Lavender or lavendula is a very hardy evergreen aromatic shrub which is grown for its scent as well as its flowers.
Lavender Flower attracts butterflies, honey bees and bumblebees. A honey bee sips nectar from a lavender flower.
There are many species to choose from as the genus Lavandula has more than 30 known members. The family to which the they belong is Lamiaceae. The Lamiaceae is a huge family is well known for its aromatic volatile oils and includes plants like the Rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint. It is in fact these oils which makes the plants in the mint family so useful as medicinal and culinary plants.
English or French Lavender
The so called English version can live up to 25 years whereas the less hardy French or Spanish lavender will only live to around 5 years old. The fatter flowers of the Spanish and French varieties tend to be a little more flamboyant.
Where does Lavender come from?
The lavender grows naturally around the Mediterranean and was taken to Britain by the Romans. The Roman legions and their Greek doctors took medicinal herbs with them on their marches.
What is the origin of the name?
There are two possibilities for the origin of the name “Lavender”. Possibly it comes from the Latin “lavare” meaning to wash. It has been used since before Roman times as a bath perfume and to scent washed fabrics. The other possibility for the source of the name is the Latin “lividus” meaning blueish or livid.
Landscaping Melbourne with Lavender
This is an ideal plant for creating the authentic Mediterranean garden. It will also thrive in sunny locations in your Melbourne garden provided the soil is well draining and not too acidic.
Lavandula with a terracotta pot. This is a great combination for a Mediterranean garden. The complementary colours also look great together.
Growing Lavender in pots
If you do not have enough sun, you can plant them in a terracotta pot and move them to get some extra sun. The blue and violet flowers of the lavender will be complimentary to the rich earthy colours of the terracotta.
Where is it best to plant lavender?
Lavender plants thrive in full sun and can grow well in raised garden beds and containers. They can even be used in hedges and make a great herbaceous border along a garden path.
How do you take care of a lavender plant?
Cut back the flowers as they finish.
Do not be afraid to prune twice a year with one pruning after flowering has finished.
Lavenders that are not pruned regularly will become spindly.
Replace plants that have become too woody.
Do not over water.
Very little fertiliser is required.
Soil must be well drained to avoid root rot.
Annual light application of garden lime in acidic topsoils.
Potential Diseases and Pests
Grey mould or leaf spot can appear. Prune your plants to allow good air circulation and move plants to a sunnier location in the garden. Plants can also be attacked by frog hoppers, so look for signs of frothy “cuckoo spit”.
Varieties for essential oils
Old English Lavender (Lavandula spica) is often grown on farms for the harvesting of the fragrant essential oils. This is a tall variety that can grow to around 90 centimeters, so it will need plenty of space.
Lavendula Augustifolia (English Lavender)
Despite being known as English, this plant originates in Southern Europe near the Mediterranean. It is a bushy shrub to around one metre tall and quite wide. In mid to late summer the long unbranched stalks will produce deep or pale purple dense fragrant spikes of flowers.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
Popular varieties and Colours
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Ashdown Forest’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Cedar Blue’
Lavandula × intermedia Dutch
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Dwarf Blue’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Folgate’
Lavandula × intermedia ‘Grosso’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Imperial Gem’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Maillette’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Melissa Lilac’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’
Lavandula x intermedia Old English lavender
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Peter Pan’
Lavandula × chaytoriae ‘Richard Gray’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Rosea’
Lavandula Angustifolia Royal Purple
LAVANDULA angustifolia ‘Twickel Purple’
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Edelweiss
Lavender-Flowers up close
These plants are often grown on farms where the plants are harvested to make essential oils. Often the distillation process takes place on the farm itself. The farms are also a great tourist attraction drawing visitors to experience the aroma and the beautiful sea of purple that stretches into the distance.
Lavender farms like this one in the Cotswolds are great tourist attractions and are also used for essential oil manufacturing.
In the UK there is a farm just near the National Trust property of Snowshill in the Cotswolds Area on Natural Beauty, where many of these photos were taken.
Landscaping with Lavender
The hardy and versatile lavender has hundreds of uses in landscaping and garden design. As a border it can give the violet or blue design theme continuity through a landscape. When used as a border opposite a long blue swimming pool it provides visual balance to the garden.
Lavender border opposite a swimming pool. The lavender provides continuity as well as visual balance.
Lavender in a herbaceous border along a path. The lavender border looks great against the earthy tones of cottage path.
Lavender field in the monastery of Saint Paul de Mausole in France. Mass plantings like this always create a stunning effect.
Agricultural uses for lavender
In agriculture lavender also has a wide varieties of uses. Home gardeners can learn a few tips from these. Some varieties are grown for the cut flower industry for fresh and dried bouquets.The flowers of these plants are very high in nectar and many varieties have a long flowering season. This has made them a great plant for attracting and feeding bees. The quality and the quantity of honey produced from hives close to lavender plants is well known in the industry. Attracting bees is important too for the orchard industry. Lavender is a useful companion plant as the aroma repels some pests as well as attracting pollinating insects. The main agricultural use is essential oil manufacturing.
Essential Oil Distillation
Lavender essential oil distillation process schematic
To make the essential oil on the farm, the cuttings have steam passed through them. The steam collects the oil and takes it to the condenser. The oil steam mix condenses and is them separated into the pure oil and floral water.
Uses of the essential oil
The essential oil has a wide variety of uses including helping with sleep and anxiety. It also has been used to treat fungal infections and to repel insects. The main uses however are in the cosmetics industry where it is used in fragrances, soaps and shampoos to help purify the skin. It is also used in the food industry, but concentrated oil should never be ingested as it can be toxic in this form.
Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil
Creating a hedge and tree pruning are gardening techniques which can be used to great effect in any visually any size of garden. These techniques can be used to control and direct the size, shape and direction of plant growth. When combined with plant supports, such as trellises and other plants, an interesting garden effect can be created. Of course, pruning is also used to encourage fruit tree growth and to improve plant health by encouraging air circulation. The use of hedge planting and pruning has been a feature of mediterranean gardens and English classic garden design for centuries.
If shrubs and trees are allowed to grow uncontrolled, they may become to large for the space in your garden. Often branches are left at an awkward height near pathways that can result in safety issues. It is often the case that a tree of shrub will become misshaped through natural growth and some pruning is required to improve its aesthetics.
For flowering shrubs and trees, the correct pruning technique will encourage new growth of younger shoots and in some cases more flowering in the longer term. Annual pruning of fruit trees will often result in better quality and larger fruit as well as a reduction in fungal diseases.
Keeping your garden hedge well maintained in the first place, will save you money and add value to your property. A hedge that is not well maintained may not only lose its shape, but will leave bare patches of hedge when it is finally shaped with the trimmer or saw.
Originally developed in Europe to grow fruit trees in a microclimate, a warm wall was used to provide heat and support to the plant. Later, trellises were also used to support espalier plants.
Supports for espalier plants now include wooden, metal and wire supports as well as stone, brick and even glass walls. Espalier is a great technique for improving the look of a fence or wall especially in the case of a small garden.
Pleaching is a great technique for creating a screen for garden privacy. Pleaching can be applied not only in a straight line, but also as a circle or rectangle.
Pleaching is a great way to create a green privacy screen in your garden. It can also be used to create an impenetrable hedge which can be used as a fence. It makes a nice alternative to a wire fence in rural areas.
If you would like a qualified horticulturist to take a look at your hedging needs contact us.
For all of your garden maintenance needs or 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 as well as horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
Climbing plants can transform a dull wall or grey fence into a colourful and spectacular feature of your garden and enhance garden privacy. If your garden is so small that you do not have room for a tree, then a climbing plant will give you the vertical dimension to help create interest in your garden. Climbing plants can create a harmonious transition zone from the interior to the exterior of the home and help to develop that feeling of the garden as an extension of the home. Many climbing plants will also bring fragrance to your garden and most will bring privacy to your backyard and swimming pool areas.
What are the best climbing plants?
The best climbing plants for your garden will depend on a number of factors including the amount of sun and shade on the wall or fence you are covering. Even then, there is a large choice depending on your personal taste and garden design style. There is a wide range of colour and fragrance available.
What are the best climbing plants for trellis?
Most climbers will require some sort of support to grow on. There are a few that do not require support, including climbing hydrangea and ivy. For most climbing plants, trellis is an ideal support, but make sure you use trellis that is strong enough to support both the weight of the plant and any wind loads. Tensioned wire supports and trellis are the two main types of support.
Our best climbing plants for trellis;
Clematis Hybrids for full sun or part shade, but keep the roots mulched or in shade. 2-3m.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera) for partial shade to sunny with scented flowers. 2-6m.
Climbing Rose for full sun, but they will require strong supports. 2-5m.
Climbing Plants Humulus lupulus, jasminum azoricum ,rhodochiton atrosanguine, passiflora white passion, gloriosa rothschildiana and Ipomoea purpurea climbers.
Clematis belong to the family Ranunculaceae which also contains delphiniums, anemones and buttercup. The name comes from the ancient Greek word κλῆμα (klema) meaning vine branch. The clematis flower does not have petals and this makes it unusual in the plant world. The sepals, which in most plants cover the emerging flower, have evolved to fulfil the role of petals and it is these that make the wonderful colours. You will se in the photographs below that the stamens have in some cases, also taken on the look of petals.
Clematis are are mostly grown as climbing plants, but some varieties can also be grown successfully as ground covers. There is plenty of choice with over 325 species and these grow naturally in nearly every part of the world and also there are the the many hybrids and cultivars to consider.
Clematis climbing plants on display. (Floyds climbers and clematis.)
Clematis have been cultivated in the gardens of Europe for centuries. In the 1500s two significant varieties were introduced into Britain. These were the Clematis Integrifolia and the Clematis viticella. More varieties were introduced later. These included the herbaceous Clematis recta, and the Clematis flammula and Clematis cirrhosa.
The age of the Plant Hunters
In the 1600s demand for new plants soared and consequently plant hunters began bring back plants from the Americas. However the most significant introduction was those introduced from China. These species included Clematis lanuginosa and Clematis patens and a variety of Clematis florida with double white green flowers was also introduced.
The first hybridisation was the crossing of Clematis Integrifolia and Clematis Viticella and this resulted in Clematis Eriostemon. It was the hybridisation of the original three Chinese species which created all of the large flowered hybrids.
Clematis varieties to look for.
Clematis Amethyst Beauty. A stunning climber that will grow to 2m tall. It will flower from summer into early autumn. Beautiful flowers reddish purple coloured flowers with a wavy margin.
Clematis Arctic Queen is a medium-sized deciduous climber. A plethora of 150 mm double flowers from early summer to early to mid autumn.
Clematis ‘Shimmer’ is a large-flowered Group 3 clematis. It has huge blue-lilac blooms up to 180mm. It’s the perfect climber to grow up a wall or fence.
Clematis Samaritan Jo is medium-sized, climber growing up to 1.5m high. It has with dark to mid-green leaves. Samaritan Jo has large star shaped flowers and with a purple edged silver white colour up to 150mm in diameter. Distinctive flower stamens are pink-purple with yellow tips. Flowers are produced in a long flowering season from early summer all the way to late autumn.
A Clematis Viennetta is a climbing clematis that grows up to to 2.5m in height. It has absolutely stunning multi coloured flowers . The massive purple stamens contrast with the creamy white flowers. You will see these lovely flowers from early summer to mid autumn.
Clematis ‘Taiga’ is a great climbing plant which grows to around to 2.5 metres and has purple / blue flowers with greeny white tips on the frilly tepals. From Summer to Autumn these open up to become stunning fully double flower rosettes.
What are the 3 types of clematis?
There are 3 different pruning regimes for clematis and consequently 3 different types. They are either not pruned, lightly pruned or heavily pruned. Always check with your local plant nursery when buying.
Frequently asked questions about clematis
Is Clematis easy to grow?
Clematis is very easy to grow, but they prefer slightly alkaline topsoil with the roots in the shaped or covered by a mulch of well rotted manure..
What is the best time of year to plant a clematis?
Does clematis need full sun?
Honeysuckles are available both as shrubby varieties and as climbing plants. Honeysuckles can grow up to 6 metres and so make great for covering bare walls. Do not plant these vigorous climbing plants if you are in one of the Melbourne bushland suburbs, because they can escape into the bush and become a weed. There are some shade tolerant varieties, but these tend to have lower levels of scent.
Japanese honeysuckle or Lonicera japonica is a vigorous large evergreen climber
Lonicera japonica is a vigorous twining large evergreen climber with dark green oval leaves. The highly fragrant, white-yellow flowers are up to 40mm long and result in black glossy berries.
Lonicera periclymenum or common honeysuckle.
The common honeysuckle is woody climber with oval leaves that are opposite in pairs. Flowerheads are long white and yellow trumpets that appear in summer, and are consequently followed by clusters of red glossy berries.
Climbing plant Honeyberry Lonicera caerulea var. Kamchatka stunning bright blue berries.
The honeyberry fruits look and taste very similar to blueberries and similarly can be used in jams or eaten raw. They are also high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
The climbing rose is the best choice for hot dry conditions and therefore most Melbourne gardens with a sunny aspect. In garden design they are a great choice for small gardens because they can give a garden vertical height. Climbing or rambling roses can be grown on a fence or wall, but they also have great impact as a climber over a pergola or arbor. This garden design feature will take your eye up and over and back down and also create a pleasant fragrance to greet visitors to your garden.
Red Climbing rose on a pergola.
A pink climbing rose on a brick wall.
Garden Arbor or arch with climbing plants over a brick garden path. A pink Climbing Rose will bring beauty and fragrance to your garden. The arbor will also create vertical interest in your design.
What are the fastest growing climbing plants?
Climbing plants like Morning Glory and Lonicera are very fast growing but will very quickly become a weed in your garden or in native bushland. Choose clematis or climbing roses instead if this is a risk. Fast growing climbers are therefore suitable for small inner Melbourne gardens, but not bushland gardens.
Anigozanthos are tufted rhizomatous evergreen perennials that are members of the bloodwort family.
Anigozanthos ‘bush pearl’ also known as Pink Kangaroo paw.
Native to Western Australia, Anigozanthos ‘bush pearl’ are lovers of harsh dry arid conditions. Kangaroo paw are notorious for struggling with humid conditions , they tend to turn black, rot and die off during the winter months. Despite these disadvantages, these plants have proven their versatility in sandy soil and coastal gardens.
Pink flowered kangaroo paw.
Planting your Anigozanthos
With correct planting in well draining, sandy loam soil and the use of low phosphorus organic fertilizers, kangaroo paws will flower year round in warm climates.
Anigozanthos prefer sandy well drained soil. Anigozanthos humilis also known as catspaw is also endemic to southern Western Australia.
Kangaroo paws have co-evolved with native birds, the structure of the inflorescence attracts indigenous birds to aid with pollination and seed distribution. They are another “must have” sustainable Australian native plant to incorporate into the eco friendly Australian Garden. If you are the person who enjoys colours, textures and unique then the kangaroo paw bush pearl is the plant for you.
Landscaping with Anigozanthos
Adding some Anigozanthos into your garden will dramatically increase the colour vibrancy and brighten up any landscape garden design, especially since they perform so well on in coastal gardens. These beauties will be sure to out live any other plant in your garden, and they look amazing in pots for on your outdoor decking or entertaining area. Another great advantage of having kangaroo paw in your garden is the entertaining show that the native birds and honey eaters will put on as they feed on the plant, so be sure to place the plant in area that you are able to observe nature do it’s thing.
Australian yellow kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos pulcherrimus) in front of a grasstree (Xanthorrhoea).
Frequently asked Questions about Anigozanthos
How do you take care of a kangaroo paw plant?
It is important not to over water or over fertilise your kangaroo paw. These plants have evolved in well draining poor soils.
What can I plant next to kangaroo paw?
Anigozanthos should be planted next to other plants that love sandy soil. We recommend planting with xanthorrhoea
The Xanthorrhoea has similar needs to the Anigozanthos with both preferring sandy, well drained soils. The Anigozanthos flowers will make a great contrast with the black trunk and green leaves of the xanthorrhoea.
Why are my kangaroo paws turning black?
Kangaroo Paws will turn black or get black spots due to a fungal disease known as Ink Disease or Ink Spot. Ink disease is thought to be caused by the fungal pathogen Alternaria alternata. It is usually a slow growing fungus that plants survive, but ask your local plant nursery for a fungicide if it starts to take over. The best treatment is to cut off the leaves affected and ensure the plant has plenty of sun and good air circulation. Encouraging vigorous plant growth by adding trace elements like dilute liquid seaweed may help. When selecting new plants, ask your local plant nursery for the best plants for humid conditions. A good variety to choose to avoid ink disease is Anigozanthos Flavidus.
Alternaria alternata or Ink Disease on a Kangaroo Paw.
A. flavidus kangaroo paw is more resistant to Ink Disease.
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.
Pool landscaping design provides some challenges for the horticulturist 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 shape 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.
Swimming Pool Landscaping idea. Dicksonia Antarctica
Dicksonia Antactica with hostas, azaleas and irises.
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.
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 or miniature tree fern
Cycad gives a garden an exotic look.
Cycads covered the earth during the time of the dinosaurs. These plants are great for creating the exotic tropical look in your Melbourne garden.
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 Windmill Palms with Cordylines at Kew Gardens.
Cordyline are a slow growing palm like tree. The cordyline indivisa will eventually grow to around 3 metres.
Cordyline indivisa. . indivisa is a slow-growing, evergreen erect tree reaching heights of 3m or more.
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.
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
Bansia 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 rendered concrete block planter box by a swimming pool.
If you are looking for swimming pool landscaping ideas, the Kentia Palm (Howea fosteriana) 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.
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.
For a splash of colour in your pool garden, why not plant some Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise. This South African native will help to create interest in a tropical look garden.
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 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.
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 landscaping designs. Luxuriant plantings of ferns like dicksonia antarctica and palm trees help build privacy around the pool.
Pool landscaping designs. An integrated home and pool design. Using computer aided design helps to visualise and plan the 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.
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.
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.
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
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 pool 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 Civil
Red’s Landscaping and Civil can provide swimming pool design and build solutions which also includes design with 3D visualisation, construction and landscaping.
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.
Cottage garden ideas can be found in many of the gardens open to the public. These include Open Garden Scheme Gardens and the many home gardens worldwide. One great source of cottage garden ideas is the National Trust of Great Britain.
The Arts and Crafts movement
The Arts and Crafts movement was an aesthetic movement started by designer, poet and reformer William Morris. In 1861 Morris founded the interior decorators and manufacturers Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company. Morris during his time studying Classics at Oxford University, became influenced by medievalism. The company was founded with a desire to capture the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. By the 1890s the influence of the movement had spread and become part of a growing international interest in design.
Cottage Garden ideas and the Arts and Crafts movement
American horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston created the Serre de la Madone garden in France and the Hidcote Manor garden in the Cotswolds in the UK. The Cotswolds had become a centre for the arts and crafts movement due to artists like Dante Rosetti and his friend William Morris moving out of smoggy London to the Cotwolds. The rural setting far from London with its beautiful scenery and idyllic lifestyle made it a magnet for the type of cottage industries that were part of the movement. At the time, local crafts and skills had not been overtaken by industrialisation. Architect Charles Robert Ashbee moved from London to Chipping Campden and set up factories in some rural buildings employing around 150 skilled craftsmen.
Hidcote Cottage Garden Design
The early parts of the Hidcote garden design were very much in line with the Arts and Crafts movement. Later parts of the design became a little more formal. As the garden is separated by hedges, stone walls or by geographic features, these very different garden design styles go together surprisingly well. The garden design concept was that the “rooms” of the garden were and extension of the architecture of the house itself.
Cottage Garden ideas. A stone garden path with overflowing border plants is often a feature of Arts and Crafts gardens. Between the 1890s and 1930s gardens the Arts and Crafts Movement was a major influence in Cottage Garden design.
Cottage Gardens often give the appearance of cheerful simplicity. In reality, the creator of the garden,Major Lawrence Johnston, was an avid collector of garden plants. The Major, went on exotic plant hunting expeditions to Yunnan, China in 1930 and South Africa in 1927 to find plants for his garden. The province of Yunnan in South West China has been the source of over 10,000 plants for western gardens.
Cottage Garden ideas. Neat hedge and stone landscaping of paths with topiary Yew hedges with topiary box, hornbeam and holly. Rustic Stone Garden paths.
The topiary hedges at Hidcote create interesting views, but also help to divide the garden into smaller garden rooms. Many of these rooms explore different garden design themes. Hidcote is a great place to visit for garden design ideas.
Cottage Garden ideas. Looking through the hedge at the colourful garden with stone garden path.
When viewed through a cut out in a hedge, the spectacular and colourful cottage style gardens create surprise and delight.
Cottage Garden ideas. A garden seat in a shady part of the garden. Rustic Stone Garden paths.
Some parts of the garden are a little more formal with neatly trimmed path edges.
Cottage Garden ideas. Roses are always a favourite in the cottage garden.
The old garden looking back towards the house is a mass of cottage garden plants. Hidcote was the first purchase for the National Trust for the garden alone.
Cottage Garden ideas. Garden steps made from hand crafted terracotta roof tiles laid edgeways. Hidcote Manor.
A great example of the use of quality craftsmanship is the garden steps created from hand crafted ceramic roofing tiles laid edgeways. Years of garden visitors has worn the edges of the tiles and given them even more character. These garden design features are typical of the arts and crafts movement.
Cottage Garden Pathway Design
Another more formal garden room. Dividing the garden up into smaller garden rooms makes it possible to explore different garden design themes within the same garden. Each room is like a small garden design in itself.
An example of a rustic stone pathway from the Arts and Crafts movement.
Cottage gardens have many different designs of garden paths. Ideally natural looking garden path materials should be used to create the cottage garden effect. There are many different ways of laying out your cottage garden path. The path can be a single main path with an outer path, crossed paths with an outer path, a diamond shaped path, or as in the picture above, an oval shaped path layout with a garden in the centre.
Rustic Garden Path with overflowing border plants.
Crushed Rock garden pathway with overflowing border plants.
Gardens Separated by hedges.
An example of the craftsmanship is the garden stairs made from ceramic roof tiles laid edgeways. These stairs lead to a terraced lawn which is also laid out like a separate room.
Lawn Pathways with garden urns neat hedges and border shrubs.
Garden Wall with herbaceous perennial border plants and crushed rock pathways.
Some of the later garden designs at Hidcote were a little more formal, but still have a cottage appeal.
A rustic hand crafted stone wall will give you cottage garden an authentic look. Note the use of complimentary flowers in front.
A garden gate helps to separate the garden into different rooms. Note the more formal garden with box hedges on the other side.
Formal box hedges. Later parts of the garden moved away from the arts and crafts style.
Manicured Hedges and lawn. The garden paths appear to go forever.
A view through the hedges separating the gardens. Rustic Stone Garden paths.
The separated garden rooms alow the garden designer to explore a different theme in each one.
A small stream runs through the garden.
A garden stream separates parts of the lower garden
The Stone Garden Path crosses the stream with a well crafted stepping stone.
Yew hedges and garden rooms. Rustic Stone Garden paths. Terracotta pots.
The same view two month later. It is alway worth revisiting Hidcote to see the different seasons in the garden.
Magnolias and Daffodils with a winding garden path.
A Rustic Cottage Garden with stone wall, yew hedge and herbaceous perennials.
Cut outs in the hedges provide vistas into other garden rooms.
Garden water feature with a view back to the house.
The famous Hidcote Pillar Garden. Topiary Yew trees and hedges.
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 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.
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.
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.
In the hills of southwest of North America Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea) displays its bright blue flowers after rainfall.
Vanguard (Salvia splendens) is native to Brazil. The dark green oval leaves provide contrast for the spectacular dense spikes of bright red flowers and bracts. This compact, erect annual grows up to 300mm tall and flowers from summer to autumn.
Salvia and Sage as food flavourings.
Salvia officinalis is an aromatic perennial native to the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean climate has some similarities to the Melbourne climate, which means Mediterranean plants often thrive in Melbourne. This Salvia is cultivated for its leaves, which can be used either fresh or dried to add flavour to your cooking. These shrubs grow to around 60 cm tall. Sage has slightly stimulating properties and the leaves have been used for making tea for centuries. It was thought that the tea helped to improve wisdom and memory. In fact the name sage comes from the old French sauge which comes from the Latin salvus meaning healthy.
Another popular flavoring herb is the Salvia Sclarea. A biennial herb, this variety can grow a little taller. The hairy heart shaped leaves have a powerful aroma giving cooking a distinctive flavour. Its white flowers and leaflike bracts are violet or pink. Both of these species are native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, and so you can expect them to be reasonably drought tolerant in climates like Melbourne. In many parts of the world, this plant can grow wild.
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 x 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.
Sage and Salvia Varieties for your Melbourne garden
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.