Telopea speciosissima (Red waratah)

Waratah in Australian Landscape Design

Waratah, or Telopea, is a group of large shrubs or small trees native to Australia, especially the southeastern parts of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. There are five species of waratah. The most well-known is the Telopea speciosissima (Red waratah), which is known for its bright red flower and is the state symbol of New South Wales. The word "waratah" derives from the native Eora Aboriginal people, meaning red flowering tree. In the flowery vocabulary, waratahs represent beauty.

Tree in bloom
Alloxylon flammeum (Queensland Tree Waratah) is a rainforest tree that only grows naturally in the Atherton Tablelands.

Where do Waratahs grow best?

Ideal Growing Conditions

Growing Conditions: The ideal climates for growth are temperate and semitropical. This plant prefers moderate shade with morning sun, although it will also thrive in full sun. Make sure it only gets a little exposure to the hot afternoon sun. Soils with good drainage are ideal for the growth. The optimal soil for planting waratahs is slightly acidic, sandy soil.

Waratah blooms in bushland under the spring sunshine in NSW, Australia. The inflorescence is surrounded by a whorl of big, red bracts that protect them.


Lewin's Honeyeater on a waratah flower. A great way to attract wildlife to your garden.

Plant Description

Description: Red waratah is simple to grow and grows rapidly once established. It has partially branching stems that can grow 3-4 metres tall and 2 metres wide. The leaves are big, oblong, leathery, and have roughly toothed edges. The upper side of the leaf is dark green and smooth, and the veins are easy to see. The lower side of the leaf is lighter green. They are dark green and are placed alternately on the branches.

Telopea speciosissima (Red waratah)
Telopea speciosissima (Red waratah). The leaves are big, oblong, leathery, and have roughly toothed edges.

The flower heads of these plants are huge, beautiful, and dome-shaped. The inflorescence comprises 250 pairs of flowers surrounded by a whorl of big, red bracts that protect them.

Waratah flower inflorescence comprises 250 pairs of flowers.

The bloom opens from the base or the exterior of the head. The flower's diameter varies from 5 to 15 cm. The flowering season is from September through November. Flowers produce a great amount of nectar, which attracts birds and insects, the plant's primary pollinators.

Yellow Waratah (Telopea speciosissima x oreades)
Yellow Waratah (Telopea speciosissima x oreades)

Waratah fruit is a reddish brown leathery pod with a big, beige-coloured winged seed. When the fruit is ripe, it splits lengthwise, releasing two rows of 10-20 winged seeds. Waratah can survive bushfires because it has a lot of dormant buds in its underground stem that starts to grow soon after the fire.

Waratah seed pods. When the fruit is ripe, it splits lengthwise, releasing two rows of 10-20 winged seeds

Caring for your waratah plant

Watering: Newly planted trees need constant watering for the first summer, especially during the establishment phase. During the early growing season, water thoroughly once every two weeks. In extreme drought, older trees could need watering. Overwatering your plant can cause fungal problems, especially around the roots. Waratah does not require water in late autumn and winter.

Fertilisers: Waratah is sensitive to phosphorus in general-purpose fertilisers. Phosphorus-containing fertilisers might be hazardous to your plant. Feed in the spring with bone and blood or slow-release fertiliser low in phosphorus and specially prepared for native plants to encourage vigorous growth and many flowers.

Pruning: Mature plants require regular pruning to keep their thick structure and encourage more flower production. Once flowering has finished, prune the branches down to one-fourth their length. As you notice any weak stems, cut them off.

Disease and Pests

Waratah is particularly susceptible to root rot; however other fungal diseases can affect these plants in waterlogged soil. These plants really require excellent drainage. Waratah can also be grown in raised beds or pots to prevent root rot.

Scale can occasionally be an issue on these plants, especially on the younger ones, but it is usually easily treated with pest oil, which suffocates the. Bud and stem borer can damage flower buds, but Bacillus thuringiensis is a good way to get rid of them.

Landscape Design ideas for Waratah

Waratah is such a beautiful plant, and its amazing floral displays are fantastic additions to the garden, which adds uniqueness to your environment by attracting animal and insect life. If you want to get the most out of your waratah, put it in a visible area where you can easily access it, such as a driveway, a path, or the front of your house. Additionally, they will contrast beautifully with wooden decks, putting you right in the middle of the flowers.

Queensland Tree Waratah Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney.

More Information on Waratah and Related Plants

Banksia Coccinea Landscape Design


Australian Nation Herbarium Growing Information on Telopea species


Australian Native Plant Society


New South Wales National Parks



Commercial Landscaping Hampton Townhouses

Hampton Commercial Landscaping

Hampton Commercial Landscaping project for some luxury townhouses in the Melbourne seaside suburb of Hampton. The bayside suburb of Hampton is around 15km south of Melbourne on Port Phillip, between Brighton and Sandringham. The strip of shops along the thoroughfare of Hampton Street is one of Hampton’s major attractions.

Hampton Shopping Strip
Hampton Shopping Strip is a major attraction in the suburb. (Photo Credit Travel Victoria)

The suburb is also known for having an excellent swimming beach. Hampton Beach is a safe, sandy bay swimming beach with a popular boating and sailing area. It has an extensive foreshore reserve with barbecue and playground facilities, and a walking and cycling path.

Hampton's safe sandy beach. (Photo credit: Travel Victoria)


The townhouses showcase the modern architectural creativity over four extraordinary levels. The landscape gardening was planned to ensure less maintenance and to be tolerant of coastal seaside conditions. The gardens and townhouses perfectly suit the requirements of modern families with convenience and public transport close by. Hampton is one of the Melbourne’s vital coastal suburbs and these townhouses were just a short walk to Hampton’s beautiful beach.


Hampton Townhouses
Luxury 4 level townhouses showcasing the modern architectural creativity.

Hampton Commercial Landscaping

Hampton Commercial Landscaping for this brand new, multi-level town residence. The location and style of the Hampton Townhouses. The townhouses are conveniently located just off beachside Hampton’s lively shopping, dining and transport strip with only a short walk to Hampton station.

The landscaping of Hampton Coastal Gardens

This kind of beachhead garden landscape calls for hardy coastal plants. The plants chosen by the client for this job included native dogwoods and native grasses, such as Lomandra Tanika, Banksia Integrifolia and Correa Alba. These plants are ideal for Hampton commercial landscaping projects due to their hardiness and salt tolerance.

Plants selected for the Hampton Townhouses

The Australian native dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia), not to be confused with European Dogwood. Australian native dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia) is a small shrub or tree which can grow to around four meters in height in ideal growing conditions. It is native to the Queensland’s milder mountain areas and New South Wales. It is a great tree to plant for covering a fence or to provide a little shade.

Banksia Integrifolia also known as the Coast Banksia, grows nicely in seaside or coastal areas like Hampton. The good part is that it is tolerant to salt spray as well as frost. The attractive dark green leaves have a distinguishing silvery underside and the plant is a common sight on Melbourne Bayside suburbs and especially the seaside or coastal reserves.

Banksia Integrifolia
Banksia flowers are a popular feed for the birds including this rainbow lorikeet at Umina Beach on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia


hampton commercial landscaping
Hampton commercial landscaping

Lomandra Tanika, also known as the Basket Grass, is a member of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family which indicates it is related to the icon of the Australian native bush garden the Australian Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea). Lomandra Tanika is the gold leaf form of the well-known Australian native grass Lomandra Longifolia.


Lomandra Tanika
Australian native green lomandra longifolia tanika grass or basket grass


The hardy plants we selected are also ideal for coastal gardens because they can tolerate both salt and wind. An additional advantage for the Hampton commercial landscaping project is that the plant is suitable for densely shaded locations as well as full sun.

hampton commercial landscaping Lomadra Tanika
Hampton commercial landscaping project. Lomadra Tanika in a mulched garden.

Lomandra Tanika are also a very good plant selection for low maintenance gardens. Once it is established very little watering is required to these plants and they do not require regular pruning. If you want a bluer green foliage, take a look at Lomandra Seascape.

Correa Alba is a hardy frost and drought tolerant dense shrub that grows to around 3 metres. The white flowers which arrive in autumn and winter, are star shaped, nearly flat and sometimes it has a pink tinge. This Australian native emerges naturally along the coasts of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Which is another great choice for Melbourne Coastal Gardens and for Hampton Commercial Landscaping.

Correa Alba Hampton commercial landscaping
Correa Alba one of the hardiest of Australian native plants. It can be grown successfully in most reasonably drained soils in either full sun or semi shade. It is very resistant to salt spray and is tolerant of at least moderate frosts. Once established it is tolerant of extended dry periods. These characteristics make it ideal for coastal gardens in seaside suburbs like Hampton.

Commercial Landscaping

The commercial landscaping for the Hampton Townhouses also includes the hard-landscaping of concrete paths for the characteristics.

About Red's Landscaping

Apart from Hampton Commercial Landscaping, Red’s Landscaping & Design offers a wide range of experiences, from landscape design consultation, right through to full turn-key management and construction of both soft and hard landscaping across residential and civil projects. Our expert designers can help you, your business, or council departments discover exactly what kind of design or works you need.

It’s sometimes hard to put your vision into words, it’s our job to navigate and turn it into a reality for you. Our 3D landscaping renders provide photorealistic pictures to help you visualise your new landscape design.

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Landscape Design, Photo taken by Callum O'Brien I Reds Landscaping.

Italian Garden In Southport

Italian gardens are often characterised as being green with few flowers. Often with evergreen shrubs, manicured into geometric hedges or topiaries. As with most styles of Mediterranean gardening, Italian gardens are a practical solution for Australian landscape design.

Traditional Italian House and Swimming Pool - Reds Landscaping and Design
Traditional Italian House and Swimming Pool.

Italian Landscape Design Style

Touring an authentic Italian garden will appeal to gardeners with an eye for classic design and an interest in history. The hallmark of the Italian garden is order, expressed through symmetry and an ultra-neat look. Most homeowners can not afford to implement the design. It requires the use of hardscape, formal lines, and extensive maintenance. However, some properties and components can also provide an Italian flair in the home garden.

An Italian garden is a type of formal garden design perfected in Renaissance Italy. It is characterized by a heavy reliance on hardscape features, manicured evergreens, and Mediterranean plants.

The Origins Of The Italian Garden

The Italian-style garden has its roots in ancient Rome. Wealthy Romans complemented their majestic villas with equally impressive outdoor spaces. These rooms were separated by boxwood hedges and masonry walls, and the use of topiary was also pleasing to the eye. Pliny the Younger describes his Tuscan estate in such terms, speaking of clipped box hedges and other box trees formed into topiary with animal depictions.

Construction Of Italian Garden In Southport

Is it good to live in Southport?

Southport was once an exclusive, highly fashionable English style seaside resort for Brisbane’s elite in the 19th century. Southport is now an important commercial and administrative centre in the northern part of the City of the Gold Coast.

This structure certainly makes an entrance. Designed by Callum, who is the founder and lead designer, this project was reviewed and seen thoroughly from end to end and contributed to with the property owners' best interest in mind, and of course, with the professional recommendations of our experts leading the way.

Traditional Italian House and Swimming Pool Drone Footage - Reds Landscaping and Design
Traditional Italian House and Swimming Pool Drone Footage.

Some gardens and landscapes require a more heightened sense of drama and scheme than the lush and well-maintained gardens of the Italians. The homeowner wanted a space designed which considered the pre-existing architecture of the home and also connected traditional elements of the Italian landscape.

All the well-known and best Italian gardens refer to symmetry, and this building is no exception. formal in design, yet playful and educational at the same time.

Because of the edible goods in the small fruit orchard and herb garden, the children of the house felt connected to the location of the product they were eating and a link back to their lineage.


Italian villa styled mansion - Reds Landscaping and Design
Italian villa styled mansion located in Queensland Australia, showcasing absolute luxury.

Our Company

Landscaping is the means of transforming your house’s front, maintaining or upgrading your gardens, or simply boosting the aesthetic allure of your space. It’s concerned with the good impression your property makes on others.

For first-time proprietors or newly created properties, the landscaping service should be delivered by professionals because experimenting with limited to no experience might result in an unpresentable and high-priced adventure.

We, at Red's Landscaping Company, provide a team of professionals with much-acquired experience and a developed customer support team, who will definitely make your experience hassle-free.

The team will coordinate with the property owner about their visions and budget for the project and propose a list of options with the provision to glorify in the future. We guarantee you the best service.

Red's Landscaping Company provides the services of maintenance, restoration, and improvement for your landscape.


If you are looking for professionals to maintain your landscape, Red's landscaping services can provide you with enough help, which includes grooming, printing, perpetual weeding, mulching, fertilizing, pest control, and irrigation. We also regularly wipe out fallen leaves, branches, and debris to guarantee that your garden retains its natural state and beauty.


If your garden has lost its beauty because of a lack of attention, we can help you bring it back to life by restoring the dead grass with new and planting or transplanting trees. Our specialists use machinery and industry-powered tools to acquire the results you are looking for.


Are you not happy with your current garden? We can bestow it an entirely new look. Our experts eliminate poorly performing plants, pull weeds, and equip the land for the upcoming season. We can adapt the project to fit your budget and preferences and suggest cost-effective solutions.

We had a recent project at Southport Italian Garden Construction, which was a stupendous experience.

How do we care for your garden?

Herringbone Armold Granite Paving - Reds Landscaping and Design
Herringbone Armold Granite Paving featured in Italian garden and Landscape GC.

Our team of lawn care experts at The Grounds Guys will assist you in keeping your house looking great all year. Customers come first; attitude, respect, and enjoying life in the process are our key beliefs.

Our customers rely on us to put their needs first and to provide high-quality care to keep their landscaping green, healthy, and pest-free.

Honest, professional, and trustworthy.

Our crew maintains professionalism by providing home lawn care services that are both efficient and reliable, in addition to appearing on time and in uniform. We take pride in our work, which is why we offer free estimates and transparent pricing. The Grounds Guys staff works hard to earn your trust by consistently delivering exceptional outcomes. You can trust us to do everything we can to make you happy and keep your home looking lovely all year.

More Information on Southport and the Gold Coast

7 Exciting Things to See & Do in Southport, Gold Coast


Landscaping Melbourne

Landscaping Melbourne is about working with Melbourne’s unique climate and often challenging Melbourne Topsoils. Landscaping Melbourne is also about the Melbourne lifestyle. From the tranquil rooftop garden in Melbourne’s CBD to Melbourne’s famous parks and open spaces, Melbourne landscapers have had a long history of working with the conditions to create high quality landscaped open spaces for people to enjoy. The Melbourne climate is great for entertaining outdoor areas and the refreshing plunge pool is often an integral part.

Sometimes, the Melbourne climate means the landscapers must deal with storms and heavy rain or long periods of drought. Landscaping Melbourne with the right plants and the proper landscaping infrastructure can go a long way to create commercial landscaping that is low maintenance, appealing and attracts visitors to enjoy the public spaces.


It is generally known that Aussies love to spend their time outdoors. Whether it is having a minor gathering with family or a big celebration with friends, there is nothing better than catching up at an outdoor gathering. Landscaping Melbourne outdoor entertaining areas are significant for daily life. Beautiful lawns and places supplement several homes and companies. Having a functional and peaceful outdoor space will inspire and deliver the chance to spend more time outside. Spending time outdoors is known to recover both mental and physical health. Studies showed that people who spend maximum time outdoor are healthy and happy in their lives. The entertaining outdoor area will allow them and their family to spend their time outdoors and breathe fresh air.

Outdoor Entertainment Area
Landscaping Melbourne with an Outdoor Entertainment Area

One in two Australian homeowners use their home's outdoor space for entertaining purposes, the highest among seventeen surveyed countries. The entertaining outdoor areas are the ideal addition to the Melbourne garden. Many Australians have backyard space for entertaining with their family and friends. Most homeowners in Australia updated structural elements such as verandahs, pergolas, decks and terraces during the outdoor renovation project, and most Australians wanted to extend their living space outdoors for relaxation and entertaining.

Outdoor Entertaining with kitchen and vertical herb garden.
Outdoor Entertaining with kitchen and vertical herb garden.



A beautiful swimming pool in your yard can be comforting for your mind as it is refreshing for your body. Even the view of peaceful water, whether from inside your home or from your garden, entrance or courtyard, can relax your soul. From the simple modern swimming pool designs to a more formal and decorative style, the key to making a stylish swimming pool is to complement the landscape rather than compete.

Pool and Landscaping Package
Pool and Landscaping Package.

Swimming is a very popular sport in Australia. The Australian nation is enclosed by water, and swimming is a great passion. Swimming is a healthy activity that you can continue for a lifetime. It is a low influence activity with many physical and mental health advantages. It keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body. Swimming builds muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It maintains your healthy weight and healthy lungs and heart.

CAD Design
A View generates with CAD.

Swimming is a big part of the Australian way of life. Even though the winter days in Melbourne are more as compared to other cities of Australia, luckily, there are a lot of heated swimming facilities available for tourists and local people. Outdoor swimming pools are also available in Melbourne, usually open in the warmer months, but some are open all around the year for fearless winter swimmers. Many indoor and outdoor swimming pools in Melbourne were very famous and opened over a hundred years ago. Such as Brighton Baths Health Club, home of Melbourne swimmers since 1881. Fitzroy Swimming pool opened in 1908, and St Kilda sea baths also opened in the 19th century.



Commercial landscaping Melbourne is a natural extension of horticulture that integrates the planning, design, installation and long term preservation of a landscape into a complete product that imitates a business's personality and ethics and makes economic and aesthetic sense. Unattractive landscaping gives your customers a wrong impression. Studies showed that a lovely and well-maintained landscape is pleasing took at, increasing workers' productivity and attracting new clients. Therefore, investing in attractive commercial landscaping is very important because it reflects your clients' ecological values and makes your property stand out. A good and well-maintained commercial landscape is safe because well-placed plants and proper lighting help keep the area safe.

commercial landscaping melbourne
Commercial landscaping Melbourne creating great public spaces.

Commercial landscape design and services are much more than you think. It is not just mowing and blowing. Skilled and experienced landscape professionals know the significance of landscaping for business and understand how to increase your building's aesthetic entreaty.


Landscapers can assist you in planting and installing a workplace outlook that is low-priced and attractive. They can provide regular or seasonal maintenance services for mowing, pruning, trimming, weeding, and plant replacement. They can proactively see what necessities to be done, so your business looks its best.

commercial landscaping Melbourne
Commercial landscaping Melbourne.

Choosing a good and well-experienced landscaper for your property is also a headache. It would be best to choose a landscaping firm that communicates well with you. They should always contact you and let you know what is necessary for your property and what should be done. Choose a landscaper whose invoices are clear and transparent, and that should give you all the information about where is your money going.

Commercial Landscaping Melbourne at Mill Park Leisure Centre.
Commercial Landscaping Melbourne at Mill Park Leisure Centre.

The staff of red landscaping and civil are very skilled and experienced. The red landscape has many years of experience in constructing commercial gardens and landscapes. They can build a good, pleasant and low maintenance landscape on a low budget for you. Their landscaping and gardens projects will confirm that the construction of your project is both low budget and time-saving and will guarantee the best quality outcome.

Commercial Landscaping with drought tolerant plants
Commercial Landscaping with drought tolerant plants at Mill Park Leisure Centre.


It is a type of garden built on the roofs of the buildings. A rooftop garden is a collection of containers and plants (shrubs, bushes, trees and grasses) that the landscapers keep on the rooftop of a flat building. Plants can vary from vegetable plants to ornamental shrubs. The setup can be as simple as planting a few plants in mud pots are as established as constructing gardens beds with automatic watering systems. Rooftop gardens help in insulation and stormwater runoff.

rooftop garden
A Modern Sofa and furniture on rooftop garden.

Rooftop gardens are getting very popular in the modern world because the population is rapidly increasing and the land is used for living. Additionally, every mouth needs to be fed, and there is no space for growing vegetables. Furthermore, due to the hazardous effects of intensive farming, people are forced to do kitchen gardening. In this regard, rooftop gardens are also famous when people have no lawns and backyards.

rooftop garden
A well-designed roof top garden can add enormously to the life of the users . Group of gardeners tending to organic crops and picking up a bountiful basket full of fresh produce from their small business

Melbourne city faces several problems such as challenging climate, rapidly growing population, dense urbanization etc. Therefore, building owners need to use their roofs better. According to an estimate, the Rooftops of central Melbourne covers 880 hectares of space which is several times more than the Royal park of Melbourne. If all these rooftops areas are converted into a garden, it will be more helpful. The rooftop gardens will prevent the effects of global warming and food security. It provides habitat to wildlife, conserves water, and makes buildings cool, due to which the use of air conditions will become low, and a lot of energy will be saved.


Exposed aggregate concrete can always be linked to granite or marble changed by polishing. A regular, ordinary surface has been stripped away to expose the outstanding attractiveness underneath. In the case of concrete, the attractiveness is in the decorative aggregate, both natural and artificial. The decorative process of exposing aggregate has been around since the early 1900s, well before pattern stamping, stencilling, and decorative overlays became trendy.

Hanson Bokhara Exposed aggregate concrete.
Exposed aggregate concrete is ideal for garden steps and stairs to help maintain grip. Recent sealing of the concrete makes it appear slightly darker.

An exposed-aggregate surface is obtained by placing concrete and then removing the outer skin of cement paste to uncover coarse decorative aggregate. Due to its durability and skid resistance, an exposed aggregate finish is ideal for most flatwork such as sidewalks, driveways, patios, pool decks and piazzas.

Outdoor Furniture on Exposed aggregate concrete.
Outdoor Furniture on Exposed aggregate concrete.

Expose aggregate comes in a wide variety of colours and stoned textures, making it adaptable to work with. Every exposed aggregate blend is beautiful and works against the all-weather board, bricks and rendered homes. Like other cities of the world, it is also used in sidewalks, driveways, patios and vertical walls in the landscapes and gardens of Melbourne. If you live in Melbourne, make sure to contact Red landscaping and Design to discuss your exposed aggregate concrete project.


A retaining wall is a structure that holds and retains soil behind it. Various types of materials can be used to make the retaining walls, such as blocks, poured concrete, treated timbers, rocks, and concrete. Some are expensive, some have a short life span, and some are difficult to install. The concrete retaining wall is a perfect solution for controlling erosion, eradicating a hard-to-trim slope, preparing a bed for planting, and flatting the best courtyard area. The concrete retaining walls are easy to install, durable, low budget, and available in many colours and textures.

In-situ concrete retaining wall with native grasses at Balwyn Community Centre
In-situ concrete retaining wall with native grasses at Balwyn Community Centre

Concrete retaining walls are very famous in both commercial and residential landscaping. They provide beautiful stonework and hardscaping into the area and allow you to transform your landscape in tiers around central features. Many One way of creating attractive curved and strong retaining walls is through the use of in-situ concrete.

Melbourne houses and commercial buildings require concrete retaining walls to control erosion, sinkholes, flooding, drainage, and other hazards. If you plan to install concrete retaining walls, contact RED LANDSCAPING AND DESIGN for their skillful and experienced staff.


Permeable concrete is a particular type of concrete with maximum porosity, made from a mixture of cement, water, coarse aggregate and a minimal fine aggregate. Permeable concrete creates a porous medium, allowing water from rainfall and other sources to pass through and reach the underlying soil. The runoff of water reduces and recharges groundwater levels.

The demand for permeable concrete is increasing daily in Australia, especially in Melbourne. It is used in parking areas, residential streets, gardens, commercial landscapes, pedestrian walkways and greenhouses in Melbourne. It is an essential application for sustainable construction and is a low impact development technique used to protect water quality and reduce runoff.


Drought resistant gardens are prevalent in those areas where little or sporadic rainfall occur. Drought resistant gardens involve growing plants and flowers that would not weaken without water. Most drought-resistant plants are considered native plants in a particular region. They are the plants, shrubs and trees. During the scorching summer in Melbourne, we need to think about drought and heat resistant plants because several gardens burn and suffer through the heat without protection. Therefore, the replacement of such plants with drought-resistant plants is necessary. The drought-resistant plants native to Melbourne are:

  • French lavender
  • Native rosemary
  • Mat rush
  • Round leaf Correa
  • Acacia winter flame


commercial landscaping Melbourne with drought tolerant plants
Commercial landscaping Melbourne with drought tolerant plants


It is an agricultural process of applying a controlled amount of water to land to assist in the production of crops and grow landscape plants and lawns where it may be known as watering. Several types of irrigation systems are used to water your garden or landscapes on which you can read in our blog “5 best Irrigation Systems” on

Irrigation helps grow crops, maintain landscapes, and re-vegetate disturbed soils in dry areas during less than average rainfall. Several companies are working in Melbourne to install irrigation systems in your gardens and landscapes.

Landscaping that Adds Value

Whether you are looking to design something new or simply spruce up your present garden, Reds Landscaping Melbourne can handle it all right from the first consultation meeting to a product that you love. We are capable of undertaking almost any project, and we will always accord it the same level of commitment despite the size of the project. All you have to do is to get in touch with us and we will do the rest. From swimming pools to outdoor entertainment areas, we have the team that can make it happen.

Melbourne Landscape Design and Construction

We are reputed for creating breathtaking outdoor living spaces that complement your lifestyle and home, as well as adding value to our projects. We work with architects, interior designers, and builders to create perfect landscape gardens that are sure to improve your outdoor living experience. We are truly the Melbourne landscaping company that people choose for adding customer value.

Creative Solutions to the landscaping challenges in Melbourne.

Creativity, responsiveness, and a demonstrable track record on numerous projects we’ve undertaken over the years have come to define who we are. We are blessed with some of the most talented staff who won’t hesitate to go the extra mile just to make sure the client is happy. Our Landscape designers are up to date with the latest trends in Melbourne Landscape Design.

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Landscaping Balwyn North

5 tips for Drought Tolerant Landscaping in Melbourne

To understand Drought Tolerant landscaping, we need to first understand some of the technical terms in the world of soil chemistry and how that affects drought tolerance.

  1. “Plant Available Water” “PAW” Is the amount of water in the soil that is available for the plants and is between the water capacity and the plant wilting point or crop lower limit.
  2. “Plant Available Water Capacity” PAWC is the maximum amount of moisture that can a particular soil can hold.

1.     Organic Matter helps drought tolerant landscaping.

Whether you have a clay soil or a sandy soil, your garden will benefit from organic matter. The soils ability to hold moisture will increase with the addition of organic matter. The additional organic matter works in two way. Firstly, organic matter has a higher water holding capacity than mineral soils. Secondly, the organic matter improves the soil structure allowing moisture to pass through the soil to the plant roots. In some cases, doubling the amount of organic matter in the soil can result in around 25% more water storage capacity.

Drought tolerant landscaping and the effect of organic matter.
Drought tolerant landscaping and the effect of organic matter. Increasing organic matter increases the amount of moisture that can be stored in the soil.

Soil Texture and Composition

Soil texture and composition also has a big effect on water storage capacity. Sandy soils with low percentage of clay and low percentage of organic matter are very poor at storing moisture.

Soil texture and the amount of moisture that can be stored in the soil.
The relationship between soil texture and the amount of moisture that can be stored in the soil.

Imported Topsoils

Often Imported Topsoils, purchased to landscape your garden, will be sandy loams. These are great soils for high traffic lawn areas, especially for the top 50mm of soil. If using imported topsoil for garden beds, mix the soil with some of the existing soils by cultivation of the subsoil to boost the clay content. This can also be done with the subsoil layers of the lawn areas. Also, order Imported Topsoils with a good percentage of organic matter included in the mix. Always use imported topsoil to Australian Standard (AS4419 Soils for Landscaping & Garden Use) and use mixes with higher levels of organic matter for garden beds.

The Effect of Clay in your garden soil

Clay soils can hold much more moisture than sandy soils. The fine clay particles are less than 2 microns, but there are so many clay particles in clay soils that the total surface area is much higher. The fine particles however, make it more difficult for the plant roots to penetrate the soil to extract the moisture. This results in the increase in the plant wilting point in high clay soils. Again, organic matter will help improve the texture of the soil so that roots can penetrate to access the moisture. If you have a reactive clay soil, then cultivating gypsum into the soil will also help.


Negatively charged clay particles repel each other.
Negatively charged clay particles repel each other

2.     Mulch

According to a study by the University of Florida, mulch can reduce water losses by evaporation by up to 30%. Mulch however, does much more than just reduce evaporation. By rotting down into the topsoil, mulch adds to the organic matter in the top layer of soil. Mulch also greatly reduces erosion of the topsoil and helps to keep plant roots cooler by reducing the sun’s heat radiation into the lower layers of the topsoil. Mulch also plays a role in suppressing weeds, but if weeds do grow, they are much easier to remove.

Using Mulch for Drought Tolerant Landscaping
Using Mulch for Drought Tolerant Landscaping. Mulch also reduces erosion and weed growth as well as adding to the organic matter as it rots down.



Groundcover plants can play a similar role to mulch in reducing the heat penetration into the soil and reducing evaporation from the soil.

Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla is a ground cover that makes life difficult for weeds.
Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla is a ground cover that makes life difficult for weeds.

3.     Drip Irrigation System

There was a time when an irrigation system meant garden sprinklers spraying huge amounts of water everywhere. This led to a great deal of wasted water with much of the spray landing on paths and driveways. Evaporation of the water from the surface of the garden was another cause of waste. Modern computer controlled closed loop drip irrigation systems are much more efficient.  With modern irrigation systems, water be delivered directly to the root tips.

Drought tolerant landscaping - Irrigation drip system
Drought tolerant landscaping - Irrigation drip system delivers water to the right place.


Water supplied to where it is most needed.

The plant uses osmosis to absorb water from the soil. The root hair cells, which are mostly near the root tips, are adapted for taking up both water and mineral ions. Part of this adaption is the large surface area of the root hairs exposed to the soil. Older root hairs tend to die off, so most of the living root hairs are concentrated near the root tips. Placing the irrigation drippers near the root tips means that water can be absorbed more efficiently.


Drought tolerant Landscaping - Osmosis and transpiration
Drought tolerant Landscaping - Osmosis and transpiration. The Root hairs near the tips take up the water and nutrients.


Closed loop computer control irrigation systems

Modern computer-controlled systems use feedback from remotes sensors to determine the water requirements for plants on each channel. Depending on the systems, sensor measure soil moisture, temperature, humidity and rainfall to estimate plant water requirements. Some new commercial irrigation systems in agriculture are using Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning to irrigate crops more efficiently.

irrigation system
Closed loop computer control irrigation systems

4.     Drought Tolerant Plants

Many plants have evolved to cope with dry conditions or the occasional drought. This includes many Australian Native Plants, Mediterranean Garden plants or plants from the dry parts of America and especially Mexico.

Drought tolerant Australian Native Plants

Amongst the Australian Native plants, Xanthorrhoea (Grass Tree) and Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paw) have outstanding ability to survive in dry sandy soils.

Australian yellow kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos pulcherrimus) in front of a grasstree
Australian yellow kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos pulcherrimus) in front of a grasstree


There are also many Australian Native grasses like Lomandra that are great for dry conditions. Our favourite plants dry conditions in Melbourne gardens are the following;

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) – The Star Jasmine is moderately drought tolerant once it gets established. This evergreen climbing plant can be grown either as a vine, that can grow to more than 6 metres high, or as a ground cover. It can be grown in either partial shade of full sun.

Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides
Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides

Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila) – The fast growing climbing fig is tolerant to salt spray, drought and partial shade. This makes it a great plant for coastal gardens in suburbs like Hampton. It will grow to more than 5 metres under ideal conditions and can also be grown as a ground cover.


Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)
Drought Tolerant Landscaping Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)


Waterhousia Floribunda or Weeping Lilly Pilly – Generally, the Lilly Pilly is a hardy and drought tolerant hedging or screening plant once it is fully established. It is a great Australian native alternative to the buxus hedge or Murraya. Despite being a rainforest plant, Waterhousia floribunda will survive a few dry spells once it is fully established. This is one of our favourite Australian drought tolerant plants.


Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousia floribunda
Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousia floribunda


Salvias like Salvia Leucantha (Mexican Sage Bush) are generally very drought tolerant. There are only a couple of salvia varieties that are not drought tolerant. The Leucantha is an Autumn flowering perennial which can add colour to your Melbourne garden in early May. Salvias can handle subtropical as well as temperate climates. This makes them a good plant for temperate climates like Melbourne.


Salvia leucantha purple flowering shrub
Salvia leucantha is a purple flowering shrub growing to around 1 metre tall.


Lomandra Longifolia “tanika” is a hardy Australian Native grass that looks great and is tough as well as drought tolerant. With attractive blue-green foliage and yellow flowers in Spring, it is ideal for mass planting, but can also be planted in individual tufts.

The green lomandra makes a great contrast with this grey stone wall.
The green lomandra mass planting makes a great contrast with this grey stone wall.

Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock Grass) is another hardy Australian Native Grass. It will grow well in most soils, but will enjoy some moisture during summer. It can be cut back hard then heavily watered to create new growth. The long green leaves will turn a little silver in dry weather. It will flower from October to March with purple-green flowers.


Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock Grass)
Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock Grass)


5.     Soil Wetting agents

The breakdown and decomposition of some organic matter will result in a waxy coating on some soil particles. This makes the soil hydrophobic. This is much more prevalent on sandy soils than clay soils. The obvious solution is to treat the garden with a surfactant or wetting agent before rain.

Hydrophobic versus hydrophilic
Drought Tolerant Landscaping hydrophobic-hydrophilic


A less obvious solution is to spread a little garden lime on the hydrophobic soil. The garden lime will do two things. Firstly, the increased PH will encourage bacteria that will break down the waxy material. Secondly, it will add fine particles to the soil. Some types of clay are also useful for reducing surface tension in the water droplets.

Drought Tolerant Plants in Commercial Landscaping

As part of the move towards greater sustainability, Landscape Architects and landscape designers are looking at methods to reduce fresh water consumption in commercial landscaping. These methods include rain gardens, blue roofs, rainwater storage with irrigation drip systems and, perhaps most importantly, drought tolerant Australian Native Plants.

Potted Plants for the commercial landscaping.
Sustainable commercial landscaping using drought tolerant plants. Establishing smaller Australian native drought tolerant plants early will save you money and water.


Read more

Chia Flowers in garden

7 Great Salvia Plants for your Melbourne Garden

7 Great Salvia Plants for your Melbourne Garden

The Salvia plant is available in a huge range of colours and sizes for your garden. It is not really that surprising when you consider there are more than 950 species to choose from. The salvia is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which means it is related to some of the world's favorite culinary herbs rosemary, basil and mint as well as the Mediterranean garden favourite, the lavender. From a distance some varieties of Salvia, resemble their cousins in the lavender world. Whilst they are attractive garden plants, many members of this genus are also important for culinary purposes such as flavouring, teas and food crops.

Many Salvia species are native to tropical America. Wagner’s Salvia also known as Chupamiel (Salvia Wagneri), is probably the most spectacular of these. This shrub is really more like a tree are as it can grow over 4 metres tall in ideal conditions. Not only is this a huge shrub, but the 300mm long flowers appear as scarlet spikes with magenta calyxes.

1. Salvia Farinacea or Blue Salvia

In the hills of southwest of North America Blue Sage (Salvia Farinacea) displays its bright blue flowers after rainfall.

Salvia Farinacea - Reds Landscaping & Design
Blue Salvia, Blue Sage Flower, Salvia Farinacea, Mealycup Sage, Mealy Sage growing in garden.


2. Mexican Chia (Salvia Hispanica)

Salvia Hispanica, more commonly known as Mexican Chia, is one of the most important food crops from the mint family. The seeds of this annual herbaceous plant are known for being high in omega 3 fatty acid and fibre. Salvia Hispanica is native to the desert regions of Mexico which makes it a very drought tolerant plant.

Chia Flowers - Reds Landscaping & Design
Salvia Hispanica flowers, known as Chia, a healthy food plant with purple flowers from the mint family, Lamiaceae growing in garden

Chia Seed - Reds Landscaping & Design
Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds of the chia plant (Salvia Hispanica).

3. Salvia Leucantha or Mexican bush sage.

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican bush sage an Autumn flowering perennial which can add colour to your Melbourne garden in early May. Salvias are generally drought tolerant and can handle subtropical as well as temperate climates. This makes them a good plant for temperate climates like Melbourne with its with warm to hot summers, mild and sometimes balmy springs and autumns. This plant is a favourite amongst Melbourne Gardeners and is also great for dog friendly garden surfaces.


Mexican Bush Sage - Reds Landscaping & Design
Mexican Bush Sage - Reds Landscaping & Design.

Variegated Varieties

A variegated variety will add depth to your small garden. ‘Tricolor’ is a spreading evergreen sub-shrub with oblong grey-green leaves variegated with cream and flushed with purple on the youngest growth; light blue flowers open in early summer.

Golden Sage - Reds Landscaping & Design
For striking gold variegated leaves, the herb ‘Icterina’ is a evergreen dwarf shrub with aromatic, oblong leaves 3-6cm long, greyish, variegated with gold yellow and pale green. Two-lipped pale purplish-blue flowers 2cm long, in terminal racemes provide great colour contrast.

Purple Sage - Reds Landscaping & Design
Purple Sage is an aromatic perennial herb with purple grey foliage It grows to a height of 60 cm and will spread to around 45 cm. Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered location.

Landscaping Ideas with Salvia

Pet Friendly Gardens

As with most culinary plants, salvia will not generally be a problem with your pets. The good news is that you are unlikely to need any snail pellets to protect your salvias. A good variety for snail resistance is salvia superba.

Garden ideas for Saliva

These versatile plants are great for commercial landscapes, residential landscapes and coastal and beachside gardens. The plant can be used as either garden beds or borders as well as vegetable gardens. Most importantly, the salvia is also a must have for any ornamental garden Australia wide.

Salvia is great for garden borders and garden beds - Reds Landscaping & Design
Salvia is great for garden borders and garden beds.
For smaller spaces and borders, take a look at some of the dwarf varieties. Dwarf annual Salvia splendens make a bright splash of red colour for a garden border.

Garden Care for your Salvia

Salvias, like many Australian native plants, have evolved to grow in fairly poor soils. Apart from the alvia Uliginosa or Bog Sage, soil needs to be reasonably well drained.  Apply a soil conditioiner like a very dilute solution of Neutrog Seamungus occasionally.

More information on Landscaping and Garden Design

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Commercial Landscaping

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Magnolia Landscaping Ideas

Coastal Garden Design

Brighton Espaliered Plants

Coastal Garden Design

New Home Construction Landscaping

Path Design for Cottage Gardens

Landscaping With Xanthorrhoea The Australian Grass Tree

Soft and Hard Landscaping, Residential Home and Civil projects across Australia by Reds Landscaping and Design

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© Copyright Red’s Landscaping and Design – Melbourne Commercial Landscaping Specialist

More information on the sage genus.

Cambridge Blue

Jerusalem Sage


Colourful addition to the garden

© 2022 Reds Landscaping and Civil – Quality landscaping Melbourne

Lavender border opposite a swimming pool

13 Best Pool Landscaping Design ideas

Pool Landscaping Design ideas

Pool landscaping design provides some challenges for the horticulturist as well as for the hard landscaper and landscape designer.

Plant selection pitfalls

The landscape designer should choose plants that will not shed too much material into the pool which would consequently result in a mess in the pool. Garden plants and trees that shed a large amount of material into the swimming pool will consequently  create a lot of pool maintenance headaches for the swimming pool owner and may lead to pool pump damage if the skimmer box is blocked. A blocked skimmer box can also result in cavitation at the pump impellers leading to costly repairs. Another important factor to consider is the tree roots. If you need some shade over your pool to escape the hot Melbourne sun, consider a pergola installation or using shade cloth.

Consider the plant root system

The root system will be a similar size to the plant branches and leaves, so fast growing plants could have root systems invading the swimming pool plumbing. For this reason, root barriers should be used between the larger plants and the swimming pool plumbing.

What are the best trees to plant around pools in Australia?

Planting around your Pool. Our top 8 plants

One of our favourite planting scheme for planting around pools and also for rooftop gardens is the tropical look garden. This landscape design theme will result in a luxuriant exotic look therefore enhancing the feeling of tranquility. The plants for this design theme can be frost resistant hardy plants therefore ideal for the Melbourne climate.

 1. Dicksonia Antarctica


Dicksonia Antarctica - Reds Landscaping & Design
Ferns like Dicksonia Antarctica are great for garden and pool privacy and can give the pool area and exotic pseudo tropical look.


Dicksonia Antactica with hostas, azaleas and irises - Reds Landscaping & Design
Dicksonia Antactica with hostas, azaleas and irises.



Dicksonia Antartica Fern - Reds Landscaping & Design
Dicksonia Antartica underplanted with hostas and smaller ferns. This creates an exotic look and a great privacy screen.

Dicksonia Antarctica is an evergreen tree fern that grows naturally in the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne, which also means it is ideal for the Melbourne Garden. It grows naturally in the damp shady gullies which also means you will need to keep it well watered at the crown. For this reason, we recommend a drip irrigation system. Underplanting with smaller ferns and hostas will also add to an exotic tropical effect in your garden.

2. Blechnum Gibbum

The miniature tree fern or Blechnum Gibbum usually grows a truck like e tree fern. The fronds can grownup to 1 metre long.

Blechnum Gibbum - Reds Landscaping & Design
Blechnum Gibbum or Miniature Tree Fern

3. Cycad - Cycas Circinalis L. Families Cycadaceae

Cycad - Cycas Circinalis L. Families Cycadaceae - Reds Landscaping & Design
Cycad gives a garden an exotic look. Cycad scientific name is Cycas Circinalis L. Families Cycadaceae. Cycas close up with lyzard on the heart of the palm, flower and plant.

Cycads covered the earth during the time of the dinosaurs. These plants are great for creating the exotic tropical look in your Melbourne garden.

4. Chinese Windmill Palm

The Trachycarpus Fortunei is a very hardy, frost resistant palm. Also known as the Chusan Palm, it is salt tolerant which also makes it a good choice for coastal gardens.


Chinese Wind Mill Palms - Reds Landscaping & Design
Chinese Windmill Palms with Cordylines at Kew Gardens.

5. Cordyline Indivisa

Cordyline are a slow growing palm like tree. The Cordyline Indivisa will eventually grow to around 3 metres.

Cordyline Indivisa - Reds Landscaping & Design
Cordyline Indivisa is a slow-growing, evergreen erect tree reaching heights of 3m or more.


6. Hosta Perennials

Hosta Perennials - Reds Landscaping & Design
Hosta a herbaceous perennial with attractive foliage sometimes variegated. Flowers in early summer - Chelsea Flower Show 2018

The Hosta has  stunning large spade shaped foliage in an amazing range of colours. For this reason, Hosta is a garden favourite the world over with both gardeners and flower arrangers. Hosta will thrive in the moist shady conditions under the ferns or near a pool or pond.

7. Banksia Robur

Screening privacy plants like the BANKSIA ROBUR or swamp banksia have large leaves and will therefore help with privacy around your swimming pool. This banksia  is an attractive and hardy plant, suitable for low hedges and pots. Growing to a little over 2 metres, the flower spikes appear usually in autumn and winter initially as bluish green but these will turn to yellow-green brush type flowers as they bloom.

Banksia Robur is also know as the Swamp Banksia

Unsurprisingly, given its name Swamp Banksia, it doesn't mind badly draining soil. It might be the plant you are looking for to plant in a damp spot in your garden. It has even been used as a root stock for less hardy varieties of Banksia. If you are in one of the frosty suburbs, it will tolerate a little frost now and again. Suitable for sun or part shade it will produce beautiful flowers in both. As an added bonus in your garden it will attract birds, bees and butterflies. Like most Banksias, it is an important source of nectar for both insects and mammals.


Banksia Robur Poolside - Reds Landscaping & Design
Banksia Robur Poolside

Banksia Robur's Natural Habitat.

The leaves are large and have serrated edges. This Banksia occurs naturally in swampy or sandy conditions along the East coast of Australia from Southern New South Wales all of the way up to Gladstone in Queensland. This makes it an ideal plant for the coastal gardens. Take care not to let it dry out too much, especially when it is first getting established. For this reason, an irrigation dripping system is a good idea.

Banksia Robur in a planter box by a swimming pool - Reds Landscaping & Design
Banksia Robur in a rendered concrete block planter box by a swimming pool.

Another plant to consider is the banksia coccinea or red Banksia.

8. Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) by the pool

If you are looking for swimming pool landscaping ideas, the Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) makes a great plant for creating a luxuriant garden by the pool. It also provides a little shade as well as softening the look of the landscape. Amongst the palms, it is one of the easier ones to maintain.

 Kentia Palm - Howea Fosteriana - Reds Landscaping & Design
Kentia Palm by a swimming pool.

The Kentia Palm from Lord Howe Island can create a tropical look in Melbourne

Also known as the Forster sentry palm or the flat palm, the Kentia Palm has solitary stems bearing large pinnate leaves on long stalks. This evergreen palm is native to Lord Howe island. The Kentia is tolerant to partial shade, and will grow to around 2 metres tall in your poolside garden or pot. This makes it a great plant for creating a little shady spot by the side of your pool. It prefers well drained sandy loam with a neutral to acid PH. It is also a popular indoor plant, so it is a palm you can grow both in an outdoor or indoor pot.

9. Strelitzia Reginae - Bird of Paradise

For a splash of colour in your pool garden, why not plant some Strelitzia Reginae or Bird of Paradise.  This South African native will help to create interest in a tropical look garden.

Strelitzia Reginae - Bird of Paradise - Reds Landscaping & Design
Strelitzia Reginae - Bird of Paradise - Use this perennial in patio containers where its bird-like flowers and exotic foliage will make a striking impression. It also works well with other tropical-looking plants in garden plantings.


Pool Plants to avoid

Plants to avoid around swimming pools are fast growing plants with invasive root systems and plants that shed a lot of material into the pool. Plants to avoid include Birch, Wisterias and Figs.

Pool Landscaping Design Project Melbourne

A well designed outdoor space should function as extension of the home itself. For our new pool landscaping design project in the leafy southern suburbs of Melbourne our aim is to make this outdoor space an integral part of the home itself. The design of the swimming pool landscape should be done at an early stage of the pool design rather than tacked on later. This will usually result in a better design outcome.

Pool Design Concepts explored using Trimble Sketchup Pro

The initial swimming pool design concepts are explored using Trimble Sketchup Pro. This 3D design tool has a great range of landscape garden plants that can be downloaded and added to the CAD model. This is a great way to do the initial planning of the swimming pool design and landscape design package.


Pool Landscaping Designs Computer Model - Reds Landscaping & Design
Pool landscaping designs using computer aided design. An integrated outdoor space. that looks good from every angle.

The pool landscape design features a sunken outdoor eating area with fireplace surrounded by a formal hedge. Tall fences provide a privacy screen whilst still allowing some light through.


Pool Landscaping Designs - Reds Landscaping & Design
Sunken outdoor entertaining area by the swimming pool.

The green formal hedge creates a soft border between the sunken eating area and softens the look of the concrete. The cushions in the seating area could be coloured to match the garden plants or left as a neutral grey. Grey will go with most colours in the garden but some coloured cushions would help break up the grey.

How do you build privacy around a pool?

Privacy around a pool can be built with fences, trellises and smart plant selection. Using CAD (Computer Aided Design) the privacy aspects of the design can be checked from any angle and agreed with the client.

Pool and Landscape Design Melbourne - Reds Landscaping & Design
Pool and Landscape Design Melbourne - Reds Landscaping & Design. Privacy around a pool can be built with fences, trellises and smart plant selection. Using CAD (Computer Aided Design) the privacy aspects of the design can be checked from any angle and agreed with the client. Reds Landscaping & Design provides a full range of landscaping services including the design and the build of walkways, buildings, fences and plantings.


Pool and Landscape Design Melbourne - Top View - Reds Landscaping & Design
Pool and Landscape Design Melbourne - Top View - Reds Landscaping & Design. Privacy around a pool can be built with fences, trellises and smart plant selection. Using CAD (Computer Aided Design).

By using computer aided design to create a computer model of the bespoke pool design enables the fine details to be worked out in advance. One of the great advantages of this type of landscape design is that the view can be checked from every angle. Privacy can be built around a pool using screening plants, then checked from the viewpoint of your neighbour.

Sunken Outdoor entertaining area with fireplace

The sunken outdoor entertaining area helps to improve garden privacy whilst making it easy to keep an eye on kids. This type of design using garden levels as a design feature also makes the garden appear larger. This is also a great design technique for small garden design.

Sunken Garden Design - Chelsea Flower Show - Reds Landscaping & Design
Design inspiration Sunken Garden Design with Buxus hedge - Chelsea Flower Show 2018. Note the use coloured cushions to match the flowers. The sunken concrete pavers provides a repetition theme throughout the garden.

Bespoke Swimming Pool Design. The next Steps

After the approval of the initial concept, the swimming pool design moves into the next phase. The 3D cad model is then processed to create photorealistic scenes to finalise the pool and landscaping packages. AutoCAD from Autodesk used for linework and scale. The final visualisation including the vegetation was done in Twinmotion from Unreal Engine. Which is great for 3D architectural visualisation. Using these design tools, the client can be shown how the pool will look when viewed from the pergola or from the balcony or even from a neighbour's window.

Swimming Pool Detailed Design Drawings

For the swimming Pool Construction detailed 2D drawings need to be produced for the landscapers to begin excavation and to obtain the required local government approvals.

Pool and Landscaping Packages - Reds Landscaping & Design
Checking the view from the pergola.


Swimming Pool Detailed Design Drawings - Reds Landscaping & Design
Checking the view from the balcony.

Finalise the pool design ideas

Once the pool and landscaping package design phase is complete, a fly-through of photorealistic model is produced for the customer and to confirm all of the finer details of pool and landscaping design. Details like pool plumbing and pool and garden lighting are checked.


The fine details of Pool and Landscaping Design

Exposed Aggregate Concrete around your Swimming Pool.

Exposed aggregate is a great choice for swimming pool surrounds but choosing the right mix is important. Larger aggregates will provide better drainage and grip, but will be uncomfortable to walk on. According to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA) the areas around the pool must be a low slip surface. For exposed aggregate concrete around swimming pools, a 5mm pebble aggregate should be used.

The Outdoor Shower as part of your Swimming Pool Design.

If you are living one of the Melbourne seaside suburbs like Brighton or Elwood, an outdoor shower is a great addition to your Garden Design. The outdoor pictured below features matching pool tiling, copper pipe and brass shower head.

Tiled Outdoor Shower - Reds Landscaping & Design
Tiled Outdoor Shower under construction. The outdoor shower is great for coastal gardens like Hampton or near the swimming pool for washing off the chlorine.

An outdoor pool shower. A practical solution for coastal gardens

Outdoor pool showers are very practical solution especially in coastal gardens where swimming pools and beach access are part of our Melbourne beach lifestyle. The outdoor pool shower is a good way to avoid having beach sand taken through the house. It is also a handy way to quickly remove salt or pool chlorine and other chemicals from your skin and hair.

Concrete block Outdoor Shower Under Construction - Reds Landscaping & Design
Concrete block Outdoor Shower Under Construction

Outdoor Pool Shower Design

The design of the outdoor shower involves more than just the part you can see above the ground. Consideration must be given to the appearance of the shower from every possible angle therefore plumbing to and from the shower should be integrated into the initial design.

Plant Selection near your outdoor shower

The garden and landscape design in the immediate area of the shower need to be able to cope with the added humidity, water splash and pool chemicals, therefore plants which are prone to fungal diseases should be avoided. For example, the common staghorn fern (Platycerium Bifurcatum) will also soften the design and create a natural look, but may need regular maintenance to protect it from fungal diseases. Consider using Foxtail Palm trees (Wodyetia Bifurcata)

Giant Bromeliads, (Alcantarea), crotons and White Spider Lilies. A well designed outdoor pool shower should also create a feature piece in the garden. Consideration should also be given to easy access to the shower without having to walk over slippery surfaces. The safety of the customers should always should also always be considered with any garden design. The shower wall itself needs to be well secured into the foundations in order to keep it vertical and ensure safety and design requirements are met.

Red's Landscaping and Design

Red's Landscaping and Civil can provide design and build solutions which also includes design with 3D visualisation,  construction and landscaping.

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red's Landscaping

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9 great reasons for Pool and Landscaping Packages

5 Top Custom Swimming Pool Designs and trends.

Eco Pools: Nature pools for the eco conscious

Screening Plants for Garden Privacy

Landscaping Melbourne with Climbing Plants

Coastal Garden Design

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

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Landscape Design Melbourne

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

Further Reading on Landscaping

Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Fern Study Group

More information on decorative concretes

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Soft and Hard Landscaping, Residential Home and Civil projects across Australia by Reds Landscaping and Design

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Soil Profile showing showing the topsoil layer.

Melbourne Topsoil - 9 Great Money Saving Tips

Topsoil in Melbourne

Topsoil in Melbourne is heavily dependent on the underlying geological material, if there has not been a history of topsoil ameliorations or importation of topsoil from other locations. According to the Department of Agriculture, Topsoils of Melbourne can be divided into 9 distinct types. In some parts of Melbourne, the importation of topsoil will be a bigger factor than the geographic and climatic range. Knowing the type of your natural topsoil can help you save money when deciding on what topsoil amelioration is required. Some Melbourne clay Topsoils will benefit greatly with the addition of gypsum, but for others the only benefit of gypsum will be the addition of calcium to the soil.

Sporting grounds, in particular, will normally have a thick layer of imported friable topsoil so if your garden is built on one of the closed Melbourne racetracks like Richmond, Cheltenham or Braeside your topsoil could be different to your neighbour across the street.

What is Topsoil?

Topsoil refers to the top layer of soil high in organic matter and nutrients, formed by the slow weathering of rocks and decaying organic matter over thousands of years. It is the layer of soil that covers the outermost surface of the earth. It can range anywhere from five inches to a foot deep.

Topsoil is very important for landscaping and gardening because it supports the growth of plants. Topsoil performs this by attaching plant roots, gradually releasing nutrients, supplying oxygen, draining excess water while retaining moisture, and maintaining plant growth during dry seasons. Different topsoil specifications vary according to the condition and location, but generally, it contains 0-25% clay, 25-50% silt, 50-70% sand, and 5-10% decomposed organic matter. The pH of the topsoil should be 5.0 to 7.0.


Typical Garden Topsoil - Reds Landscaping & Design
Typical Garden Topsoil - Reds Landscaping & Design

Nine types of Melbourne Topsoil

1.    Red Loam Topsoil

This could be the best natural topsoil in the whole of Melbourne as they are well structured deep and friable. These Topsoils can be mildly acidic like most Topsoils in hilly wooded ranges. They can be a little poor in plant nutrients, so regular amelioration with organic matter will be of great benefit to the soil. On lawn areas a light annual application of garden lime will help. Farmers know that red earth is great for farming.

The red loam topsoil will mostly be found to the East of Melbourne in the upper Dandenong ranges and in the hills between Monbulk and Silvan. This type of topsoil will normally suit a wide range of plants as is has excellent drainage, and a good soil structure for plant root development.

Red Sandy Loam Topsoil - Reds Landscaping & Design
Red Sandy Loam Topsoil - Reds Landscaping & Design

2.    Brown Loam topsoil over Clay

These Topsoils formed over the older basalts on the southern Mornington Peninsula. This is the brown-grey loamy friable topsoil naturally occurring in places between Main Ridge and Flinders. For best results in your garden, ameliorate with manure and organic matter. Take care not to cultivate too deep and bring the clay to the surface.

Brown Sandy Loam Topsoil - Reds Landscaping & Design
Brown Sandy Loam Topsoil similar in Colour and texture to Main Ridge Topsoils on the Mornington Peninsula

3.    Dark grey sand topsoil over clay

These Topsoils are found over a large part of Melbourne. The flat and undulating land between Kew and Mount Waverley as well as deeper Topsoils in Tyabb, Balnarring Frankston and Mornington. This topsoil is also over a huge part of the Melbourne suburbs within a triangle from Dandenong to Cheltenham and over to Toorak. After long periods of heavy rainfall, a watertable may occur over the clays. It is important for Melbourne Landscapers to take drainage into account when landscaping on these soils. As with other Melbourne loam over clay soils, ameliorate with manure and organic matter. Take care not to cultivate too deep and bring the clay to the surface.

4.    Light Grey loams over clay

A light grey loam with some gravel and small stones found in the suburbs to the North East of Melbourne. These soils will be found around a strip from Rowville to Bundoora and from Croydon to Kew. At the boundary of the topsoil and clay layers large angular stones occur which makes digging drainage difficult for residential landscapers. Generally, these soils are deficient in humus and nutrients. Melbourne landscapers should dig in organic matter and manures to ameliorate these soils. As the clays here are generally reactive, an application of gypsum can help drainage and soil structure. A small amount of garden lime can be added to correct acidity.

5.    Gritty light grey loam over clay.

Topsoils formed over parent granite at Mount Martha and Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula as well as Hallam, Lysterfield and a few other places. The sandy loam is generally ok for drainage but has poor water holding capacity. The abrupt transition between the sandy loam and the mottled yellow brown and grey clay can lead to water logging on lower slopes in winter and spring.

If this is the case, landscapers should consider subsoil drainage systems. As the soil has poor water holding capacity, landscapers should dig in plenty of organic matter as well as install an irrigation system with a dripper. Generally, this soils are only mildly acidic.

6.    Dark Loams Local Sands and Clays

The parts of Melbourne which were previously swampy or flood plains like the Melbourne Suburbs close to the Yarra. These Melbourne suburbs include Banksia Park near Heidelberg and Bulleen. The frequently flooded Yarra floodplain of the lower-middle yarra river and tributaries were once covered in Manna gum, swamp gum and river red gum with swamp paperbark in the wettest areas. These are a mix of Topsoils and it can be difficult to draw conclusions on drainage. Landscapers should ameliorate with manure and organic matter.

7.    Deep Sands free of Lime

This is the natural topsoil in coastal gardens between Black Rock and Brighton and along the coast of Port Phillip Bay all the way to Rye. Some of the land previously used for market gardens in Langwarrin and Cranbourne have this soil. These soils are generally very deficient in nutrients, so landscapers should dig in plenty of manure and organic matter to improve the soil. Annual applications of garden lime will help to neutralize the acidity.

8.    Deep Sands with Lime

The topsoil between Sorrento and Cape Schank in the coastal sand dune areas is a whitish grey sand occasionally over a hard lime base. These soils can be either acidic or alkaline, so if your plants are not thriving a soil PH test may be required. Landscapers should dig in plenty of manure and organic matter as well as install an irrigation dripper system. The coastal plant selection for these soils needs to be particularly salt, wind and lime tolerant.

9.    Heavy clay topsoil over basalts

The suburbs to the west and north-west of Melbourne are well known for their heavy clay soils. This area stretches all the way from Richmond to Broadmeadows and Altona to Thomastown. These soils are characterized by a thin loamy topsoil over dark reddish-brown heavy clays. Often outcrops of the basalt can been seen on the ground surface. The soil structure can be improved with the addition of gypsum and landscapers should dig in plenty of organic matter. For lawns and other gardens sandy loam soil will need to be imported. For the home landscaper, the digging of the requires drainage trenches can be difficult.

Landscaping poor draining topsoil

For your backyard or frontward lawn, the ground can be sloped a bit more to aid with drainage. Depending on the usage and the makeup of the layers below, you could probably get away with as little as 100 to 150mm of topsoil for your garden lawn. For example green couch Cynodon Dactylon, the roots will penetrate the ground up to 1.5 metres deep with much of the root mass at around 600mm deep. For this reason the layer below the top soil needs to be suitable for root growth if you want your lawn to be drought tolerant.

Will gypsum help?

Clay soils

Gypsum is the most widely used calcium additive for garden. If you need gypsum, you can save money by buying it in bulk from your landscape supplier. If the subsoil has a hard clay layer the moisture and the roots might not penetrate or your lawn and you could have poor drainage. Some clays will respond to the addition of gypsum. This will be the case if the clay you have is a flocculant clay. Clays like montmorillonite with high levels of exchangeable sodium will generally be improved by digging in some gypsum. You can perform a simple soil test your clay by putting it in a jar with some pure water, then stirring to create colloidal mix. The mix will appear cloudy.

You then add some Epsom salts or gypsum to the mix and watch what happens. If the clay then forms flocculant, or larger, particles that sink to the bottom of the jar leaving a clear layer of water, then your clay is flocculant. Individual clay particles are made up of fine flakes smaller than 0.004 mm. Depending on the type of clay, the fine particles are held tightly together by either weak bonds in the case of kaolinite or stronger bonds if the clay contains positively charged metal ions such as sodium, calcium or potassium. The negatively charged clay particles will repel each other but the individual flakes will bond to each other.


Negatively charged clay particles repel each other - Reds Landscaping & Design
Negatively charged clay particles repel each other

In the heavy flocculant clay Topsoils of Melbourne's western suburbs, gypsum can help to displace sodium and improve the soil structure.

Saline soils

If your garden is near Cape Schank or Sorrento, or if you have a windswept coastal garden, then you might have some soil salinity to contend with. This could also be the case if you are by the sea in Biggera Waters, Runaway Bay or Hollywell and get sea water spray on your lawns and gardens. With saline soil, gypsum will also help as the calcium in the gypsum will remove sodium from the soil.

The disadvantages of gypsum

After an application of gypsum, you should follow up later with slow release fertiliser like Neutrog. Upsurge. Nutrients such as Iron and Manganese can be leached from the soil by the addition of gypsum. Applying excessive gypsum to sandy soils can result in the plants transportation system for zinc, copper and phosphorus being affected.

Agricultural lime

Agricultural lime may be a combination of calcium and magnesium carbonates if it is made from dolomitic rather than calcitic limestone deposits. Use on acidic soils to increase the PH.

Soil Testing

Soil testing kits can be used for simple PH checks of your garden soils. If your plants are not thriving despite all of the care and attention, then samples of your soil can be taken to a laboratory for analysis.

Soils can be tested in a laboratory for salinity or contamination - Reds Landscaping & Design
Soils can be tested in a laboratory for salinity or contamination

Buying Landscaping soils

When buying landscaping topsoil, always check that you are buying a high-quality product that meets the Australian Standard for topsoil. Soil should also be free of weeds and other contaminants.

Topsoil for lawn

For lawns, your topsoil needs to be very free draining. The best soil for top dressing lawns is a very sandy soil. For garden beds a little bit of the natural clay soil mixed in will help water retention.

Aerial photo of topsoil screener - Reds Landscaping & Design
Aerial photo of topsoil screener. Screening soil helps meet the particle size and soil texture requirements of earthwork specifications.

The soil is an indispensable ingredient for the life of humans, animals and ,of course, plants. The soil supplies nutrients and raw materials, storage and filtered water. The soil can degrade harmful chemicals but healthy soil should not be taken for granted. If we allow our soil to be overused, or allow a hard crust to form, then the soil will require amendments to replenish the nutrient store and to make the soil friable. Water will tend to run-off taking some of the soil and nutrients with it.

Healthy Soil

A healthy soil will contain a great deal of life. Not just microorganisms like bacteria and fungus, but also earthworms. Many of these will form a symbiotic relationship with your plants.

In Melbourne we a lucky enough to have some great resources to improve and maintain the health of your soil. First of all, you should be using a layer of mulch. Mulches such as pea straw and sugar cane mulch will decompose relatively quickly and bring your soil to life. This is especially true when used with an organic fertiliser. If you are after a different look to the sugar cane mulch, you can always use a different mulch over the top. Take care not to mulch up to the truck of trees or shrubs, as this can lead to collar rot. If using a mulch like pea straw, make sure it is weed free. Secondly, consider using a soil tonic to improve your topsoil.

How much topsoil under turf?

The majority of the soil activity occurs in the topsoil. It is the environment in which organic matter decomposes and helps bacteria live. Topsoil provides a healthy environment for the roots of the plant to grow.

If you want to lay turf on your lawn and the soil of your lawn is poor quality, then add a layer of topsoil that can provide the best start to your turf in the new environment. 100 to 150mm of topsoil is needed for ideal turf, depending on the quality and depth of the existing soil.

Topsoil for grass

Topsoil is very important for healthy and beautiful grass. Most property owners do not know that most of the problems related to their grass are due to unhealthy soil. To get healthy grass on your lawn, you must know about the composition of your topsoil. From my point of view, sandy loam soil is best for grass, which has balance constituents of clay, silt, and sand. Loan soil holds moisture, is well-drained, and retains nutrients.

How to Improve?

Soil is a critical resource. The way in which it is managed can improve or degrade the quality of that resource. Soil is alive and made up of many parts, including mineral particles, water, organic matter, air, and microorganisms. The balance between these parts is what needs to be sustained for a healthy garden. Good quality topsoil is important for a healthy and beautiful garden. Here are some tips to improve the topsoil of our garden or landscape.

Soil Test

First of all, evaluate your soil. The soil test is the most definitive way to know about your soil quality. The soil report will give you information on your soils’ texture, pH, and nutritional constituents. Due to soil test will know about your soil needs.

Add compost

Compost is decomposed organic matter, and it is the best thing you use to improve the health of your topsoil. Compost adds nutrients and organic matter to the soil helping in water retention and promoting good drainage. Compost also feeds earthworms and other microbial life in the soil, which helps to improve soil aeration and increase soil fertility.

Add Animal Manures

Most animal manures are a great addition to your garden. Animal manures increase the soil structure, chemical and physical properties of soil, microbial biomass of the soil, the availability of soil nutrients, and water holding capacity of the soil. Studies showed that the use of organic nutrients significantly increased the soil cation exchange capacity and the availability of nitrogen.

Use Mulch

Mulching encourages healthy soil tilth by retaining moisture and nutrients. It also saves time by reducing the need for weeding, watering, and fertilizing. Therefore mulch is very important for healthy garden soil and plants. Mulch stimulates natural growing conditions, keeps soil cool, and prevents weed growth. Mulch is decomposed gradually and adds organic matter to the soil to increase fertility.

Grow leguminous plants

The topsoil health can also be improved with the addition of leguminous plants. Leguminous plants fix nitrogen from the atmospheric nitrogen and make it available for the plant. Due to leguminous plants, nitrogen is also available to nearby plants.

Prevent soil compaction

The compacted soil cannot allow water and nutrients to soak, and the soil becomes barren and dry. In compacted soil, tiny plant roots cannot spread out in search of moisture and nutrients, due to which plants become starved and dehydrated. Prevent soil compaction by staying off of it. Avoid working on wet soil. Soil is most susceptible to compaction when it is saturated.

Mechanical Lawn Aerator for large or commercial lawns - Reds Landscaping & Design
Mechanical Lawn Aerator for large or commercial lawns. Aeration is an essential part of lawn repair.


Commercial Landscaping Topsoils

Buying soil

For commercial landscaping the topsoil needs to be high quality soils to the Australian Standard.  AS 4419-2003 is the standard for soils for landscaping and garden use and specifies requirements for general purpose soils, top dressing soils, Topsoils and landscaping mixes for both domestic and commercial use. The standard also provides guidance on the use and selection of soils. For example low density soil, which is often used in commercial landscaping for large landscape containers and rooftop gardens.

One very important requirement for topsoil for the commercial landscaping of public spaces is the soil cleanliness. Soils use must be free of all hazards and contaminants and also free from any weeds.

More Information on Topsoil

Why you should look after Topsoils


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keep your lawn healthy

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy In Colder Weather

The winter is characterized by 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 they require as much help as possible to stay healthy. Here are some tips to keep your lawn healthy during the colder months.

Irrigation Service and Maintenance - Reds Landscaping and Design
Water Sprinkler - Irrigation Service and Maintenance.

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 to keep your lawn healthy, that is required 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

Lawn Mowers - Garden Maintenance - Reds Landscaping and Design
Lawn Mowers is an essential tool in keeping the lawn healthy.

The first thing you will notice when the cooler months set in is that the 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

Topsoil - Reds Landscaping and Design
The vast majority of plants on Earth are supported by topsoil. A balanced combination of nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, and other nutrients necessary for plant growth can be found in healthy topsoil.

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.

Fertilise to Keep Your Lawn Healthy

Phosphorus for topsoil - Reds Landscaping and Design
Phosphorus Basics: Understanding Phosphorus Forms and Their Cycling in the Soil.

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

Stop wasting water - Reds Landscaping and Design
Stop wasting water in the garden.

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

Weed and pest management - Reds Landscaping and Design
Invasions of weeds and pests pose a threat to the biodiversity of the city's conservation reserves and may limit the use of public spaces.

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 and to keep your lawn healthy.

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 condition. Just email or call us on 0424 350 910 for professional assistance with your lawn care this winter.

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Soft and Hard Landscaping, Residential Home and Civil projects across Australia by Reds Landscaping and Design

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Chia Flowers in garden

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican bush sage an Autumn flowering perennial which can add colour to your Melbourne garden in early May. Salvias are generally drought tolerant and can handle subtropical as well as temperate climates. This makes them a good plant for temperate climates like Melbourne with its with warm to hot summers, mild and sometimes balmy springs and autumns.

Salvia Leucantha - Reds Landscaping & Design
Salvia Leucantha or Mexican bush sage is an Autumn flowering perennial. This evergreen small shrub which can grow to around 1.3m high.

Leucantha or Mexican bush sage is an Autumn flowering perennial. This evergreen small shrub which can grow to around 1.3m high. It is suitable for dog friendly gardens in Melbourne.


The Salvia Leucantha Family

Salvia Leucantha belongs to the family Lamiaceae which is part of the sage genus. The significant sage genus, contains more than 920  species of woody and herbaceous plants of the mint family (Lamiaceae). These belong to the order Lamiales. Whilst they are attractive garden plants, many members of this genus are also important for culinary purposes such as flavouring, teas and food crops.

Garden ideas for Saliva Leucantha

These versatile plants are great for commercial landscapes, residential landscapes and coastal and beachside gardens. The plant can be used as either garden beds or borders as well as vegetable gardens. Most importantly, the salvia is also a must have for any ornamental garden Australia wide.

Salvia is great for garden borders and garden beds - Reds Landscaping & Design
Salvia is great for garden borders and garden beds - Reds Landscaping & Design

Garden Care for your Salvia Leucantha

Salvias, like many Australian native plants, have evolved to grow in fairly poor soils. Apply a soil conditioner like a very dilute solution of Neutrog Seamungus occasionally.

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More information on the sage genus.

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