A Beginner’s Guide To The Naturalistic Garden
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A Beginner’s Guide To The Naturalistic Garden

Love the frowzy, painterly aesthetic of a wild-looking garden, the latest trend in landscaping, but unsure where to begin?

By Catherine Romano
Thu, Aug 25, 2022 9:28amGrey Clock 2 min

LANDSCAPE DESIGN continues to grow less formal—more prairie than pruned, more meadow than managed. Adhering to the practice of “right plant, right place,” even to the point of choosing only native flora, promises to better support birds and bees, and to require fewer resources, including water and the sweat of your brow.

To aid gardeners interested in dipping their beaks in the loose look of naturalistic planting, we asked two experts how to get started with 500 square feet of terrain. They observed that squeezing the style into that space was much like covering this complex topic in these 500 words, but they were game, suggesting ways to simplify down to fewer species and layers.

The best way to begin: Lay down what Benjamin Vogt, author of “Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design” (University of Illinois Press, January 2023), calls the matrix level, and Adam Woodruff, a landscape designer in Marblehead, Mass., refers to as the ground cover or base layer. Not to be confused with the layman’s idea of ground cover, such as ajuga or English ivy, this foundational layer, from 6 to 12 inches tall, is meant to function like a canvas, accounting for about 50% of your plant material. “There’s a uniform green in the landscape that ties it all together,” said Mr. Vogt, owner of Monarch Gardens, a landscape design firm in Lincoln and Omaha, Neb.

For the novice, an ideal base layer is a perennial bunching grass planted 12 to 16 inches apart on centre. Mr. Vogt said he might opt for a short variety, such as the native Little Bluestem shown in the photo at left. In the photo at right, Mr. Woodruff used suitable but non-native Sesleria, or Autumn Moor Grass.

In a 500-square-foot plot, Mr. Vogt would restrict the second layer, often called the seasonal theme layer, to plants 24 inches to 30 inches tall and, for the sake of scale, forgo the typical third layer of larger plants. Optimal for the second layer: groups of perennials or self-seeding annuals with light and water needs similar to each other and to the matrix plant. A good mix: one species that flowers early in the season, one later. Ideally both have leaves that contrast with the grass and (come fall) pretty seed heads so your garden is attractive year round.

Plants can be quite close. “Density is very important to the success of this style of planting,” said Mr. Woodruff. Mr. Vogt goes so far as saying “Throw plant tags away.” If planted densely, the garden knits together more quickly, usually within a year. Weeds are suppressed, and mulching becomes a thing of the past.

Parting advice: Before you put spade to earth, “research the heck out of plants,” said Mr. Vogt. Mr. Woodruff recommends “The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden,” by Roy Diblik (Timber Press, 2014).

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 13, 2022.



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We reveal the No. 1 areas for price growth in each capital city

By Bronwyn Allen
Thu, Jul 18, 2024 3 min

Home values across Australia rose by a median 8 percent in FY24, delivering the equivalent of $59,000 in new capital growth to the two-thirds of the population that owns a home, according to CoreLogic data. Investors received total returns of 12.2 percent over the year, including capital gains and gross rental income.

Very tight supply and demand in most capital cities except Melbourne and Hobart was a significant driver of the capital growth, with the smaller and more affordable capital cities of Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide experiencing the most price appreciation over the year. A lack of properties for sale trumped the usual dampening effect of higher interest rates.

As usual, some areas outperformed their city’s median growth benchmark. Here are the top SA3 areas for capital growth in each capital city of Australia in FY24. SA3 areas are large suburbs, or districts incorporating clusters of suburbs, with more than 20,000 residents.

 

Sydney

Home values across Sydney rose by a median 6.3 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Mount Druitt. Its median value rose by 13.96 percent to $859,939. Mount Druitt is located 33km west of the CBD. It incorporates the suburbs of Mount Druitt, Ropes Crossing, Whalan and Minchinbury. The Mount Druitt community is very multicultural with almost one in two residents born overseas. It is home to many young families, with the median age of residents being 33 compared to the NSW median of 39.

 

Melbourne

Home values across Melbourne rose by a median 1.3 percent in FY24. The top area for capital growth was Moreland-North with 4.71 percent growth. This took the district’s median home value to $746,488. Moreland-North includes the suburbs of Hadfield, Pascoe Vale and Glenroy. It’s a multicultural community with a particularly large contingent of residents with Italian ancestry. One or both parents of 66 percent of residents were born overseas, according to the 2021 Census.

 

Brisbane

Home values across Brisbane rose by a median 15.8 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Springwood-Kingston in Logan City. Its median value swelled by 25.55 percent to $710,569. Springwood-Kingston is approximately 22km south of Brisbane CBD. It incorporates the suburbs of Springwood, Kingston, Rochedale South and Slacks Creek. It is a multicultural community with one or both parents of 55 percent of the residents born overseas, according to the 2021 Census. More than 15 percent of residents have Irish or Scottish ancestry.

 

Adelaide

Home values across Adelaide rose by a median 15.4 percent in FY24. The best area for capital growth was Playford in Playford City. Its median value soared by 19.94 percent to $530,991. Playford is approximately 40km north of Adelaide. It incorporates the suburbs of Elizabeth Downs, Elizabeth Grove, Angle Vale and Virginia. It is home to many young people under the age of 40. The median age of residents is 33 compared to the state median of 41.

 

Perth 

Home values across Perth rose by a median 23.6 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Kwinana in Kwinana City. Its median value skyrocketed by 33.19 percent to $618,925. Kwinana is approximately 37km south of Perth CBD. It includes the suburbs of Leda, Medina, Casuarina and Mandogalup. Henderson Naval Base is located here and there is a significant community of servicemen and ex-servicemen living in the area. It is home to many young families, with the median age of residents being 33 compared to the state median of 38.

 

Canberra

Home values across the nation’s capital rose by a median 2.2 percent in FY24. The best area for capital growth was Weston Creek. Its median value rose by 5.24 percent to $937,740. Weston Creek is approximately 13km south-west of the CBD. It includes the suburbs of Weston Creek, Holder, Duffy, Fisher and Chapman. Approximately 43 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree, which is on par with the ACT median but much higher than the national median of 26 percent. Household incomes are about 35 percent higher than the national median. Almost one in five residents work in government administration jobs.

 

Hobart

Home values across Hobart fell 0.1 percent in FY24. The top performing area for capital gains was Sorell-Dodges Ferry with 2.78 percent growth. This took the area’s median home value to $615,973. Sorell-Dodges Ferry is approximately 25km north-west of Hobart. It incorporates the suburbs of Richmond, Sorell, Dodges Ferry, Carlton and Primrose Sands. The area has a large community of baby boomers and retirees, with the median age of residents being 43 compared to the Australian median of 38.

 

Darwin

Home values across Darwin rose by a median 2.4 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Litchfield. Its median value moved 3.21 higher to $672,003. Litchfield is about 37km south-east of Darwin and includes the suburbs of Humpty Doo, Acacia Hills and Southport.  It has a high proportion of middle-aged residents, with the median age being 39 compared to the territory median of 33. About 12 percent of residents are Indigenous Australians. The biggest industries are government administration and defence. Median household incomes are about 35 percent higher than the national median.

 

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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