PLANTS At A Total Concept, we have noticed plant styles are changing and we’re using more eclectic planting styles as well as mixing different styles together. The lines between traditional and modern are being blurred so that it is now acceptable to mix various looks and incorporate aspects of both. For example, a tropical garden using a haphazard mix of bamboo and palms as background planting may be mixed with formal-style border planting. Homeowners want to use their outdoor spaces all year, so plants that provide year-round appeal are on trend. The variegated foliage of Mother-inlaw’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), the interesting bark of a Leopard tree (Caesalpinia ferrea), the swollen sculptural stems of Buddha Belly bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris ‘Wamin’) and the vivid purple foliage of Ajuga reptans ‘Bronze Burgundy’ can provide year-round colour and interest.
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ECO FRIENDLY In the last few years, our clients have become more interested in selecting energy- and water-saving devices and designs. There are numerous simple options that do not necessarily add substantially to the cost of a project. A rainwater tank is one of the most obvious additions to a garden project and the collected water may be used for toilets, irrigation for lawns and gardens and pool top-up. Other on-trend ways to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly garden are incorporating a drip-irrigation system (minimal water loss as opposed to a spray system), drought-tolerant plants and endemic species, and deep-mulching gardens (which restricts water loss).
Design decisions can also affect environmentally friendly gardens, particularly when it comes to swimming pools, which typically use a lot of energy. For example, choosing a northern aspect for the pool location is the best way for the pool to be heated naturally by the sun. Also, dark colour choices for the pool interior and surrounding paving can also trap heat, whereas light colours cool things down. Surrounding a pool with a hedge planting of lilly pillies or cupressus will provide a windbreak to retard heat loss and wind evaporation to a pool area. A pool cover can also be easily incorporated to restrict water loss from the pool and retain heat from the heating system. Rocks and soil from excavation works can be reused on site in gardens, lawns and levelling, and excavated rock may be used for forming materials. More natural options to filter swimming pools are also gaining popularity; homeowners are not only looking for more environmentally friendly options, but are also more conscious of their own health and looking after their skin and eyes.
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