Our gar­den ex­pert Dale Vine shares his ideas for creat­ing a gar­den that’s a lit­tle bit wild and free.

Homes+ (Australia) - - MY BACKYARD -

1 IN­FOR­MAL A raw, nat­u­ral and of­ten whim­si­cal feel­ing can be cre­ated by an in­for­mal gar­den. While a well-main­tained de­sign with shaped hedges and a pre­cise lawn is pleas­ing, there is some­thing joy­ful and al­most free­ing about wit­ness­ing flow­ers grow­ing wildly among gar­den beds as if in an un­touched wilder­ness.

2 DITCH THE EDGES Re­mov­ing gar­den edg­ing states that “this gar­den has no bound­aries”. Plants will seem like they’ve nat­u­rally es­tab­lished there, rather than be­ing placed in cho­sen po­si­tions.

3 PATHS IN DIS­GUISE In a wild gar­den, paths should not be beau­ti­fully paved and stand out as in for­mal/mod­ern de­signs. A path should sim­ply lead you through the nat­u­ral spa­ces left be­tween plant growth, so are best cre­ated out of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and in earthy colours.

4 AT­TRACT­ING WILDLIFE The sim­plest way to add move­ment and life to a wild gar­den is with wildlife. Se­lect plant va­ri­eties that will at­tract birds, in­sects and other na­tive fauna, as this will cre­ate a habi­tat for an abun­dance of species and bring in the sights and sounds of life.

5 NAT­U­RAL CURVES Many land­scape fea­tures, like rivers, moun­tain ranges and bush­land viewed from the sky, are curvy. Re­flected in in­for­mal gar­den beds, curves will give the im­pres­sion of wild ter­rain.

6 MIX­ING SPECIES To recre­ate a nat­u­ral mix of plant species, in­ter­sperse taller plants and trees with bushes, grasses and ground­cov­ers, de­cid­u­ous species with ever­greens and an­nual flow­ers among peren­ni­als. There’s no need to neatly layer heights and tex­tures.

7 NA­TIVE GRASSES Noth­ing says wild more than na­tive grass species. We have many dif­fer­ent forms of poa species with dif­fer­ent heights, tex­tures and colours. Shades of green, brown, or­ange, red, pur­ple and blue are all found among dif­fer­ent na­tive grasses. Planted en mass, their wild forms cre­ate a nat­u­ral look.

8 ELIM­I­NAT­ING BAL­ANCE In a for­mal gar­den, bor­ders cre­ate a vis­ual path to a fea­ture or view. In a wild gar­den, cre­ate a vis­ual im­bal­ance with bright flow­er­ing plants in some ar­eas dif­fer­ing from plain coloured grasses in an­other. Your eyes will take in the gar­den but not as a whole, creat­ing a more whim­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

9 IL­LU­SION OF SECLU­SION Creat­ing your wild gar­den to block views of your home – for ex­am­ple with trees – will let your imag­i­na­tion take you fur­ther away and en­hance en­joy­ment of its wilder­ness.

10 ROCKS AND LOGS Place weath­ered logs, stump or over­sized rocks (in­stead of fea­tures like gar­den or­na­ments, stat­ues and pots) ran­domly around the gar­den. This will give the im­pres­sion of a wild, un­tamed habi­tat – and could also pro­vide shel­ter to small wildlife such as frogs.

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