With all that space finding a home in Australia with a garden – or a yard as the locals call it – won’t be a problem. And with all that sunshine you won’t be short of opportunities to enjoy it.
All that’s left to do is a spot of digging, planting and pruning to get it just how you want it. Whether you’re an avid member of the green fingers brigade or a complete novice, gardening Down Under will throw up some different challenges to the UK. Here are some top tips to help ensure your “yard” is more Chelsea Flower Show than Australian outback.
Gardening Down Under will throw up some different challenges to the UK.
Sun exposure to an Australian garden can actually be a big problem, because there’s so much of it. With so many hours of sunlight, it’s important to ensure your garden doesn’t fry because of the extreme heat. Understanding the plants you wish to grow and how the sun travels across your property will dictate how you proceed. Plotting a map of how the sun travels is one way to properly understand the sun exposure on your property. Remember, in Australia the sun travels from east to west and its angle changes with the seasons.
Of the major cities, Perth is the sunniest (3,200 hours annually) and Melbourne the least sunny (2,200 hours annually). While overall Perth basks in the most sunshine, east coast cities like Sydney and Brisbane enjoy the sunniest winter weather.
Other yard elements
Consider the aesthetic appeal as well as the functionality when planning how to proceed. Do you have a swimming pool that could benefit from some landscaping? Do you have an outdoor barbecue area that could use some colour. Is there enough room for a spot of backyard cricket? If you are lucky enough to have a pool, remember that some plants should not be planted too close to the swimming pool as their leaves could ruin the Ph balance of the water.
Knowing how to drive a bargain when buying could help you get more garden for your dollar. Read our guide, How to Negotiate Abroad.
What grows well?
Consider what grows well in your new climate. The ABC network provides a comprehensive guide to plants that flourish in different parts of Australia, together with other information on gardening in the country. Remember, just because the stereotype of Australian weather is hot, this is a huge country and the climate varies from the tropical north to the more temperate south. What might grow well in Darwin could be doomed in Melbourne.
This is a huge country and the climate varies from the tropical north to the more temperate south.
Understanding the creatures that could be attracted to your garden is important. In Australia there is a lot more to think about than just pesky slugs or insects that could harm your plants. Small rodents, toads and even snakes can often be a nuisance. When deciding what to plant, take the time to research the different creatures in your area that might be a nuisance and how to deter them. You don’t want all that hard work going to waste.
How often do you intend on tending to your garden? Being realistic with your time constraints will help you decide the type of garden you can plant and take care of. If you are time poor but still want to tinker in the garden from time to time, for example, consider planting hardy succulent plants which usually retain water in arid climates or soil conditions, requiring less TLC.