • Various tubs and containers for storing wax and honey These extra bits of equipment are not necessary unless you want to extract honey from your beehive. It’s also possible to borrow this equipment from other beekeepers or a local beekeeping club. BACKYARD

| 103



Step 1. Use natural materials such as bark or pine needles to get the smoker started.


Step 2. A few squeezes on the bellows gives life to the flame.

GETTING STARTED Before you get your own bees it’s recommended that you join a local amateur beekeeping group. This can be a great way to meet other beekeepers in your area and learn a lot of the basics of beekeeping before getting bees of your own. It’s also a good way to find if you’ll actually enjoy keeping bees. These links will help you find a group near you: • New South Wales: • Victoria: • Queensland: • South Australia: • Western Australia: beekeepingwestaus.asn. au/associations.html • Tasmania: You will also need to register as a beekeeper with your state department of primary industry. Here are the links: • • • • other_animals/bees/bee_identification_ movement_and_trading_ • requirements/hive_registration_ and_identification • • cfm?header=Honey%20Bees •



Step 3. The smoker is smoking and ready to use.

A hive of activity at the entrance as bees return with pollen.

GETTING YOUR OWN BEES Once you have all the necessary equipment and have spent some time with your local beekeeping group, you may feel ready to get your own bees. There are two basic ways to do this: one is to catch a swarm and the other is to buy a package of bees. It’s recommended that the beginner buy a package of bees (“package” is the accurate term); catching swarms can wait until you gain a bit more experience.

A package of bees will come with a queen bred to be a good producer as well as having a good nature. The temperament of the queen has a big influence on the disposition of her hive. There are many people who sell packaged bees and your local beekeeping group should be able to suggest a reputable supplier. The package will arrive with a queen in a queen cage with a few attendant bees and about 1kg of bees. There will also be a can of




Backyard magazine RRP $59.70


Grand Designs Australia Sourcebook #5 RRP $14.95

FOR ONLY $49.95

FREE GIF 5th ed T itio n of

Source Building and renovating can certainly be timebook consuming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on how organised you are, how much you really know about what it is you want to achieve, how quickly you can make decisions and be confident with your final choices and, of course, your team — those professionals who will design, detail, build and fit-out your home. Getting all those things right up front will make the entire project run smoothly and, hopefully, reasonably effortlessly on your part. This Grand Designs Australia  Sourcebook  was created to help you with your building decisions, from discovering your personal style and the right architect, builder and interior designer to finding the materials, finishes and furnishings you would like to complete your home with.

SUBSCRIBE NOW! Call 1300 303 414 or visit and use code C/BDI155 Hurry! Offer ends 1st March, 2018

YARD SHOP Safely removing frames from the Langstroth hive.

syrup enclosed for the bees to feed on before they are installed. When you’re ready to instate the bees you should remove the can of syrup. You should then separate the queen cage and place it in a safe place nearby, out of direct sun. Next, shake the bees from the package into the hive. Once most of the bees have been gently jiggled into the hive you will then need to place the queen cage between the frames or bars in the hive. This will depend on whether you choose a Langstroth, Warré or Top Bar hive. The hive should then be closed up and the package left near the entrance of the hive to allow any bees that remain in the package to find the hive. The hive should be left for about a week to allow the queen and her bees to settle into their new home. After this time, you can have a look at how much work the bees have done in their hive and also remove the queen cage. You should see eggs being laid by the queen after about two to three weeks of a package being installed in a hive. Once your bees are happy in their hive and the queen is laying eggs, regular inspections will be needed to ensure the hive is healthy and to correct any cross-combing the bees may build. This is where the value of being part


Starter comb in the Top Bar hive.

of a beekeeping group becomes obvious as it can really be a great source of advice and help. Now that you have your bees, it’s time to enjoy them and learn what an interesting and vital part of the ecosystem they are.

John Scott is an apiarist, organic veggie gardener and garden presenter. For more information, see theproductivegarden. com, and

Choose a grass that is perfect for frolicking.

ON YOUR GRASS A great choice of grass for varying environments WORDS: JOE ROGERS t’s every Australian’s birthright to have a beautiful lawn in their home for hosting barbecues, playing games of backyard soccer and letting the kids and pets roam free around the yard. This means that choosing the correct lawn for your home is crucial. There are a number of environmental factors to consider when purchasing turf, including how much sun or shade it’ll receive, how much water it will need, if anyone in your household has grass allergies and more. And while there is a range of different turf variants, there’s only one lawn choice best suited to all of Australia’s varying environments: Sir Walter DNA Certified buffalo grass. Sir Walter DNA Certified is versatile and hardy. Many factors that cause most other lawns to deteriorate or become difficult to manage — such as lack of sun or water, lawns that cause allergies and those that are high maintenance — are not a problem for Sir Walter DNA Certified. It will ensure you’re the envy of your neighbours no matter what the season.



Here are the top four reasons why Sir Walter DNA Certified is a great grass for varying environments.

SHADE-TOLERANT The average garden will receive a combination of sun and shade but as the colder months come around, your lawn will likely be in more shade. Sir Walter DNA Certified’s broad leaves make it more shade-tolerant than most other lawns. Sir Walter DNA Certified will thrive on as little as three hours of sunlight per day, making it the perfect transitional lawn between seasons, or for homes where large trees and fences throw shade.

NEVER NEEDS REPLACING If you live in a dry or drought-prone area, a lack of rain can cause severe deterioration of your lawn, which it can’t always recover from. Even after the toughest of droughts, properly maintained Sir Walter DNA Certified buffalo grass will always bounce back, unlike many other lawns that frequently need replacing.


ABOVE, BOTTOM RIGHT AND OPPOSITE BOTTOM Nothing beats a lush patch of green grass around your home. BELOW Joe Rogers, technical manager at Lawn Solutions Australia.


| 109


ABOVE, RIGHT AND BOTTOM Choose a low-maintenance turf variety so there is more time for you to rest and play.

LOW-ALLERGENIC During spring, many lawns can be a problem for people with hay fever, causing them to sneeze all season long. Sir Walter DNA Certified is a low-allergy alternative to many others turfs, as it has substantially less pollen. Its soft and smooth leaf blades also cause less of an itch for kids and pets when playing in the backyard.

LOW-MAINTENANCE As we head towards winter, most of us tend to stay indoors and avoid outdoor chores such as gardening and mowing. The tight growth habit of Sir Walter DNA Certified keeps most weeds at bay and allows the turf to repair itself quickly if damaged, lessening the chance of bare patches. The average mowing height for buffalo grass is 30-50mm, higher than most other species, meaning mowing is less frequent and less of a chore. Sir Walter DNA Certified buffalo grass was born right here in Australia and no other grasses on the market have been able to tick all the right boxes the way it does. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the perfect Aussie lawn for year-round use. Joe Rogers is the technical manager at Lawn Solutions Australia, the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading authority on all things lawn. The company provides homeowners with turf and lawn-care products to add value to their outdoor experience. To learn more, visit


Give an animal a second chance More than 135,000 animals come through our doors each year. Can you open your doors to just one and give an animal a second chance at love? Visit

Red-shouldered leaf beetles gather in thousands and can quickly skeletonise leaves.

SEEING RED The sworn enemy of gardeners and orchardists, the red-shouldered leaf beetle can do a large amount of damage in just a few hours Words: Densey Clyne Photos: Diane crawford any gardeners and orchardists living in the northern and eastern states of Australia will have woeful tales to tell of infestations by a small beetle that leaves their crops, orchard trees and ornamentals totally skeletonised. The culprit is Monolepta australis, commonly called the red-shouldered leaf beetle, a member of the mainly leaf-eating Chrysomelidae family. Although these beetles occur only sporadically, they arrive in their millions, often sneakily by night, and work so quickly it’s sometimes too late to do more than simply mop up after the event. However, knowing the characteristics and life history of any pest species can be the essential first stage in dealing with it.


DESCRIPTION AND BEHAVIOUR The eggs and larvae of the red-shouldered leaf beetle aren’t usually seen, so for most


purposes it is only the adult winged form we need to recognise. For a start, the beetle is very small — only 6mm long — but readily distinguished from most other small leaf-eating (phytophagous) beetles by its colour pattern. Basically a deep yellow, it’s clearly patterned with a red band (or reddish patches) over the shoulder of the wing covers (elytra) and a pair of red spots two-thirds of the way along the body. This pest is also unique in the plaguelike manner and swiftness of its attack and in the unusually large number of potential host plants it can decimate. If disturbed, the beetles will fly off, fall to the ground or settle in their dozens on any unwary observer.

LIFE CYCLE The female red-shouldered leaf beetle lays her tiny yellowish eggs on the surface of the soil under the food plant. The newly hatched larvae, white with a hard brown plate at each end, burrow down just a few centimetres to

feed on the roots of whatever is available, including grasses and weeds. After a few months, the larvae, now about 12mm long, pupate while still underground. The adults will often emerge and swarm after a rainy period and there may be several generations in one year.

THE DAMAGE The red-shouldered leaf beetle feeds on a wide range of crops, orchard trees and garden ornamentals, including legumes, soybeans, mung beans, sugarcane, avocado, corn, lychee, macadamia, mango, strawberry, cucurbits, potatoes, tomatoes, edible figs and eucalypts. The damage first occurs on the upper surface of the leaf but soon only the tough leaf veins remain. The leaves of entire shrubs and trees can be skeletonised and garden ornamentals, such as roses and crepe myrtles, are often attacked at peak flowering times.

A more welcome visitor to your garden.


A fig tree under attack.


Handsome but destructive.

Controlling millions of voracious beetles is not an easy task. Red-shouldered leaf beetles are hard-bodied (unlike other pests such as aphids, thrips and mites), so soap sprays won’t work. A strong jet of water over infiltrated leaves will dislodge the beetles temporarily but they quickly swarm back to their leafy food source. Also, there are no known predators that are effective against high infestations. The only method, if you cannot tolerate damaged foliage, is pyrethrum. Natural pyrethrum comes from flowers of the pyrethrum plant and you can buy organic pyrethrum — but it can be hard to find

and expensive. The synthetic equivalent is popular but we do not recommend it. Pyrethrum is a knock-down pesticide that kills an insect on contact. It breaks down very quickly, has relatively low toxicity and is biodegradable. But, if used, it should be spot-sprayed with a fine jet — never blanket spray. This would be effective for one or 10 beetles on a small plant but, since red-shouldered leaf beetles arrive in their thousands, this option might be pointless. Another suggestion is to try using a Bacillus thuringiensis [BT] treatment. This naturally occurring bacterium, normally for caterpillar control, is marketed as Dipel and available at most garden centres. BACKYARD

| 113

Cherry ‘Starkrimson’

SWEET AND JUICY Nothing is more delightful than the lusciousness of stone fruit and, with dwarf and self-pollinating varieties, many are perfect for the home garden Words: Diane Crawford Photos: Fleming’s Nurseries tone fruits include almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums, all botanically related members of the genus Prunus. Their fruit can be eaten fresh or dried or can be used in cooking and preserves. The fruits contain a hard, often pitted seed. Stone-fruit trees can be added to the garden year round but are best planted during early winter as grafted, bare-rooted plants. Autumn is the ideal time to prepare the ground for planting and order your trees. The selection of cultivars during winter is often better than at other times of the year. Certain stone-fruit trees are self-fertile but others need a pollinator — meaning another tree of a different cultivar needs to be planted nearby for pollination — so it’s wise to find out



which varieties are best suited to your local climate and soil and which make good pollen partners, before purchase.

GROWING The ideal climate for most stone fruit is a cool winter followed by a warm summer without too much humidity. But there are low-chill types, which you can grow in warmer areas. Stonefruit trees are deciduous and spring-flowering and bear fruit through summer into autumn, depending on the cultivar selected. The sizes of trees vary: dwarf varieties attain a height and spread of 2–3m, while standard cherries, for instance, can exceed 8m. Pruning trees can keep them around 4–7m and many are suitable to espalier (grow twodimensionally on a frame, gate, fence or wall) or duo/trio plant (two or three trees planted in one hole), while some are available in dwarf form for

smaller gardens or planting in containers. The ideal position for stone fruit is in open ground where it receives all-day sunshine. As they are prone to various fungal diseases, a sandy or loamy soil that’s well drained, well dug, fertile and compost-rich is ideal. Feed trees annually after flowering finishes, using a complete organic fertiliser, then monthly using a seaweed emulsion. Keep the water up to them during dry weather but avoid wetting the foliage when watering or feeding.

PEST AND DISEASES Spray with Bordeaux or lime sulphur in autumn as leaves fall, then in winter as the flower buds swell. This controls brown rot, leaf curl, scale, mites, aphids and mealybugs. A tree infected with leaf curl needs to have its leaves stripped and removed to help prevent the problem the following season. As flowers open, treat with a copper-based spray to prevent fungal infections. Fruit-fly is a significant pest and you will need to monitor diligently using an organic attractant or Dak pot. To help prevent disease or insect pests, remove fallen or spoiled fruit and bin — don’t put in the compost. Before binning them, put in a well sealed plastic bag.


Plum ‘Luisa’

Peach ‘Tasty Zee’

Nectarine ‘Arctic Rose’


| 115

Peach ‘Crimson Rocket’

Photo: Michał Grosicki


ALMONDS Rich in antioxidants, almonds also have antiviral properties. The trees tolerate a slightly alkaline, well-drained soil. Plant them 6m apart in the home garden. Harvest fruit in summer/ early autumn. Dehull nuts and dry. Varieties: ‘Californian Paper Shell’ needs ‘Sonora’ or ‘Fritz’ as a pollinator. ‘Chellaston’ requires ‘Johnson’s Prolific’. All-in-One™ cv. ‘Zaione’ is self-fertile.

APRICOTS Apricots have been around for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years and generally grow to about 3–4m high.


Varieties: ‘Moorpark’ apricot was developed in England during the 1600s and is still considered one of the best-eating apricots in the world, plus it’s ideal to plant in the home garden. Others worth growing are ‘Divinity’, ‘Story’ and ‘Trevatt’.

CHERRIES Whether white or red fleshed, cherries also provide beautiful ornamental value with stunning blossom coverage in spring. Varieties: Some varieties require pollination from another cherry variety to set fruit, like ‘Minnie Royal’ and ‘Royal Lee’ (low-chill varieties just released in Australia) and ‘Royal Rainier’.

Apricot ‘Moorpark’


Plum ‘Damson’


These can be bought as single trees or multigrafted (together on the one grafted rootstock). But there are self-fertile varieties, such as ‘Lapins’, ‘Starkrimson’ and ‘Stella’, which can stand alone and are ideal for the home garden.

NECTARINES Simply a smooth-skinned form of peach, nectarines are yellow or white fleshed and have long been sought after for their delicious, sweet fruit. Early records show nectarines grown in France and Europe by the 1500s and several varieties reached England by the 1600s. Varieties: The best nectarines are ‘Arctic Rose’ (white-fleshed), ‘Fantasia’, ‘Goldmine’ (white-fleshed), ‘May Grand’ and the miniature Trixzie®. They are all self-pollinating.

PEACHES Peaches are luscious, juicy fruit to eat, whether white or yellow, clingstone or slipstone, and their soft, fuzzy skin is a unique feature. They are self-pollinating. Originating in China around 2000 BCE, they may have been grown across Europe for centuries. Varieties: Worth growing are ‘Anzac’, ‘Crimson Rocket’ (narrower than a standard peach), ‘Daisy’, ‘Elberta’, ‘Tasty Zee’ and the unusual ‘China Flat White’.

Photo: Tetiana Bykovets

PLUMS Delicious plums are probably the easiest and least fussy stone fruit to grow in the home garden. They like to grow without pruning and are the least likely stone fruit to suffer from disease or pest attack. Blood-red-, red- and yellow-fleshed plums will deliver varying degrees of sweetness and tartness. Varieties: These are the plums no home should go without, including ‘Luisa’ (selffertile), ‘Mariposa’, ‘Damson’, ‘President’ and ‘Coe’s Golden Drop’. BACKYARD

| 117


Humulus lupulus, common hop.

Nothing is more satisfying than the first sip of your very own brew.

GROW YOUR OWN BEER Fancy a brew that’s homegrown? Well, if you live in the cooler southern parts of Australia, hops are certainly worth growing Words: Jennifer Stackhouse Photos: Diane Norris & Adam Wilson


ops are the flowers of the climbing plant Humulus lupulus. The climber grows each spring, sprouting from a rhizome beneath the soil to produce many twining stems, rough but handsomely lobed leaves and the flowers that brewers covet. A curious feature of the hop plant is they produce male and female flowers on separate plants. The pendulous female flowers — clusters of small, green bracts — are used in beer making. The male flowers form open panicles but, as fertilisation isn’t required for beer hops, these are not grown. Hop flowers are abundant and appear in


summer. They are ready to harvest in early autumn as they become ripe and start to dry. Established vines produce bigger crops. Each female hop flower is made up of many tiny flowers concealed under the bracts. These flowers, which are called “cones” or “strobilus”, give beer its bitter flavour and distinctive aroma. The main resins in hop flowers are humulone and lupulone. The keys to successful hop production are growing in the right climate (cool parts of Victoria and Tasmania are ideal), having plenty of moisture through spring and summer (as all that growth needs to be kept well watered) and lots of sunshine. Feed with a complete organic fertiliser in spring when the new growth begins to appear.

Hops need a support such as a wall, trellis or, ideally, a climbing frame to grow on. An open frame running east–west to maximise sunlight on the vine gives best growth. Commercial hops are trained along posts and wires. Plants grow 3–9m across and 5–6m high, so they need plenty of space to spread out and grow during summer. However, balance the height with your ability to reach the top of the plant to harvest the hops. After the autumn harvest, as the vines die back, they can be cut down to regrow the following spring. The rhizomes can be lifted and divided in late winter or early spring to produce new plants. Varieties favoured for brewing include ‘Pride of Ringwood’, ‘Super Pride’ and ‘Cluster’.

Over 11,700 dogs now have happy new homes ...but there are always more

HOOK IDEAS † The heads of old golf clubs † Irrigation gate valves † Disused gardening hand tools † Dowel or timber pegs † Fancy door handles or knobs † Vintage garden or house taps † The taps from beer kegs

LEFT Recycled garden taps make fun hooks for outdoor hat racks. BOTTOM Irrigation gate valves can be used as garden-themed hooks. BELOW The completed rack, ready to take hats, coats or umbrellas.

HANG UP ON ME Hats, caps, coats and umbrellas need no longer be hung on a humdrum rack WORDS & photos: Diane Crawford t the risk of stating the obvious, a coat rack or hat rack is simply a wallmounted device for holding coats or hats, although it can of course be used for keeping umbrellas, raincoats or whatever you’d like off the floor of your verandah, deck or patio. But just because the rack performs a rather mundane function, it doesn’t have to look boring. Most homemade hat or coat racks are merely a length of timber with wooden pegs or storebought hat hooks spaced along its length, onto which an object is hung. Even though you can buy antique or decorative hat hooks, we are going to show you a few imaginative ideas to glam-up what would otherwise be a mundane piece of wall furniture, and to express your creativity. You might like to use our ideas or come up with your own. For our hat rack we have used recycled garden taps mounted on to a piece of blackbutt timber, a native Australian hardwood.



WHAT YOU NEED † Tape measure † Ruler and pencil † Timber cut to the required length; consider width and breadth of timber, too (our blackbutt is 110cm x 140mm x 34mm) † Sponge † Paint or stain † Paint brush or small roller † Rust Guard to prevent the taps from tarnishing † Mask and gloves † Fine grain sandpaper or a sander † Electric or cordless drill † Spanner † Ratchet † Nuts, bolts and washers † Drill bits, including a wood boring bit † Brass fittings, plastic ’stake caps‚ or corks to plug openings of taps † Unique hat hooks (in our case, old garden taps  an odd number looks best)

DESIGN TIP As with grouping decorative objects inside the home, using an odd number of hooks on your rack tends to look more pleasing to the eye. Depending on your needs, opt for three, five or seven hooks. And choose hooks that match the design of your verandah, deck or patio to create a fully coordinated look.



1 Step 1. Firstly, measure the wall space where the hat rack will go to establish the length of timber needed. Keep in mind how many hooks you will require to meet your family’s needs. Measure and cut a piece of timber to fit. We have used the beautiful Australian hardwood, blackbutt.



2 Step 2. An odd number of hooks (say three, five or seven) for some reason looks more balanced and pleasing to the eye. The spacing between hooks is a matter of choice (ours are 20cm apart). Place the taps (or your chosen hooks) along the timber to get a rough idea of final positioning.

Step 3. Mark lightly with a pencil the centre position of each hook, including drilling holes.


5 Step 6. On the reverse side of the timber, counter-sink holes with a wood boring bit in preparation for securing the nuts to the bolts. Step 5. Sponge off pencil lines and lightly sand.

Step 4. Using a drill bit one size bigger than the bolts, drill holes through the timber.


8 7 Step 8. Lightly sand the ends of the taps to smooth off any burrs. Step 7. We wanted the beauty of the blackbutt to stay revealed so we used Organoil Danish Oil. If the rack is to be installed on the verandah or outside, we suggest using Organoil Decking Oil. Of course you can paint the timber — particularly to enhance pine, to add colour or coordinate with your decor. Apply stain (or paint) as per instructions on the tin. Lightly sand between coats.

10 Step 10. To prevent taps from tarnishing, which could mark your hats or clothes, spray evenly with Rust Guard. Follow the instructions on the can. Make sure you wear a mask and gloves.


11 Step 11. You might be able to find fittings from plumbing outlets to screw onto the exposed tap ends. Lacquer these too, if made of brass.


Step 9. You can use old, recycled or new taps. No matter what you choose, wash thoroughly in warm soapy water to remove grease or grit.

Step 12. Place each tap into position, making sure they are correctly placed, and then thread the bolt through the pre-drilled hole. Hold the bolt head with a spanner while tightening the nut (with washer) using a ratchet. Secure firmly.

Step 13. If you can’t find brass fittings to fit, ends could be sealed with a plastic “stake cap” or plugged with a cork to prevent wasps or spiders finding a new home.

Step 14. Our blackbutt rack was quite heavy and needed to have under-support with sturdy decorative wall brackets. Fasten your rack to the wall as you see fit but be mindful that the rack needs to be secured properly. Ask a carpenter or specialist at your local hardware store for advice.


| 121

‘Verdale’, known as ‘Verdial’ in its native France, has become a popular cultivar in Australia.

Fruit Gods OF THE

There’s great varietal choice with these oldest of cultivated trees Words: Melissa King Photos: The Diggers Club will never forget driving through rural Greece for the first time and seeing grove upon grove of ancient olive trees, trunks gnarled and twisted with age, some growing in impossible locations but always with canopies laden with tempting fruit. Since olives are said to live 1000 years, I wouldn’t like to guess the age of some of the trees, but many of them must have been well over 100 years old. Maybe it’s something in the Mediterranean air or maybe it’s the way the Greeks celebrate olives in everything they cook, from baked bread and fish to the fresh Greek salad that accompanies most family meals, but



it is truly one tree that gets better with age. Olives are among the earliest cultivated fruits, with records of agricultural use dating back thousands of years BCE. They are decorative, easy-to-grow plants that thrive in dry conditions and produce a bountiful crop of plump, tasty fruit for oil or eating, so it’s no wonder they have stood the test of time. And they are wonderfully versatile. They can be used in everything from chicken or lamb dishes to potato stew and olive tapenade — and what would an antipasto platter be without a selection of marinated olives? So diverse are our tastes these days, my little boy snacks on olives as if they were candy.

Beyond their value as a food crop, olives are incredibly ornamental with graceful, silvery foliage that looks good in every season, so they make stunning feature trees. Grow them in big terracotta pots for an authentic Mediterranean look or clip them into hedges or topiary. You can also espalier them to make a decorative feature on a courtyard wall or fence. Since olives are so multipurpose, it’s important to consider whether you are after a table, oil or dual-purpose variety. Pressing your own oil at home requires considerable time and effort, so most home gardeners opt for an eating or dual-purpose variety. Perhaps the best-known variety is the




‘Kalamata’ olive from Greece, with plump, medium to large fruit. It’s classed as a dualpurpose variety and can be preserved and used in all manner of dishes or pressed to yield flavoursome, good-quality oil. Handpick them when they are purple-black for best flavour. ‘Manzanillo’, another top choice, is a heavy cropper that produces fruit with a high flesh-topit ratio. In other words, the flesh is plump and juicy and, in olive terms, you get lots of it, so it’s good for stuffing and pickling, green or black. It ripens early in the season. The Spanish variety ‘Arbequina’ is one of the best cold- and salt-tolerant varieties available. It crops early and produces a heavy batch of small, roundish fruit that ripens to black. It makes a great table olive or you can press it for high-quality oil. If you’re after a variety that is highly productive and highly ornamental you can’t go past ‘Verdale’, or ‘Verdial’, as it’s sometimes called. This variety, which was first discovered in southern France, is treasured for the oil it produces, but it is also one of the most attractive feature trees with intensely silver foliage. And if you are seeking fruity, aromatic olive


oil, then keep an eye out for ‘Frantoio’. With a high oil content and intense flavour, it’s the one many Italians turn to for top-tasting oil.

GROWING These Mediterranean beauties grow naturally in a climate with cool winters and long, hot, dry summers, so they’ll perform best in areas of Australia with similar growing conditions. They enjoy plenty of sun, so position them where they’ll get six hours of sunlight a day. In their native habitat, olives grow and produce fruit in poor, malnourished soils but, if you want the best out of them, dig some compost and organic matter through the soil before planting and make sure that the soil is free-draining. Olives hate wet feet and the quickest way to kill them is with poor drainage. In pots, make sure you use a good-quality potting mix. They’ll also benefit from a good dose of organic flower and fruit fertiliser in early spring and again some time in late summer. Mature olive trees are remarkably drought tolerant but they will crop better if water is available, particularly during flowering and fruit development.

Olives are generally self-fertile, although some varieties will benefit from a crosspollinating partner to produce a good crop. Refer to the plant label for advice. Please be aware that olive trees have established themselves as environmental weeds in some dry parts of South Australia and New South Wales, so check with your local nursery before planting in these areas.

HARVEST Olive trees will generally start to bear a good crop of fruit once they are four or five years old. The fruit is usually harvested somewhere between mid-autumn and early winter. Taste most olives straight from the tree and you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about, so bitter is the fruit. You’ll generally need to pickle or preserve olives before you enjoy them on the table. Green olives can be harvested when the fruit turns light green or you can wait until the fruit is black but still firm. You can pick the fruit individually by hand, use a rake or do it how the professionals do: lay a sheet on the ground beneath the tree then shake it vigorously and catch the falling fruit. BACKYARD

| 123


YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND Get a helping hand in the garden and keep your fingers protected with Glovax. This great product is made with a revolutionary yarn material that is equipped with abrasion resistance, blade cut resistance, tear strength resistance and puncture resistance. The material is moisture-absorbent, skid-resistant, water-resistant and oil-proof. It’s also lightweight, comfortable and flexible, so is suited to all of your needs. Keep those green fingers protected with the essential, hard-wearing Glovax that is set to become your new best friend in the garden.


PESTS BE GONE Insect pests can cause havoc in the garden, destroying flowering and cropping plants if they’re not controlled. Yates Rose Gun Advanced is perfect to keep your garden bug-free all year round. The spray kills insect pests and mites on contact and systemically works from within the plant to control insect pests and diseases. For use on roses and ornamentals in the home garden.

Stuff MUSHROOM MAGIC OUTDOOR DINING The ultra-modern Renon eight-seat outdoor dining setting from Bali Republic combines the finest grade-certified plantation teak available with premiumquality stainless steel — setting a new standard in design. The Renon range requires minimal maintenance and will maintain its strength and look year after year. With fast and free metro shipping Australia-wide, a 14-day money-back guarantee and three-year product warranty, Bali Republic is Australia’s preeminent online store for luxurious outdoor furniture.


Keen to grow your own mushrooms? With the right materials, growing this healthy addition to any dish is simpler than it might seem. Biome Eco Stores is giving everyone the ability to grow their own fresh produce at home with the do-it-yourself Home Grown Mushroom Box from Life Cykel. The kit uses coffee grounds so you can cultivate gourmet oyster mushrooms from home in 10 to 16 days, after which they can be ready from box to plate in minutes. Oyster mushrooms are the original super food, packed with protein, calcium, magnesium, selenium and a variety of vitamins.


SPOILED FOR CHOICE CastStone manufactures sandstone rendered-look pre-cast pillars, columns and other architectural pieces, such as mail boxes. The detail on the pillars and columns is sharp and well defined and you have many styles to select from. As CastStone’s pillars, columns and mail boxes are all manufactured in segments, you have even more choice, so the final product will be perfect, whether it’s for a simple cottage or a grand mansion. From its base in South Australia, CastStone manufactures an extensive range of fence pillars, gate pillars, letterboxes, columns, wall capping, coping stones and plinths. Contact CastStone, the premier manufacturer of pre-cast concrete products in Australia, when you’re ready to enhance your home’s appeal.

It’s great having the skills to tackle a few DIY jobs around the house, but you first have to make sure you have the right tools for the job and that they are easily accessible. The Trojan three-piece multi-tool set offers a variety of functional tools that are essential for the DIY lover. It comes fully equipped with a 14-in-one multi-function tool that will help you with any job that requires cutting, gripping and fastening — perfect for home or the great outdoors. A two-in-one folding utility stainless-steel blade is also included, along with an LED torch that will help increase visibility if you find yourself having to work in the dark.

SHINE, SHINE, SHINE Protect your deck, siding, railings and outdoor furniture with the nifty Feast Watson Water Repellent Timber and Deck Oil. Formulated especially for exterior timber, the oil is water-repellent with a clear, matt finish that lets the natural beauty of the timber shine through. Apply two coats, allowing at least two hours between coats for the oil to penetrate the timber. Feast Watson also recommends the timber should be maintained at least every six months if you want to retain maximum water repellency and weather protection. So what are you waiting for? Refresh your exterior timber today, just in time for summer.

GO CORDLESS It’s time to ditch the smelly gas and messy cords and go with battery-powered equipment to clear your back yard. With more than 170 branches and sites across Australia and New Zealand, Kennards Hire is the country’s leading hire group and a national stockist of Hilti cordless tools. If you’re ever in need of an urgent replacement, Kennards Hire is your one-stop shop for highpowered and reliable cordless tools. With many landscaping and building sites embracing technology and going cordless, tools no longer need to be tethered to an outlet or generator. Having the freedom to take tools anywhere saves time, optimises workflow and productivity. Full marks from us.


PLAN AND DEFEND While there are elements of bushfire threat that you can’t control — like the weather — planning and preparing your home for a bushfire can dramatically increase the chances of your family and your home surviving. When it comes to enacting a bushfire preparation strategy, having the right equipment is imperative. Whether it’s outdoor power equipment — such as lawnmowers, chainsaws and trimmers — to help prepare your home and property in the event of a fire, or vital pieces of equipment should you be impacted by fire (such as portable and standby generators and water pumps), it’s important to be prepared. Victa and Briggs & Stratton brands provide a range of equipment that is perfectly suited to these tasks.


A KITCHEN MASTERPIECE The Weber Family Q built-in barbecue is the latest evolution of the popular Weber Q range. It has the same amazing cooking system as other Weber barbecues but, in this case, it has been turned into an outdoor kitchen masterpiece. This barbecue fits into a standard 600mm (or larger) outdoor kitchen bench, which makes tailoring a design for installation simple, and it’s constructed of 304-grade stainless steel and cast aluminium.Install it yourself or use Weber’s delivery, assembly and installation service.


Lounge like you really mean it with the COAST Isla outdoor lounger, shown here in charcoal tweed. A certain glamour accompanies the lounger, which is made in New Zealand from marine-grade Sunbrella fabric and offers guaranteed resistance to the elements. This stylish product is also perfect for a breezy beach home and beckons lazy afternoons. Perfect for a relaxing day by the pool.

Leaves and debris have forever plagued us with their unwelcomed outdoor mess — we tiredly sweep them away to find them returning soon thereafter. Have your garden tidy in no time at all with the Rover Jet, a blower designed to help you win the war against garden debris. Rover’s Jet Blower is equipped to assist in quicker yard clean-ups with minimal effort required. This high-airflow leaf blower pushes an incredible volume of 650-cubic-feet of air through the end of the nozzle every minute at speeds of up to 208km/h thanks to its durable twostroke 27cc engine. Fallen leaves, grass cuttings, general debris — nothing can withstand the powerful blast of this product.

DIG IT UP Manually excavating and digging has traditionally been a highimpact, strenuous act that can leave you with muscle and joint pain. With this in mind, leading outdoor tool manufacturer Fiskars has gone back to the drawing board to engineer a mattock and pick with a user-friendly design that reduces fatigue and increases efficiency at every swing. In order to minimise vibration, Fiskars has incorporated its patented Isocore technology to drastically absorb impact when striking. This design ultimately reduces the punishment your body receives, transferring two times less shock and vibration to the user than traditional wood-handled mattocks. This is technology at its best.

POWER AND PRECISION If you’re going to invest in a new tractor to better tackle a big backyard, it’s understandable that you’d want to purchase the best tractor you can afford. Enter the XT2 Enduro Series Lawn Tractor LX46 and LX54. The product is convenient and visually bold, and its Signature Cut offers the user guaranteed mechanical longevity, quality and a crisp lawn, every time. It is durable in build, innovative in style and ergonomic in design. And thanks to the new and luxurious Cub Comfort slide-capable highback seat, with practical arm rests and a comfortable 10-degree chair incline, the user will breeze through even the longest mowing job in complete comfort. You’re welcome.

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING Comfortable gear is important and makes time in the garden more enjoyable. Before you walk outside to savour spending time in the great outdoors — or to get stuck into some chores — make sure you have a high-quality pair of gardening shoes to guide your steps. Heralded as one of the most innovative and comfortable boot brands in the US and UK, Muck Boots continue to take Australia by storm. Every boot in the line delivers the same 100-per-cent waterproof quality. Its women’s wear range caters for all women, from fashionistas to gardeners to outdoor adventurers. No matter the purpose, all footwear is designed to tackle tough conditions in work, agriculture, lawn and garden, outdoor sporting, equine, urban commuter and even pet care without neglecting style. An essential item for all garden enthusiasts. BACKYARD

| 127


eWood Modular Raised Garden Bed Kits


•Termite and UV Resistant •Will not Rot •20 Yr Guarantee •Easy to assemble and stack •Environmentally friendly •Made from recycled printer cartridges •Australian Made •Award winning product BUY ONLINE OR FOR YOUR NEAREST STOCKIST CONTACT:

p.1300 1300 639 832 e.


To advertise in the new-look Backyard magazine, call Miriam Keen on (02) 9887 0604 Email:


DIRECTORY Birds & Animals Gates & Fences Numbers & Signage Letterboxes

Australian Made Stylish and Practical Weathervanes, Wall Panels

Planter Boxes

Weathervanes • Windsocks • Sun Dials • Model Windmills • Water Pumps • Gate & Fence Panels Russ Brebner 0419 432 454

18 Enterprise Circuit, Carrum Downs

View the entire Glenview range online at For more information call Bob on 02 9449 9892

“It’s ok if you haven’t seen one, we designed it that way”


| 129

Photo courtesy of Water Features Direct Photo courtesy of Apex Landscapes


Photo courtesy of Jane Jones Landscapes

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS Abbey Timber .................................................. 39, 100 Cinajus ................................................................ OBC Doggie Rescue ......................................................119 Earthlife ............................................................13, 96 Fleming’s Nurseries ...............................................79 FormBoss ....................................................... IFC, 94 Four Seasons Nursery & Garden Centre ................5 Glenview Products ................................................129 Holman Industries ............................................19, 92 Infinity Panels ...................................................90, 91 Lifestyle BBQs ........................................................33 LNA Master Landscapers Association ................107 Newtecpoly ...........................................................128 Oz Trampolines .........................................................7 Paradise Plants ................................................87, 88 PETA ......................................................................125 Rolaway Underground Hose ................................129 RSPCA ...................................................................111 Rusty Sculptures ..................................................129 Spanbild ..................................................................75 StrataGreen ............................................................45 Superway Group of Companies............................128 Turf Finder ........................................................55, 99

OUT & ABOUT AND DESIGNER GARDENS — WHO TO CONTACT The sky’s the limit (page 34) Aspect/Oculus and Tait; Up and away (page 40) Susan Cummins and Michael Jack Industrial entertainer (page 46) The Greenwall Company Blurred lines (page 52) Apex Landscapes High on a hill (page 60) Kathryn M. Ireland Subtropical oasis (page 66) Utopia Landscaping & Pools


EMBRACE A NEW LOOK, IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH & WELLBEING Tr y 1 o f o u r 7 n e w l o o k s i n y o u r h o m e .

GET THE FREE APP (Search Plant Life Balance)

/p l a n t l i fe b a l a n ce





Granite Bluestone Travertine Basalt

Beachwood Stone

DISPLAY, SALES & WAREHOUSE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; SYDNEY 32 Bryant Street, Padstow NSW 2211 Ph: 02 9773 5677 Fax: 02 9773 5644 Email: Online Catalogue:

Backyard Issue#15.5  

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...

Backyard Issue#15.5  

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...