Archives for Botanical Gardens

chinese pagoda Kew Gardens

Chinese Landscaping and Melbourne Gardens

Chinese Landscaping (中国园林) is well known for its use of decorative design elements and the use of the concept of the “ideal miniature” as a landscape design tool.

The Chinese garden culture has more than three thousand years old design tradition. It is a unique phenomenon in landscape architecture and human cultural history. It is the oldest continuous garden and landscape concept in the world, dating back to the Shang dynasty in the 2nd century B.C when the transformation of natural landscape arrived at the phase where gardens for pleasure, recreation, happiness, and laugher could appear.

豫园 Yù Yuán /yoo ywen/ 'Happiness Garden'

Yu Yuan (豫园) Gardens or Happiness Gardens , Shanghai, China. These gardens are thought to be more than 400 years old and may date back to the Ming Dynasty.

The Yu Yuan Garden (豫园) is compromised  of six different scenic areas. These are the Inner Garden, Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, and the Yuhua Hall. These gardens are a great example of the Chinese landscape design concept of the idealised miniature,

Amongst the many highlights of the garden are; exquisite sculptures, classical Chinese architecture and beautiful chinese carvings.

The Chinese garden converted and improved natural landscapes with deep symbolism. The level of garden spaces is strictly bound, giving substantial importance to hills, rocks, and water.

Suzhou chinese garden

The Suzhou Chinese garden. According to UNESCO, “The classical gardens of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China date back to the 6th century BCE when the city was founded as the capital of the Wu Kingdom” The Chinese garden design seeks to recreate natural landscapes as an idealised miniature and the Suzhou gardens are a great example of this.

The Chinese garden emulates a deep understanding of nature and its procedures. They are composed of a series of landscape portraits, a picture from individual points from window frames along corridors of a set of buildings. Chinese landscape is an idealised miniature, which is meant to express the harmony between man and nature.


The planting design of traditional Chinese gardens does not apply to a wide variety of ornamental plants. Not so much in the variability, but the decorative appearance and the deep symbolical meaning are forefront in Chinese planting design. Trees with the irregular arrangement, meadow or pasture, but huge water surfaces instead, always with lotus plant cover representing purity and admired in the Buddhist philosophy.

A typical Chinese landscape is enclosed by walls and includes:

  • One or more ponds.
  • Rock works.
  • Trees and flowers.
  • An assortment of halls with the garden provides a carefully composed scene to the visitors.
Landscaping with rocks, paths and gravel.

Landscaping with rocks, paths and gravel.



Feng Shui is a system of the earliest Chinese practises that aim to increase the happiness and comfort of the human inside a home, an office, or a garden. It stimulates the good flow of energy in that space. Chi is a term used in Feng shui to refer to the universal energy present in and around us. Feng shui aims to direct the flow of Chi within our space to contribute to a good flow of Chi inside ourselves as well. Because due to this energy, humans connect to the area.

Feng shui means knowing how to choose the right colours and decorative elements and use them in the specific areas of your home to bring about nourishing energy to your space and the different areas of your life. Feng shui is not an imposition of strict rules because no strictness breeds a healthy flow of energy. There are five elements of feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These five elements’ correct position and placement in our space can stimulate Chi and promote our wellbeing.

Feng shui 5 elements

The five elements of feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These five elements’ correct position and placement in our space can stimulate Chi and promote our wellbeing.


The wood element withstands vitality, health, and growth. Wood is also an element of abundance. The use of wood encourages wealth and prosperity. It is expressed in green and brown colours. Decorative elements that add wood to your space are lush and healthy plants, green pillows, and vegetation. The element fire brings energy from the sun and with it a sense of joy and creativity. It is also an element of love, romance, and passion. To add this element to your space, use candles of different colours, fire images, yellow lampshades, etc. The element earth stand for nourishment, protection, stability, and support. It provides us with an inner sense of ground and space. It is a crucial element to add to our hectic and stressful modern lives. This element is expressed in beige, sandy, and taupe colours. The fourth element of Feng shui is metal. It brings discipline, structure, productivity, and efficiency. Metal eliminates distraction and helps in creating a sense of clarity, calm, and lightness. Its colours are white and grey. Use the metal to balance out overly warm and sensible places, but don’t overuse it. The fifth and final element of Feng shui is water, one of the most important and influential elements. Water brings the refreshing energy of ease and harmony. Water provides us a sense of renewal and flow. It is also a symbol of abundance and is always used in Feng shui to cultivate wealth. 

Advantages of Feng Shui 風水 in Chinese Landscaping

Feng Shui plays a crucial role in enhancing wealth. Many businessmen used it to attract clients. Proper Feng shui can greatly improve your health. It is used mainly for sickened and older people and is trusted to have potential health benefits. Feng shui principles boost mental health. By adding flowering and decorative plants, your mental health will be improved. The accidents and unwanted events can be reduced by Feng shui.


The natural garden style proved to be the symbol of liberal philosophy and the enlightened way of thinking. The modern landscape garden, which can be seen as an idealised view of nature, is inspired by classical landscape painting and the classic Chinese gardens, which European travellers have described. The interest in Chinese culture, architecture, and garden design spread around the British island and inspired talented gardeners and designers. The gardens created in the chamber made a new section in the picturesque landscaped gardens. In these so-called anglo-chinoiserie gardens, eastern, mainly Chinese architectural motivates garden elements have been used in most cases without integrating the Chinese nature philosophy. These first, more or less formal effects of Chinese garden design on modern landscape architecture were written by garden designers and horticulturists during the gardens period, where great variety in plant design was taken into the focus of landscape architecture.

The uniqueness and exoticism of Chinese art and architecture in Europe were managed in 1738 when the first Chinese house was constructed in the English garden (Stowe House Garden).

Chinese house was constructed in the English garden (Stowe House Garden)

Chinoiserie garden pavilion called the Chinese House. Thought to be the work of architect William Kent (c. 1685-1748), commissioned by Sir Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham (1675-1748), by 1738. Enclosed wooden rectangular structure, painted with chinoiserie designs, with latticework windows and with a gabled roof with lead covering and two gilded fish finials.Due to William Chamber, who lived in China from 1745-1747, the style became more popular . He built a Great Chinese pagoda (A Chinese house) in London (Kew Garden). After that, Chinese pagodas began to appear in other English gardens. Subsequently, the term Anglo-Chinese garden for this style of landscaping.

chinese pagoda Kew Gardens

The Chinese Pagoda Kew Gardens.

In the 19th century, the gardening interests of the west had turned towards the display of rare and exotic plants. Plant collectors discovered a paradise in China. Garden borders and woods started to blossom soon with species of azalea and rhododendron, which are found in the wild foothills of the Himalayas.


From 1970, the Chinese traders were visiting the north coast of Australia. After the British settlement (1788), many Chinese people came as workers, prisoners, and fee settlers. After that, the Chinese arrival to Australia was not significant until the Victorian (the 1850s) and New South Wales gold rushes. From the Victorian gold rush, the number of Chinese people in Australia reached 50,000.

Melbourne’s Chinatown has a long and memorable history starting from the Victorian gold rush in 1850-51 when the Chinese immigrants came to Australia for the gold rush in search of gold. In late 1854, the first Chinese lodging houses were created in Little Bourke Street and Celestial Avenue. This specific place was considered suitable for the settlers, as it was a staging post for new Chinese colonists and supplies en route to the goldfield. It is known to be the oldest Chinatown in Australia. The goldfield ultimately diminished, which caused a shift from rural living and the arrival of people migrating into metropolitan Melbourne.

chinatown melbourne

Dating back to the gold rush era, Chinatown in Melbourne is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world.

After the fading of the gold rush, when the mining of gold became far less profitable, market gardening became the subsequent most common Chinese occupation, especially in Victoria. Up until the 1900s, almost one-third of the Chinese population in Victoria was involved in market gardening. Even during the goldfield era, the Chinese grew their vegetables, in many cases earning more money than mining in the goldfield. In Melbourne, there were market gardens along Merri Creek and in Suburbs such as Brighton and Caulfield. Chinese used handmade tools for work gardening work.


China is known as the “mother of gardens.” Being marginally larger in mass than the United States, the number of native species of higher pants of China is close to 30,000, of which 7000 are trees around one-eighth of the world’s total. The majority of the garden around the globe possibly comprise at least one plant originating in China, more likely many. Following are the five best Chinese plants.

1)   DOVE TREE (Davidia involucrate)

The dove tree, also known as the handkerchief tree, belongs to the family Cornaceae. The dove tree is native to Chine but can also cultivate in other parts of the world. This tree has come to be a famous decorative tree in gardens in Australia. This plant is temperately fast-growing. The height of this plant ranges from 15-20 metres.

Davidia involucrate handkerchief tree DOVE TREE

Flowers of a dove tree or handkerchief tree, Davidia involucrata .

The leaves of the dove tree are small and heart-shaped. Its flower cannot be seen easily and has two attractive and big white bracts suspended from the stem-like handkerchief. Ta’s why this plant is also known as the handkerchief plant. The flower is located between these bracts. This plant requires a temperate and cold climate. Dove plants grow well in full sun or semi-shade. This plant requires Well-drained and rich soil.

2)   CHINESE PISTACHIO (Pistacia chinensis)

The Chinese pistachio is a lovely small and medium deciduous tree used as an ornamental shade tree. This tree is drought tolerant and has a neat hemispherical appearance. Chinese pistachio grows well in full sun to partial shade on moderately fertile, well-drained soils. This plant provides good Autumn colour, with leaves turning beautiful shades of orange and red.

Chinese Pistachio

The Chinese pistachio This plant provides great Autumn colour for your Melbourne garden, with leaves turning beautiful shades of orange and red

The Chinese pistachio produces panicles of greenish flowers in April and May. The female tree of the Chinese pistachio attracts birds by bearing small white flowers.

Chinese Pistachio (Pistacia chinensis)

Chinese Pistachio (Pistacia chinensis) is drought tolerant and has a neat hemispherical appearance. Chinese pistachio grows well in full sun to partial shade on moderately fertile, well-drained soils.It also produces small round orange to red drupes that ripens in October. The bark of growing Chinese pistachio is grayish brown and, if peeled from the tree, reveals a shocking salmon pink interior.

3)   Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Ginkgo, also known as maidenhair tree, is a deciduous tree native to China. Since ancient times, this plant has been planted in Chinese and Japanese temple gardens and is now valued in several parts of the world like a fungus and insect-resistant ornamental plant. This plant can tolerate cold weather and also can survive in adverse atmospheric conditions of urban areas.

gingko tree, maidenhair tree

Ginkgo biloba tree in yellow , golden leaves of Ginkgo Biloba autumn colours (gingko tree, maidenhair tree)

The ginkgo tree is pyramidal in shape with a sparingly branched trunk up to 30 metres tall. Ginkgo has been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Ginkgo, also known as maidenhair tree, is a deciduous tree native to China

A young Ginkgo Tree, also known as maidenhair tree, is a deciduous tree native to China.

At the end of the 20th century, the extract of ginkgo was used for its supposed memory-enhancing property. Many varieties are also available for landscape use, including columnar types and others favoured for better growth habits, fall colour, and other desired qualities.


Bamboos are a woody perennial plant that belongs to the true grass family Poaceae. The plant size is different from species to species, from giant timber to small annuals. Bamboo species are mainly divided into two main types such as runners and clumpers. Running produce shots several metres away from parent plant whereas clumpers trees grow into a slowly expanding tuft. Planting bamboo in the ground requires minimal preparation of soil. Just dig the soil and plant the clunking varieties.  Bamboo grows best in well-drained soil. Bamboo is a versatile plant but choosing a suitable variety is essential when growing it in a garden.

5)   CHRYSANTHEMUM (Chrysanthemum indicum)

Chrysanthemum is a member of the Compositae family and is available in a wide range of brilliant colours, shapes, and sizes. Chrysanthemum is first cultivated in China as a flowering herb back in the 15th century B.C. The chrysanthemum flower ranges from dazzling whites to dep bronzes, and the plants are highlighted with full dark green leaves.


Chrysanthemums have been bred to produce flowers in a range of beautiful colours.

Chrysanthemums prefer full sun therefore, keep them away from shady trees and large bushes. It requires well-drained and evenly moist soil. This plant does not like standing water and will quickly rot if lifted too wet. This plant is a heavy feeder and should be fertilised monthly. Sprinkle a balanced fertiliser at the rate of 10:10:10 around the plant. Maintain good air circulation around the plant. Stop fertilising when the flower bud emerges.




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Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)

5 Best Ficus Plants for Melbourne Landscaping

The genus Ficus, also known as fig, belongs to the family Moraceae and includes about 850 species distributed in tropical and subtropical zones. Figs are woody trees, shrubs, climbers, epiphytes, and Hemi-epiphytic. Ficus are native to the tropics of Asia, Africa, Australia, and Central America. Many Ficus are tall forest trees that are supported by great spreading roots, while some are planted as ornamentals.

Physiology of Ficus

Many Ficus species are evergreen. There are few deciduous members in non-tropical areas. Their leaves are generally waxy and simple and mostly emanate white or yellow latex when broken. Several species of Ficus have aerial roots, and many are epiphytic. The unfamiliar fruit structure, called syconium, is hollow, enclosing an inflorescence with tiny male and female flowers covering the inside.

Fig Wasps ficus fruit

Some native Australian fig trees need fig wasps for successful pollination and the wasps rely on the tree to complete their lifecycle.

An exceptional pollination syndrome describes members of the Ficus genus. Each species is pollinated by and houses a specific wasp. This unique pollination system has an important influence on the tropical forest ecosystem.

Ficus Wasp Fig

In the USA a Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) feeding on ripe fig (Ficus).

When a pollen-bearing wasp leaves a Ficus plant, the fruit quickly ripens, providing an ironic banquet that fascinates a host of mammals and birds However, as a sign of a short lifetime of adult wasps, some trees receive and release fig wasps during the year. The outcome of this pattern results in a steady supply of fruit, making Ficus fruits a critical resource for many animals when other foods are unavailable.

Importance of Ficus

Amongst the species which are cultivated, the Ficus afzelii, F. elastica, F. benghalensis, F. benjamna, F. infectoria, F. lyrata, F. pumila, F. microcarpa, F. ottoniifolia, F. parasitica, F. macrophylla, F. religiosa, F. pyriformis, F. platypylla, F. platiboda, F. laurifolia, F. roxbughii, etc. are grown for their ornamental values, either as landscape plants in the tropics and subtropics or foliage plants used for interiorscaping. Additionally, the Ficus species have also many useful and important natural products which are widely used as food and as medicine.

Medicinal Uses

The Ficus plants are revealed to possess antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-epilepsy properties. The species of Ficus are a significant source of compounds such as tannins, phenols, alkaloids, steroids, flavonoids, vitamin K, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol-d-glucoside, methyl oleanolic, and octacosanol, which are useful in immune-modulatory, hyperlipidaemia, hyperglycemia, anti-oxidant, anti-tumour, and anti-bacterial. Here are the five (5) best Ficus plants which you can grow in your garden for ornamental purposes in Melbourne

1) Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

The common name of Ficus elastic is Rubber plant. It is native to Southeast Asia. They are not related to the rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) from which rubber is derived. They contain a latex-like substance similar to the latex-derived Hevea brasiliensis. The latex derived from Ficus elastica is toxic if ingested. It is also harmful to the skin and eyes and irritates them, so be careful when handling these plants. It is a good idaea to wear gloves whenever you handle this plant.

Ficus Elastica

Ficus Elastica (Rubber Plant) is an attractive indoor plant. Very easy to propagate, they are also tolerant of low light and dry air indoors.


Due to the large and glossy leaves, the Ficus elastica is the exotic and decorative choice for outdoor, but its limited hardiness makes it too delicate to plunk in a sunny yard. Ficus elastica is relative to the banyan tree and grows aerial roots like a banyan. The height of this plant is up to 100 feet tall. The tree has broad oval-shaped and shiny leaves about 12 inches long. Most leaves were of dark green, but due to new cultivars, some variation was observed. Small white flowers are common when the trees are grown outdoor but rare when grown indoors. The trees do not produce fruits outside their native range because the fig moth pollinated the flower is found in Southeast Asia.

  Caring for elastica

The plant requires full sun or partial shade to grow outdoors. They favour heat and humidity, so covering the roots in the 2-inch layer of mulch should be good for it, due to which the sol will moist for a longer period. Watering the tree in the morning is best because water on leaves during the night is an invitation to diseases. After three months with a balanced fertiliser such as 10:10:10 NPK during the growing season, fertilising the tree is better. Remove the dead leaves and branches to avoid diseases and insect infestation.


The rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is attractive. In addition to that, there are several benefits which this plant can provide you.

  • Air purifiers: Rubber plants can absorb and convert airborne chemicals into harmless ones. It increases the breathable oxygen and eliminates microbes from the air.
  • Air Cleaning: Due to the large surface area of the rubber leaves, they absorb air-containing pollutants and chemicals.
  • Inexpensive: The rubber plant is not expensive. You can easily afford and manage it.
  • Anti-Bacterial: Studies showed that about 1800 kinds of bacteria are present in the air. The rubber plant can reduce bacteria from the air up to 50%.
  • Waxy colourful foliage: You can decorate your garden with these eye-catching plants. Their leaves are waxy and slippery to touch.

    2) Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)

Ficus Benjamina, commonly known as Weeping fig, is a native species to tropical Southeast Asia which is generally grown indoors, but I can grow up to 60 feet tall and 60 to 70 feet wide when grown outdoors. The dense, rounded canopy and elegantly drooping branches of weeping fig made it relatively famous as a landscape tree.

Ficus benjamina

Ficus benjamina as an indoor plant is great for interior decoration.


The thick, shiny, two to five-inch long, evergreen leaves kindly cover the long branches, and the small figs ultimately turn a deep red. Branches will weep towards the ground, making a canopy so thick that nothing rows below it.

Caring of Ficus Benjamina

Weeping fig needs full sunlight and fast-draining, productive and loamy soil. With the proper attention, these evergreen trees will flourish outdoors. When the 1-2 inch of the topsoil becomes dry, then water is necessary for this tree. Keep the soil equally humid, avoiding dryness but never damp. Fertilise the tree once in the growing season with 10:10:10 NPK slow-release fertiliser. Pull the weeds growing around the tree and eliminate any dead plant material on the ground beneath the tree’s canopy. Prune the weeping fig each year in the late winter just past to when vigorous, fast-growth starts. Checked the leaves consistently for whiteflies, brown to white scale, green aphids, etc. Spray infestation with insecticidal soap or neem oil to eliminate pests.

Uses for Ficus Benjamina

  • Weeping fig contains some bioactive substances such as flavonoids, vitamin A and C, sugars, and enzymes which show anti-microbial, anti-pyretic, and anti-dysentery properties.
  • This tree is an air purifier and particularly filtering formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
  • Indigenous communities use the extract of weeping fig leaves and fruits to treat respiratory and skin diseases.
  • It is also used for anti-inflammatory, vomiting, piles, malaria, and cancer treatment.
  • Weeping fig is inexpensive and easy to take care of it.

3) Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)

Ficus pumila, usually known as climbing fig or creeping fig, is a general vigorous, fast-growing evergreen ground and wall cover vine that can climb up to 20 feet or more when grown outdoors. The presence of dense, fast-growing small dark green and overlying leaves on fat stems makes the climbing fig a preferred vine to grow on the walls, where it gives to a delicate shape in its early growth stages.

Climbing Fig Glen Iris

A Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila) growing on a brick wall in Glen Iris.

Climbing figs can also be grown as a ground cover growing to around 50mm high. It is later developing larger leaves and woody growth. Creeping fig developed as a ground cover needs consistent pruning along the ends to keep it well-ordered and within the boundaries.

Caring for Ficus pumila

The partial shade or sun is suitable for Ficus pumila to grow outdoors. Full sunlight or complete shade is not always the best choice for this plant. A few months are required for the newly planted Ficus pumila to establish before sending out vigorous shoots. Young growth can cover a wall in two to three years. Ficus pumila does not need frequent water during the cold season. During summer, it should be watered regularly. The main trick is to avoid over-watering. Climbing fig will latch onto a vertical surface with tiny tendrils and be trained by pruning to stay flat. Two or three times a year, clip away new layers to encourage ore growth and prevent leaves from dark green colour.

Uses for Ficus pumila

With the addition of ornamental uses, Ficus pumila has the following medicinal benefits.

  • The frit of Ficus pumila is used for the production of jams and jellies.
  • Their latex has anthelmintic (the group of anti-parasites that expel parasites worms from the body) properties.
  • Stems and leaves are used in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic and to treat fever.
  • Leaves are used in Japan in beverages to treat diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • A decoction of fruit, stem, and leaves is used to treat joint pain due to arthritis.
  • Roots used to treat bladder problems and persuade urination.

4) Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophyla)

Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) is one of Australia’s most widely planted natives, growing naturally in coastal New South Wales and southern Queensland. Moreton bay fig is a huge extensive spreading, broad crowned evergreen tree growing to a height of 10-15 metres and a similar canopy spread.

Moreton Bay fig

The inclined roots of the Ficus Macrophylla create a dramatic garden feature when lit with garden uplighting.

The trunks are frequently strengthened, and the roots incline to grow along the surface. In moist or humid conditions, aerial roots form. The leaves, the tree’s main feature, are 15-25 cm long by 5-10 cm wide and dark silky green above and lighter and rusty coloured below.

Ficus macrophylla Morton Bay Fig

Ficus macrophylla Morton Bay Fig in Royal Park Melbourne.


Caring of Ficus macropyla

Although it is quite easy to care for and is generally resistant to numerous pests and diseases, it does not mean that we can leave it without any care at all. Ficus macrophylla develops in good condition. You will require well-drained, moist soil and in an area where there is plenty of natural light. It has a huge root system; therefore, it is necessary to have a plane for big space where it will be located. It does not need too much watering since it is a drought-resistant plant. So it is perfect for those places where rain is not very frequent.

Uses for Ficus macropyla

  • The Moreton Bay fig plant has been extensively used in public parks and big lawns in frost-free areas.

5) The Common Fig (Ficus carica)

Ficus carica, the common fig, is a rapidly growing tree spread by both seeds and cuttings. It is known to be invasive to Australia. It has been cultivated since ancient times and is now widely grown worldwide, both for its fruit and ornamental plants.

Ficus carica

Ficus carica, the common fig, is a rapidly growing tree spread by both seeds and cuttings.

This fig plant is a small deciduous tree or large shrub growing up to 7-10 metres tall. The leaves of this plant have five deep lobes. The fruit is tear-shaped, having green skin which turns purple or brown when ripened. The fruit is sweet soft flesh containing numerous crunchy seeds.

The Common Fig

The leaves of The Common Fig have five deep lobes. The fruit is tear-shaped, having green skin which turns purple or brown when ripened. The fruit is sweet soft flesh containing numerous crunchy seeds.


Caring for the carica

A warm, temperate region is favourable for Ficus carica. Porous soil having good drainage properties is suitable for this plant. A minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight is required for this plant to flourish. The dry season, as well as the cold season, is also suitable. A young tree can die in chilly temperatures. The requirement of water can be completed with rainwater or underground water. However, do watering if you notice the signs of drought stress. The water requirement is dependant on weather and soil nutrients. The tree requires regular pruning but only during the first years. Ideally, it would be best if you pruned it before the spring blossoms. Once the tree is established, avoid pruning it.

Uses for carica

Some of the important uses of fig (Ficus carcia) are given below.

  • Fruits are a great source of phosphorus, iron, calcium, and fibre (when dry)
  • Studies showed that fig fruit is used worldwide to treat several diseases such as gastric problems, cancer, and inflammation.
  • Ficus carica represents an important source of biochemically active compounds, which are practically used to treat and prevent various ailments like anaemia, cancer, diabetes, liver diseases, paralysis, skin diseases, and ulcers.
  • Fig fruit can be used as the main ingredient for fresh smoothies.


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Balwyn Community Centre Urban Wetlands

13 Best Reasons To Preserve Balwyn Urban Wetlands

Urban wetlands are now recognised as an important part of the landscaping of public spaces. Landscaping urban wetlands and surrounding  areas can be a challenge for landscapers not least of which is controlling the runoff from the landscape work. For example, exposed aggregate concrete etching can create acid runoff which can pollute nearby wetlands, groundwater and streams. The landscaping contractor needs to be mindful of that and ensure runoffs are controlled or adequately diluted. One solution for this is to use sandbags to direct the water runoff from exposing concrete to where the next crossover is being constructed. This is not just eco landscaping, it is responsible landscaping.


Balwyn Community Centre Urban Wetlands redevelopment

For our recent landscaping project at Balwyn Community centre, the design by landscape architects, ACLA, included a few landscape design changes to the urban wetlands. These were aimed at improving the safety and amenity of the urban wetlands, whilst preserving their character and biodiversity. This type of landscape design is essential where there is a wetland close to a public space like Balwyn Community Centre.

Balwyn Urban Wetlands Landscape Construction

One of the major changes to the landscape involved reshaping the wetland with an excavator. The pool was made also made shallower and a rock beach using 70mm river pebble was added. This landscaping work required draining the wetland and letting it dry out enough to safely use the excavator. Draining a wetland like this requires a permit from the EPA to avoid any pollution problems in the stormwater system. For the safety of children using the Balwyn Community Centre playground, a childproof fence was constructed around the wetlands. Making the pool shallower with a pebble beach also improved the safety of the wetland.

Yoga mat Balwyn Community Centre Urban Wetlands

The Yoga mat in the tranquil settings of Balwyn Community Centre Urban Wetlands

A fallen tree trunk becomes part of the urban wetlands project.

Late into the project a large eucalyptus tree fell onto the fence and destroyed part of it. As with native bushland, fallen tree trunks create habitat for insects and native fauna, so Boroondara City Council and the landscape architect, ACLA decided to keep the tree trunk inside the wetland.

Refilling of the refurbished wetlands was by natural runoff from the landscaped area.


A fallen tree truck becomes new habitat by the urban wetlands of Balwyn Community Centre

A fallen tree truck becomes new habitat by the urban wetlands of Balwyn Community Centre

Why do we put this effort into preserving urban wetlands and Coastal wetlands?

Wetlands are some of the most productive ecosystems in the entire world, providing a range of benefits for both people and the environmental. Wetlands are defined as an area of land where the soil is covered by water for either all of the year, or only certain times of the year.  They may be man-made or naturally forming and the water itself may be static or free flowing, fresh, brackish, or saline. Examples of wetlands include lakes, lagoons, billabongs, swaps, marshes, mudflats, mangroves, peatlands, and even coral reefs.

The conservation and restoration of these ecosystems is essential for protecting biodiversity, water quality, flora and fauna, and areas deemed to be of cultural significance. Below we explore these reasons in further details:

  1. Important Sites For Biodiversity

Wetlands are the most biologically-diverse of all ecosystems. Often referred to as ’biological super systems’ they produce large volumes of food that support a remarkable level of biodiversity. In relation to the number and variety of species supported, wetlands are as rich as rainforests and coral reefs. In fact, the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimated that 126,000 described species rely on freshwater habitats alone and 45% of all fish live in freshwater wetlands.


  1. Protect And Improve Water Quality

Maintaining and improving water quality is one of the most important benefits that wetlands can provide. Wetlands have the capacity to act as filtering systems, removing sediment, nutrients, and pollutants from water. They do this by slowing down water flows from upstream, reducing erosion, and preventing sediment from being transported downstream.


Soils and the vegetation in urban wetlands can capture, process and store both nutrients and contaminants. In addition to this, they can reduce harmful bacteria and pathogens in the water prior to it being returned to groundwater.


  1. Providing Habitats For Aquatic Animals

For many aquatic animals, inland wetlands are the only habitat in which they can survive. The wetlands provide all the food, water and shelter that aquatic animals require. Wetlands provide a safe habitat for feeding, spawning and nursery sites for native fish such as Freshwater Catfish, Blue-spot Gobi, and Long-finned Eel. Overall, healthy wetlands sustain healthy wildlife and fish populations as they contribute to large amounts of nutrients, ultimately resulting in better high-functioning ecosystems.


  1. Store Stormwater And Floodwaters

With the rise of urban development across major cities, the management of storm water is a cause of great concern. Excessive stormwaters and floodwaters caused by the increase in non-porous or impervious grounds can cause significant economic burden and damage to infrastructure. However, urban wetlands are nature’s detention basins, providing a space for floodwaters to be temporarily stored, retained long-term, or even returned to the water table. Urban wetlands that are in positions downstream in residential areas are valuable at controlling localised floods. The preservation and restoration of wetlands are a natural alternative to expensive dredge operations and levees.


  1. Maintain Surface Water Flow During Dry Periods

Water supply in wetlands is constantly changing; it can be filled by rainfall, or drained by groundwater.  In Australia, water flows are highly variable both within and between years. Wetlands have the ability to reduce water flow velocity with densely populated water vegetation. Wetlands have a rich biodiversity of plants that have evolved to suit these varying conditions. This ensures that, during the drier months, the wetlands can maintain surface water flow to sustain the habitat for both the vegetation and animals.


  1. Protect Our Shores From Wave Action

Coastal wetlands, such as estuaries and marshes, are an integral part of shore protection schemes as they can provide suitable protection from wave action along with creating species diversification. Coastal wetlands provide a buffer zone that is biologically diverse, which ensures that the exposed shoreline vegetation is maintained. Erosion is also prevented by absorbing wave energy.


  1. Provide Habitat For Plants

Wetlands contain a wide diversity of life, supporting animals and plants that are often found nowhere else. In fact, in Australia thousands of plant species grow in wetlands, ranging from mosses and grasses to shrubs and trees. Wetland plant communities are often protected as they contain flora that is endangered under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. Some common plants found in wetlands include lignum, the common reed, and river red gums.


  1. Provide Habitat For Animals

The biodiversity of animals in wetlands is also well documented. Huge numbers of birds, frogs, mammals and reptiles spend all or part of their life cycles in wetlands, which provide habitat and food sources for them to survive.


Common wetland birds include the Australasian Grebe, Pacific Black Duck, and Great Egret. In relation to frogs, the most common species found in wetlands are the Striped Marsh Frog, Brown-striped Grass Frog, Spotted Grass Frog, Green Tree Frog, and Red-eyed Green Tree Frog. Of the mammal species, the Swamp Rat, Platypus, Fishing Bat, Common Planigale, Common Blossom-Bat, Eastern Chestnut Mouse, and the Pale Field Rat all live within wetlands. Many different species of reptiles also thrive in wetland environments, including turtles, water skinks, and snakes.


A grebe in an Urban Wetland near Cranbourne.

A grebe in an Urban Wetland near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham)


A Black fronted dotteral, a type of plover. enjoys the mud at this wetland near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham)

A Black fronted dotteral, a type of plover. enjoys the mud at this urban wetland near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham)

  1. Are Culturally Significant

It is important to acknowledge that wetlands are also culturally significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Wetlands have Aboriginal cultural and historical significance, and are important for science and education.


  1. Ability To Absorb Pollutants

Due to the nature of drainage within urban areas, stormwater is often directed to wetlands. This water is often polluted with sediment, microorganisms, phosphorous, and nitrogen. A healthy, biodiverse wetland has the ability to ‘absorb’ these pollutants. The wetlands can filter these pollutants, reducing the load through processes in aerobic and anaerobic ecological conditions.


  1. Wildlife Corridors

A wildlife corridor is any area of native vegetation that is located between two or more larger areas. It is a ’stepping stone’ for migrating animals to use in-between native landscapes. Wetland wildlife corridors provide this function for many waterbirds, allowing them to safely migrate while providing shelter and food. In addition to providing a refuge for migrating animals, wetland wildlife corridors also enable interbreeding and colonisation of plants native to the local area. Significant wildlife corridors close to Balwyn Community Centre include the anniversary bicycle path through Deepdene and East Kew as well as the chain of parks along the Yarra river. These parks include  Burke Road Billabong Reserve and Hays Paddock in East Kew as well as Bellbird Park in Kew.


  1. Recreational Use

Many coastal and inland wetlands are popular for tourism and recreational activities such as swimming, hiking, boating, fishing, camping, and birdwatching. They are places of beauty that can be a great source of relaxation and recreation.


Early Spring in Melbourne and this black swan is raising cygnets in wetlands near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham.)

Early Spring in Melbourne and this black swan is raising cygnets in urban wetlands near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham.)


A Chestnut teal near Cranbourne Southeast of Melbourne.

A Chestnut teal swimming in wetlands near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham)

  1. Recharging Groundwater

Wetlands recharge groundwater when they become so clogged with water that the soil can no longer retain it and the water leaks down into the aquifer. This is important as the process of leaching not only recharges the groundwater, but in doing so it also absorbs the bacterial loading of the excess water, ensuring that the groundwater is replenished with less contaminated water.


Landscaping with Urban Wetlands

A trend we are seeing is that landscape architects, local governments and developers are preserving and even adding wetlands to landscape redevelopments. Private developers are now creating wetlands and pools to provide a tranquil place for employees and visitors.



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© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne




 References and further reading


Acreman, M. and Holden, J. (2013). How Wetlands Affect Floods. Wetlands, [online] 33(5), pp.773–786. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

(2018a). Plants in wetlands. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

(2018c). Why wetlands are important. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

(2019). Plants and animals in wetlands. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

(2020). Mammals in wetlands. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (2016a). Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. [online] Available at:,nutrients%20and%20pollutants%20from%20water. [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (2016b). Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (2020). Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

Healthy wetlands, healthy fi sh populations What are wetlands? (n.d.). [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020]. (2017). Animals of the wetland | Melbourne Water. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020]. (2015). Groundwater Recharge – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

Shore Erosion Control Guidelines Marsh Creation Maryland Department of the Environment Wetlands and Waterways Program. (2006). [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

Urban Bushland Council WA. (2018). Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

US EPA,ORD (2017). Wetlands | US EPA. [online] US EPA. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

US EPA,OW (2015). Why are Wetlands Important? | US EPA. [online] US EPA. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020]. (2020). Wetland Functions and Values: Surface and Ground Water Protection | Department of Environmental Conservation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

World Wetlands Day – celebrating wetland biodiversity (2010). World Wetlands Day – celebrating wetland biodiversity. [online] IUCN. Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

Water Sensitive Urban Design. City of Boroondara


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Japanese Garden Design

Japanese Landscape – Kew Gardens

Japanese gardens evoke the feeling of peace and tranquillity. These gardens are not only beautiful, but they are practical too as a visit to the Kew Botanical gardens shows. Professor Fukuhara of Osaka University designed this garden in 1996 based around the ‘Gateway of the Imperial Messenger’ or  ‘Chokushi-Mon’, which was a gift to Kew Botanical Gardens after it was displayed at the London  Japan-British Exhibition of 1910.

Chokushi-Mon. Kew Botanical Gardens

Chokushi-Mon. Kew Botanical Gardens. The ‘Gateway of the Imperial Messenger’ or  ‘Chokushi-Mon’ was a gift to Kew Botanical Gardens after it was displayed at the London  Japan-British Exhibition of 1910. In the foreground is a Platycodon grandiflorus or Chinese Balloon flower, an herbaceous perennial with blue bell shaped flowers in clusters . The plant gets its name from the swollen buds which resemble balloons.

Often the word Zen is associated with Japanese gardens. Zen is a school of east asian buddhism. In modern times, Zen has been identified especially with the secular arts of medieval Japan. These include the tea ceremony, ink painting, and gardening.

The 17 tonnes of aggregate or Zen gravel is raked weekly to maintain its patterns. Japanese gardens usually use a light colour of granite aggregate.

The 17 tonnes of aggregate or Zen gravel is raked weekly to maintain these patterns. Japanese gardens usually use a light coloured high quality granite aggregate.


Much of the zen doctrine is based on meditation, so is not surprising that Traditional Japanese gardens are designed for peaceful contemplation. Whilst the primary focus of an Oriental garden is nature, there are elements of a Japanese garden that symbolize the natural elements.

Japanese Garden Design. Pattern Gravel with rocks, grasses and low shrubs. Designed by Professor Fukuhara of Osaka University using adapted garden styles from the Momayama period.

Japanese Garden Design. Wavy Pattern aggregate with rocks, grasses and low shrubs. Designed by Professor Fukuhara of Osaka University using adapted garden styles from the Momayama period.

Ornaments, plants, rocks stones and water are the main elements used in Japanese Garden Design. The elements are often arranged asymmetrically in an enclosed space. Rocks are placed in groups or individually to highlight their colour, form and texture. Nearby shrubs create contrast in both colour and texture with the rocks. . Larger gardens sometimes incorporate an arched bridge as a design feature.

The Grounds of Kew

Kew gardens started in 1759 and now covers more than 120 hectares. Kew gardens has a botanical collection of over 50,000 living plants and has one of the largest collections in the world. Every year more than 1.35 million visitors wander the grounds of Kew to take in the wonderful landscaping.

Holland Park Kyoto Garden

Japanese gardens often feature simple and natural paving materials including natural rock, natural slate paving, exposed aggregate, gravel or stones. Straight lines and edges such as footpaths and decking can be softened with ground covers. Japanese garden decor is often incorporated into the garden. These include Koi ponds, stone lanterns, bamboo water spouts, rain chains, waterfalls and stone basins. Many of these Japanese garden design features can be seen at the Holland Park Kyoto Japanese garden in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The Kyoto Japanese garden was a present from the city of Kyoto to commemorate the friendship between Great Britain and Japan. This is a very tranquil garden with stone lanterns as design focal points, multi tiered waterfalls, Japanese Maple trees (Acer palmatum) In Autumn the colours of these trees are stunning.


Stone Lantern, Pond and Acer. Kyoto garden

Stone Lantern, Pond and Acer. Kyoto garden

Plant selection will often include cherry trees and maples which put on a fantastic display of colour in the Autumn. The one aspect most often associated with Japanese gardens in the sub-tropics  however, is the raked stones, sand or gravel  in wave patterns. Compared to a lawn, these beautiful spaces will save on water and maintenance. Flowers and Australian native plants, especially ground covers, can also be incorporated into the design.



The use of contrasting coloured foliage is often a feature of Japanese Garden Design.

The use of contrasting coloured foliage is often a feature of Japanese Garden Design.


Tranquil Garden Pond

A Tranquil Garden Pond with vertical stones. In the background an elevated landform with light coloured flowers and small trees.

The origin of the Japanese garden design style is founded in the admiration and respect for all natural forms such as rocks and trees. The design  style of the Kyoto garden is one of the typical traditional design styles know as the “tour garden” style.  It is not just the original design which makes this garden Japanese, in the garden maintenance plan the trees are trimmed in harmony with their original natural shape.

A mossy stone wall with borders and blue flowers.

A mossy stone wall with borders and blue flowers.


Stone water feature in the style of a Ryoan Ji temple with rounded river pebbles a stone lantern. Fantastic use of foliage colours with white flowers.

Stone water feature in the style of a Ryoan Ji temple with rounded river pebbles a stone lantern. Fantastic use of foliage colours with white flowers.


A 3 tiered stone waterfall descends into a garden pond of Koi fish.

A 3 tiered stone waterfall descends into a garden pond of Koi fish.


The feature garden waterfall looks great from every angle.

The feature garden waterfall looks great from every angle.


Koi fish swim around a stone lantern on a stone in a tranquil garden Pond. Water features are a often a big part of Japanese garden design.

Koi fish swim around a stone lantern on a stone in a tranquil garden Pond. Water features are a often a big part of Japanese garden design.


Pink Magnolias are a great choice for Japanese gardens.

Pink Magnolias are a great choice for Japanese gardens. Also take a look at Kobushi Magnolia when designing your garden.


Naturalistic rock pavers with the garden pond shore paved with large round river rocks.

Naturalistic rock pavers with the garden pond shore paved with large round river rocks.


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Contact us for Japanese garden design Melbourne


© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil – Melbourne Landscaper.



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Cottage Gardens

Cottage Gardens in Melbourne

Melbourne Cottage Gardens owe much to the English cottage gardens of the 1800s. If you have a Cottage Style Home or a heritage style home, there is a lot you can do in the garden to give your home garden that authentic look. Many of the garden design ideas can also be applied to you small Melbourne garden.

The history of Cottage Gardens.

Melbourne cottage gardens designs can trace their heritage back to the English cottage gardens of the 19th century. These, in turn have origins going back centuries earlier in 87 AD. When the Romans invaded Britain, they brought with them many plants with both medicinal and food supply purposes. Later, Emperor Charlemagne even went so far as to recommend what plants should be grown. In Capitulare de villis, which guided the governance of royal estates, Charlemagne recommended many plants from southern Europe. These plants included gladiolus, cucumbers, melons, cumin, rosemary, artichokes and fennel. Many of these plants would have looked and tasted much different to the plants we harvest today. The result of Charlemagne’s decree in around 780 AD, was to greatly increase the variety of plants grown in the royal estates.

Emperor Charlemagne decreed the plants to be grown on Royal Estates.

Emperor Charlemagne decreed the plants to be grown on Royal Estates.

The Monastery Garden

The monks in monasteries created gardens to not only feed themselves, but also to produce medicines and essential oils. Within the walls of the monasteries, the monks developed sophisticated garden designs which formed the basis of the cottage gardens we know today. As well as food crops, monks also developed cheeses, beers and alcoholic spirits. Some the products developed by monks are still famous today. Monks also made money through the production of honey and lavender. Lavender water was manufactured my monks by diluting essential oils produced through the distillation of lavender flowers. This was an early example of a cottage industry.

Monks developed sophisticated garden designs which formed the basis of the cottage gardens we know today

Lavender field in the monastery of Saint Paul de Mausole in France. Monks developed sophisticated garden designs which formed the basis of the cottage gardens we know today


Garden diversity

The age of discovery lead to a boom in garden diversity. Many new garden plants were brought back from the new world and the Far East to add to the European plants already in cultivation. Botanical Gardens were established in most major cities to further horticultural research and the use of plants for medicinal purposes. Exotic plants were also propagated for their beauty as garden plants.


Melbourne Botanical Gardens


On a swampy site near the Yarra River, the Melbourne Botanical Gardens were established in 1846 by Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe. The first director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens was famous Botanist Ferdinand Von Mueller. Von Mueller’s garden design included a formal garden with a specific educational purpose. This garden was designed to show the relationships between families of plants. Horticultural shows also took place in the gardens during Von Mueller’s time, bring the beauty of flowering plants to masses of people in inner city Melbourne.

The famous floral clock at Melbourne Botanical Gardens with sweeping lawns and Canary Island Palms (Phoenix canariensis). A great place to go for Garden Design ideas.

The famous floral clock at Melbourne Botanical Gardens with sweeping lawns and Canary Island Palms (Phoenix canariensis). A great place to go for Garden Design ideas.

Melbourne Botanical Gardens – The “Master of Landscaping”.

The next director after Von Mueller was the “master of landscaping” William Guilfoyle. During Guilfoyle’s time in charge, many of the landscaping features in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens were established. This included the sweeping lawns and the use of foliage plants that we see in many Melbourne Gardens today.


The evolution of English Cottage Gardens


Industrialisation and urbanisation lead to changes to the English Cottage gardens. During the industrial revolution, the philanthropic movements assisted Britain’s poor to establish their own garden allotments. These enabled families to grow fruit and vegetables either next to their house or together in green belts in the towns and villages. This no doubt improved the quality of life amongst English families.

With greater middle-class wealth, many humble cottage gardens began to emulate the plantings seen in the wealthy estates. Cottage gardens were no longer just to sustain a family but became a source of beauty as well.


Cottage Gardens and the Arts and Crafts Movement


The excesses of industrialisation during the Victorian era lead to the establishment of the Arts and Crafts movement. This was born of a desire to restore simplicity to buildings and furnishings and revive traditional craftsmanship. The effect of this movement on garden design and in particular cottage garden design, was enormous.


Arts and Crafts Movement Garden

Hidecote – Between the 1890s and 1930s gardens the Arts and Crafts Movement influenced Cottage Garden design.

These gardens used natural materials and traditional craftsmanship and echoed the architectural elements of the  garden design.

Arts and Crafts Movement Cottage Garden at Hidecote. Ornamental Garden Structures such as gazebos, and use of natural materials like this stone path are hallmarks of an Arts and crafts garden. Also note the plant choice and overflowing look typical of a typical English garden.

Arts and Crafts Movement Cottage Garden at Hidecote. Ornamental Garden Structures such as gazebos, and use of natural materials like this stone path are hallmarks of an Arts and crafts garden. Also note the plant choice and overflowing look typical of a typical English garden.


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© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne


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How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy In Colder Weather

The winter is characterised with weeds, heavy soaking, low sunlight levels, and frost, which, for us humans, means staying covered and resting mostly indoors. But for lawns, the winter is a critical time to survive and require as much help as possible to stay healthy. Here are tips to keep your lawn healthy during the colder months.

Provide abundant sunlight to your lawn

It is advisable to leave grass clippings after mowing during the warmer months. This is because they can supply nutrients from the grass. Also, leaving behind grass clippings can save you lots of work.

But during autumn and winter, you will be better off removing clippings and leaves from the turf. This way, your lawn will receive ample air and sunlight that it requires to survive during the cold months.

If there are lots of trees on your lawn, you should prune them to ensure your lawn receives more sunlight.

Mow higher and less frequently

The first thing you will notice when the cooler months set in is that grass growth rate decreases. When this happens, you are advised to raise the mowing height to avoid damaging the grass, something that can lead to browning and scalping. Frequent scalping weakens the grass, leaving it exposed to weeds and diseases.

When mowing your lawn, avoid cutting the grass lower than 2.5 cm. Also reduce the frequency of mowing your grass to approximately every 3 or 4 weeks. You can also mow your grass when the grass blade length exceeds 6 cm.

Aerate the soil

High traffic volume, coupled with higher temperatures, can compact the soil. This, in turn, can prevent the roots of the grass from receiving the optimal resources required for their thriving and growth. You can choose to manually perforate the soil using a hand rake. Alternatively, you can enlist the services of a professional to do the job for you.


Although your grass will grow remarkably slower during the winter, it still requires a steady delivery of nutrients. Firstly, make sure your soil is checked to see what nutrients are lacking and then buy the right fertiliser that contains the right nutrient combination.

Stop watering

You should desist from watering your lawn unless the grass appears very dry. And the best time to water your lawn is early in the morning. If you water your lawn too much during the colder months, it risks inviting fungi to your grass.

Weed Vigilantly

Weeds, unlike other types of turf, are unbowed by the harsh winter conditions. As a matter of fact, they appear to thrive in these unforgiving conditions. Be proactive and come up with a weekly weeding regimen to keep the unwanted plants in check.

Reds Landscaping Can Help!

Does it appear like the grass is always greener on the other side? Are your lawn care tips for the winter not working? Maybe you need to call in a pro. The experts at Reds Landscaping offer free tips and advice to help you keep your lawn and property in the best states. Just email or call us on 0424 350 910 for professional assistance with your lawn care this winter.


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6 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Re-Designing Your Homes Landscaping

Generally, redesigning your landscape involves choosing features of landscaping and incorporating them into the perfect design. You want a landscape that will last for years, so get ready to invest some time. Ask yourself these 6 questions before you re-design your home’s landscaping.

Do you understand your yard?

To begin with, the landscaping design reinvents your yard by introducing new different features. These features that are determined by three components:

  • The level of shade.
  • Topography.
  • The plants, shrubs and trees that populate your yard.

How do these three components influence your design? Specifically, summers are a pretty hot time, and while people might spend their late afternoons or evenings in the backyard, the sun hangs out all day. The extreme heat can damage landscaping, while tree canopies can leave dry, shaded areas that aren’t easy to populate with lovely plants. The shade of your yard becomes an important component in landscape design.

In addition, the topography influences design because it creates opportunities to add beautiful features while it still engages in a functional role, like draining your yard. Such functional roles won’t be altered by landscaping that improves a swale or an existing crest for instance. Transforming a ridge and low lying area with terracing or a sloping flower bed succeeds at different levels. Your neighbours will be impressed by your landscape design Melbourne.

Finally, the climate you live in has a lot to do with the plants, trees or shrubs you choose to put into the landscape. At the same time, your selection of trees, shrubs and flowers also influence the types of soil in your region.

How do you expect to use your newly landscaped yard?

One of the great things about landscape design Melbourne is how people determine to use it? The backyard bar-b-q expert will attest to a design’s success when it makes possible saucy smoked ribs or pulled pork. So, the obvious question to ask before you begin is how will people use the new landscape? Will children use the yard? How about adults or animals?

With that in mind, the landscape design’s objective is to create a place apart from the hustle and bustle of the world and give the occupants a sense of place and belonging, as strong a sense as they enjoy inside their house. Landscapes can shut out the outside world and inspire the imaginations of people in it.

To illustrate, the families’ focus on the children today might determine the focus of landscape design. When looking at orienting the design toward people, the placement of ordinary furniture becomes important. The design for a family’s space can include cooking area, dining area, and a place identical to a family room, a place where kids can dig in, have fun and share space with adults. It can involve anything as simple as a swing or as big as a kid’s double chaise lounge.

With the users in mind, designers may create spaces for furniture like hanging Hammocks or sprawling lounge chairs that capture the imaginations of the people in it. Also, the adults might want to create a kids’ corner with a kiddie’s picnic table and umbrella, a place where kids can enjoy some independence from the adult world.

How much money do you want to spend on your new Landscaping?

The budget and the value of the property are both determining factors of how much money you want to invest in landscaping. While landscaping doesn’t increase the living space of your home, it does have an impact on your home’s value. Experts estimate that landscaping improves your home’s value by at least ten per cent, give or take a few percentage points. On the other hand, if the home isn’t an investment, then landscaping adds to the personality of the home. The return-on-investment may be irrelevant in that case. In landscaping Melbourne, you don’t want to spend $100,000 on landscaping on a house that’s valued at $250,000.

In the second place, you should consider the question of labour when drawing up a budget for landscaping. At this point, you might want to do the work yourself or hire the job out to a professional. Farming the work out may be expensive, but you get a professional’s skill and experience, and a contractor who takes responsibility for the work. On the other hand, a do-it-yourself job can often be as good and you have money to either pocket or invest in a feature like privacy landscaping trees.

What is the design premise for your back yard?

Speaking of privacy landscaping trees, often there’s a feature you want to emphasize or experiment within landscape design. It can be an overarching idea, or it can be just one part of the landscape that subtly resounds through the design.

One of the most popular landscape premises is the backyard bird or butterfly garden. People who want to attract birds and butterflies can do it with landscape design. By the same token, a landscape devoted to growing organic vegetables is another concept. Clearly, limiting the design to one idea is possible, but the likelihood is that the landscape will be used for many reasons, but none of that violates the idea that is expressed in the design. The family who wants to devote the landscape to raising children have a host of ideas to communicate but aren’t limited to creating only kids’ spaces.

You can combine your many interests in the design too. For example, if you’re an avid golfer, put a putting green into your landscape design. If your pets love the yard, create an emphasis on pet life. The special premise for a landscape doesn’t have to be much more than a token decorative detail, or it could be a dominating feature in every corner of the design.

What’s the composition of your new landscaping design?

One of the unspoken rules of landscape design is that it will incorporate lines, colours and forms to express ideas. If you flew a drone over your yard and found a bird’s eye view of the landscaping below, how many linear elements, colours or geometric forms fit in some way with the composition? These linear features, colours and forms can be seen in flower beds, coloured brick walkways, open greens and steps or stairs.

The pre-production process in landscaping captures this best by looking at the landscapers’ tools. Those tools include sketchbooks, tracing paper, camera, printouts on construction paper, reference books, and markers and pens. The design reduces your space to scale so that it can be rendered on a computer. These are important tools in getting the composition of your landscape right. The process is complicated but it can also be inspired. Every new landscape design poses a unique challenge in composition.

What elements of your landscaping should be emphasized when you bring it together in your final design?

The principles of landscaping design bring all the elements together in a perfect design.

When your landscape design is complete, all the elements from plants to trees to walkways and green areas should adhere to the notion of harmony in proportion. An oversized potted plant won’t work in a small corner of the yard devoted to the kids. Your features might line up perfectly with one another across a central walkway to create a remarkable symmetrical space. On the other hand, you may opt for something a little more asymmetrical, with a walkway off the centre line or a path winding to a corner. One way of creating a sense of the familiar is to repeat sequences of flowers in flower beds or repeat breaks between hedges that are equal distant throughout. This repetition can be a desirable element of your landscape. Since unity is highly valued in design, it can be achieved by simply using an arrangement in a flower bed and repeat it over and over. That suggests unity to space in landscaping Melbourne.



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How To Bring High End Landscaping To Your Sad & Dusty Yard

If you’ve been neglecting your yard for a while, we think it is about time you made a change. Seeing brown grass and withered plants in your garden can get you to avoid going outdoors even in a place as beautiful as the Melbourne.

Why not create a space that you will actually enjoy spending time in?

All you really need are some original ideas and the help of a professional landscape architect to get your plan in place.

Read below to get some helpful tips to help you transform your old dusty yard into a brand-new paradise.

What is Your Garden Used For?

Before you start coming up with ideas for landscaping your yard, you need to think about a few practical points.

While landscaping will definitely add a beautiful aesthetic to your home, there is no reason it shouldn’t also be beneficial in other ways depending on what you use your yard for. If you have young children, for example, you should think about creating a landscape design that compliments their outdoor activities safely.

Some ideas that match this need include creating a large open space for them to run around in and maybe avoiding flower beds as they might get trampled. If you use your backyard for relaxation and meditation, on the other hand, you may want to think about adding some fragrant plants to aid you in your journey to mindfulness.

You can also incorporate accessories into your landscape design to match your activity needs. For example, if you use your yard for entertainment purposes you could opt to add a gazebo, a new deck, or even just a beautiful seating area in the middle of the yard to seat company in.

The options are endless, which is why you need to know what you need before you start your landscape design.

What is Your Vibe?

After you have gotten a good idea of what your garden will be used for, it becomes time to choose a theme or vibe you like.

If you are living in Australia odds are that you spend most of your day in your yard regardless of the activities that take place there. That is why choosing a theme that is right for you and makes you feel at ease is so important.

A garden is much more than an outdoor space you can spend your afternoons in. In reality, this space can be transformed into your own little world.

There are an enormous amount of options including modern, Japanese, Moorish, Spanish, Mediterranean, and English.

Each of these styles gives your yard a totally different feel. Think about what your garden should portray. Do you want elegance or grandeur?

More plant geared, or structured and full of stonework? Look up these different design themes to get an idea of what you want for your home.

Where You Live Matters

Another thing to keep in mind when coming up with a landscape design for your home is where you are located in the world. Different plants and designs work better for some places in the world and don’t work at all in other places.

For example, if you live on the Golden Coast of Australia, you know that there is an incredible mixture of habitats in the area. However, one thing you may already be thinking of is needing to use plants that do not require a lot of water.

Choosing plants that were made to live in the environment you’re in (local plants) will help your garden grow and live for much longer. It will also cost you a lot less in terms of maintenance and effort spent taking care of the garden.

Choosing native species will also compliment the local wildlife and help to draw beautiful animals to your yard.

The Extras

After you’ve come up with the base of what you are looking for in a garden you may have some room to think about adding luxury features.

Depending on your budget, you may be able to add a pool, a small water feature, a fountain, a patio, and even a pergola. These add-ons, no matter how simple, always seem to take your yard to a whole new level.

Don’t forget to take into consideration the water restrictions in your area before choosing the type of accessory to add to your garden.

Putting it All Together

Planning for your new landscape design is definitely the easy part. While you may be thinking you can do most of the handiwork yourself, we can assure you that this is best left to the professionals.

When you’ve got a good idea of what you want in your yard, it becomes time to hire a landscape architect to bring your vision to life.

A landscape architect has the ability to bring your ideas to a whole new level and has the expertise that allows them to utilize space in the most beneficial way possible.

A project manager, on the other hand, will help make your vision a reality by making sure all of the architect’s plans and instructions are followed to a tee.

If you have any doubt about hiring a professional to do the design work, try to think of it in a simpler way.

If you’ve ever tried to make a flower arrangement yourself and then seen a professionally made arrangement you realize there is a lot more to creating a bouquet than simply putting flowers next to each other. The same principle applies to landscape design!


Remember to always keep a budget in mind when you start developing your landscaping plan. Although this all seems like quite a bit of work, it is actually very easy once you’ve got the right professionals giving you a hand. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing your old sad yard being transformed into a beautiful and lively garden! Once your done creating your vision, you’ll never want to leave your backyard.



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5 Small Garden Design Ideas for Melbourne

A Small garden  can be a design challenge for even experienced landscape designers. If you are living in a Melbourne townhouse with a small backyard, and you might be thinking about what can be achieved in such a small space. Designing a garden for a small space in your Melbourne front yard or backyard can present some unique problems for the home gardener. Not least amongst these problems can be the lack of direct sunlight. Some similar design philosophies to large garden design can be followed, but there is more to it than just scaling everything down.

A fountain as a small garden focal point

A Fountain is a great focal point for a small inner city garden. The trickle of the water helps to disguise any traffic noises. The flow of the water catches the eye and has a calming effect. A fountain like this one produces even more calming background noise. It is also a great way for birds and other wildlife to get a drink after a day under the hot Melbourne sun.

Small Garden Focal Points

As with large gardens the logical first step with your tiny garden is to decide on the focal point or focal points of your garden. This can be a small tree in a pot or in the ground, a piece of sculpture , a small water feature or even a rock. A great focal point for the compact garden is a xanthorrhoea johnsonii. Once the focal point is decided upon, it can be made to stand out by some clearing around it and with some garden illumination.


Small Garden Design Focal point
A path of lawn pavers will draw your eye to the garden focal point.

A Path for a small garden

A path leading to the focal point will draw your eye to the feature. If your house has nearby windows, try to place the focal point where it can be seen out of the window. Consider how your garden will look from other vistas as well. Think about the views from other windows and any pathways. Less desirable views can be screened out with hedging plants or screening plants creating the illusion of depth. Walls and fences can be made more attractive with an espalier fruit tree screen or a vertical garden. If you have a views of nearby trees or parkland, work with these views to enhance the view from your own garden.

White Crepe Myrtle as a focal point in a courtyard. Small Garden Design

White Crepe Myrtle as a focal point in a courtyard. Small Garden Design.

Small Garden Plant Selection

Select plants that attract native birds and other native fauna into your garden. This will certainly add to the interest in your garden. Aim to create contrast and balance in your plantings making use of foliage textures and colours but avoid having too many different plants or themes. By repeating shapes colours and shapes your garden you will develop a central theme. Choose species and varieties that are low maintenance and do not grow too large.

Garden Layering for a small garden

Starting with your focal point or tallest shrub use the design concept of layering to plan out your  garden plantings. Proper layering will ensure each plant in the layering scheme has adequate light and add to the illusion of depth. If you are planning a garden against a hedge or a boundary, place the taller plants at the back. Unless you are building a hedge, use trees and shrubs of varying height in the back row. This way you will create a much more interesting garden that takes your eye along different levels.


Plan the plant heights to create a layered effect. Make use of plant foliage to create colour contrasts. Make trees in neighbouring gardens part of the view.

Plants to consider for the garden focal point include magnolia grandiflora ‘teddy bear’ and magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ and the crepe myrtle. These can either be planted in a large pot, with colourful annuals, or in the ground.

Magnolia grandiflora “little gem” Creates a focal point in a large pot.Using large leaf trees in the foreground and small leaf trees in the background will make your garden appear larger.

Low maintenance small gardens

For the bottom layer of your tiered garden, a ground cover like creeping boobialla is an excellent choice for attracting birds and suppressing weeds.

Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium) are very effective at suppressing weeds

It is often the case with the small garden that regular maintenance tasks like mowing and edging the lawn become a real difficulty. Two native sustainable alternatives to lawn grasses are Dichondra repens and the Native Violet Viola hederacea. This will save a lot of effort getting the lawn mower out as neither of these require regular mowing.

Dichondra repens is a low growing plant that is an alternative to grass.

Other plants to consider for the bottom layer include Lomandra hystrix , Lomandra longifolia and Lomandra seascape. These hardy grass like plants are well suited to Melbourne. Their tolerance of coastal sea breezes and their ability to tolerate full sun and part shade as well as a variety of soils. The species of lomandra with the blue green foliage, Lomandra Seascape, will create an interesting colour contrast in your garden.


Native grasses with Blue Green Foliage like this Lomandra Seascape are ideal for event tiny gardens.

Sago Palm

For the levels or layers in-between consider using Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta), if you have enough room. It will grow in part shade or full sun and will tolerate some salt spray if you are right on the coast. Although it can eventually get to two metres tall it is very slow growing. Growing it in a pot will limit its height.

Cycads like the Cycas revoluta or Sago Palm, create an exotic look in your  garden.
Cycads like the Cycas revoluta or Sago Palm, create an exotic look in your  garden.

Native Rosemary

Another choice for the small  garden is the Coastal or Native Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa). This plant is native to the sandy and coastal areas of NSW even growing down to beach level. This versatile plant can be either be grown as a tree, as a hedge, or even as a prostrate ground cover plant. For best results trim it regularly to achieve the shape you want. Other species that should be considered is the melaleuca, and the banksia robur.


Westringia fruticosa or native rosemary is an ideal plant for the Melbourne small garden. Plants with fine leaves make your garden appear larger.Westringia fruticosa or native rosemary is an ideal plant for the Melbourne garden. Plants with fine leaves make your garden appear larger.

Add a splash of Colour in the small garden


Now you have planned your garden focal point, and vistas and various layers, it is time to add a few extra splashes of colour. This can done with annuals in pots or by planting plants like the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae). This plant is tolerant of partial shade and it can also cope with the wind, salt and sandy soils of the Melbourne. Its stunningly beautiful orange and blue flowers will stand out against the layered foliage backdrop you have created behind.

Strelitzia reginae or Bird of Paradise will add a splash of colour to your small garden.
Strelitzia reginae or Bird of Paradise will add a splash of colour to your garden.

One trick for the small garden is to pick a colour theme from inside the home and carry this them out into the garden. This can also be part of the colour scheme for climbing plants  on a pergola or fence. The same can be applied to potted plants under the  verandah or near the door.


Window Boxes and Hanging Baskets.

Additional colour can be added to your garden with window boxes and hanging baskets. These use very little space and can be used on balconies and patios.

Hanging baskets can be used to add colour to a small garden and to screen out unwanted views.
Hanging baskets can be used to add colour to a garden and to screen out unwanted views.

A Pergola and garden Path to create vertical interest in your Melbourne Small Garden.

If you still have room in your  garden, a structure like a pergola could be considered and another trick you can use is to to create curved garden pathways using a light coloured gravel or stone path. Using light coloured paving or fine gravels along with fine leaf plants in your garden will help to create the illusion of extra space.

More home garden landscape gardening ideas from Red’s Landscaping.

Landscape Design Melbourne


9 great reasons for Pool and Landscaping Packages


Screening Plants for Garden Privacy


Home Garden Landscaping ideas


Cottage Garden Plants


Cottage garden ideas from the Cotswolds


Path Design for Cottage Gardens


11 Best landscapers of all time.



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