Permeable Concrete or pervious concrete is changing the way public spaces are landscaped.
Concrete is the second most consumed product in the world. And contrary to our belief, its usage is much wider than constructing buildings only. With recent developments in Concrete, it has become an important material for an array of usages. Permeable Concrete is a prime example of development in concrete industry. Although the material itself isn’t new, since it was first used in 1852, it has been attracting renewed attention.
What is Permeable Concrete?
Permeable Concrete is also known as Porous Concrete, Pervious Concrete, Gap Graded Concrete, No-Fines Concrete and Enhanced-Porosity Concrete. Permeable concrete, similar to Normal Concrete, uses a mix of Cement, Water and Coarse Aggregate with little or no sand (Fine Aggregate) in it. The resulting concrete has 15% to 25% voids which ensure a water flow rate of 480 in/hr or more. Although the higher porosity, and lack of mortar paste reduces the strength of pervious concrete as compared to the conventional one but it is sufficient for most of its uses.
What are the Applications of Permeable Concrete
Although Pavement Construction is the major application of Pervious Concrete since it reduces the stormwater runoff and adds to the surface water table. In fact, the usage of Permeable Concrete in Pavement Construction is considered as one of the Best Management Practices (BMP) by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The usage of Permeable Concrete in pavements and in other horizontal constructions, depending on the precipitation values of a certain region, can eliminate the need of retention ponds and other precipitation runoff storage facilities. This would result in a more efficient land use especially in urban areas where land is already expensive.
Figure 1 Pervious Concrete Pavement (Divya Bhavana et al., 2017)
Below are some of the many applications in modern landscaping;
Production of Permeable Concrete is very similar to Normal Concrete since it uses the same ingredients. However, the amount of ingredients differ. Pervious Concrete is also mix designed and therefore should be designed for the desired purpose.
A general guideline is enlisted in the table.
Table 1 Typical Mix Proportion for Pervious Concrete (Divya Bhavana et al., 2017)
Quantity (kg/cubic metre)
270 to 415
Aggregate (Coarse and Fine)
1190 to 1480
Water to Cement Ratio (by mass)
0.27 to 0.34
Aggregate to Cement Ratio (by mass)
4 to 4.5
Fine to Coarse Aggregate Ratio (by mass)
0 to 1
This typical guideline is for information only and therefore a trial mix should always be prepared and checked for the desired purpose. Apart from the usual materials, Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM) and chemical admixtures are also used as per their dosage mentioned by the manufactures.
Water to Cement Ratio
A lower water to cement ratio is used since higher water to cement ratios would affect the compressive strength of concrete. If desired for a purpose where compressive strength is of no importance, a higher water to cement ratio can be used.
Usage of Fine Aggregate would reduce the permeability of concrete and make it less porous, however the compressive strength would be improved.
Lightweight aggregate, recycled aggregate and other types of aggregate or other techniques like fly ash geopolymer concrete have also been utilized to make Permeable Concrete.
Characteristics of the Concrete
Although it is similar to Normal Concrete in terms of its ingredients, it has a plethora of characteristics that make this concrete different. Enlisted are some characteristics of Hardened and Green (Fresh) Permeable Concrete.
The Permeable Concrete has a textured surface after placement.
In-place densities are usually 1600 kg/m^3 to 2000 kg/m^3
Due to low or no mortar content, Permeable Concrete renders a lower slump value and a stiffer consistency. Slump values are usually less than 20 mm (0.75 inches).
In spite of higher void percentage the Permeable Concrete can render a compressive strength of 3.5 MPa to 28 MPa (500 psi to 4000 psi). Typical values are about 17 MPa (2500 psi).
No Darby, Trowel or Bullfloat is used since they tend to seal the surface of concrete.
I.Idro Drain – Heidelberg cement (Photo – Italcementi a division of Heidelberg cement.)
7 Benefits of using Pervious Concrete
Permeable Concrete is much more than a way to reduce the stormwater runoff in urban areas. Listed below are some benefits of using Permeable Concrete.
It reduces the pollution by allowing the water to percolate in the ground. The sand chemistry and biology are allowed to treat the water naturally.
Allowing the rainfall to percolate, it recharges ground water and aquifers.
It improves the land use especially in Urban Areas
The light color of Concrete and relatively open pore structure absorb and store less heat respectively when compared to Normal Concrete. This helps in lowering heat in urban areas.
It is difficult for trees planted in parking lots and sidewalks to grow in impervious concrete environments since it makes it difficult for water to reach the roots. Trees benefit from Permeable concrete and further reduce the heat in urban areas.
It eliminates the risk of ponding over the roads over a longer periods of time as observed in some developing countries after rainfall.
The pervious concrete can absorb the noise of the vehicles on the road creating a pleasant environment.
In rainy days, pervious concrete pavements do not have splashes which glisten at night and are dangerous for drivers.
As per recent researches, the permeable concrete can also be used for the purification of sea water.
Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil Melbourne
Divya Bhavana, T., Koushik, S., Uday Mani Kumar, K., & Srinath, R. (2017). Pervious concrete pavement. In International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (Vol. 8, Issue 4). https://doi.org/10.3141/2113-02
Park, S. B., Lee, B., Lee, J., & Jang, Y. Il. (2010). A study on the seawater purification characteristics of water-permeable concrete using recycled aggregate. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 54(10), 658–665. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2009.11.006
Yang, J., & Jiang, G. (2003). Experimental study on properties of pervious concrete pavement materials. Cement and Concrete Research, 33(3), 381–386. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0008-8846(02)00966-3
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 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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. (Photo Shane Borham)
A Black fronted dotteral, a type of plover. enjoys the mud at this urban wetland near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham)
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.
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.
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.
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 urban wetlands near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham.)
A Chestnut teal swimming in wetlands near Cranbourne. (Photo Shane Borham)
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.
Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil
Acreman, M. and Holden, J. (2013). How Wetlands Affect Floods. Wetlands, [online] 33(5), pp.773–786. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13157-013-0473-2 [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
(2018a). Plants in wetlands. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/wetlands/plants-and-animals-in-wetlands/plants [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
(2018c). Why wetlands are important. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/wetlands/why-wetlands-are-important [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
(2019). Plants and animals in wetlands. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/wetlands/plants-and-animals-in-wetlands [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
(2020). Mammals in wetlands. [online] NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/wetlands/plants-and-animals-in-wetlands/mammals [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (2016a). Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. [online] Available at: https://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/factsheet-wetlands-water-quality#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20important,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: https://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/factsheet-wetlands-water-changes [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (2020). Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. [online] Available at: https://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/about [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Healthy wetlands, healthy fi sh populations What are wetlands? (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.mdba.gov.au/sites/default/files/archived/mdbc-NFS-reports/2200_factsheet_Fish_and_wetlands.pdf [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Melbournewater.com.au. (2017). Animals of the wetland | Melbourne Water. [online] Available at: https://www.melbournewater.com.au/media/1401 [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Sciencedirect.com. (2015). Groundwater Recharge – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/groundwater-recharge [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Shore Erosion Control Guidelines Marsh Creation Maryland Department of the Environment Wetlands and Waterways Program. (2006). [online] Available at: http://ccrm.vims.edu/livingshorelines/documents/Promotional/shore_erosion_bosch.pdf [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Urban Bushland Council WA. (2018). Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary. [online] Available at: https://www.bushlandperth.org.au/treasures/eric-singleton-bird-sanctuary/ [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
US EPA,ORD (2017). Wetlands | US EPA. [online] US EPA. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/wetlands [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
US EPA,OW (2015). Why are Wetlands Important? | US EPA. [online] US EPA. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/wetlands/why-are-wetlands-important [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Vermont.gov. (2020). Wetland Functions and Values: Surface and Ground Water Protection | Department of Environmental Conservation. [online] Available at: https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/wetlands/functions/water-quality [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
World Wetlands Day – celebrating wetland biodiversity (2010). World Wetlands Day – celebrating wetland biodiversity. [online] IUCN. Available at: https://www.iucn.org/content/world-wetlands-day-celebrating-wetland-biodiversity [Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
Weeds are a part of gardening in Melbourne. One of the great things about gardening in Melbourne is the enormous range of plants that can be grown and also how quickly everything grows especially when some good rain comes. Unfortunately, this also applies to the weeds. There is also a wide range, and they grow rapidly under certain weather conditions. The key to effective weed control is to identify them and take action early. The best defences against garden weeds are vigorous plant growth and lots of mulch. The presence of particular weeds may be an indicator of other garden problems like compressed soil or incorrect PH.
What are weeds?
By definition weeds are a wild plants growing where they are not wanted. These can be split into the categories of garden, lawn or environmental. These categories will include some broad-leaved trees, small noxious weeds and even some commonly used lawn grasses such as Kikuyu grass and clover. The invasive species can be either territorial or aquatic. For the environmental ones, the local councils Melbourne City Council has provided some excellent resources for identification and eradication.
Where do Invasive weeds come from?
Around 66% of these invasive species originated as garden ornamental plants or flowers, so care must be taken with garden plant selection, cultivation and waste removal. An example of this is the Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum), which is often spread from the berries of variegated Pittosporums in gardens. Up to 40% of Australian Native Plant species are under threat from invasive weeds and as most of these are escapees from gardens, it is up to the home gardener to take action. Often weeds are quick growing, very hardy plants that can adapt to a wide range of growing conditions. Also the seeds can be spread by animals, especially birds, flowing water, wind or human activities. Tasty weed berries or seeds are often spread over a wide area by birds. The weed seeds often take advantage of disturbed soil or other changes to the environment.
Docks and sorrels
The docks and sorrels of the genus Rumex can be a problem in different parts of Australia. Broad leafed dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is more likely to be seen in the cooler climate of the southern states. The curled dock (Rumex crispus) looks similar but the leaves are more tapered with a wavy edge. The curled dock can be a pest in Victorian gardens and is difficult to remove due to its long tapered tap root. To prevent these regrowing it needs to be dug down to about 15cm. Dig them out in spring when they are most vulnerable.
Docks and Sorrels have a long tap root that needs to be dug out to prevent the weed returning.
Dandelions also have long tap roots. If all of the tap root is not removed, the weed will soon grow back. Dandelions in your lawn or garden can be an indicator of compressed soil or a lack of calcium. Dandelions can be dug out with a garden fork or with a special tool designed to dig out garden weeds with long tap roots.
Weeding a Dandelion. Dandelions have a long tap root which must be dug our to prevent the weed returning.
Mimosa pudica is a small prickly herbaceous shrub with divided leaves which react to being touched. It is native to Brazil and can be seen in Melbourne growing in damp conditions. Growing to around 50cm, it has fluffy pale purple or pink flowers. It is often seen on roadsides, pastures, crops and other disturbed soil in summer.
Mimosa prefers damp conditions.
Red pigweed or Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) also known as verdolaga, pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley, and moss rose). This annual succulent may reach up to40 cm in height. Widespread around the world, it is believed to also be an edible Australian native plant. Perhaps calling this one a weed is a bit harsh as it has been used as a herb and for medicinal purposes. See the link on edible weeds below.
Common chickweed or chickenweed (Stellaria media). This weed is often seen in gardens and cultivated land as it thrives where the lighter soil has been disturbed. It prefers high PH and humid wet conditions. Common Chickweed has small, star-like, white flowers, and oval, fresh green leaves. It was once used to feed birds and chickens.
Onion weed , onion asphodel(Asphodelus fistulosus) has Scattered populations in Victoria. Onion weed is native to the Mediterranean so it is well suited to the climate in most parts of Melbourne. It is however, a declared noxious weed. It is found in arid environments andsub-humid warm temperate regions in cropping areas, pastures, rangelands, open woodlands, grasslands, shrub-lands, roadsides, railway lines, waste areas, coastal environs and disturbed sites. Which is pretty much everywhere except in water. When this weed takes hold, it is very difficult to eradicate due to the multiple tiny bulbs in the ground
Hollow-stemmed asphodel or onionweed (Asphodelus fistulosus) in its natural Mediterranean environment (Apulia, Italy)
Asphodelus-fistulosus a declared noxious weed in Victoria.
Lantana Camara is a perennial or evergreen shrub with sometimes prickly stems, lantana species growing up to 1500 millimetres tall with thin wiry stems. It is toxic to pets and children, so it is best not to let this on get a foothold in your garden. This species has been widely cultivated as a garden ornamental, but is regarded as a restricted weed in many parts of Victoria. Most of the cultivated ones will be hybrid species. The wrinkled, 2.5centimetres long leaves are oval-shaped located in opposite pairs with serrated edges. Flowers are clusters of small yellow or orange. As with many of the other weeds, they are often spread by dumping of garden waste. When digging these out, note that Lantana can re-establish if their roots or growing parts are left in contact with moist soil.
If you have a backyard pond, you might see the invasive species Salvinia (floating moss or water spangle,)These are actually tiny ferns that float on water. There are about a dozen species Salvia has three leaves and no roots, but one of the leaves functions as a root. y are used to decorate aquariums and garden pools. However, some species of Salvinia molesta is one of the species that has escaped garden ponds and become a noxious weed. It is important not to confused it with the native Azolla species which has a more conventional root system and two rows of bilobular leaves.
Salvinia molesta floating moss or water spangle
Prevention of Weeds
For garden beds you could try ECO weedmat with a healthy layer of mulch above. Another approach is to wet down some newspaper and lay it down in interlocking layers. This works surprisingly well, if you can get enough newspaper layers to achieve a minimum thickness of 8mm. On top of this you need around 100 mm of mulch. Cane mulch is fairly easy to move and lay on your garden bed and is reasonably priced. If you prefer a different look, this can be covered with more expensive pine bark, red or black mulch. The newspaper and mulch will kill most of the existing weeds as the sunlight is effectively blocked off. Any weeds that grow after the much is laid, will be easy to pull out. For best results, top up the mulch up as it rots down. Annual topping up should work well, depending on the type of mulch used. Take care not to mulch up against the stems of any woody plants, as this can cause collar rot. An very effective way to prevent weeds is to have a healthy garden full of vigorous plant growth. Tiering plants on different layers creates harmony, structure and reduces future maintenance by vertically spreading competition. Most weeds will not thrive if they are starved of sunlight. An Australian native ground cover like Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium) will be very effective at suppressing weeds as well as providing food and habitat for birds and lizards.
Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla is a ground cover that makes life difficult for weeds.
Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium) is a hardy prostrate groundcover. It can grow to 1 metre high, but rarely gets this high when it is free to spread. During summer months it will have either purple or white flowers.This is an excellent choice for a spreading groundcover for a sunny well-drained position where some weed suppression is desired.
If you have weeds growing in your brick paving, then a simple and cheap method to eradicate them is to use boiling water. Spraying vinegar will kill off the leaves, but generally the roots will be unaffected. For your lawn, a weed removing tool like the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller from Bunnings is worth a try. Weeds can then be removed without bending or kneeling. For broadleaf weeds like dandelion in the lawn, you can try topdressing with sand. One of my favourite methods of weeding the lawn, is to use the lawn aerator to take the tap root out and aerate at the same time. If you have unwanted clover growing in your lawn, then decreasing the PH will make it difficult for the clover to thrive. Rhizobium bacteria in the legume nodule are less able to fix nitrogen for the plant under these conditions. As with the garden bed, the best prevention for lawn weeds is to have a health thriving lawn. For particularly bad infestation, you may need to use a selective herbicide.
Environmental Invasive species
Assistance with weed identification and control
The government has produced an Environmental Weeds booklet which aims to help residents identify weeds and provides information on how to control environmental weeds. The link is below.
Bunnings announced in 2018 that pesticides based on Neonicotinoid would be phased out by the end of 2018. On the 27 April 2018 the European union has banned the use of the three neonicotinoids on open ground. This is an expansion of the moratorium introduced in 2013 on the use of these pesticides on flowering crops.
Usage of Pesticides
Pesticides are often coated onto seeds to protect them from soil pests. The Pesticide is absorbed when the seed germinates and then spreads through the plant as it grows finding its way to the pollen and nectar. This is where the honey bees and native bees as well as other pollinators are exposed to the poison.
Pesticides based on Neonicotinoids
Neonicotinoids are believed to be part of the massive dying off of bees and other insects that has occurred in Europe in recent times. The three neonicotinoids banned on open grounds are thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid.
Neonicotinoid Pesticides Banned by Bunnings and EU due to potential harm to bees.
Study of neonicotinoid pesticides by York University.
A study by York university in Canada showed that long term exposure to neonicotinoids resulted in a reduction in the health of bees whose hives were near the cornfields being studied. Simiarly, earlier studies have shown that large amounts of neonicotinoids in pollen and nectar are fatal to both honey bee queens and workers. Smaller amounts have been shown to reduce the health of bees by inhibiting the bee’s natural foraging as well as adversely affecting the bees tolerance to other farm chemicals.
Whilst other studies have produced mixed results, the situation for insects in Europe is now critical. The earth has survived without these pesticides for millions of years, but pollenating insects like bees are vital to life on earth. If you are buying pesticides for your garden, avoid those with thiamethoxam, clothianidin or imidacloprid in the ingredients. It is not worth the risk to vital pollenating insects.
Fortunately the retailer Bunnings has already decided to remove neonicotinoid pesticides from their shelves by the end of 2018 as a precaution. If you are a gardener or a landscaper working in garden maintenance, review your pesticides use and avoid thiamethoxam, clothianidin or imidacloprid on open ground.
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 is the layer of soil just below the surface layers. The surface layers are the layers containing the litter of plant residues as well as accumulated organic matter with some mineral soil and most of the soil life.
Typical Garden Topsoil
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.
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 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?
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.
In the heavy flocculant clay topsoils of Melbourne’s western suburbs, gypsum can help to displace sodium and improve the soil structure.
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 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 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
The aim of the Red’s Landscaping and Civil Environmental’s and Sustainability Policy is to provide effective environmental management that emphasises:
a planned and proactive approach
commitment and involvement of managers and ofﬁcers at all levels
meaningful and effective involvement of employees and other workers
identiﬁcation and control of potential sources of waste and pollution
the development of a workplace culture that recognises the importance of environmental management and sustainability.
appropriate provision of instruction, training, information and supervision
Environmental Protection Policy Responsibilities
The importance of environmental management requires that employees, sub-contractors and visitors take steps to safeguard the environment. Not only because of the potential legal implications, but also because it is the duty of companies to exceed the requirements of environmental legislation.
Employers and self-employed persons should be proactive and take all reasonable measures, to ensure a high standard of environmental protection;
Employers and employees should exchange information and ideas about risks to the environment and measures that can be taken to eliminate or reduce those risks;
Employees encouraged to submit ideas regarding waste minimisation, continuous improvement, health and safety and environmental protection. These are agenda items for the tool box meetings.
Environmental and Sustainability Policy Mission Statement
Red’s Landscape Gardening will comply with, and exceed, all local, state and federal laws and regulations on:
disposing of hazardous waste (including EPA’s list of prescribed industrial waste), trade waste (i.e. waste added to the sewer) and waste water.
safe handling, storage and transport of hazardous waste and dangerous goods
air pollution and carbon emissions
Red’s Landscape Gardening will set targets each year to increase energy and water efficiency and seek opportunities for reducing and recycling waste. To do this, we will:
investigate ways to reduce consumption or recycle waste. E.g formwork recycling.
give preference to maintenance and other contractors using green products
buy electrical and lighting systems rated as energy efficient
use accredited GreenPower, either in part or whole
buy appliances rated as water efficient
install irrigation systems that are designed to save water and minimise losses due to evaporation.
Select drought tolerant plant indigenous to the area where possible.
look for opportunities to improve waste management. Sustainability Victoria has tips on good waste management. Regular site inspections to identify potential safety and environmental hazards as well as potential waste reduction opportunities.
Eco friendly recycling must be used were practical.
Environmental Policy –Soft Landscaping
We are committed to conservation and protection of trees, especially large canopy trees that take many years to mature.
effective mulching to reduce losses due to evaporation.
Use natural fertilisers where possible.
Identify and report any noxious or problem weeds.
The application of garden chemical shall supervised by suitably qualified and experienced personal. The supervisor must hold a recognised chemical handling license. All chemicals must be clearly labelled and food containers must not be used for chemicals.
Chemicals must be stored under lock and key with appropriate measures for spillage or leakage. An MSDS must be on site with any chemicals.
Materials brought into the worksite must be certified to the appropriate Standard.
Only clean topsoils and sands with no contamination shall be brought on to site.
Environmental PolicyConstruction and Demolition Waste
Building and construction sites create pollution, including different types of waste, noise and dust. Measures must be taken to minimise the impact of our work on the health of people and the environment.
Responsible Waste removal. Waste receipt dockets from an approved waste disposal facility are the only guarantee that waste from the site is going to the right place.
As a waste generator, Red’s Landscaping and Civil is responsible for ensuring waste is taken to a facility that can lawfully accept it. Waste receipt dockets from an approved waste disposal facility are the only guarantee that waste from the site is going to the right place.
Construction and demolition (C&D) activities generate a wide range of industrial waste materials including:
excavated material such as rock and soil
waste asphalt, bricks, concrete, plasterboard, timber and vegetation
asbestos and contaminated soil.
If not managed responsibly, these waste streams can pollute the environment, pose a public health risk (particularly asbestos and contaminated soil) and pose amenity issues.
How to dispose of Construction and Demolition waste
“Under section 27A(2) of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act), any person (including a waste generator, transporter or receiver) who dumps or permits the inappropriate disposal of industrial waste at a place that cannot lawfully accept that waste type faces a fine of more than $7500, or up to $777,300 (5000 penalty units) if prosecuted. EPA can require the waste generator, transporter and receiver to clean up and pay for waste to be taken to a lawful place.”
Tips for managing Construction and Demolition waste
Know what types of waste will be generated during excavation, demolition and construction.
If a quote for managing waste is low, find out why. The company may be avoiding costs by taking the waste to a place that cannot lawfully be used as a waste facility.
While not a requirement, preparing and implementing a waste management plan ahead of demolition is an effective way of managing lawful waste disposal. A good plan would include:
details of each type of waste that will be generated, and the management action proposed for each type of waste
procedures that ensure the waste is dispose of at a lawful place
a description of the roles and responsibilities of everyone who manages the waste, including the site supervisor and subcontractors.
The level of detail in the waste management plan should reflect the size and complexity of the project’s waste issues.
Regularly update the waste management plan to record how waste is managed and audit where waste is taken.
Provide adequate supervision to ensure waste management plans are implemented and complied with, and regularly audit everyone who manages waste on your behalf.
Provide training about the waste management plan and protecting the environment.
Keep accurate written records such as:
who transported the waste (company name, ABN, vehicle registration and driver details, date and time of transport, description of waste)
copies of waste receipts from the waste facility (date and time of delivery, name and address of the facility, its ABN, contact person)
Drainage and runoff
Melbourne has many beautiful waterways that are very sensitive to the effects of pollution.
During construction rainwater may flow into onsite or nearby drainage systems as well as nearby creeks and river systems. This can lead do contamination of the water from the worksite or clogging of drains or waterways from picked up sediment or litter. Appropriate measures such as bunding must be taken to mitigate against this. Potential contamination of groundwater must also be considered.
Wetlands require environmental protection during landscape construction.
Environmental Protection Agency – Works Approvals
Works approvals are issued by EPA Victoria under the Environment Protection Act 1970 .They are required for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact.
A works approval permits plant and equipment to be installed, the operation of which will result in one or more of:
the discharge of waste to the environment
an increase in, or alteration to, an existing discharge
a change in the way waste is treated or stored.
To minimise CO2 emissions Red’s Landscaping and Civil has introduced the following strategies.
Car-pooling amongst employees.
Selecting vehicles that run on alternative fuels. Such as;
PHEV (where feasible.)
Keeping the vehicle in good condition and getting the longest possible life out of them.
Use local suppliers as close as possible to the worksite.
The construction industry is one of the largest contributors of atmospheric carbon dioxide, with concrete alone responsible for up to 8% of all anthropogenic carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide is released as a by-product when limestone (calcium carbonate) is heated to produce cement.
To minimise CO2 from the use of concrete Red’s Landscaping and Design has the following strategies.
Banksia Coccinea, like all Banksias, is a member of the proteaceae family, which is in turn a member of the protea order. Banksias, also known as the Australian Honeysuckle, are named after the famous botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed to Australia with Captain Cook.
Banksia Coccinea Garden Ideas
Banksia Coccinea facts
Native to the coastal sand dunes on the southern edge of Western Australia, Banksia coccinea is also known as the Albany banksia, the Waratah banksia or the scarlet banksia. It natural habitat is slightly acidic, deep sandy soil in scrubby areas with reasonable rainfall. This makes it a good plant for coastal gardens with sandy soils. This Banksia can be grown either as a shrub or a small tree. Normally growing to around 5 metres, it can grow as high as 8 metres tall. If you are designing for a small garden, consider using one or two of these as a focal point in your small garden design. Banksia Coccinea is also a favourite with florists with its vivid dark red, orange or scarlet pistels. Banksia Coccinea’s magnificent flowers and attractive foliage make it popular with florists as well as gardeners. An added bonus is the very long flowering period.
It can be in flower from June all the way through to January, which is great for the wildlife which will come to feast on the abundant nectar. After the flowering season the seeds will also attract cockatoos to your garden.
Garden Maintenance for your Banksia Coccinea
Better suited to sandy soils and warm dry temperate climates, this banksia can be sensitive to clay soils. If you are in a humid climate like the Melbourne, make sure you prune it to allow plenty of air circulation. As it is drought tolerant, and requires very little watering, this plant is ideal for sunny positions in your Melbourne coastal garden. Feed this plant lightly twice per year with a low phosphorus fertiliser, and water sparingly. A good fertiliser for native plants is Neutrog Bush Tucker.
Benefits for Wildlife in the Garden Landscape
In addition to its attractive appearance Banksia coccinea is a prolific nectar producer. This will attract nectar eating native birds like Honeyeaters and rainbow lorikeets to your garden as well as bees and even small marsupials. The seeds are eaten by birds such as cockatoos, making it the perfect plant for attracting wildlife.
For help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to Commercial Landscape design. Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
For more landscape garden design ideas, take a look at our Garden Design blog.
The Lomandra plant is considered a common plant in Australia and a key feature of any Melbourne Seascape. Hardy and drought resistant, thrives in the salty air of the Melbourne and always looks green and gorgeous.
The name Lomandra is from the Greek Loma meaning an edge or border and andra meaning man. The scientific name is Lomandra confertifolia ssp rubiginosa.
It was once thought to be in the same family as Xanthorrhoea and the two appear to have a lot in common.
Lomandra is actually a member of the subfamily Lomandroideae and the family Asparagaceae who are a genus of perennial herbs.
The green lomandra mass planting makes a great contrast with this grey stone wall.
There are approximately 50 known species like Lomandra banksil, Lomandra effusa, Lomandra patens and more species, all native to Australia hence the extreme drought tolerant properties and hardiness.
The Lomandra is one of the toughest, most reliable landscape plants and soft evergreen foliage and it’s for this reason that landscapers value it so often in their designs. Especially for people looking for great looking low maintenance gardens all-year-round.
Lomandra makes a great contrast against this grey tree trunk.
The Lomandra Seascape has beautiful blue-grey foliage and elegant weeping habit. It is evergreen in most situations and almost indestructible.
During summer highly fragrant small yellow blooms appear that fill the air with a sweet aroma and the very fragrant small yellow flowers emerge from reddish-brown buds on spikes that rise up to the top of the foliage.
The flowers are cream to bright yellow, hence the common name.
The male flowers are ball-shaped, up to 2mm in length, while the female flowers are more tubular, up to 3mm in length. Lomandra extremely frost hardy and drought tolerant, because it has long dark blue-grey slender leaves, forms a clump in a weeping habit and foliage type is linear.
It can be grown in full sun or partial shade and fertile well-drained soil once a month, it can grow in a range of sandy soils, in swamps and wet places to the montane zone on banks of creeks, rocky hillsides, cliffs and open forests.
And it is considered a highly colourful plant that has attractive foliage, rabbit resistant, winter interest and low maintenance.
That Dark green foliage grass like plant is low-growing and low-maintenance, remarkable container or groundcover display.
The Lomandra ticks all the boxes for a wide variety of landscape designs, especially this close to the salty ocean breeze.
The hardy lomandra is ideal for public spaces like nature strips and along side highways of around street trees.
How to plant Lomandra Seascape
To plant Lomandra we have several requirements.
Water as required for 8-13 weeks until established.
Plant in a well-mulched garden (chunky mulch is recommended).
Ensure crown or base of the plant is not below soil or mulch level and if required use slow-release fertilizer in spring.
Every 3-10 years cut back 15cm above the ground if required (it will look better with pruning every 3 years, this depends on your requirements).
Lomandra propagates by seed or clump division and spreads by underground creeping rhizomes and when affected by fire will re-establish from these.
These species become noticeable at flowering time – mainly from October to November, but this may vary according to locality.
There is no special soil PH requirement and it can grow in a semi-shaded area like light woodland or non-shaded area.
It is relatively easy to maintain Lomandra. Moist soil is required for growth of the plant, but it would not die out without water.
It is a compact perennial herb growing up to 50cm tall in sparse clumps up to 20cm in diameter with a semi-arching habit.
The leaves are stiff, approximately 3mm to 5mm in width, with inrolled margins and are dull green to bluish-green in colour.
Each leaf is tipped with one to three tiny light brown points.
When the fruits are matured and turn brown, sow the seed in moist soil for 6 weeks in the greenhouse or outdoor than the clump division started by dividing the plant into half and plant them in moist soil indoor or outdoor.
There is not much cultivation limitation for this plant in Australia, but the plant can die back when it is in a wet winter nor does it survive well in areas with cooler summers.
Landscaping uses of Lomandra Seascape
Lomandra is a versatile plant for garden design, and ideal for mass plantings, patio pots, rockeries and border perimeters.
This is a hardy, attractive plant which is quick to establish yet non-invasive preferring to contain itself to clumping to approximately 75cm diameter.
It is particularly useful in small gardens and courtyards as a design feature and can be planted to complement native grasses.
As it is slow growing this makes it ideal as a container plant. This form and colour make it a great plant for a raised planter or large pot where the foliage can arch over to hide an edge.
Aboriginal people use the leaves of Lomandra to make strong nets and baskets, and they consume the base of Lomandra leaves as food. So we can classify uses of Lomandra with the following.
Urban landscapes: Plants in public open spaces cop all kinds of mistreatment. They are regularly trampled or even pulled out and their growing environment is often less than ideal.
Heat from pavements, buildings, roads etc combined with poor air quality and limited irrigation render the urban landscape one of the most difficult areas for growing plants.
Road Corridors: Even more hostile than the urban landscape is the roadside environment.
Non-irrigated, north facing batters present the greatest challenge. Lomandra are proven performers on the verges and median strips of roads and freeways.
Formal Gardens: Lomandra certainly have a place in the palette of the formal garden. Too often it is assumed that these plants belong in rustic bush garden settings only.
Many Lomandra have the regular form so vital in a formal planting. Used well they can provide another dimension of foliage contrast and as borders for pathways, garden edges and retaining walls.
Mass plant under specimen trees or large shrubs for a great formal effect
Containers: Narrow-leaved Lomandra looks fabulous in containers. It looks good in single pots as ‘specimens’, however, if planted in clusters of pots with perhaps the pot size or height being the only variable, the effect can be remarkable.
Basket Weaving: The strappy leaves of Lomandra make it suitable for basket weaving. In children’s play spaces we can construction of Lomandra baskets
Species grow all along the east coast of Australia. Queensland, N.S.W., Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania are the most common areas for the plants to grow naturally.
The Mediterranean garden design is not just beautiful, it is often a very practical low maintenance garden solution for landscaping Melbourne gardens. Historically Melbourne winters are cool but short in duration. The summers are hot and we have experienced more of the hotter drier weather over the past few years. Clear skies and moderate to high winds are often experienced in Melbourne especially in the beachside suburbs of Brighton and Elwood. The recent hot dry summers are typical of the Mediterranean climate and are more often experienced in cities like Adelaide and Perth. What this means for landscaping Melbourne gardens is that we can learn the lessons from gardens developed for hot dry summers over the millennia.
What is a Mediterranean Garden?
From a purely garden design perspective, much of the essence of the Mediterranean garden lies in the choice of materials, textures and colours. Garden features such as cobbled paving, tiles, stones, bricks and especially terracotta will enhance the Mediterranean feel. Neatly clipped hedges, gravel mulch, and soft colours contrasting with brightly coloured tiles are often features in the Mediterranean garden. For landscaping Melbourne gardens, consider mixing this with less formal ,drought tolerant plants and plants which give off a pleasant aroma.
Mediterranean garden – Terracotta pot and lavender. Great colours to have together.
Mediterranean Garden Ideas
Mediterranean garden design often features terracotta pots and lavender. The cool purple of the lavender and the warm earthy tones of the terracotta pots are close to complimentary colours. This means they look good together in garden design. The green foliage of the lavender works as an accent to the colour scheme.
The hot dry summers of the Mediterranean create perfect conditions for outdoor eating. In these gardens you will often find pergolas covered with scented climbing plants or grape vines.
What Plants are in a Mediterranean Garden?
Some plants to consider for growing over your pergola include wisteria, grape vines, climbing roses, jasmine and the Chinese Trumpet vine (Campsis grandiflora).
For landscaping Melbourne the Mediterranean plants are generally a good choice although some may not like a heavy clay soil. Some varieties of lavender require a well drained soil.
Mediterranean Garden Design Australia
Within the broad garden design concept of Mediterranean gardens there are many different individual garden styles available to the Melbourne gardener to choose from. These range from the very neat formal style to the less formal, more drought tolerant, low maintenance gardens. This variety reflects the many influences of the Mediterranean garden culture, from the Ottomans, the Moors, the Greeks and the Romans. Each of these cultures came up with different solutions for the Mediterranean garden based on their needs and desires. These design ideas were then brought back to Britain by landscape designers and architects on the Grand Tour. Modern landscape designers now put their own interpretation on these design solutions to produce a variety of very different design outcomes.
For help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to Commercial Landscape design.
Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
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