Monthly Archives: September 2014

The 7 Best Plants To Boost Your Curb Appeal

It is common knowledge that first impressions are lasting. And nowhere is this more true than with your home. The curb appeal of your house is often determined by your front garden.

Whatever the size and situation of yours, there are plants that will instantly improve the street view of your home. Here, we share our top five.
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1. Flowering Fruit Trees

Fruit trees are both functional and beautiful. Many have spectacular blossoms in spring, fruit all summer and even bright foliage in autumn. Because of the wide range available, you are sure to find the perfect specimen. If you would rather skip the fruit, there are also stunning ornamental varieties. The long drooping boughs of weeping cherry trees are beautiful both when covered in flowers and bare in the winter.
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2. A Healthy Lawn

If you have the space and soil for it, a well-manicured lawn is one of the most effective additions to a front yard or nature strip. A healthy lawn adds a classic and appealing element. Matched with a simple bordering garden, it lets strong architectural elements of your home shine. Lawns do take some upkeep though, so choose your grass variety well and know how to maintain it.

3. Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Even though all mature trees and shrubs are likely to contribute to your curb appeal, evergreen trees will do so year round. Find an attractive tree that is easy to prune or cultivate a fast growing shrub to act as a hedge. An added bonus is that you won’t spend all of autumn raking up dead leaves!
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4. Australian Natives

Australia has an incredible array of native flora. Whether it is creeping ground cover, dramatic eucalypt trees or striking flowering shrubs, there is sure to be a native plant to suit gardens of any size and style. Best of all, many Australian natives are notoriously hardy and drought resistant. A native garden is also more likely to attract attractive visitors such as lorikeets.

5. Low Maintenance Succulents

A low maintenance garden doesn’t have to look like one. There are many types of succulents – from compact specimens to towering cacti. Much like native plants, succulents and their relatives are very hardy and versatile. They are especially appropriate for sunnier, exposed gardens. Succulents can make for highly dramatic and sculptural curb appeal.
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6. Flowers

A flowerbed will instantly make your house look more homely and welcoming. There are flowering plants available that will thrive in any Australian garden at any time of the year. Spring especially is a great time to pick up some blossoms that will add a riot of colour to your street aspect.

7. Pot Plants

Not all houses have the benefit of a generous front yard. If you are stuck for space or have a wide veranda, potted plants are a great alternative. Well-positioned pot plants can add eye-catching curb appeal. For instance, try placing two sculptural trees in pots either side of your front door. The best thing about pot plants is that you can move them around on a whim. Just remember to water thoroughly – pots dry out quicker than a normal garden.

The Top Five Natural Bug Repellents For Your Garden

You don’t need to resort to harmful pesticides and toxic chemicals to keep your garden safe from pests. Pests generally build up a tolerance to artificial pesticides anyway, so alternatives are often much more efficient.
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Here, we share our top five tips for protecting your garden, the natural way.

1. Keep Your Garden In Good Nick.

Some basic garden maintenance will help you scare off the bugs. Weeds and dead plants make a great habitat for pests – make sure to keep your garden beds clean and trim.

Healthy soil creates strong plants that are better prepared to fight off attacks from insects and disease. Organic waste and manure are great natural fertilisers. Mulching and deep watering are vital for keeping your soil and hence your garden healthy.

2. Use Companion Planting.

Clever planting can act as a natural defence against insects. Companion planting is a time-tested technique. Certain plants act as natural protection for their more desirable neighbours. Wormwood for example produces a bitter scent that will scare off insects. The strong scent of lavender, sage and tomatoes helps to mask other, tastier plants near to them. Dill and fennel attract helpful insects that prey on leaf-eating pests. As a bonus, biodiversity will naturally attract pollinators likes bees. Certain combinations are even believed to improve the growth and taste of each plant.

3. Protect Yourself Along With Your Garden.

Mosquitos and flies hate the smell of basil. Pots of basil placed next to open windows and doors will stop these pesky visitors ruining your next BBQ. Still pools of water are also the perfect breeding ground for mosquito larvae – try to avoid letting stagnant water collect in pots or ponds.

4. Make Your Own Organic Pesticides.

There are a whole host of natural, chemical free pesticides that will help ward off pests without harmful side effects. You can prepare solutions from common everyday supplies.

Do you find garlic a bit pungent? So do insects. Chop up a few cloves of garlic, a couple of hot chillies and an onion and leave to steep in warm water for a couple of days. When ready, just add a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid, dilute in a litre of water and pour over plants.

Leftover coffee grounds spread around the base of your lettuce will also help keep snails and slugs at bay. With some research, you will find that there are plenty of natural remedies to help you fight off whatever pests are plaguing you.

5. Attract Some Allies.

There are plenty of creatures that will appreciate the chance to take pests off your hands. Lacewings and ladybirds devour aphids and grubs without attacking the plant. To attract them, mix a simple paste of yeast powder and sugar and dilute with water to spray over plants.

Larger predators are especially efficient. Provide a birdbath and native flowering trees to attract native birds such as cockatoos and fantails. A clean pond with a few logs can bring in native frogs and dragonflies, which are fantastic pest control. Hens are also avid bug eaters, and can give you a fresh supply of eggs to boot! But chickens can develop a taste for your plants too, so it pays to keep an eye on them.

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