Redesigning our backyard

Back in April our house was lucky enough to be chosen for a local council program, Habitat Heroes. Part of the program included a free landscape design for a section of our garden, and we chose to use it on our front yard.

But that didn’t mean our backyard didn’t need any work. Far from it!

Our backyard is as barren as a yard could be. Aside from some syzygium’s we planted along the back fence to give us some privacy from very close neighbors, we don’t have anything else growing. Mark and I had discussed many times on what to do with the backyard – do we put down turf and forget about it, or do we create a garden that we will enjoy, but needs some upkeep? With no clear direction, we chose to do nothing for a long time. Until a few months ago 😉

We were so impressed with Betsy-Sue’s design for the front yard that we reached out to her to see if she could do her magic with the backyard.

Design requirements

The requirements we had for the backyard design were:

  • Protection and privacy from neighbors on all sides.
  • Habitat to attract native birds, bees, frogs reptiles (except snakes).
  • A windbreak to prevent the strong west winds from blasting right through the yard.
  • A garden that invites us to go outside and sit, relax and unwind.

I remember saying to Betsy-Sue in the consult that while the neighborhood we lived in wasn’t that inviting, we wanted to make our little piece of the western suburbs as beautiful as it could be.

Our backyard design

About a week after the consult, Betsy-Sue presented us with this incredible design.

I honestly didn’t think something so intricate and beautiful could fit into our backyard. I feel relaxed just looking at the design. It invites me to go and explore the garden, sit on a bench with a G’n’T and watch the wildlife enjoy a habitat created for them.

I love it.

A place to sit and relax

Aside from lots of native and indigenous plants to provide visual appeal at the ground, eye and above the head levels, Betsy-Sue has drawn in a dry river bed on the left side of the yard, and what we are calling an ‘elevated daybed’ on the right. Surrounding the features are small eucalyptus trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, groundcovers and a native lawn we won’t need to mow!

The right-side of the house has a ‘frog bog’ just outside the Alfresco area, and a section toward the front of the house for native bees that come to visit the bee hotel we received from the Habitat Heroes program.

The plants

Ninety percent of the plants in the design are indigenous to the western basalt plains area that we live in. The other ten percent are plants native to Australia.

I will likely swap a few of the native plants for an indigenous alternative, but I’m excited to see how this design takes shape over the next few years.

Cleaning Up and Getting Ready

I’ve already started on the left side of the yard and it’s going along really well.

The space for the dry river bed was dug out and I was able to use the dirt in other areas of the garden. I’m going for regular walks down to the new development area to collect local basalt rocks for the river bed. We’ll need to make a special trip with the ute and ask the development site manager if we can take a few large rocks for the rock feature and stepping stones.

This area is an old volcanic plain so there are masses of basalt rocks being dug up. Some people think the honeycomb look of the rock is a bit 70’s, but I find the structure and color of the rocks fascinating. Plus it matches the landscape of the area so it won’t look out of place among the plants we’re growing.

Some plants are already in and establishing well. I will write about each plant in separate posts so that I can track how they grow, but this is how the yard is looking at the time of this post (September 2018).

Bring on the next two or so years as garden starts to take shape and provide us with an area we can enjoy!