Monday, 18 February 2013

Style notes: A bayside native garden

For this bayside gardener, a parched piece of earth became a labour of love....with stylish results.
The owner inherited a perished piece of lawn with the house five years ago.

She says there were also a couple of random tall trees which weren’t fabulous but provided shade at various points.

"The thing I liked best was the existing bluestone front fence - with its deep grey colour it was going to provide the perfect backdrop for my vision of a modern urban native garden,'' she says.

"I have always loved native plants, their variety of textures but especially their colours – from superb lime green grasses to that unique silver grey foliage of a towering banksia tree.''

Drawn to the features and colours of coastal design,  this was her starting point in deciding on the colours for this garden.

Her first job was designing a sort of coastal style walkway which would meander through the garden.

Inspired by the coastal walking tracks along the clifftops in bayside Melbourne, she got a contractor in to lay a path of compressed sand.

However that is where the outside help began and ended - she completed the rest by hand.

"I started with my grass garden first and used my local council’s indigenous nursery as a starting point, finding grasses unique to this part of Melbourne.

"I wanted to mix up the colours to provide contrast and interest, with a row of grasses lining the main path to the front door.

"The other parts of the garden needed to have more height and colour.

"I mixed correa, rows of westringia, grevillea in the most shocking lollypop pink and mini flowering gums. Later I filled out empty spaces with a native hibiscus and woolly bushes.

"Along the side fence I wanted a traditional hedge but using native trees and I chose coastal banksias,'' she says.

To complete the mix the owner has dotted some timber chairs and benches found by the side of the road along the path as places of respite, and added some birth baths as a water source.