Trending Landscape Materials with Charlie Albone - Lawn Solutions Australia

Trending Landscape Materials with Charlie Albone

The last few weeks have been big in the landscaping calendar with the eyes of the horticultural world set firmly on a small square of land in London’s glitziest suburb of Chelsea. The most prestigious flower show in the world “The RHS Chelsea Flower Show” is known for setting the trend when it comes to materials, plants, and techniques for building for years to come and after a brief covid hiatus the 2022 year was a big welcome back.

This year’s show had a huge movement to rewilding the landscape. Making it look and feel untouched by human hand. The top honours and ‘best in show’ award went to a landscape that had been created as if beavers had been reintroduced into the English countryside. Although I can appreciate the artistry in making a landscape look untouched, I’m more of a ‘working with nature to achieve a garden that can be used an appreciated by the owner’ type of guy.

I’m sure most of us don’t or can’t really imagine having a beaver sanctuary rather than a garden. But it is food for thought on the way we create our gardens moving forward. How can we be lighter on our environment? How can we be lighter with our own personal spaces when creating gardens so wildlife (insects, bees and native animals like wallabies, possums, and echidnas) can still have a place in our gardens. Many of the show exhibits on display had an area dedicated to such a space, a bug hotel, a bee hive or a pile of twigs for lizards to live in. I feel this is something easy to do and beneficial for all gardens, no matter the location.

bug hotel

Many of the gardens had changed hard paved pathways and surfaces for gravel. This allows water to get into the ground quicker and lessen run off easing the strain on our drains and waterways. Most English people don’t go outside without shoes for the fear of frost bite so I can understand the heavy use of gravel. My alternative a well-maintained lawn will also allow water into the ground slowly but be easier on the eye and softer underfoot! I’m a huge fan of Sir Grange Zoysia for its soft foliage, but any of the premium Lawn Solutions turf varieties, Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo or TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda will do just the trick.

tiftuf

Closer to home the Australian garden is moving towards more plants to offset the often heavily constructed outdoor landscape. We tend to design our garden to be practical so we can make the most of our amazing climate. This comes with large areas of paving, pavilions or pergolas, bench seating and swimming pools. To really make these elements stand out in the garden you need large areas of garden beds and lawns. This will help offset the built elements and help them sit comfortably in the landscape.

Almost every design I have completed since the beginning of the pandemic includes a veggie patch or a space to grow your own herbs. With more people spending time at home and reflecting on their lifestyle a space to turn the dirt regularly and produce even the smallest number of edible plants is highly sought after. Displaying this area has become more than just a steel raised bed. Clients investing in sturdy, long lasting construction methods, such as brick, stone, or timber. This shows it’s a trend that is here to stay.

With more plants comes the need to improve soil more. This will help get the best out of the investment you plant into the ground. With the inundation of rain the east coast has of recent times, getting the drainage right for contemporary plantings of succulents and cacti is imperative. Getting the soil right for turf grasses is also vital for their success and consideration of surface run off into these areas should also be looked at when planning a space.

When it comes to a swimming pool the filtration system needs to be considered. Often the water from a pool will end up in your garden beds and lawns so less chemicals are preferred. Enviroswim and magnesium filtrations are really being pushed as a great alternative as the wash they create is easy on the plants and surrounding soils.

swimming pool

With our hard landscapes, stone and tiles have become more and more popular. They add texture, warmth, and a point of interest in the garden. Walling stone has more of a rustic touch with free from stone. Stone has being seen in various applications like feature walls, benches and boundary fences and pillars. Getting the right stone mason for the installation of these products will make or break the success of the stone in the garden. Get it right and the feature is a standout. Getting it wrong leads to an expensive problem. This problem will need to be fixed as if designed properly this will be a key area that needs to be perfect.

Feature tiles are showing a bit of an emergence, being used outdoors like they are used indoors. Fluted marbles and textural basalts are being used for key areas where the vista requires a standout element. The pros of this trend – it looks amazing. The con – the cost!

Landscape trends are forever changing with elements and products swapping place on the main stage. My best piece of advice is to select materials and finishes that you love. That way even if they are not ‘trendy’ they will put a smile on your face and enrich your lifestyle.

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