So You’re Planning On Building A Garden That Has A House In It! – Part 1
A well designed garden offers you a sense of address – a personal setting that complements the architecture of your home and supports and enhances your lifestyle. It is a living work of art, an extension of your living area. It has structure and it balances your practical needs with your desired aesthetics. It is value adding to your property.
It would be an investment in your lifestyle to consider a block of land and/or house that offers you a Northerly aspect (in the southern hemi-sphere) that captures and directs the winter sun into your living spaces/rooms. I offer a consultation for my client’s at this stage, giving them advice, guidance and creative design solutions for the garden setting of their home, working from their new house or extension plans.
Sometimes clients get me in once the slab and wall frames of their new or extended home are in place, as they can then visualise the space available for their garden. By working this way it allows them plenty of time to make carefully informed decisions during the planning and building phase, resulting in solutions to potential problems, saving time, money and energy…a wise plan!
My gardening philosophy is founded on working with our Mediterranean climate here in South Australia, which has warm to hot dry summers with high evaporation rates, and cool to cold, wet winters. Some areas also experience frosts, which is a major consideration when selecting plants!
We can create beautiful gardens that offer us a sense of address and sanctuary, that are water-wise and climate compatible.
Our gardens can offer a lush setting through appropriate plant selection, choice of materials for structures and the garden floor, without using large amounts of our most precious resource – our limited water supply.
Most of our garden practices and books were based on gardening in a different climate. It is only now with the introduction of water restrictions and high charges for the water we do consume, that the general public are becoming aware and asking the hard question, “How can we have a beautiful garden, with plants that grow well in our Mediterranean climate here in South Australia?”
People are embracing relaxing, entertaining and eating out-doors, on patios under market umbrellas, under a roofed or deciduous vine covered pergola, veranda or summer house, that shades them in summer and allows in winter sun and warmth or under the canopy of a shady tree, if you’re lucky enough to have the space.
Good drainage is the basis of a good garden design; you need to identify where the water goes off the roof when it rains and where the ground water runoff goes? This is precious water and worthy of the investment in a rainwater tank.
Important questions we need to ask at the planning stage are can you cater for under ground tanks to store overflow water from the roof and direct the ground water run off to be stored and pumped out to irrigate your garden in the summer months when needed.
The structure in a garden is an important factor, whether it is arrived at by a change in level with steps, walling, seating and paths and/or by a covered and screened veranda. A ceiling fan to ensure air circulation, a chimney with its winter warmth and ambience, or a deciduous vine covered arbour, pergola or summerhouse, can each stamp your individuality on your garden. Hedging plants for screenings and living structure, or a pool, fountain, pond or water feature can offer tranquil, cooling and soothing repose. Using a combination of paving, gravel, decking, or lawn areas, makes for a functional, low maintenance, low water use garden floor. The introduction of garden art for a focal point can really add interest and fun to a garden.
The inclusion of garden lighting in the design is recommended for ambience, directing traffic through-out the garden and highlighting features within the garden at night.
Initial and on going addition of soil improving organic matter/animal manure will supply and ensure plant establishment, continued optimum healthy plant growth, moisture retention and additional nutrients within the soil. When preparing the soil for planting the addition of a wetting agent, which helps trap moisture in the soil, reduces watering and saves time, money and water. Wetting agents can be used for lawns, garden beds, vegetable gardens and pots.
Part 2 coming soon.