Australian plants for Modern Homes

A stunning and very modern home in North Beach provided the canvas this week for my creation of an Australian plant garden with a few non indigenous hardy survivors for good measure. The home has a lot of structure and hard landscaping so my brief was to soften these as much as possible while still providing an easy care garden for this professional couple.

In consultation with the client, first things first a plan was developed-every good project begins with a plan….

The creation of the garden on a building site starts with one thing and that’s the soil-I strongly believe that one must invest in improving the soil right form the beginning. The location was full of builders rubble and rubbish so the first task was to remove that. This garden is located on the eastern side of a sand dune, gutless WA coastal sand. This needed improvement-an understatement! The best quality landscape mix, a blend of sand, wood chips and aggregate was used, this provides high drainage but quite low in nutrients so I topped this up with mature compost to make a delightful mix for young plants. The aggregate is essential for use in planter boxes to allow for drainage.

The Kitchen garden planter box received special treatment. I used a mix containing mature compost and sand, very rich. This will receive a top up of compost every year-the top 30cm is where the nutrient hungry vegetables will have their roots. Once the seedlings are planted here they will be surrounded by straw mulch. The straw mulch will break down quickly. The residual will be dug back into the soil.

The reticulation to planter boxes is bore line drippers complimented by pop up sprayers for the lush Palmetto lawn.

…and now for the plants-

The hero of the front garden is a stunning young weeping Caesia, Gungurru or Silver Princess. The client had one of these in their previous home and it was a sentimental favourite-this new one will mature in no time and provide new memories as it grows. This is a large planter box and I have also planted Festuca glauca, Acacia ‘limelight’, Grevillia Caleyi x ‘Bronze rambler’.

The entrance to the home is flanked by two deep planter boxes, in the one on the right I have use Nandina Flirt, I love it’s compact form and wonderful; colourings and on the other side I have planted Macropidia fuliginosa a stunning black and lime green kangaroo paw and in between I have used an old favourite Lomandra Keira and a sweet small chamelaucium with white waxy flowers called’My Sweet 16′.

In the back garden, I have added easy care Lomandra Tanika and Correa ‘Tucker Time Dinner Bells’ and some Myroporum Yareena to hang over two very high planter boxes.

There is also a cute kitchen garden in a raised bed in which I have planted purple carrots, corn, basil, tomatoes, oregano, Italian parsley, raddichio lettuce, capsicums and chillies as well as a transplanted lime and a lemon form the clients current garden.

The decking is due to go in over the next two weeks as well as combination of brush fencing and pinelap. The decking will be a wide composite in dark grey. The rest of the flooring will be a poured aggregate.

In the planter box along the front of the house, I have planted a hedge of Photinia Red Robin for it’s incredible new foliage colour this has been underplanted with little cutie called Grevillia lanigera or Woolly Bear Hero which will only grow to height of 10-20cm and a width or 15 cms the idea is that this will hang over the edge of the planter box to in time soften the harsh edges.

Another small bed of Convolvulous Cneorum and another of Anigozanthus Bush Gem in shades of pink underplanted with Coleonema Aurea with its delciate pink flowers and Festuca glauca.

Along the very front of the house where the footpath meets the property I have planted a hedge of Metrosideros ‘Mini Xmas’ and in front of that Ficinia nodossa.

A soft lush Winter Green lawn acts as a cool foil at the front of the house and on the street verge. The council tree will be an Agonis flexuosa.

This garden will also soon be home to a stunning art piece by Kalamunda artist Peter Graham-a wonderfully practical birdbath. Nature will be encouraged into this space-what a joy it will be to sit up on the deck and look down on-It’s a habitat garden for creatures of nature and humans.

Happy Gardening


Andrea Whitely Garden Consultant – Creating Gardens For Life