Garden Design Study Group: Garden Visit, North Lakes, Brisbane

Under threatening skies, twenty members of the Garden Design Study Group - Queensland came to North Lakes, a major new planned residential community, north of Brisbane to visit the garden of our study group leader, Lawrie.

For many, it was their first time at Lawrie's place, while for others it was a chance to witness the changes to this work-in-progress garden. It was certainly a big lifestyle change for Lawrie and Carmel, having been on acreage properties for some forty years, scaling down to an 880 square metre block, of which, the house occupies about half.

They chose this property because it overlooks two of the many lakes in the area, and the surrounding natural environment areas. A formal pathway borders the lake, with the new associated landscape adding to the already huge plant diversity. Talk about a "borrowed landscape"! Lawrie has taken on the ‘maintenance’ (read redesign) and further planting of the park border plantings, much to the delight of the Council maintenance crews. This has almost doubled the available planting area and increased the plant palette, visually ‘borrowing’ several mature Grevillea cultivars to add to the garden. Lawrie is very pleased about this, as his previous properties had a serious dislike for anything in the Proteaceae family!

Immediately they set foot in the place, a little over twelve months ago, Lawrie prepared site survey plans, sun and shade analysis, and soon had concept plans drawn up - which included the ‘borrowed’ landscape of the adjacent street and park. Plans were soon afoot to immediately remove four pencil pines, several mock orange hedges and forty agave feature plants; then relocate and reconstruct a metal garden shed (blocking the prime view to the lakes and park landscape), and commence planning and planting a native garden. Much thought has gone into the selection of plants, with some working, while others haven't performed as expected. (You aren't alone there Lawrie).

Some highlights included the Lilly Pilly hedge, the new ‘potting pergola’ with Tecomanthe hilli (Fraser Island Creeper), Tristaniopsis laurina 'Luscious' a new variety with larger leaves and denser foliage, Pandanus tectorius, Geitonoplesium cymosum, Smilax glyciphylla, Eleaocarpus reticulatis, Leptospermum madidum var. madidum, Mallotus phillipensis and a lovely Myoporum floribundum. Lawrie has also planted a ‘transparent hedge’ using smaller fine leaf plants Leptospermum, Melaleuca and Acacia which will be ‘pruned up’ to show off their gnarled trunks and offer filtered views through to the lake, hence the term ‘transparent hedge’. 

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by Bob Bannon
Extract from ANPSA Garden Design Study Group – Newsletter #104 August 2018

The Garden Design Study Group has been in operation since 1993 and we include both amateur and professional designers among our members. The Group gathers and shares information mainly through regular newsletters and site visits. If you are interested in the use of Australian native plants in landscape planning, either on a small scale in the home garden or in larger, public gardens, why not consider joining and helping to develop beautiful native gardens that can be enjoyed for years to come. Learn more about study groups and how you can join here.

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