A Tropical garden in Western Australia can be achieved even with our hot dry climate, it may take abit more planning and plant selection but will reward you with a feeling of being in a cool, relaxing, lush environment, reminding you of places like Hawaii, Florida, the Mexican coast, jungles and rainforests of South America, the islands of the Pacific, Asia or even closer to home, Queensland and Broome. Plants for the tropical garden need not be tolerant of frost. They need to be densely planted to help you achieve a jungle-like steamy environment. Next you need to think colour, bright and varied foliage and flowers creates a tropical feel. Create and interesting resort style garden and escape to a holiday in your own backyard. Go troppo with some of these suggestions! Elements used to add an exotic touch are:
Still a favourite of many people, a Cottage garden reminds you of the romance of the English landscape with collections of beloved plants around ordinary family homes. It tends to have a mix of beautiful scented plants, herbs for the kitchen, roses, trees, annuals, perennials and a style of free flowing diversity and seemingly no rules on what should be planted where! Cottage garden plants are not rare or exotic just old loved favourites scattered and every space filled and appealing to the eye. It should be a quiet informal relaxed area where you can sit with a cuppa, read a book, listen to the birds sing, hear water from a fountain and smell the delightful scents from the surrounding plants. Many height levels are used from groundcovers to climbers so everywhere you look your eye can see something growing. Elements used to create a cottage garden theme are :
Plants used to design a Cottage garden are:
A native plant is one that grows naturally in a particular region without human intervention. A native garden is built to thrive in local conditions using indigenous plants and allowing natural regeneration. Creating a shelter for wildlife and working in harmony with nature. Minimizing negative impact on the environment is foremost. By matching plant species to your area, it will make a garden expending less care and energy and will be healthier than an exotic garden. Another benefit is it makes a haven for birds, insects and other wildlife, they will use the fruit, nectar and habitat to frolic in. Having a bushland feel and bringing the informality of local vegetation to your own garden everything blends in and you feel part of your surroundings. Elements used to help create a Native garden are:
Zen gardens are primarily a dry landscape, minimalist, asymmetrical, a quiet place to comtemplate, an open space to meditate and relax in. A Japanese rock garden is meant to enhance spiritual feelings being simplistic and naturalistic. Using contrasting small and large objects, vertical and horizontal structures, rough and smooth textures and planting in odd numbers like 3,5 or 7 plant grouping, is a deliberate imbalance meant to create stimulation of the mind. There is not alot of colour, mainly black, green and brown tones. Todays interpretation has ponds, bridges, lighting and artwork but still focuses on an outdoor place of calm reflection. Sand and gravel is used, mainly white, which symbolizes purity and the raking of sand in lines is meant to aid concentration and resembles water rippling . This is an easy garden to maintain, there are not alot of plants used. Elements to plan a Zen garden include :
Plants suitable for a Zen garden :
Eco-friendly gardening is about working with nature, not against it. The idea is to have plants that become a home for birds, butterflies and local wildlife. Not wasting water and recycling is supreme. Doing no harm is also important, like avoiding chemical fertilisers that run into rivers, oceans and waterways. Not planting invasive species that could wipe out some native varieties. Pesticides and herbicides tend to kill more creatures than the odd bug that was intended so they are not used alot in an eco-friendly garden. Plus an eco garden gives back by creating a friendly habitat , food and shelter for lizards, ladybirds and other creatures. By growing fruit and vegetables you can give baskets full to friends and relatives. Lawn is often limited to reduce water usuage and is replaced by waterwise alternative garden plantings. Lots of mulch, compost and manure is used so water goes into the soil easier and does not evaporate so much. Elements that aid eco-friendly gardens are :
Plants suitable for creating an eco-friendly garden :
Inspired by countries that border the Mediterranean sea, Italy, Greece, France and Spain the garden designs are often noticeable by topiaries, walkways, fountains, archways usually a preference for symmetry with clean lines and strong architecture.
Formal hedges neatly pruned are highlighted. Plants trained onto shapes like spirals, pompoms, and cones are like living sculptures. Shade is an essential component so there is usually pergolas with creepers cascading over as alot of time is spent eating and sitting outside around a paved and walled entertainment area. Colourful ceramics, mosaics, tableclothes and cushions are plentiful. The climate in these countries is hot and dry so creating shade is paramount.
Elements that help create a Mediterranean garden setting are :
Plants suitable to create a Mediterranean theme are :
These are a modern garden, one that has to fit into a smaller yard, be waterwise, and easy-care for the new-age family. The emphasis is on bold architectural plants and structures. Water features, sculptures and containers are important, and plants while few in numbers are highlighted.
Dwarf varieties of plants that are suitable for containers are used. Tidy upright plants that are striking in a row, give privacy and become a focal point. Furniture that reflects modern era design will be included, made of chrome, stainless steel, with mesh and bright colours. Stylish but timeless, using the latest technology like grey water irrigation methods, use of vertical and deck lighting, outdoor kitchens and BBQs, skylights, spas, bars, glass panels, and clean lines. Plants espaliered against the wall look great.
Features used to create a Contemporary garden look :
Plants suggested to construct a Contemporary garden :
There is quite alot to consider when choosing plants for around your pool area.
» You don’t want plants that drop leaves or flowers into the water. Perth can be a windy city, close to the ocean and with sea breezes so avoid plants that make a mess and clog up pipes in the filtration system of your pool. Usually its a wrong choice of plants that is the problem, you can have lots of nice lush plants if you choose wisely. In the hills of Perth you wouldn’t plant Gum trees near the pool as they can drop leaves and twigs daily and even branches in windy spots. Deciduous trees are not so good as they drop leaves in Winter, and Jacarandas and Illawara flame trees are beautiful but messy around a pool when their flowers drop. Some leaves also stain pavers or pool floor especially when they get wet and stick.
» You should not plant trees that could have invasive roots like Bamboo, Umbrella trees, or Chillian Willows as the roots can uproot paving, underground plumbing and could crack the pool itself .
» Beware of plants that have sharp bits, they can be dangerous and poke someones eye if they get near to retrieve a wayward ball! Some Palms like the Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix Robelenii) and the Canary Island Date Palm have pointed thorns which leave puncture wounds that could lead to infection.
» Consider using plants that don’t attract bees! Some people are allergic to bee stings so its wise to take this thought when planning your landscape. Usually plants that have a flower draw the bees.
» Remember that water will splash from the pool onto plants and as it has chemicals in it may make plants short lived. Its just one of the hazards of planting next to water. Also the reflection of the water and the suns rays can make life for plants stressful. If you water the plants some of the soil can run down into the pool making a mess. Sometimes its best to plant a bit further away from the pool edges or plant in pots which can be moved periodically.
» Providing shade and privacy is also a point to think about when choosing your plants. Planting taller shrubs around the fence line will keep your privacy and these will be a shelter for smaller plants underneath.
» Planting tough plants like ornamental grasses is a wise choice. These need little maintenance, don’t drop leaves and are hardy. Think twice about plants that need constant pruning like hedging plants. Having grass planted close to the pool edges can mean the lawn clippings can blow into the water. Building a retaining wall or rock garden keeps plants away from the edges. Plants that need spraying for pests and diseases regularly are to be avoided as its just adding more chemicals around and plants may be difficult to get to as they grow, you don’t want to fall in!
Here are names of a selection of plants suitable to be used :