small trees for small gardens australia

Stunning Pink flowering gum.

Tree Landscape Design Melbourne

Tree landscape design is an essential part of commercial or residential landscape gardening. As the Chinese proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”. With the cooler months, it is time to think about planting some trees.

Trees as an attractive focal point

Some attractive Trees and shrubs can provide an interesting focal point for your garden. Many Australian native trees will provide vibrant coloured flower creating both beauty and food and habitat for a wide range of Australian fauna. As an added bonus, the colourful flowers provide a source of nectar and pollen for honeybees and native bees, well away from the garden pesticides. Foliage colours can also be used to create a contrast.

 

Lemon-scented myrtle also known as the Sweet Verbena Tree (Backhousia citriodora) is a Queensland species that is both attractive to honeybees and a source of bush tucker. However, as it is a rainforest plant, it is not particularly drought tolerant. If you look after it, you will be rewarded with clusters of attractive white flowers.

Design Considerations. – Locating the tree

When designing the garden for trees, make sure you consider the final height of the tree and any garden maintenance requirements. Space between the tree and a fence might need to be big enough for mower access. Also the location of any overhead power lines should be considered. If you are planting a street tree, the local council will have guidelines for the minimum distance to services such as stormwater outlets and power poles.

Planting Trees like a professional commercial landscaper

If your new tree comes in a plastic pot, make sure you protect it from the searing  sun. A few hours of intense sunlight on a black plastic pot can do a great deal of harm to your new tree. Make sure you give the root ball a good soaking. If possible, dip the pot into a bucket of water.

Tree Planting

Tree Planting. Make the hole much bigger than the pot especially in Melbourne clay soils.

Dig your hole much bigger than the pot size of the tree. That means if you are planting a tree from a 300 mm pot, the hole should be dug around 900 mm. This is especially the case if you are planting in poor quality soils. Aim to have the new tree slightly higher than the natural ground level. If you are in a heavy clay soil, dig in some organic matter both below and around the plant. If you use a lot of organic matter, this will tend to shrink as it decomposes so take care not to overdo it. The organic material used should be well composted. Backfill with 50% high quality topsoil mixed with the site topsoil. If you have a reactive clay soil, which is common in Melbourne, a hand full od gypsum can be dug into the bottom of the hole.

 

 

Once you have placed your tree in the hole, give the roots a bit of a tickle if they appear to have been root bound by the planter pot. This will encourage the roots to grow outward into the new soil. If you are planting a Eucalyptus or Magnolia, the roots should be disturbed as little as possible.

Water the new tree and tamp down on the soil to remove any air pockets. Cover the root zone with around 75mm thick mulch ensuring there is a gap between the trunk and the mulch to prevent collar rot. In most cases staking of the tree is not necessary. If you have a larger or a top heavy tree, use 2 or 3 stakes placed away from the trunk and tied loosely with a rag.

 

Correct tree staking.

Stakes need to be clear of the rootball. Ideally 50 mm hessian ties should be used and stapled to the stakes to allow some trunk movement. Ensure the ties do not damage the trunk.

 

 

Watering trees

To avoid drought stress with you newly planted trees, give the soil around the plant a good soaking. The best solution for saving water is a dripper irrigation system with a timer and a moisture sensor. An annual application of a soil wetting solution will save water by reducing run off.

Mulching around a tree

Create a dish to keep the mulch clear of the tree and the top of the root ball close to flush with the finished height. The mulch height should be 200mm with a diameter of 1200mm.

 

Weeding and mulching

Keep Weeds, lawns and other vegetation away from the root zone of your new tree until it is well established. For trees, this means an area of around 1.5 metres  diameter should be kept clear for the first 3 years. The mulch should be topped up annually as it slowly decomposes into the soil.

 

Feeding your new Tree

Native Trees

Native plants generally require very little fertiliser, so be careful when applying and always use low phosphorus fertilisers. Products like Neutrog Seamungus combine the trace elements of seaweed with the nitrogen of chook manure to get your plants off to a good start. Neutrog “Bush Tucker” has been developed specifically for Australian Native plants and is ideal for even the most phosphorus sensitive proteas, banksias or grevillias. As well as harming native trees, excess phosphorus will inhibit mycorrhizal fungi essential for root development with your new tree. Phosphorus run off into streams and waterways can also be a problem.

Exotic trees

Exotic trees will require a little bit more feeding for the low phosphorus Melbourne soils. Also add a small amount of slow release fertiliser to the hole.

 

 

Pruning

Even if your tree is an Australian Native, don’t be afraid of giving it a regular prune or trim to get it into the shape you want. This should be done both early and regularly. After a year or two it the tree should be strong enough to stay upright without the stakes. This is the reason why the young trees should not be staked too tightly. Always use a clean and sharp pruning saw to avoid spreading plant diseases.

 

Plant Selection

The trees selected for your Melbourne garden should be reasonably drought tolerant, non invasive and easy to maintain. Consideration should be given to the full extent  of the leaf canopy and the root zone when the plant is fully grown. In particular, the plants chosen need to have resistance to the weather conditions and the fungal diseases that go along with it. A visit to your local botanical gardens is a good way to select plants for your home garden and also pick up some landscaping ideas. Some councils Council have also published a guides to saving water. Some of the trees listed in the guide include Kurrajong, (Brachychiton populneus), Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), Screw Pine (Pandanus Tectorius), Coastal Banksia (Banksia integrifolia), Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) , Tulipwood (Harpullia pendula), Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) Blue Lilly Pilly (Syzygium oleosum)

 

Lagerstroemia indica has purple, pink or white crinkly flowers that appear like crape (or crepe). It is a deciduous tree but it can be grown as a  large shrub. The long dark leaves are bronze when the tree is growing rapidly.

 

Lagerstroemia Indica

Lagerstroemia Indica is a tree or shrub native to China and Korea. Striking conical panicles around 200mm long. Ideal for small gardens and Mediterranean gardens.

 

 

Blue Lilly Pilly (Syzygium oleosum) has stunning purple or blue berries contrasting with the rich dark green foliage. The colourful berries can be eaten.

 

Corymbia ficifolia or red flowering gum is native to southern Western Australia.

 

Many of us love the look and the bird attracting ability of the Western Australian Flowering Gum. (Corymbia ficifolia) (Previously know as Eucalyptus ficifolia). In the past the problem has been its ability to withstand the humidity of the Gold Coast. The good news is that horticulturalist Stan Henry has developed a hybrid variety suitable for the humid conditions of South East Queensland. The hybrids, which combine Corymbia ficifolia, the red flowering gum from south-west Western Australia with the swamp bloodwood, Corymbia ptychocarpa from northern Australia are know as the Summer series – ‘Summer Red’, ‘Summer Beauty’ and ‘Summer Snow’. Look for these in your local plant nursery.

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil Melbourne Landscaper.

 

Local Council Street Tree Policies

Stonnington (Covers Prahan, Toorak, Malvern and Glen Iris.)

 

 

 

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/summer-bursts-with-colour-as-cultivated-flowering-gums-thrive-in-new-frontiers-20151216-glp63z.html

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5 Small Garden Design Ideas for Melbourne

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

A fountain as a small garden focal point

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

Small Garden Focal Points

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

 

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

A Path for a small garden

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

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

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

Small Garden Plant Selection

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

Garden Layering for a small garden

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

 

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

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

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

Low maintenance small gardens

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sago Palm

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

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

Native Rosemary

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

 

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

Add a splash of Colour in the small garden

 

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

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

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

 

Window Boxes and Hanging Baskets.

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

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

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

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

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

Landscape Design Melbourne

 

9 great reasons for Pool and Landscaping Packages

 

Screening Plants for Garden Privacy

 

Home Garden Landscaping ideas

 

Cottage Garden Plants

 

Cottage garden ideas from the Cotswolds

 

Path Design for Cottage Gardens

 

11 Best landscapers of all time.

 

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil – Quality landscaping Melbourne

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