Also known as Swamp Foxtail Grass, this native clumping perennial is gorgeous year round. With fine bright green arching leaves it has good winter colour and delicate, cream to purple coloured, feathery seed heads from Summer through Autumn. Looks great mass planted, will help control erosion on steep slopes or can be used as an accent amongst other planting.
Grows in full sun and up to 50% shade, tolerates coastal positions and most soil types, also tolerant of pollution if near a roadside. Size 60-70cm H x 50-80cm wide.
Nafray is non invasive, don't get confused between this native Pennisetum and the invasive variety from Africa (Pennisetum seatceum).
Landscape design isn’t just about selecting plants for your garden, it includes all the elements of your outdoor living space. When you are renovating or building a new home it's important to start planning your landscape early in the building process. It can be tempting to forget about the outdoor area until the home is well and truly underway, but you will save time and money planning this early on.
Often the most successful landscape designs are those that have an effortless connection with the building they surround, so planning the location and aspect of your gardens early in the design process is key. A seamless transition between an open plan indoor/outdoor area can be achieved by maintaining the same floor level inside and out. To do this you will need to consider the height of the flooring materials you will use and whether the slab will need adjustment to allow for these. Another great way to link the two areas is to use a similar floor covering indoors and outdoors, whether that be in the materials, finish or colour.
There’s other behind the scenes details for a garden such as electricity and plumbing which, when incorporated into your house planning and building timelines, can save you money and double handling. For example, getting a tradesman to install drainage for pathways or electrical conduit for lighting an outdoor structure as part of the work they are doing within your home will ensure it's done logically instead of being an add on at later stage.
Access is another important consideration and if you have a tricky site or narrow access pathways, then getting machinery and materials on site early in the building process can make things much simpler and avoid the need for expensive crane costs when it comes to installing your garden later. Likewise, if you're thinking of installing a pool, planning this into the home building timeline is a must.
So even though you may not have the headspace to think about plant styles and turf variety when you're getting into a home build, taking time to plan out your hardscaping and the location of the big ticket items in your garden can save you a lot of stress and dollars down the track.
Zoysia tenuifolia also known as 'No-mow' lawn gets this name because it's a very slow growing style of grass. Because of its slow growth rate (about 20cm spread per year) it is not used as a lawn, but more often in planting schemes amongst ornamental plants as an interesting ground cover, between stepping stones, surrounding walkways or on tricky slopes. Zoysia is a mounding ornamental grass which clumps as it grows giving it that fairyland appearance.
Zoysia likes full sun to part shade and moist but well drained soil and is moderately drought tolerant once it's established, feed in Spring with slow release fertiliser. For full coverage leave 10-15cm spacing between plants which should fill in approximately one year.
This gorgeous shrub gets its name from leaves which are bronze grey underneath and beautifully felted on top, with tiny hairs that start off the same colour as the underside, but age to a deep copper colour.
They are fairly low maintenance, best in full sun with moderate water and free draining soil. Suitable for both pots and the garden, Copper Spoons could be used to create a low hedge or as a statement on their own. Relatively slow growing, they can reach about 1.5 - 2m in the garden.
Hedges are a very handy landscape element that can really enhance your garden space by providing you with a green boundary. They can be used to screen neighbours, as windbreaks, they can divide your garden into different rooms as well as providing a backdrop for feature plants or sculpture.
We generally think of hedges as something around fence height but, depending on your plant choice they can be just as striking at waist or even knee height. There are loads of options when it comes to hedging plants, what you need to consider is the shape and level of formality you are after.
If you want a hedge that requires minimal pruning, there are some plants with a natural form that is well suited to informal hedging, meaning you won’t need to be out there pruning monthly during the growing season.
LARGER HEDGING PLANTS
Murraya paniculata (which often blooms time and time again after rain), Photinia, Raphiolepis indica, Buxus japonica (traditional look but slow growing),Viburnum odoratissimum or the very delicate Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Sheen'.
Some Australian native options are Acmena smithii or Syzigium australe (both are types of Lilly Pilly), Backhousia citriodora (Lemon Myrtle), Elaeocarpus eumundii, Callistemon ‘Great Balls of Fire’.
In narrow spaces Bamboo can be a great option, for example Bambusa textilis Gracilis ‘Slender Weavers’.
SMALLER HEDGING PLANTS
Teucrium fruticans, Gardenia augusta, Lavender, Raphiolepis indica ‘Oriental Pearl’ (last months Plant profile), Pittosporum tobira 'Miss Muffet', Alternathera dentata (for some Burgundy colour), Trachelospermum asiaticum.
Australian natives Acmena smithii ‘Allyn Magic’, Westringia fruticosa (loads of different sizes and colours available), Baeckea virgata ‘Compacta’, Callistemon 'Little John'.
For something a little different you could use the succulent like Crassula or a textural plant like Philodendron ‘Xanadu’.
HOW MANY PLANTS DO I NEED?
To calculate your spacing and quantities, use the mature width of your chosen plant as your guide to spacing between the rootballs when planting. If you are after a dense hedge that establishes quickly and you have the space, consider planting two parallel rows with the plants staggered.
HOW DO I GET AN INSTANT HEDGE?
Apart from buying mature plants that will fill your space instantly, which often the budget won’t allow, unfortunately there is no magic way to get an instant hedge. The best thing you can do is provide regular water and a good covering of mulch. After planting, water weekly with seaweed solution and then a month or so after that continue with the seaweed solution once a month and fertilise at the start of each season (except Winter) with slow release fertiliser.
When gardening in small spaces, real estate is valuable. That is why its great to use every surface available for planting, including the walls. By using vertical gardens you can keep floor space clear for seating or walkways.
Vertical gardens can be used for ornamental planting but, are also useful for growing productive plants in urban environments. They can offer thermal benefits by shielding walls from the sun, assist with acoustics by dampening noise and, when used indoors create living art in your home as well as purifying the air.
STYLES OF VERTICAL GARDENS
There are a many green wall products available, such as individual pots that are fixed directly to the wall or, complete kits where multiple small pots are hooked onto a backing board which is then fixed to your wall. The main advantage of using a kit with a backing board is that you limit the number of anchor points you need in your wall. There are also other products using sheets of thick felt with built in pockets where plant roots are placed with a minimal amount of growing medium, the roots then grow into the felt.
If you are looking for something a little more individual there’s also the option of using recycled materials like small pots and reinforcing mesh, timber pallets, pvc pipe or guttering, PET bottles, the options are endless.
Vertical gardens can also be combined with an aquaponics system, where water from a fish pond is circulated through the pots taking full advantage of the nutrient rich fish waste. This is a completely organic way of growing plants.
When designing the planting in your vertical gardens you can create interesting effects by mass planting using contrasting coloured foliage in different patterns, diagonal waves work well. Or, more subtly combining a variety of leaf shapes, for example a thin strappy leaf with large open leaves. Succulents also do well in vertical gardens because of their hardy nature and they are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours.
Consider the location of your vertical garden. Get an idea of the amount of sunlight it will receive each day and choose plants accordingly. Because of their elevated position outdoor vertical gardens can be subjected to high winds. If this is the case, choose hardier plants that are suited to coastal locations as they are built tough.
The key to a successful vertical garden is water. Because pot sizes are generally quite small they can dry out quickly. The best solution for this is to install a simple automated irrigation system that will keep your plants hydrated. Pots are often fitted with a small reservoir in the base that can hold some additional water that the plant roots can draw on during a scorching day and an overflow point so plant roots aren’t left siting in soggy soil for long periods of time. Like pot plants, vertical gardens will need regular applications of liquid fertiliser to keep them thriving.