Australian summers are a unique antipodean experience presenting both challenges and opportunities for garden designers and gardeners. We all want a beautiful garden but it must also be durable enough to withstand the searing sun and fluctuating humidity levels. Let's look at how you might design a beautiful and useful outdoor space that will thrive during this season.
Understanding the summer climate in Australia
Summer in Australia is generally hot and dry in some places and heavy and humid in others. It is for this reason that one size does not fit all. The summer season can have a major impact on how you should design and care for your garden. For a vibrant summer garden, choose plants that not only survive, but thrive in these conditions.
Selecting the suitable plants for you garden
It is always best to begin with native plants. The bright bottlebrush, distinctive kangaroo paw and the evergreen eucalyptus are great for arid, hot regions. These plants are not only attractive, but they are also drought tolerant. For more humid areas, ferns and palms can produce a lush, tropical feel. Water is often a scarce commodity in the height of summer so including drought-resistant plants is not only practical, but also environmentally friendly, as it reduces the need for frequent watering.
Garden Design and layout
Position your plants strategically to maximise sunlight while sheltering them from the midday sun. Pergolas, for example, can provide much-needed shade, resulting in a cooler microclimate. Another wise decision is to use mulch, which helps maintain soil moisture and reduces water loss due to evaporation.
Pest control and garden maintenance
Keeping pests at bay can be an ongoing battle in the summer. Use organic control measures to keep them at bay including pruning and deadheading, for example. This will not only keep your yard clean but also promotes healthy plant growth.
Summer enhancements for your garden
The summer is an opportunity to spend time outdoors in nature so incorporating a comfy seating area is always a welcoming addition for entertaining friends and family. A bird bath or water feature is another option that is both kind to the birds and brings an added aesthetic to an outdoor space.
Designs for themed gardens
Have you thought of using a theme as part of your garden design? This can make your garden stand out as a unique and more aesthetically interesting space.
Native Wildlife theme:
- Bottlebrush and banksia plants will attract birds and insects
- Consider including a small pond or birdbath for wildlife.
Fragrant Floral theme:
- Plant fragrant flowers like jasmine, gardenia, and native frangipanis
- Create paths and routes you can wander along and enjoy the floral aromas
Herb Garden theme:
- Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and Australian native mint are beautifully fragrant and thrive in Australian gardens.
- If you have limited space, consider a vertical garden.
These themed gardens not only add to the aesthetic appeal of your space, but they also serve useful purposes such as attracting wildlife, enjoying fragrant blooms, or cultivating your own herbs.
Highlighting native Australian flora
Native Australian plants play an important role in the local ecosystem:
- Banksias: These are excellent for attracting birds and bees. Their unusual flowers and foliage provide a unique aesthetic to the garden.
- Waratahs: These beautiful crimson blossoms are a favourite of local fauna.
- Slow-growing Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea): These classic Australian plants create drama in the landscape.
- Grevilleas: Grevilleas are ideal for attracting nectar-feeding birds due to their varied bloom patterns and colours.
Native plants promote biodiversity, help local wildlife, and minimise garden maintenance.
Weekend Garden Checklist
Use this useful checklist to make the most of your weekend gardening:
- Check soil moisture levels and water plants in the early morning or late evening.
- Spend some time eradicating weeds to keep them from competing with your plants for nutrients.
- Remove any dead or overgrown branches to promote fresh growth and plant health.
- Harvest ripe produce from your vegetable garden or fruit trees.
- Replace or add mulch around plants to conserve soil moisture and control weeds.
- Look for pests or diseases and treat them as needed.
- Turn your compost pile over and add any new organic food or yard waste.
- Make a plan including a list of any locations that need to be improved or plants that you wish to add.
The Australian seasons can have quite an impact on outdoor spaces so creating a garden that is both fun and manageable requires some adaptation and a little maintenance. Experiment with various plants and arrangements to see what works best for you and your garden. But most of all - enjoy it!
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