Design with Nature - Planning a Native Garden Excerpts from the PowerPoint presentation prepared by Lawrie Smith landscape architect providing a check list of the principal aspects to be considered in the landscape planning, design and plant selection for your home garden.
FIRST . . . Record the physical characteristics of your garden whether new or under rehabilitation Prepare a layout plan showing the size and shape of your block . . . • Most important – locate north! • Indicate the slopes and levels • Indicate the on-site & adjacent structures • Show the underground and overhead services • Define the landform, rock & soil patterns • Locate existing vegetation for preservation
SECOND . . . Get to know your site and its surrounds, personally Illustrate on the layout plan the physical and microclimate impacts . . . • Most important – locate north! • Assess the patterns of sunshine and shadow • Identify the effects of storm, wind, breeze • Identify the effects of rainfall and water runoff • Identify the positive and negative views • Assess the quality of the soils & sub-soils • Identify existing vegetation for preservation, transplant or removal
THIRD. . . Indentify your principal family needs & functions Define on plan how YOU want to use the garden . . . • Assess your budget, priorities & available time • Plan for interesting arrival & first impressions • Identify vehicle circulation requirements • Plan functional & interesting access pathways • Define and locate areas for outdoor living activities • Plan for children’s play facilities • Identify areas for work activities in the garden Don’t forget – a garden is an artistic creation that evolves over time
FOURTH. . . Choose a style & theme for your garden Your preferred garden character will influence the site planning & plant selection. Is your garden to be . . . • Formal, informal, traditional, contemporary or for seasonal horticultural display? • Reflect the architectural style of the house? • Exciting fusion of plants and materials • Bush garden, rainforest, coastal, cottage or ? • Collectors, scientific, experimental? • ‘Walkabout’ or stroll garden? • New fresh and uniquely Australian! • Fundamentally simple, livable & affordable
FIFTH . . . Now you are ready to select plants for your garden Each plant has differing attributes . . . • What is it? – tree, shrub, cover, vine, fern, palm or ? • Where is it from? • What conditions does it prefer? • How big does it grow in nature? • Does it adapt to horticultural techniques? • Have you seen it thriving nearby? • What is its most prominent feature – form, foliage, flowers, fruits, bark or ? • Where are the most flowers and colourful foliage displayed & when?
LISTEN TO THE PLANTS! To help you select the right species They can tell you about themselves . . . • Large leaves = shade tolerance • Small leaves = sun preference • Thick & waxy leaves = store water for later (water wise) • Swollen trunk = store water (drought tolerant) • Ligno tubers = fire resistance • Aromatic = insect resistance • Massive seed production = weed potential • Grey & silver leaves = sun tolerant & salt resistant • Delicate leaves = moisture stress indicator • Thorns & spines = wildlife protection & habitat
TREES Trees have a variety of characteristics and functions • Evergreen or deciduous • Consider root systems • Diverse forms: globular, upright, umbrella, irregular, weeping, conical, etc • Specimen tree as a feature or focus element: form, foliage, bark, flower , fruit or fragrance • Shade tree locate to control sunshine and shadow • Multi planted as a grove, forest or windbreak
PALMS & CYCADS Palm fronds add a special & unique character to a garden • Size: tall, medium, low • Self cleaning or persistent fronds • Feather frond or palmate frond • Individual specimens • Formal avenues • Informal groves
GROUNDCOVERS Covers are diverse in colour, texture and form as well as functionally and structurally useful . . . • Dwarf shrubs, mattes, tufts, vines, scramblers, grasses, ferns, • Erosion control • Living mulch • Feature plants, seasonal colour
VINES & SCRAMBLERS Vines are functionally and structurally useful . . . • Select & locate to maximize flower display – over canopy, under canopy, along stems • Shade & shelter: pergola and arbours • Softening: fence, walls, • Maintenance: pruning, woody, fire, tree damage
FIVE BASIC PLANTING TECHNIQUES FOR ANY AUSSIE GARDEN WATER WISE GARDEN DESIGN ISSUES
1. Garden Layout & Maintenance - to simplify & minimise water application; • Group plants with similar water needs together - Hydrozoning • Shallow regular watering (unwise) – encourages roots to remain in the drier upper soil levels • Deep soaking watering less often (wise) – draws roots down to permanent reserves of subsoil moisture • Apply water deep down in the root zone through a slotted tube (wise) – to replenish subsoil reserves of moisture
2. Soil – aeration, fertility, additives; • Amend soil texture to improve water absorption and aeration – add sand and organic material; • Use additives to lock applied moisture into soil so it is progressively available to plants; • Do not over fertilize and promote soft new growth – can you supply enough water to keep the plant alive?
3. Exposure - sun or shade, air movement; • Reduce exposure to sun and minimise moisture loss through transpiration • Utilize available shade from house or trees to insulate plants from drying sun • Protect plants from excessive air movement to inhibit loss of moisture from foliage • Plant windbreaks and water-efficient shade trees to create cool shaded conditions
4. Landform - water runoff & harvesting; • Form suitable landform to collect surface water to absorb into subsoil and minimise runoff
5. Insulate the garden against the sun • Mulch; Mulch; Mulch; • A minimum of 100mm of mulch will insulate the soil like a blanket and conserve applied moisture
Choose & use Australian Native Plants a basic element for landscape design