This drought-tolerant garden design for clients in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs had to withstand sandy soils and direct sun for most of the day. These are demanding conditions in which only the toughest plants thrive and look good in the long term.
The owners are keen gardeners, but being also environmentally conscious, didn’t want a garden which heavily depends on irrigation. Hence, a water-wise garden was a must.
The garden already contained established Frangipani and a range of succulents, which proved themselves tolerant of the conditions. There were also some well-built vegetable beds and fruit-bearing Papaya trees. The task at hand was to add more plants, but also to make sure that the different elements didn’t compete against each other, but instead, worked in harmony. The key to achieving this was a carefully selected colour palette. Making a drought-tolerant garden isn’t an excuse for dullness, so we made sure that something was flowering all year round.
Foot Path Gardening
Apart from the front yard, the owners also wanted to add some colour and life to the street verge. Luckily, the local council supports verge gardening. Thanks to this wise policy, there wasn’t much red tape to worry about. We had to follow some common-sense rules of course. For example, plants can’t be so tall as to prevent visual surveillance while driving. Also, the plants couldn’t pose any danger to pedestrians. So we ruled out thorny plants or plants with stiff branches at eye height. When considering these aspects, one shouldn’t also forget to consider children, as they are shorter and more prone to injuries.
If you are interested in footpath gardening, I recommend the City of Sydney’s webpage on this topic.
If you are looking for plants for a drought-tolerant garden and have sandy soil and a sunny aspect, I would recommend the plants below. Some of them are so water-wise that they will survive in Sydney on rainfall alone. Just don’t forget that all plants need some TLC (tender loving care) and regular watering until their roots are established.
|Common Name||Botanical Name|
|New Zealand Flax||Phormium tenax|
|Flapjack Plant||Kalanchoe thyrsiflora|
|Purple Fountain Grass||Pennisetum advena ‘Rubrum’|
|Treasure Flower||Gazania spp.|
|Tree Aeonim||Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkopf’|
|Cotton Lavender||Santolina chamaecyparissus|
|Coastal Rosemary||Westringia fruticosa|
|Kangaroo Paws||Anigozanthos spp.|
|Licorice Plant||Helichrysum petiolare|
Garden design: Rado Zezulak
Member of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM)