DIY with Birdblack Design: Sarah’s Secret Garden

The 3rd edition of DIY with Birdblack Design is presented by none other than our Owner and Founder, Sarah Nolen.  You may find yourself asking, “Is there anything this woman cannot do?” – and the answer is “Probably not!”

The gardens at ‘Grenache Residence’ are huge – to say the least. With all the renovation plans, the landscaping was pushed to the bottom of the list and gradually become more overwhelming as time passed by. It was easier to ignore it… that is until isolation began. Then it became like a thorn in the side (nice garden pun there).

Finding this monumental task daunting, Sarah decided to focus on one area at a time. She broke the gardens into zones, knowing that by ticking off her list, she would feel satisfied and encouraged to take on the next zone. Starting in the front garden, Sarah and husband, Dave, will work front to back, conquering each zone as they go.

Landscaping requires the following points:

1. Maintenance:  pruning and edging so the grass remains contained

2. Introduce as many natives as possible, encouraging bees and native birdlife

3. Fast turnaround in terms of labour: no one wants to break their backs

This secret garden zone sits in a nook between the front entry and the path that leads to the back garden. The newly renovated interior of ‘Grenache Residence’ includes a feature colour of red wine (hence the name). Plants were purposely selected to complement the tones found within.

Clean the area. Satisfyingly pull all the weeds out, ensuring to pull them out from the base in order to remove the entire root system. Collect any old building debris, plastic, metal, bricks or concrete whilst digging out the weeds.

The artificial grape vine (a brilliant privacy screen) reduces the summer heat in the house. Pruning it back and removing the dead stringers brought a freshness to the front entry.

Using some old hose hooks nailed into the side panels, the aim is to train the grapevine so it eventually hides the timber panelling.

Toil the earth like a farmer. By breaking up the hard earth, it will allow new plant roots to grab hold easier.

The following plants were purchased from Bunnings and Leisure Coast Nursery:

·        The Princess Lavender

·        Chrysanthemum

·        Small Modo grass

·        Cordyline Black Knight

Flatten the dirt to get a level surface. Install a weed mat over all the soil to prevent the jungle reappearing. Purchase u-shape pins that hold it in place.

A feature pot (a relic from the Steelworks) becomes the centrepiece.

Cut through the weed mat (in an X shape). Dig out the dirt and then plant your plants! Rough up the new roots (a tip from Gardening Australia). Use a premium potting mix to top the new plants up.

For the feature plant in the pot, use a mix of the old soil, new potting mix and some compost to top it off.

Time to mulch! A redwood mulch picks up the red wine theme of ‘Grenache Residence’. Beware: you will need more mulch than you expect. Mulch needs to be approx. 50mm thick. Fill buckets and use a small trowel when in tight spaces. You don’t want to crush a plant haphazardly throwing it about!

Give the new plants a good drink. Use fertiliser to suit the type of plants you’ve used.

A new friend already!

Hope you find this helpful and entertaining: Sarah sure did!

Talk soon,
BD x