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Semi-Ornamental, sub-tropical garden

Burleigh Waters

QLD

CLIENT'S DREAM
A beautiful, family friendly garden space. Small amount of low maintenance food production, mostly focussed on aesthetics and hosting friends and family.

ISSUES
-very strong westerly sun that heats up the house excessively in the afternoons
-strong morning sun on eastern aspect
-high mosquito populations
-lack of privacy from eastern neighbour
-poor sandy soils with fast drainage
-high maintenance chlorine pool

PROPERTY BEFORE
Medium-sized suburban block with 1970's house about to be renovated. Located 1.3km from the beach and only 5m above sea level.

THE PERMACULTURE DESIGN
Starting at the front; 2 mini-food forests have been designed to create a productive and beautiful street frontage. The fruits included here are tropical classics like papaya, avocado, mango, custard apple, acai, and feijoa. The supporting legume trees will help the soil health by fixing nitrogen. The ground covers will give an extra element of production with sweet potato, taro, and pumpkin, while further boosting soil health through nitrogen and mineral fixation with comfrey and beans.


Along the western driveway to the back shed is where excessive sun and heat has previously been a problem. Here we have designed a tall trellis system growing passionfruit and possibly grapes. This will still allow car and trailer access underneath, while providing shade to the house.


The old chlorine pool has been converted into a beautiful natural swimming pool containing fish and plants. This old pool has been transformed from a toxic, high input, high maintenance, high cost, biocidal (life-killing) feature, into a beautiful, life rich, productive, low maintenance, positive environmental element.


The south-east yard has been kept as lawn for kids play as it abuts the pergola entertaining area. The southern front fence area has a new fish pond, and small food forest, complete with hammock for lazy, shady afternoons.


Central to the yard and near the front door is an ornamental fish pond surrounded by herb gardens. This area will create a visual focus for the garden be naturally beautiful and calming.

Along the pool fence are roses and companion flowers and nitrogen fixers. These will not only be beautiful, but attract pollinators and allow visual access to the pool.


More fruit trees have been placed along the eastern fence and a trellis raised along a section to provide greater shade and privacy. These can grow citrus and further vine and salad crops.


Moving to the northern garden, a seating area around a small fire pit can be found with another pond. This area is already heavily shaded by the large poinciana tree and will be a welcome retreat from the strong sun.


Small scale composting solutions such as worm towers have been implemented to boost soil health and worm activity in the sandy soils. Garden beds will be dug in as pits and layered with organic matter to compost in place. This will allow the new plantings the best chance at establishment.

With this property we can see how good permaculture design identifies problems and implements multi-purpose solutions. Shade trellises can also be productive. Swimming pools can be home to fish that keep the mosquito populations at bay and grow water-loving plants. Privacy can be created with productive trees and vines. In permaculture the problem is the solution.