Garden Design Study Group

Concept Design for a Tapestry Garden

Jan Hall

From the February 2007 issue of the Study Group Newsletter.

The sketch below is one result of the topic we chose to discuss at the October meeting of the North East Victoria Group. The site we have in mind is overlooked (viewed) from a new strawbale house set into a steep slope of the Warby Ranges. The setting offers an opportunity to use the pattern of contrasting foliage, and flower colour would be a seasonal bonus.

Concept Design

A country garden of Australian plants would not be the place for a strictly geometric design. Instead, the idea is to arrange for a pattern of irregular shapes partly outlined with densely planted tufting species or climate-friendly low hedges. An alternative for low maintenance might be to use curving strips of crazy paving set into mulch or gravel. Gravel paths sloped to guide rainfall into the garden would surround the entire area. For interest at ground level a low mound is placed inside the space and surrounded by the tapestry/mosaic patches.

Several ideas for the mounded centre:

  1. Use the granite boulders to be found on site as an outcrop surrounded by rounded shrubs replicating the rocks.
  2. For a little height, a weathered log or several Gymea lilies (Doryanthes excelsa) rising above a mass planting of a single shrub species e.g. Acacia 'Green Mist'.
  3. A 'sea' of waving grass - perhaps 2 species or 2 forms of eg. Poa labillardieri or Themeda triandra.

Some plants to fill the tapestry (drought and frost tolerant species): selection depends on the scale of the area and may mean multiple planting of one plant to equal the spread of the others.

  • Acacia cliftoniana
  • A. genistifolia (spreading wattle) prostrate
  • A. lasiocarpa
  • A. maxwellii 'Prostrate Form'
  • A. pravissima (Ovens wattle) prostrate - eg. 'Bushwalk Baby'
  • Chrysocephalum apiculatum (common everlasting) - particularly the low matting form
  • Enchylaena tomentosa (ruby salt-bush)
  • Eremophila glabra (common emu-bush) - mat form, green or grey foliage
  • E. glabra 'Kalbarri Carpet'
  • E. subteretifolia - dense, mid-green foliage
  • Myoporum parvifolium (creeping myoporum) - dark green, semi-erect form
  • Rhagodia spinescens (hedge saltbush) prostrate

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