Garden MulchingThink about how much time you dedicate to gardening when you could be doing something much more fun. The truth is, even with some of the most incredible landscaping designs, you will always have to spend at least some time tending to your garden.

However, there’s one thing that can certainly help reduce the maintenance aspect, and that’s mulch. Read on to learn why it’s time to manage your mulching.

Suppresses Weed Growth

Mulch is an organic or non-organic material that you can put over the top of the soil in your garden. Not only can it offer a more uniform look, but it can also suppress weed growth. The mulch stops light from reaching the dirt, thus restricting the number of weeds that grow. Over time, they may still find a way through, but not nearly as quickly as if you didn’t have any mulch at all.

Retains Soil Moisture

In hot Australian summers, it’s not easy keeping your soil moist. Sun has the annoying ability to be able to dry everything out. However, mulch can certainly be of assistance. By putting a layer of mulch on your soil, you can reduce the amount of water it loses. Therefore, it helps to maintain your soil moisture.

Controls Your Soil Temperature

Some plants can be quite finicky with soil temperatures. If they aren’t perfect, the plants won’t thrive and may even die. So, have you thought about the benefits of mulch for this task, too? Mulch allows your soil to remain warm on cold nights, but relatively cool on hot days. Such temperatures can prevent your plants from being subjected to temperature extremes.

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  Categories : Landscaping  Posted by Principal Landscapes

Attract Native Birds to Your GardenHave you often wondered how your neighbour’s landscaping attracts dozens of birds, while your own sits empty? You might think it’s a coincidence, but it can all be down to what goodies your neighbour has, and you don’t have. Read on to find out how to attract native birds to your garden.

Invest in Nectar-Rich Flowers

There are more than 700 native bird species in Australia, so why not try and attract some of your favourites with nectar-rich flowers? Your local landscaping team can recommend some of the best plants for nectar production, such as bottlebrushes and banksias.

The native species of bottlebrush, known as Callistemon, have beautiful nectar-filled flowers that attract a variety of birds and insects. With enough bottlebrushes, you may be treated to visitors such as honeyeaters, lorikeets, and rosellas.

Banksias, on the other hand, are a shelter-offering plant that is also jam-packed full of nectar. They provide ample sustenance for birds like cockatoos.

Non-native plants have their place, as well. Camellias can bloom at various times of the year, depending on the type. For at least three quarters of the year, birds can benefit from plenty of nectar. The best part is, Camellias thrive in the shade, whereas many native plants don’t.

Plant Grasses

Grasses are a favourite plant type for a number of reasons. Homeowners enjoy the low maintenance aspect, but they also attract birds, as well. Finches and wrens love grasses for both shelter and seeds. They can also feast on garden pests hidden underneath them. Talk to your local landscaping company about the best grasses for your soil type.

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  Categories : Landscape Design, Landscaping  Posted by Principal Landscapes

myoporum parvifolium white creeping boobiallaYou won’t find too many people thrilled about the idea of weeding their gardens. In fact, many people go to their local landscaping company to ask for garden ideas that won’t require them to give up their free time to the task.

The reality of any garden, though, is that weeds will appear. Still, some plants give the pesky weeds their marching orders better than others. If you would prefer to leave your free time to things you enjoy, then read on. Here are some of the many groundcover plants you can find in Australia that can save you hours on weeding.

Creeping Boobialla – Myoporum Parvifolium

Creeping boobialla would have to be one of the most versatile groundcover plants in Australia. As a result, it tends to be one of the most popular for weed suppression. If you plant it in a tropical-style garden that might see a lot of rainfall, it grows as a beautiful green blanket over your ground. You will have very few weeds to contend with as a result.

However, if you live somewhere drier and sunnier, it remains low and thick, while producing beautiful white flowers. Essentially, no matter the soil type or conditions, you can expect this lovely form of groundcover to thrive.

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  Categories : Landscaping  Posted by Principal Landscapes

landscape designAre you about to roll up your sleeves and dig into a new residential landscape design? You may have just completed a full-scale renovation inside and want to ensure that your backyard is equally as impressive. If so, you need to choose the right landscape design and, to do so, you need to ask yourself a number of questions first.

Big Picture

Your first question will be holistic.

From a big picture perspective, what do you want to get out of this? Try to focus on a theme and everything else can flow from there. You may want your garden to complement the style of architecture of your home. Perhaps you can replicate some of its key features and link everything to a central point in your garden.

Take your time to look at the garden from every available window or door in your home and from any other entry point. This will help you visualise your design and give you an idea of where you should place each feature.

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  Categories : Landscape Design  Posted by Principal Landscapes

swimming pools in winterIt goes without saying that for most pool owners, the pool sits idle in the backyard during the winter months. While Perth winters are mild and we don’t have to protect our pools from freezing temperatures, taking care of our pools in winter can save money and ensure that when swim season is once again on the horizon, the pool is quickly back up and running.

Here are 6 handy tips for maintaining your pool in winter

  • Keep it clean – sounds simple right? A scoop of leaves from the pool water and a quick vacuum or sweeping of your wading area can easily avoid the buildup of leaf matter and potential algae growth. Cleaning up organic matter also stops the plaster or fiberglass surface from staining.
  • Make sure it’s covered – pool blankets are much more cost-effective these days, so there’s no excuse not to cover your pool in winter. They help to:
    •  Trap heat, which in turn helps to stabilise the water chemistry and reduce power consumption if your pool is heated
    • Keep debris out of your pool for less maintenance during winter and less work when summer comes back around

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  Categories : Swimming Pools  Posted by Principal Landscapes

Pool landscaping and cabanaYou want to give your outdoor area a bit of a refresh. It might be because you’re looking to sell, you want to get more out of your space or it’s just time for an upgrade. But is professional landscaping worth it?

Like building or renovating a home, the planning and design stage of a landscaped garden are critical to achieving a design which ticks all the boxes and is tailored around a specific budget.

A good landscape designer or contractor will tailor a garden design to suit you and your budget and provide a specialised construction service to bring your design to life.

Here’s why it pays to hire a professional.

1. They have the experience and expertise

Gone are the days of a garden design which includes some paving, a bricked-in barbecue and some plants! Many homes these days are designed with indoor-outdoor living in mind, so the yard needs to be designed as an extension of the home.

It’s the landscape designer’s job to create a layout which will flow and connect with the home. So when you engage with a professional, several technical components will be considered to enhance you design that you might not have even thought of. These include:

Zones such as alfresco areas, pools and lawn or play space should blend seamlessly

Pools need to be positioned optimally while safety barriers must also be considered as they can be a hindrance if incorrectly located

Structural components such as retaining requirements can often form part of a raised pool edge, which can also create an infinity edge as well as a pool barrier when designed at 1200mm height

Trees and plants will be selected to suit specific areas and deciduous trees might be positioned to allow winter light into your home and summer shade

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  Categories : Landscape Design  Posted by Principal Landscapes

Landscaped BBQ AreaGarden design for a small space can be challenging. If not carefully planned, the space can end up cluttered, uninteresting and a poor use of space. The best place to start is to compile a list of your requirements. What do you want featured within the space? How do you plan to use the space? Which materials and colour palette do you like?  Your list might include a barbecue or outdoor kitchen, a dining table or somewhere to sit and relax, a water feature, some greenery and garden lighting. After you have established your wish list, the fun part starts – design! For small spaces, the key is not to ‘over design’. Over-designed spaces can look cluttered and make an already small space look even smaller, they can also clash or compete with your home.

Start by positioning cooking facilities ideally near or beneath the alfresco to enable close proximity to your kitchen and dining area. This may mean the incorporation of an extractor fan to service your barbecue. The exception are pizza ovens which are best positioned further from the house for smoke reasons. By doing this, they also create a hub to gather around during the cooler nights- a perfect gathering for cooking not only pizzas but a roast or even toasting marshmallows with the kids. Just ensure the oven is positioned so that smoke doesn’t affect your neighbours! Storage for cooking facilities is also important- even a simple cupboard or drawer setup can create storage for cooking utensils and keep benches or tables uncluttered.

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  Categories : Landscaping  Posted by Principal Landscapes

Pool landscapingClients often ask me whether a garden design is required for their project. To accurately answer this question, a few variables must be considered first. We must assess the level of detail required as well as the clients’ budget and the construction scope. When it comes to budget, if the project value is between 10-20k and consists of a simple lawn area with a few ground level gardens and paving, you might not need a design. But if that’s the case, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of layout.

There’s nothing worse than the quoted scope not matching what a client wants; if there is no design provided, these discrepancies generally don’t become evident until the construction phase (the client returns home from work and the lawn area is a lot smaller than they had anticipated)! In situations when a landscape design is not required, good communication is vital to ensure you know what you’re getting. For more detailed projects which might have items such as a pool, roof structure, level changes, planter boxes, walling or an outdoor kitchen, the answer is yes- a design is a vital part of your project and something you should consider carefully as it will maximise your investment and outcome.

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  Categories : Landscape Design  Posted by Principal Landscapes