Nothing says ‘unfinished home’ quite like a desert oasis in the front garden. Sure you can live with the giant sand pit while you unpack the boxes, but it doesn’t take long before you grow tired of the sand being blown and traipsed into your new home.
If it’s time to start the landscaping and you’re no green thumb, there is no need to worry. Follow our lead as we list the things you need to know about getting a garden in that will look good for years to come.
Perth has some of the worst soils in the country. Our bone dry sand makes growing plants hard if we don’t improve the soil. You will need to build up the soil with compost or manure before planting. A wetting agent will also help the water penetrate and not run off the top soil.
If you haven’t had any experience with retic in the past, it might pay to enlist the help of a friend or family member or call in the experts. You want to get it right otherwise you may find yourself digging up pipes after the lawn and garden beds are established.
Know your watering days and program your retic to only water on those days. Otherwise, apply to the Water Corporation for an exemption if you are establishing a new garden or lawn. During October to March, an exemption will allow you to water for up to 42 days from the day of planting and between April and September you can water for up to 35 days. Invest in a good quality hose and fittings if you need to hand water.
Lawn - Artificial or Real
Of course, you won’t need retic anywhere other than the garden beds if you have decided on artificial grass. The decision to put in a real or artificial grass will depend on a number of factors. If you don’t have the time and you don’t want the upkeep of watering, fertilising and mowing the lawn regularly, you may decide to spend more upfront on artificial turf and eliminate the ongoing maintenance. If you prefer the look and feel of real grass you can prepare the soil then buy rolls of turf, runners, shredded lawn or seed.
Choice of Plants
There are a few things to consider when choosing plants to fill your garden beds. You want to grow plants that look good together and have similar water and sun requirements. Also, the time you have available to spend in the garden has a bearing on the type of garden you plant. Lastly, consider the orientation of your front garden. If your garden is going to be in full afternoon sun with no shade from the house or trees, you are probably not going to have much success with ferns or cottage gardens that prefer cool, moist conditions.
Perth has had summer water restrictions in place for many years and with our hot, dry climate you may want to consider a drought tolerant garden.
Here are a few water wise plants for your garden:
Popular in recent years due to its interesting foliage and large flowers. The plant can be clipped into shape or left as a tree.
Available in a range of colours their strappy leaves add colour to the garden.
Yellow Buttons or Everlastings
If it’s a flowering groundcover you’re after, you’ll love it’s spring summer show of bright yellow flowers on the plant which grows to 60 cm.
Magnolia Little Gem
The glossy green foliage with rust coloured underside of the leaves have made the dwarf variety of magnolias popular in recent years. There is also the bonus of large creamy white or pink flowers in spring and summer.
A soft tipped evergreen tree that is drought and frost tolerant. The fast growing trees are readily available from nurseries or if you know someone who has one, you could ask for cuttings as they are easy to strike.
These plants thrive in the heat and need little water. Their striking sword-shaped, bold leaves and hardiness have made them a popular plant in recent years. They can be cultivated from the pups of mature plants.
For more plant suggestions and tips on establishing your garden, see the Water Corporate website.
Look around your area and see which plants seem to be thriving during the hotter months of the year for guaranteed success with your new garden.