Category Archives: Landscaping

Landscaping to improve your property value.

Symbiosis and fertility

So far we have focused on soil structure the chemicals. The trend today, is to take a piece of land, strip the top soil and build on the sub soil. Then to replace the top soil for landscaping, they bring in what they call “sandy loam”. This is usually mostly sand with minimal loam. It […]

Soil structure – the wet test

In my case we had a red clay. To see how much of each component was in the soil, I placed a sample of soil in a glass bottle, so it filled it to about half way. I added water and shook it vigorously. I left it to settle overnight and it separated into three […]

Soil – Simple testing – the dry test

To test your soil for structure: the dry test dig a small area and remove any plant material. Turn it over and water it lightly tonight. Tomorrow about midday, dig down until it feels moist. Remove a fist full and squeeze it together in your hand.It should stay in a clump, not ooze out between […]

Soil – creating the best growing medium

There are three basic components in soil. At this point we are looking at soil structure rather than the various nutrients needed for the different types of plants. This is a very simple version for the average gardener, not a geological exercise : Humus – this is basically plant material, mostly plant fibre. It retains […]


We have set up our paths and retaining walls, the next step is to create your gardens. Whether it’s a vege garden, seed bed or established shrubs and trees, the major factor in their survival is the soil itself. Get the soil right now and you will reap the rewards for many years to come, […]

Permanent garden borders

Layering lawn grasses send runners underground that sprout up to form the lawn. These runners can easily pass under borders for gardens.  They will generally not travel more than a metre under ground without sending sprouts upwards to get find light, so they are usually contained by a path. Fortunately these runners will not usually […]

Lawn – think ahead.

Without getting too scientific, from a gardener’s point of view, there are basically two types of lawn grasses: Layering grasses – these grasses spread by sending runners out in all directions. These runners will drop roots down and send shoots upwards, seeking light. Because the runners are underground, they are more resistant to heat, making […]

Lawn – creating a lawn that lasts

I have a useless tiny front yard because I situated the house closer to the road, to give me a larger rear yard. Here where I live in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, we have a climate that can be quite extreme. Summer days frequently exceed 35ºC (95ºF) and winters see a frost, even occasional snow. Add […]

Concrete – calculating the amount to buy

This can be quite scary to the novice but it’s really quite simple. Here in Australia and New Zealand, we use the metric system (and when you compare the two methods, you’ll see why!) It’s much easier to calculate in cubic metres. In the USA, you’ll use the imperial Cubic Yards system to order concrete. […]

Retaining walls and garden beds

We have our paths laid now. Let’s move on to the next step in landscaping our block – the gardens and retaining walls. Raised beds make a great show and are not as backbreaking to tend and there’s a range of materials to create the retaining walls to hold back the soil. You can spend […]