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Ask RiotACT: Landscaper recommendations with emphasis on growing food

By Ezy - 10 November 2016 7

Ask RiotACT

Hi all – early next year I will be finished my year long renovation and my focus will turn to the landscaping. We have a large corner block with usable land all around the house. I would like to take full advantage of it and grow as much produce as I can, whilst still maintaining an aesthetically pleasing space for entertaining and living.

Would anyone have any recommendations for landscape designers who specialise in vegetable gardens, fruit trees, companion planting, beekeeping, bird friendly etc. At this stage I will only be looking for a plan, not the additional work as I will be capable of doing that myself.

Thank you.

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7 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Landscaper recommendations with emphasis on growing food
Maya123 1:07 pm 13 Nov 16

I have been gradually landscaping my suburban block of land to mainly productive plantings. 13 fruit trees, 5 vines (plus ‘borrowed’ grape vine from next door) and 4 berry bushes. I will also have 6 garden beds. Other plantings have so far been mainly small natives, with a few exotics. Much of this is dictated by needing to plant the vegetables, etc where they get the most sun. So that might mean looking out the window in the bedroom or dining room at the vegetable garden. When I was discussing getting a new house, it was not unusual to see sketches of the potential house and garden with the vegetable garden shoved in a dark corner, so that the view from the windows would be of ‘pretty’ plantings. No, if outside the main windows is where it’s sunny, that’s where the vegetable garden must go. I have put some of the fruit trees in the front garden, as not to utilise that productively is a waste of space, but around them I have planted a border of small flowering bushes, to give a more ‘pretty look to the house. And within that boxed border area, some very small plants to add more colour. As the fruit trees grow they might shade those small plants within the border, but at present they work. I have no lawn.
Check out gardening magazines and on-line to get ideas for gardening design, but much of the way you design your garden will be dictated by block size and where the sun shines on it. Check the distances required between fruit trees, etc to find how many you can fit and where. Don’t plant trees where they will shade the vegetables.

Ezy 8:01 am 13 Nov 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Just go down to the local nursery or hardware store and buy the plants. We’ve been putting together our garden for the last three or four years, adding things to it piece by piece. The backyard resembles an orchard of sorts now, with Feijoas, apples, grapes, plums, kiwis, raspberries, passion fruit, cumquats and a couple of lemon trees. The garden has a different assortment every year, currently with bok choy, rockmelon, garlic and butternut pumpkin whilst herbs grow in planter boxes on the wall of the house. Our flowers range from agapanthus, geraniums, rose bushes and lillies to the tree top varieties such as jasmine, bottle brush and waratah. You’d think with a list this big the yard would be a jungle, but with only a small block and some creative planning it has come up beautiful and there is enough lawn for the kids to play backyard cricket.
You don’t need a landscaper to design your garden. Just do it yourself with some paper and pencil, get some ideas from gardening magazines and the internet. Choose the plants you like and the fruit trees you’d not mind eating, which suit our climate of course. At the most you might need some garden soil and edging materials delivered in bulk and then get stuck into creating it.
Gardening is not a DIY nightmare, it is a very fulfilling hobby that you can take a lot of pride in.

Your garden sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing.

I do have a very good knowledge of design software and already have mocked up a few different versions of my back yard. I guess the only reason why I would like to get someone who really knows what they are doing on board is to make sure that what I would like to plant, suits where I have them in mind (orientation, soil conditions, pollination considerations) – but also to make sure that I do it right the first time. I know gardening should be about the journey of discovery and learning along the way – I am excited about that, I just want to make sure that I am not going to make any big mistakes. By big mistakes, I mean planting something and waiting a few years to find out that I am unable to pick fruit because it is in the wrong spot or needs another variety for pollination etc.

I am also wanting chickens, and bees so there are a few other things to consider.

Again, thank you all for your help and advice.

wildturkeycanoe 7:12 am 13 Nov 16

Just go down to the local nursery or hardware store and buy the plants. We’ve been putting together our garden for the last three or four years, adding things to it piece by piece. The backyard resembles an orchard of sorts now, with Feijoas, apples, grapes, plums, kiwis, raspberries, passion fruit, cumquats and a couple of lemon trees. The garden has a different assortment every year, currently with bok choy, rockmelon, garlic and butternut pumpkin whilst herbs grow in planter boxes on the wall of the house. Our flowers range from agapanthus, geraniums, rose bushes and lillies to the tree top varieties such as jasmine, bottle brush and waratah. You’d think with a list this big the yard would be a jungle, but with only a small block and some creative planning it has come up beautiful and there is enough lawn for the kids to play backyard cricket.
You don’t need a landscaper to design your garden. Just do it yourself with some paper and pencil, get some ideas from gardening magazines and the internet. Choose the plants you like and the fruit trees you’d not mind eating, which suit our climate of course. At the most you might need some garden soil and edging materials delivered in bulk and then get stuck into creating it.
Gardening is not a DIY nightmare, it is a very fulfilling hobby that you can take a lot of pride in.

bigred 6:06 pm 12 Nov 16

My advice would be to adventure out and about and see what other people are doing in their gardens rather than, or before, having an expert design the garden for you. Also attend all the free talks and low cost open gardens that are around as well as reading Cedric Bryant’s contributions. Also plant what complements what your friends and neighbours are doing and share your produce and experiences.

Ezy 8:07 am 12 Nov 16

Thank you for your information and suggestions. That Permablitz is a really great idea!

Nightshade 11:37 pm 10 Nov 16

You could check out The Sustainable Gardener (http://www.thesustainablegardener.com.au). I’m not personally familiar with their work, but know a guy who works for them.

You might also be interested in Permablitz ACT (http://www.permablitzact.com), a community group focussed on helping members turn their suburban yards in edible gardens. A few members also do design work.

terrasolarus 8:20 am 10 Nov 16

Hi,
I am not a landscape designer but a Horticulturist. We provide consultation services for planning gardens for the Canberra region. Work through the site aspect for trees and crop rotation for vegies and suitable trees that grow well in Canberra. Please look at my website for more info and please contact me if you are interested.
Jackie Warburton.

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