Landscape & Garden Design
Oct 05, 2014 7:52 am
I thought I'd start a new landscape thread as I've really enjoyed other posts on this topic.
We have just finished building with M and we basically have a wasteland around the house. I managed to retain my avocado trees, guavas, and kiwi vines. This story starts with the landscape brief.
I have made the mistake before of not having a master plan. The master plan guides all of your future thinking. So today, I launch into my 600 square metre dirt patch with the desire to have a plan. Too many landscapes evolve and look patchy, disjointed and desperate. It is all about the flow – people! (I read that somewhere)
The plan is all about screening out the world and providing me with an Amazonian garden filled with rich fruits, berries and herbs. Think summer berry festivals of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
The house must be enveloped by the garden and the garden must command a feature role in every window. Oh, and did I say everything has to be edible! (haha). Thankfully lots of fruits endear themselves to a garden. Think blueberry clumps, guava hedges, dripping pepinos, artistic tamarillos, feature figs, pears, cherry trees (in blossom. Wow!) Banana palms and babaco palms will add some tropical theming as well.
Then came the hard part; I found it really difficult to find a landscape company to make my garden a reality. I have searched far and wide. My search has included award winning designers, local designers, not so famous designers, a few garden fanatics turned designers. The brief is a bit strange – 100% edible. And rooms. And function. And beauty. And flow. Urgh! My head hurts.
In my search the prices ranged a fair bit but it depended on how detailed you wanted the plans.
Initial concept drawings/sketch: $500 - $1000
Master plan and builders plans (1:100): $700+
Planting and species guide : $500+
Total plans with everything seemed to be around $1500 - $3000.
Eventually I found a local garden designer. After reading his website I gave him a call. We chatted about my brief and
he (Jason) came out for a site tour in the mud. The land wasn’t looking its best. But he wasn’t seeing mud; he was seeing rooms, views, and greenery. He took us on a journey of what it could be like. It was possibly the most enjoyable part of the build; having someone point out the possibilities and options off the cuff.
And a big poo-poo to the landscape companies that didn’t even bother to return my calls. Or worse, the couple of companies that promised to come out and never showed up. I appreciate you have a lot of work on, but your reputation is only as good as your word.
A few pictures of the rear, front and side yard (filled with my dig up trees prior to the build)
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne2
Oct 12, 2014 11:33 am
The most emotionally difficult thing for me was dismantling my garden to demolish the house. Started a garden fresh after 8 years felt like such a regressive step. But now as I look at my garden plans I am finally excited by what the new garden will become.
And finally the landscaping has started.
I was lucky enough to be on site all day so I could help out with the hard jobs like digging up tree roots that somehow avoided house demolition and are in the way. I hate tree roots. One of the roots I dug up was as thick as a garden bucket!
It was also good to walk the plans and actually make a few changes once we mapped it out. We pushed a few garden beds deeper/shallower. A sewer pipe was in the way so we also dodged that with a deeper garden bed.
The deck will extend out to the fence and have a double brick retaining wall for added seating.
So many concrete footings to be poured!
The best win for the day was using the excess soil to fill out the backyard which used to dip down around a metre. Amazingly, we managed to fill this area so the ground is now flush. We’ve now got a level backyard, ready for some grass.
We realised that the site levels were slightly different to the plans once we moved some soil around, so we’ve decided to work with the new levels as best we can. I’m happy, with that. It makes my feature garden beds more of a feature.
The lads have done a cracking job in just a day. They have set all the side levels, dug all the trenches for the brick footing retaining walls.
The railway sleeper soldiers give a hint at how amazing the garden will be. Now the digging and levelling is done, I am even more impressed with the plan and how it forms around the home. The feature deck is going to be very impressive.
The next steps are to pour the concrete footings, lay the soldiers, then start the brickwork. I have 6000 reclaimed bricks from the build that will be recycled into the garden. It has been a huge saving off the landscaping cost.
Once the brickwork is done, we’ll put in the ag pipe drains to keep the land dry, lay the weed matting and tuscan topping. I’ll also need to order a few truckloads of fresh soil for the garden beds.
Then the fun part – I get to plant out my very patient fruit trees into their new homes
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne5
Oct 20, 2014 12:18 am
What a great couple of posts. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne6
Oct 25, 2014 12:05 pm
So the landscapers have now laid the footing and laid the red gum soldiers. Work is progressing well. It was a mother load of concrete to fill all the trenches that are the brick footings.
The boys are juggling many jobs so we are enjoying a few days of work a week, but that is fine by me; these guys are like hen’s teeth.
The team we’ve chosen are amazing and they go so hard and fast when they are here. Quality of workmanship is great.
The soldiers look absolutely stunning. The boys need to tidy them up a bit but you get the gist. Quite a few local comments already on how they look. I wanted them all the way around the house but the dollars were really adding up and these bad boys are not cheap! Instead, we’ll revert to brick further around the side. A fence will divide the space.
I’m now working on irrigation plans and working out the right topping blend for the driveway and side paths. I’m thinking something quite tan/ yellow and natural. It will be quite coarse so it doesn’t lead to stones inside underneath shoes. I’m also working on the deck plans so we can work out how much wood / posts we need to buy.
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne8
Nov 01, 2014 11:38 am
The bricky team came and conquered the footings after given them some time to dry.
The team ate up all of my 6000 bricks like they were child’s play.Here I was thinking I’d have heaps and be able to sell them on ebay! In fact, I think I will be short about 2000.
A shot of how I hope the finished product will look.
The main garden beds were laid inside a day. We have one wall to go and the two main inner vegetable beds.
The de-nailing of the old merbau is taking forever! I keep thinking of the savings, but doh! what a job!
The bricks were double laid to give my beds some extra strength. It also means that all of my walls now double as seats!
It is quite confronting to go from soil to hard cold brick walls; they’ll be bagged and painted, but suddenly the joint looks like a building site and pretty darn ugly. But the garden vision is emerging from the earth. We are getting there….slowly.
Meanwhile, all my fruit trees in pots are in full flower. I do hope I can hang on to some of the fruit in the pots.
But so many more jobs to go:
Finish the brick wall,
ag pipe to side and front,
Brick up the two garden beds,
finish the sleeper wall at front
Remove two tree roots and grind down
lay the red gum stepping stone pavers to side and front
Lay weed matting to all
Lay tuscan toppings to driveway and side
Deliver 10 cubic metres of soil and fill beds
lay all irrigation pipes for the drip system
Bag all garden beds to match house
Reinstate front fence
Build merbau landing deck to front of house
Build rear deck to house using recycled materials
Build rear garden beds
Sow lawn to rear of yard
Paint fence woodlands grey
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne10
Nov 28, 2014 3:25 pm
I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks in the garden helping out the landscapers where I could.
The landscaping is all completed. Jason – the designer – is an absolute legend. I love his plan. I had some doubts but I’m glad he walked me through the logic and convinced me. Sometimes you need to move out of your comfort zone!
And Tony and the crew have done a stellar job of the landscape. It was a slightly larger job than I imagined, but the boys smashed it out in very few working days. I’d recommend them in a second.
I love my sleeper garden footpath at the front that will become a jungle secret garden for the kids – and will be filled with wild berries and nature’s most naughty fruits.
It is hard to see now, but once the trees are in, and the front fence installed, it will be very private.
I’ll install the front fence this weekend – recycled from the old house. I’ll put in new posts, then staple the panels to the posts. It sounds easy, but anything could happen. I’ll also start digging my 40 posts for the merbau deck for anyone who is bored on Saturday!
The lawn has also been planted out the back. It is a lovely blend of 3 types of Rye and some bluegrass. It will be very soft, vibrant and not too invasive. I’m not a fan of those creeping lawns. I love seeding my own lawn. Takes a bit longer, but the result can be amazing! I’ll post a few more pictures once the edibles are all in their new homes. Very exciting times. Just not enough time in the day.
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne12
Nov 29, 2014 1:04 am
It's looking fantastic. Can't wait to see it all planted.
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne13
Dec 02, 2014 7:38 pm
Thank you all for your kind words and support. It takes time but it is starting to take shape. Planting is still a little way off.
With the landscapers packed up, I can now focus on closing our block to the street. We have lots of lovely well wishes in our area, but I do like a tiny bit of privacy that you get with a front fence.
I love using the old and finding a second use for it. I actually cut the old fence from the old house before demolition and stored it at the rear of the block.
It was a hard job to cut the fence off at the bottom of the posts in the depths of winter. It was an 8 degree day and I remember the rain and hail. I was numb by the time we finished. I remember grumbling a lot about the enormity of the recycling task.
Fast forward a year and I’m thrilled that these fence panels made putting up the new fence easy – and cheap. I was going to use timber stirrups for the fence, but decided that the weight of the fence may be too much. Instead, I decided to get fresh posts and sink them nice and deep so the fence will last at least a few years before it starts to wobble.
The new fence has cost $220. That included five 2.5 metre treated pine posts, 10 bags of concrete, fence screws and some larger bugle screws.
Here are just a few of the old fence panels cut into 2 – 3 metre lengths.
Posts waiting to be set
Old fence cut n pasted onto new posts
And the finished product. Very proud.
Now for the side fence and front landing merbau deck.
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne14
Dec 02, 2014 7:51 pm
I was a bit skeptical seeing the first pics of the old fence... but the end product looks great. Nice work!
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne16
Dec 03, 2014 7:18 am
We love recycling over here! I was also a bit nervous putting up the old fence and was worried it would not fit in, but I think we'll get a few years out of it now. Cashflow is dead so the fence was a welcome 'quick win'.
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne17
Dec 06, 2014 3:23 pm
Awesome thread. Your garden designer sounds like a real professional and you are lucky to have found him by the sounds of it.
Re: Edible garden landscaping - Melbourne18
Jan 13, 2015 9:31 am
Side fence all built as well. 100% recycled wood. It helps frame the garden rooms.
It was very fiddly as we had two gates to recycle and install. The hinges and bits were a bit fiddly to line up and one of the gates needed a big angle grind. The gates will be painted with woodlands grey to match the fence.
I also completed the first deck – the front of the house. It was a little bit larger than I first imagined. It has ended up around 10 square metres!
Total cost was $88 for some brackets, bolts, nails, drill bit etc. It took a day to frame it all up and a day to cut the wood, line it all up, and nail. It was a little tedious nailing the deck as I was trying to find the right offcut lengths for each piece to minimise wastage as I have another larger deck to do out the back. But this was a great practice run!
First task was to dig out the sand to make way for the formwork. This was around 20 wheel barrows of sand that I’ll use out the back. Then we added support pieces to all the walls using very large bolts. The wood is all from an old pergola. We managed to get away with only two stumps as we had lots of brickwork to hang from. We also boxed up the doorway.
Then we laid the bearers and joists. I kept the joists 400mm apart so I could match up the old merbau holes. It was a little fiddly but I think we got around 85% of the holes to match up. Very happy with that.
Just needs a sand and stain. Something for another day. I'll need to punch the 700 nails first!
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