Give your patio real excitement and The X FACTOR!!

Most N.Z. homes have some sort of outdoor living /patio area and its where we tend to relax, socialize with family and friends, and even eat our brunch and summer evening bbq meals. As a landscaper, I love the challenge of transforming clients boring standard patio and turning it into a real wow area !!! so it becomes the most popular and enjoyable part of the home from labour weekend through to easter. There are so many things we can do to bring a spark to the patio; - buy a couple of large ornamental pots and plant up a feature plant in each, and underplant with colorful bizzie lizzies, petunia bubblegum series, even some of the more compact growing daisies that are now on the ... Continue reading

Planting a Dry Bank With Plants So it Will Look Beautiful AND Survive

Hi everyone, we know everyone’s gardens are currently lacking moisture and some plants are looking rather poor for it. Today I want to suggest some good performing shrubs and groundcovers that will perform in hot dry conditions, and even cope on quite a steep bank where its very shallow in topsoil and is rather dry for much of the year. In the attached photo is a garden I helped out a local gardener with18 months ago. All of the plants are surviving exceptionally well and are looking rather healthy and vigorous. As you can appreciate, in the hottest months this bank gets super dry, and even in the winter there is no excess rainwater sitting around the root systems of the plant... Continue reading

Four of the Best Summer Flowering Trees

Hello Gardeners, a happy new year to you all! I hope you get a lot of pleasure from your garden in 2015! Since xmas,when driving around the waikato and near the coast, I have seen some beautiful flowering trees. Today i want to mention four of these great "summer performers" METROSIDEROS (POHUTUKAWA - N.Z. XMAS TREE) – In Auckland recently I saw the best pohutukawa specimen tree that I have ever seen. This particular tree looked like it was at least 100 years old, and it had so much bloom on, that you couldnt see any foliage. There are many varieties of pohutukawa avaliable these days, something to fit any size section. There are some really small ones like METROSIDER... Continue reading

Visit to Paul Bangay's 'Stonefields' garden

Hello keen gardeners, as it’s the December article, I wish all the readers out there, a very happy Xmas, and I hope your garden is currently a real joy, and looking tops for xmas and the coming summer months. My wife and I were recenly very fortunate to go to an open day in Melbourne in the garden of one of Australias very top landscape designers PAUL BANGAY - what a great landscaper! He took a personally guided tour for 1.5 hours through his own garden called STONEFIELDS. Paul designs and creates gardens  for many known celebrities and wealthy people in various countries around the world. I have several of his books that I often show my landscape clients because I f... Continue reading

Selecting the right plant for the right spot

Isn’t November a fabulous time of the year, still wet and warm - and the garden and lawns are sure loving it! Hi to all the keen gardeners! Lately when driving the work van to see my landscape clients in the Waikato, Auckland and Tauranga regions, I have seen some terriable landscaping choices in peoples gardens and also some bad choices by the local city council landscapers. Just a few examples are: I saw a homeowner in the Waikato region who has recently planted 4 x large growing deciduous trees only 3 metres away from their house. One of the four trees was a Gingko biloba (maidenhair tree) - if you know this tree it eventually gets to about 12metres tall, and a sprea... Continue reading

Creating a Low Maintenance Garden with the 'Wow' Factor!

My wife Val and I have just completed a four day effort at the local Waikato Home and Garden Show. Hi to everyone keen on gardening! What a fantastic event! We designed one of the major exhibits for the show - a mediterranean-style garden and patio setting, complete with a seaside backdrop, atlantis-style water feature, mediterranean topiary and espaliered citrus trees in full fruit in troughs, a long outdoor bar table on wheels decorated along the centre with fragrant lavender plants in full flower, and a variety of coloured lighting to accentuate special plant features and settings, all creating an exciting atmosphere.  The public response to our site was extremely positi... Continue reading

September is Gardening Month!

Hi all keen gardeners! Isn't it fantastic going out into the garden at this time of the year! Especially after work, when its still warm, sunny, and most importantly all the plants are coming into life, and you can see new growth coming daily? Are you happy with how your garden is looking? Are you happy with how easy it is to look after? If not, then this is the time of the year to do something about it!! September is a fantastic time to get stuck into your garden, and get it prepared for the coming summer, and importantly make it look amazing in the months leading up to Xmas, when you will have lots of outdoor living and friends and family visiting. Even if you are not a ... Continue reading

Designing Your Outdoor Patio / Entertaining Area

Hello to all gardeners! I bet you are all looking forward to spring, where you can go out into your garden, and daily see a sudden awakening of plants of all types, perennials starting to shoot above the ground and trees coming into leaf and blossom. We are very lucky to get four good seasons in the waikato region, and each has its own positive contribution to a constant changing in the garden. Today I want to talk about some garden design principles, that may help you in the way you design your new (or alter your existing) PATIO / ENTERTAINING AREA - nothing is more soothing than sitting on a terrace, sharing it with family and friends, surrounded by a beautiful g... Continue reading

Ornamental Grasses

Today I want to talk about how to get the most from using ornamental grasses in your garden/landscape. When you go into a plant retailer these days, you will be offered a very big selection of ornamental grasses. The big question is which variety do you choose and importantly will perform outstandingly well for you? Because the grades offered are often quite small and its very hard visually at this early stage to see any distinguishing features, but I can assure you that some varieties are definitely better performers than others. You can go into any town or city throughout the country and see ornamental grasses, which have been used in public gardens, parks, tr... Continue reading

Inspirational Gardens

One that catches your eye and remains in your mind for more than a passing moment!! Back in march I was one of the official guest speakers each day at the North Shore Home and Garden Show in Auckland - my topic was "Achieving a Stunning Low Maintenance Garden". So what was the basis of my speech? Basically how to create gardens that capture your second look, have the ‘wow factor’, and need very little maintenance. Whenever I am designing a garden for a client, I am continually thinking about the end result, and what is in my design that is going to make it look really eye-catching. Go for a walk or drive sometime, through your local suburb, and see which gardens... Continue reading

Autumn Fruit Bowl

Hello all keen gardeners - Wow !! Isn’t it fantastic that we have finally had some good wetting rain. Our plants and gardens are certainly very grateful. I want to really stress today, that if you are thinking about wanting to create some new gardens or refurbish some existing ones that have maybe got a bit tired, then this is the very best time of the year to get into such a project. Always, an autumn planted garden will outperform a spring planting, because anything done at this time of the year has nature helping it to get off to the very best start – it’s still warm and the moisture is around plentifully. Which means the root system will get growing into the surrounding... Continue reading

Top Performing Plants for Dry Summer Gardens

We all know that the Waikato region is getting very dry at the moment,and  the plants in your garden will be under quite a bit of stress, especially if you dont have access to much water, or are relying on rainwater off the roof to full the tanks. I personally think that these hot dry Summers, like we have been experiencing over the last few years,may become the normal, and if thats the case then when you plant a new garden, then you need to keep this in mind, when choosing plants. The amount of water you are able to give your garden will definitely affect the choice of plants for your garden. Today I want to mention some plants that thrive on less moisture, and what you can do to... Continue reading

Flowering Plants that Thrive at the Coast

Happy new year to you all, and I hope your wishes come true during 2014. I am writing this article at the beach and so today I want to write about good performing plants for coastal gardens. There are many plants that thrive at the beach, where the weather elements can at various times of the year be quite brutal – especially driving salt winds and little moisture over the summer months. My wife and mother in law are in the garden this morning picking an array of flowers to put in an oasis wreath to brighten the table. Amongst the collection they are picking beautiful blooms of: HIBISCUS HYBRIDS – both Fijian and Hawaiian types. The Fijian varieties are generally more free flow... Continue reading

A Red and Green Garden for Christmas

Hello to all fellow readers! What's your garden looking like for Christmas? Today I want to talk about some good performing plants that will bring a christmas feel to your garden. In one of last year's  landscaping articles, I wrote about designing a green and white garden. This year I am going to focus on a red and green garden, as these colours feature a lot in Christmas decor and decorations. There are some great plants that will bring the Christmas spirit to your place! RED POINTSETTIAS - a lot of you will know these. They are the indoor plants you see in a variety of garden retailers at this time of year. These plants have the brightest red  bracts and are the #1 indoor plant... Continue reading

Good Landscaping Adds Value

Hello everyone, Today I want to talk about landscaping your property, and how to do it so that there are real benefits for the money and effort that you put in. If you ask anyone involved in real estate or property valuations, they will confirm that good effective plant landscaping can add a lot of value to a property in two ways: monetary and aesthetic value. Many times I have seen properties where home owners have spent a lot of time and money on their landscaping, and it has added no value at all - in fact, in some cases it has resulted in decreased value of the property. This can happen where some planting has been done, and the plants chosen were completely inappropriate for the sit... Continue reading
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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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