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Belmont Garden Diary: March

Garden Design

Bouganvillea makes a beautiful but spiky hedge

When designing a garden, a solid plan will help with getting the core elements right the first time. This can be done with a simple scaled sketch. Several factors ought to be considered before the exciting part comes of preparing the soil and planting your chosen selections.

The orientation of the garden space in relation to the travel of the sun both in summer and winter months should inform the initial design. This will allow you to determine where to position the taller elements, such as trees or tall hedges to give maximum benefit for your individual needs. For example, you may wish to maximise shading of your house or paved area from hot afternoon westerly sun to reduce air-conditioning costs. Conversely, you may want to avoid shading of an area you may wish to use for your vege patch, which needs between six and eight hours of direct sun per day for best results. You can determine the orientation of your garden either by using the compass function on your phone, or by observation.

In an urban environment, privacy and sound control are crucial factors to consider. These can be addressed by mindful planting where lines of vision can be obstructed, and noise pollution muffled from hardscapes (like fences, houses, and large paved areas). Deciduous trees can provide a functional element to a space where winter shading might be undesired. In these situations, using a compact evergreen hedge behind the tree can address any privacy or sound issues.

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