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Coastal Gardens

Planting Guide for the 

coastal region between 

Guilderton and Kalbarri

water-wise

habitat


style

local


GUILDERTON   SEABIRD   LEDGE POINT   LANCELIN   CERVANTES   JURIEN BAY   LEEMAN    

DONGARA   GERALDTON   GREEN HEAD   HORROCKS   KALBARRI



Healthy and attractive  

urban landscapes

The Northern Agricultural Region (NAR) of Western Australia is renowned 

for its stunning wildflower displays from late winter to early summer, when 

visitors come from far and wide to visit and photograph this natural marvel.  

Through well considered plant choices, our gardens can play an important 

role in helping to preserve and restore our unique plants and wildlife. 

This Planting Guide provides simple garden advice for people living along 

the coast from Guilderton to Kalbarri.   

 3 


Using this Planting Guide 

  

 3



  Discovering local native plants  

   


 

4

  Garden escapees 



   

 

5



  Helpful symbols 

   


 

6

  Trees and tall shrubs 



   

 10


  Small to medium shrubs 

   


 14

  Ground covers and herbs 

   

 16


  Grasses and sedges 

   


 18

 Climbers 

  

 20


  Sourcing local coastal plants 

 

21



  Designing your native garden 

   


 22

  Step 1: House and garden interactions

 26

  Step 2: Concept planning (diagram)



 28

  The final design 

   

 30


  Growing local coastal native plants 

   


 

32

  Other local native plants 



   

 

34



  Useful resources 

   


 35

 Acknowledgements



3

Our gardens face a constant struggle against the harsh natural elements of 

the region.  Long, hot summers, low rainfall, droughts, water restrictions 

and a changing climate make their survival a challenging task! If your 

garden is situated near the coast your plants may also be affected by salt 

spray, sand blasting, sandy or saline soils, and alkalinity.

This is where selecting local native plants can help. The plant species that 

are native to our region have evolved over thousands of years to cope with 

these harsh local conditions. 

This Planting Guide will help you discover the stunning variety of plants 

native to this region, along with how to grow them in your garden. You 

will learn which plants work best for given areas, how to maintain them, 

and where they can be purchased.

You will also discover which introduced plant species are known to develop 

into serious weeds. This Planting Guide will help you replace or manage 

these plants if they are growing in your garden. 

Selecting local native plants for your garden is an ideal way to help 

look after your local environment, while saving money on water and 

maintenance. Happy gardening!  

Using this Planting Guide

Getting started

A plant that grew naturally in the local area before European settlement is 

called a ‘local native’.

Local native plants have a huge range of benefits:

  High drought tolerance;

  Low maintenance;

  Minimal watering requirements;

  Minimal need for fertilisers or pesticides;

  Provision of habitat, food and shelter for wildlife;

  The ability to adapt to various landscaping styles; and

  Striking, unique foliage and flowers found nowhere else in the world.

There is a local native plant alternative for most garden situations. The 

plants featured in this Planting Guide include striking ground-covers, low 

shrubs, structured sedges and grasses, flowering creepers, bird attracting 

shrubs, and screening trees.

Many of the recommended plants in this Planting Guide also have a 

high tolerance to wind, salt spray and other harsh coastal conditions. 

What is a  

local plant?

Discovering local native plants

Why use  

local plants?

3


 

Weeds are introduced plants, or native plants growing outside their range, 

that are known to become harmful intruders.  Weeds often come from 

parts of the world with similar climates, such as Mediterranean countries 

and South Africa. Thriving in this region’s conditions, they can out-compete 

local natives, as the pests and diseases that controlled them in their original 

country are not present in Australia.  You may be surprised to find a 

number of potential garden escapees lurking in your own backyard.

A plant that escapes from your garden and spreads can create a number of 

serious problems, including:

  Destroying habitat, shelter and food for native animals;

  Changing soil conditions;

  Clogging up waterways and affecting water quality;

  Providing homes for pests such as foxes, feral cats and rats, which all 

prey on native animals;

  Invading local bushland reserves; and

  Being very costly to control.  

Some of Australia’s most invasive weeds have become such a serious 

and costly problem that they have been termed ‘Weeds of National 

Significance’, or WoNS.  For example, a common garden plant in this 

region, Lantana camara, is actually classified as a WoNS and should 

be quickly eradicated.  A local plant substitute could be a Verticordia 



densiflora

For more information visit: www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/  

Garden plants can escape into the local environment naturally, accidentally 

or deliberately:

  Seeds spread naturally via animals, wind, soil and water movement;

  Human activities that spread weeds include:  

 

- Dumped garden clippings containing seeds or plant cuttings;



 

- Deliberately planted species for beautification and landscaping; and

 

- Garden plants that grow through backyard fences directly into nearby  



coastal vegetation.

Are you 


harbouring 

known 


villains?

Garden escapees 

How do garden 

plants become 

coastal invaders?


5

The following pages will help you identify which common garden plants 

can become environmental ‘invaders’.  You might like to remove any of 

these plants that you have in your garden and replace them with the local 

native plants suggested.  This Planting Guide can also be handy to take 

with you when buying new plants.  Some other easy things you can do to 

reduce the impact of weeds include:

  Disposing of your garden waste responsibly, by bagging your waste 

and taking it to the rubbish tip;

  Checking with your local government before you plant into natural 

natural coastal environments;

  Joining a local Coastcare Group or herbarium to learn more about your 

coast; or

  Contact Contact the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC)  

or your local government for information on how to get involved in 

looking after the environment in your area.

If you have a plant that you would like to remove from your garden but are 

not sure how, contact NACC for information.

Below is a list of symbols used throughout this Planting Guide to help you 

determine if a plant is appropriate for your garden.

You can

help!


Helpful symbols

Weed


DON’T PLANT

 

a garden escapee! 



Japanese or Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) 

Origin: Tropical South 

America

Flowers: White-cream, from February to March. Red fruits are produced in clusters  



Reproduces via: Seed and suckers   

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate plantings),  

soil and water movement, birds and small mammals (ingestion)

Athel pine (Tamarix aphylla) 

Origin: South-east Europe

Flowers: Pale pink to white, from September to December

Reproduces via: Seed, stem and root fragments

Escapes via: Humans (machinery, garden  

refuse), water movement, wind dispersal

Century plant (Agave americana) 

Origin: South Africa

Flowers: Yellow, from December to January. Flowers held 

on long upright stems 

Reproduces via: Seed and suckers

Escapes via: Wind dispersal, water movement, 

humans (garden refuse, deliberate plantings)

African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum) 

Origin: South Africa 

Flowers: White to purple to blue, from April to December. Stems have long sharp  

thorns. Red fruits  

Reproduces via:  Seed, root suckers and stem fragments

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse), soil and water movement,  

animals (ingestion)

Victorian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) 

Origin: South-east Australia

Flowers: White, from May to October. Note: Fruits are much larger than the 

local native Leptospermum

Reproduces via: Prolific seed.  

Escapes via: Wind dispersal, soil and water movement, humans (vehicles, 

garden refuse)

Trees and tall shrubs

 


GROW ME 

instead


7

Blueberry Tree (Myoporum insulare)

Form: Dense, spreading or erect shrub or tree, from 0.25 m to 5 m high 

Flowers: White, from July to February. Purple fruits 

Soil: Sandy soils. Prefers alkaline coastal sand 

Chenille Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca huegelii)

Form: Shrub or tree from 0.5 m to 5 m high

Flowers: Pink to white to pink-purple, from  

September to January 

Soil: Sandy soils. Prefers 

alkaline coastal sand

Illyarrie (Eucalyptus erythrocorys)

Form: Small to medium tree, from 3 m to 8 m high, with smooth bark

Flowers: Bright yellow, from February to April  

Soil: Sandy, alkaline soils

Dune Sheoak (Allocasuarina lehmanniana)

Form: Tall compact shrub, from 0.5 m to 4 m high  

Flowers: Red, on female plants only. Female plants produce small brown nuts; 

male plants produce dark orange to brown pollen on branch ends  

Soil: Sandy soils, clay and gravel

Dongara Mallee (Eucalyptus obtusiflora)

Form: Tree up to 5 m high, with fibrous and smooth bark

Flowers: White, from January to May

Soil: Sand and loam soils

7


GROW ME 

instead


Trees and tall shrubs

 

Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum)



Form: Erect shrub from 0.5 m to 4 m high

Flowers: White-pink, from June to November  

Soil: White, grey or yellow sands

Native Hibiscus  (Alyogyne hakeifolia)

Form: Erect, slender or spreading shrub, from 1 m to 3 m high. 

Leaves are thin, soft spikes  

Flowers: Range from blue-purple to yellow, from May to February  

Soil: Prefers red sandy soil, rocky  

loam, and alkaline sandy soils

Ooragmandee (Eucalyptus oraria) - North NAR only

Form: Tall tree, from 1 m to 15 m high, bark is smooth but may have a rough 

base 


Flowers: White, from May to October

Soil: Grows in sandy soil. Prefers alkaline coastal 

sand

Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) Semi-parasitic - requires a host plant



Form: Small tree or shrub, from 1 m to 7 m high  

Flowers: Green-white or red-brown, from January to April, or July to October. 

Produces round fruits up to 2 cm wide that turn red when ripe  

Soil: sandy soils and clay loam



Pittosporum ligustrifolium

Form: Erect spreading shrub or tree, from 0.2 m to 4.5 m high 

Flowers: White, yellow or cream, from April to November 

Fruit is orange, 1 cm in diameter, and splits when ripe  

Soil: Sandy soils including  

clayey sand and limestone

  


9

Coastal Wattle (Acacia cyclops)

Form: Dense shrub or tree, from 1 m to 6 m high 

Flowers:  Yellow, from September to December 

Soil: Sandy soils, prefers alkaline coastal sand

GROW ME 


instead

Rottnest Tea Tree (Melaleuca lanceolata)

Form: Tall shrub or tree, from 1 m to 8 m high 

Flowers: White to cream, from January to September 

Soil: Sandy soil including limestone, clay or loam

Coastal Banksia (Banksia attenuata)

Form: Tree or tall shrub, from 0.5 m to 10 m high 

Flowers: Large yellow and cylindrical, from October 

to February 

Soil: Sandy soils

Silvery-leafed Grevillea (Grevillea argyrophylla) - North NAR only

Form: Small tree or shrub, from 1 m to 6 m high  

Flowers: White-cream or cream-yellow, from July to October 

Soil: A variety of sandy soils including limestone and sandstone

Tangling Melaleuca (Melaleuca cardiophylla)

Form: Erect to spreading shrub, from 0.4 m to 2m  high 

and up to 3 m wide  

Flowers: White-cream, from August to December or January 

Soil: A variety of sandy soils 


DON’T PLANT

 

a garden escapee! 



Rose Pelargonium (Pelargonium capitatum) 

Origin: South Africa

Flowers: Pink, purple and white, from August to December

Reproduces via: Seed (long lasting), root fragments

Escapes via: Wind dispersal, soil and water movement

Common Lantana (Lantana camara) 

Origin: Central and South America 

Flowers: Cream-yellow, pink-purple or orange-red, from January to March or 

June to September  

Reproduces via: Seed and root suckers

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate plantings),  

animals (including birds), water movement

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) 

Origin: United States of 

America

Flowers: Yellow   



Reproduces via: Seed

Escapes via: Animals (by ingestion), humans  

Veld Daisy (Dimorphotheca ecklonis) 

Origin: South 

Africa

Flowers: White-blue or purple, from October to February



Reproduces via: Seed and root suckers  

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate 

plantings)

Milkwort (Polygala myrtifolia) 

Origin: South Africa

Flowers: White and Purple, from August to October or December   

Reproduces via: Seed  

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate 

plantings), birds, ants, soil and water movement

Small to medium shrubs 



GROW ME 

instead


11

Cushion Bush (Leucophyta brownii)

Form: Upright dense shrub, to 1 m high. Grey leaves

Flowers: Yellow, from December to February 

Soil: Sandy soil, sand over limestone and  

brown sandy clay.  Prefers alkaline coastal sand

Coastal Daisy (Olearia axillaris)

Form: Upright, multi branched shrub, from 0.5 m to 3 m 

high. Grey leaves  

Flowers: Small white-cream-yellow, from November to July  

Soil: Sandy soils including red sand and loam. 

Prefers alkaline coastal sand 

Coast Angianthus (Angianthus cunninghamii)

Form: Multi-branched bushy shrub, from 0.2 m to 0.5 m high. Grey leaves  

Flowers: Globular and yellow, from February to August, or November to 

December   

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers alkaline coastal sand

Cockies Tongues (Templetonia retusa)

Form: Multi-branched shrub, from 0.3 m to 4 m high  

Flowers: Usually vibrant red, rarely red-white or yellow, 

produced profusely in June 

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers  

rich alkaline coastal soils 

Coastal Thryptomene (Thryptomene baeckeacea) (prostrate form)

Form: Spreading shrub, from 0.2 m to 1.2 m high, and up to 2 m wide 

Flowers: Pink or purple-white, from May to October

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers alkaline coastal sand


GROW ME 

instead


Melaleuca systena

Form: Erect to spreading shrub, from 0.5 m to 2 m high 

Flowers: Yellow-cream, from February to March, or August to December 

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers alkaline coastal sand

Dysentery Bush (Alyxia buxifolia) 

Form: Upright or spreading shrub, from 1 m to 3 m high

Flowers: Small frangipani-like white-cream or cream-

orange, for most of the year. Fruits are orange berries

Soil: A variety of soils including  

alkaline coastal sand 

Dune Moses (Acacia lasiocarpa)

Form: Low lying shrub, from 0.15 m to 2 m high 

Flowers: Yellow, from May to October 

Soil: Variety of soils, including alkaline 

coastal sand

Melaleuca campanae

Form: Open shrub, up to 1 m high

Flowers: Deep pink-mauve, during November 

Soil: Dry yellow sand over limestone 

Geraldton Rose (Diplolaena grandiflora)  - North NAR only

Form: Upright spreading shrub, from 0.5 m to 3 m high 

Flowers: Pink-red, from May to October 

Soil: Alkaline coastal sand

Small to medium shrubs 


13

GROW ME 


instead

Yanchep Rose (Diplolaena angustifolia)  - South NAR only

Form: Upright compact or spreading shrub, from 0.3 m to 1.5 m high 

Flowers: Red-orange, from June to October 

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers alkaline coastal sand

Spoon-leafed Wattle (Acacia spathulifolia)

Form: Dense spreading shrub, from 0.5 m to 3 m high  

Flowers: Bright yellow, from June to October   

Soil: White, grey, yellow or red sand including coastal 

limestone

Red Berry Saltbush (Rhagodia preissii subsp. obovata)

Form: Shrub, from 0.5 m to 2 m high 

Flowers: Small, green-yellow, from May to August, followed by red berry fruits  

Soil: Sandy soils. Prefers alkaline coastal sand 



Westringia dampieri   

Form: Dense shrub, from 0.2 m to 1.5 m high 

Flowers: White, from June to January 

Soil: Sandy, alkaline coastal soils  

Thick-leaved Fan Flower (Scaevola crassifolia)

Form: Erect, spreading and dense shrub, from 0.1 m to 1.5 m high. Leathery 

green leaves

Flowers: Blue-purple or white, from July to February 

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers alkaline coastal sand


DON’T PLANT

 

a garden escapee! 



Gazania (Gazania sp.)  

Origin: South America

Flowers: Yellow to orange, for most of the year

Reproduces via: Seed and vegetatively

Escapes: Water movement, humans (garden refuse, deliberate 

plantings, mowing)

Succulents 

Origin: Africa, Mediterranean countries

Flowers: Various  

Reproduces via: Most species spread vegetatively, 

some set seed

Escapes: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate 

plantings), wind dispersal

Perennial sea lavender / Statice (Limonium sinuatum)

Origin: Europe, western Asia and northern Africa

Flowers: Purple-white or yellow, from September to May

Reproduces via: Seed

Escapes: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate plantings, mowing / grading)

Golden crownbeard (Verbesina encelioides) 

Origin: United States of America and Mexico

Flowers: Yellow

Reproduces via: Seed

Escapes: Wind dispersal, humans and animals 

(adhesion)

Ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) 

Origin: South Africa and Mediterranean countries

Flowers: White, from September to February

Reproduces via: Seed

Escapes: Animals (by ingestion), water movement and wind dispersal

Ground covers and herbs



GROW ME 

instead


15

Blueberry Lilly (Dianella revoluta)

Form: Small clumping herb, from 0.3 m to 1.5 m high

Flowers: Varies from blue to purple to violet, from August to April 

Soil: A variety of soils, including sandy soils

Coastal Pigface (Carpobrotus virescens)

Form: Succulent herb, from 0.1 m to 0.3 m high, and from 0.5 m 

to 3 m wide 

Flowers: Bright pink with yellow centres, from June to January 

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers  

alkaline coastal sand

Tar or Emu Bush (Eremophila glabra)

Form: Sprawling shrub, from 0.1 m to 3 m high. Leaves may be grey or green 

Flowers: Vary from green, yellow, orange, red or brown, from March to 

December 

Soil: Sandy to clay soils and sometimes saline 

Coast Bone Fruit (Threlkeldia diffusa)

Form: Multi- branched, spreading to erect,  

succulent herb, from 0.1 m to 1 m high 

Flowers: Green, from October to November 

Soil: Sand, sand over  

limestone and clay 

Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa)

Form: Sprawling to erect ground cover, from 0.1 m to 0.6 m high

Flowers: Small, white, from May to September. Produces red fruits 

Soil: Variety of soils, often saline



DON’T PLANT

 

a garden escapee! 



Buffalo Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) 

Origin: Africa, North and South 

America

Flowers: November to March  



Reproduces via: Vegetatively, sometimes seed  

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse), soil and water movement,  

vegetative spread, livestock faeces

Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) 

Origin: East Asia

Flowers: December to February

Reproduces via: Vegetatively (lawn clippings)

Escapes via: Soil and water movement, humans  

(garden refuse), vegetative spread from properties

Fountain Grass (Cenchrus setaceus) 

Origin: East Africa and Middle East

Flowers: August to February   

Reproduces via: Seed

Escapes via: Wind dispersal, water movement, humans (clothing, garden 

refuse, deliberate plantings)

Couch Grass (Cynodon dactylon) 

Origin: Tropics world-wide

Flowers: December to February   

Reproduces via: Seed in summer, also spreads 

vegetatively (including lawn clippings)  

Escapes via: Water movement, humans (garden 

refuse)


Walkaway Burr (Cenchrus echinatus) 

Origin: South America, southern North 

America

Flowers: January to August  



Reproduces via: Seed 

Escapes via: Wind dispoersal, animals grazing, humans (clothing),  

soil and water movement

Grasses and Sedges



GROW ME 

instead


17

Coastal Spinifex (Spinifex longifolius)

Form: Tussock-forming grass, from 0.3 m to 1 m high, and 2 m wide

Flowers:  Green-brown, from April to January. Male and  

female plants grow separately 

Soil: Sandy soils. Prefers white sand  

and alkaline coastal sand

Knotted Club-rush (Ficinia nodosa)

Form: Erect evergreen clumping plant, to 1 m high,  

and 0.8 m wide 

Flowers: Brown and cream, from October to January

Soil: Alkaline coastal sand  

and sandy clay

Lomandra maritima

Form: Sedge-like plant, from 0.2 m to 0.6 m high, and clumps to 0.2 m wide

Flowers: Purple and yellow, from August to November. Male and Female 

plants grow separately 

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers alkaline coastal sand

Coast Sword-sedge (Lepidosperma gladiatum)

Form: Tufted grass-like sedge, from 0.5 m to 1.5 m high, 

and clumps to 1.5 m wide. Flat long leaves   

Flowers: Brown, from November to May 

Soil: Sandy soil. Prefers alkaline  

coastal sand and loam

Coastal Poa (Poa poiformis)

Form: Tussock-forming grass, 0.15 m to 0.9 m high with thin leaves

Flowers: Green to brown-yellow, from October to November 

Soil: Sandy soils


DON’T PLANT

 

a garden escapee! 



Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) 

Origin: South Africa

Flowers: White, from August to September

Reproduces via: Primarily seed, occasionally rhizomes/tubers. Germinates March 

to December  

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate plantings,  

machinery), animals, soil and water movement

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) 

Origin: South America

Flowers: Yellow, orange or red, from August to October

Reproduces via: Seed

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate 

plantings), wind dispersal and water movement

Coastal Morning Glory (Ipomoea cairica)

Origin: India, tropical Africa

Flowers: Purple, from February to December

Reproduces via: Seed and vegetatively

Escapes via: Humans (garden refuse, deliberate  

plantings), wind dispersal and water movement

Siratro  or Purple Bean (Macroptilium atropurpureum) 

Origin: Tropical America

Flowers: Purple-black, pea-shaped, from March to November

Reproduces via: Seed and vegetatively

Escapes via: Humans, (garden refuse, deliberate plantings, machinery), 

animals, soil and water movement

Climbers


GROW ME 

instead


Native Grape (Clematicissus angustissima) 

Form: Scrambling or twining herb or climber, up to 3 m high

Flowers: Green, white-cream or yellow, from January to May. Ripe 

fruits are purple and grape-like 

Soil: Sandy and clay soils

Native Yam (Dioscorea hastifolia)

Form: Tuberous climber, up to 3 m high 

Flowers: Vibrant yellow, April to July. Produces a four winged edible fruit

Soil: Sandy soils 

Old Man’s Beard (Clematis linearifolia) 

Form: Climber

Flowers: Delicate white-cream, from July to October, followed by long 

hair-like strands

Soil: Coastal limey soils

Climbing Mulla Mulla  (Ptilotus divaricatus)

Form: Flat to scrambling shrub, from 0.3 m to 1.5 m 

high 

Flowers: White-cream or pink-purple, from September 



to December 

Soil: Sandy soil 

Native Wisteria (Hardenbergia comptoniana)

Form: Twining shrub or climber, can be trained as a screen 

on trellises, walls or fences, or as a ground cover  

Flowers: Stunning purple-blue, from July to October

Soil: Sandy soil 

19


 

Not all nurseries stock local native plants. Ask your local nursery for plants 

of local provenance, meaning that they have been grown from seed or 

cuttings collected from the local area. These plants have adapted to local 

conditions and are the best plants for your garden.

You can search for nurseries that stock native plants online or in your local 

business directory. Some nurseries that stock native plants suitable for the 

NAR include:

  Lullfitz Nursery, Wanneroo - www.lullfitz.com.au 

  Jurien Coastal Nursery, Jurien Bay

  Muchea Tree Farm, Muchea - www.mucheatreefarm.com.au

  Salmon Gums Community Nursery, C.Y. O’Connor Institute, Moora

  Mooreview Plants and Trees, Walkaway

  City of Greater Geraldton Community Nursery, Waggrakine -        

www.cgg.wa.gov.au/live/my-environment/community-nursery.aspx

  The Drylands Permaculture Farm, Waggrakine www.drylands.org.au

You may be able to place orders in advance during late spring to early 

summer. Advance orders are recommended if you need larger quantities of 

plants or would like to ensure the species you want are available.  

Sourcing local coastal native plants



21

 

This section provides you with a process for planning and designing your 



garden. Every garden is unique - making planning essential for ensuring 

success. If you already have an established garden and want to include 

some local natives, you might prefer to skip this section and go to 

‘Growing local coastal plants’ page 30.

It is important to remember that native plants have evolved to suit their 

natural environment, whereas your backyard is likely to have been changed 

by clearing, the introduction of foreign soils, building materials, exotic plant 

species, and water supplied via reticulated systems. 

The combination of natural and modified features needs to be considered 

in order to provide the best environment for your new plants.  It is also 

important to consider what may be buried in your front or back yard 

before you start digging.  Make sure you contact ‘Dial Before You Dig’ 

on phone number 1100 or website www.1100.com.au, to identify where 

underground services are located.

Designing your native garden

21


 

DESCRIPTION AND EXAMPLES

  Outline your property boundary;

  Note power, water, telephone and gas lines;

  Note existing trees, paths and structures (house, shed, etc.).

  Identify plants, fences and buildings that are creating shelter on your 

site.

  Identify the direction of North and mark it on your plan.



  Most suburban properties are relatively flat, however, if your site is on a 

slope it is important to note this on your site plan;

  The slope of your property will help to identify wetter and drier areas. 

These will be important for plant selection; 

  A good way to represent slope is with contour lines. Accurate contours 

may require the use of survey equipment.

  The soil on your property may include native soils, imported building 

sands, and gardening soils;

  Identify if your soil is sand, clay or loam (or a combination);

  Soils vary in their level of acidity. This is measured in pH, which can be 

determined by purchasing a simple test kit, available at most garden 

and hardware stores;

  If the soil types and pH vary across your property, it is useful to map 

this on your plan. You can then match the right plants to the right soil 

types.

  Take note of your ground surface – is it hard or soft, light or dark 



in colour? This can affect the temperature of your garden, as some 

surfaces will absorb heat while others will reflect it. 

STEP 1:  House and garden interactions 

(site planning)

FEATURE

Existing physical 



features

Microclimate

Orientation

Slope/aspect

Soil

Ground surface



A good place to start planning is to sketch a simple site plan, which will 

provide a visual account of your site’s features. The table below outlines 

a number of key factors that should be considered during the planning 

phase.


23

STEP 1:  House and garden interactions 

(site planning)

Wind


 

DESCRIPTION AND EXAMPLES

  Determine how exposed your site is to strong winds, noting where 

solid buildings and fences may increase wind speeds and its damaging 

effect, and where these physical barriers may provide wind protection;

  Some local native plants will have adapted to survive in strong 

winds, while others may require shelter. You may need to consider 

establishing windbreaks for protection.

  Note on your plan where your site receives sunlight throughout the 

day, its intensity, and how this changes seasonally;

  This will help you determine the best location for different plants. It will 

also allow you to select plants to provide shade for certain areas of your 

house and garden;

  Buildings have a major effect on the microclimate of your property. 

Your house is likely to create a warm sunny area facing north, and a 

cool shady area on the south;

  Note that in summer the south side of the house is exposed to sunlight 

during the early morning and late afternoon, but is usually shaded in 

the middle of the day.

  Land around a suburban house may be open to views from the street 

and surrounding houses. Plants can be used to create strategic screens 

to separate private and public areas.

  Be sure to consider the volume and type of traffic (for example, cars or 

pedestrians) that will pass 

 

through, or close to, your 



 garden.

FEATURE


Light/shade

Views


Traffic

23


 

STEP 1:  House and garden interactions 

(Site analysis)


25

 

STEP 1:  House and garden interactions 



(Site analysis)

25

NORTH



 

Now that you’ve sketched the features of your property you can start to 

think about what you would like to add, remove, or change. Develop a 

list of your ideas. Be specific and include anything that will be required to 

make it happen, from plant species to new fencing.

STEP 2:  Concept planning 

(exploring your ideas)


27

 

Having considered all the factors that will affect your new plants, they 



will have a much better chance of survival. You may also wish to seek 

professional advice - horticulturalists, landscape designers and landscape 

architects have a wealth of experience in garden design. Check local 

business directories for professionals in your area. 

STEP 2:  Concept planning 

(exploring your ideas)

Landscape and planting design

27

NORTH



 

The final design

Curved design

Angular design



29

The final design

Icons

 

  Chenille Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca huegelii) 



 Illyarrie (Eucalyptus erythrocorys)

  Rottnest Island Tea Tree (Melaleuca lanceolata) 

  Coastal Banksia (Banksia attenuata)

  Coastal Daisy (Olearia axillaris)

  Coastal Thryptomene (Thryptomene baeckeacea)

  Cockies Tongues (Templetonia retusa)

  Geraldton Rose (Diplolaena grandiflora)

  Spoon leaved Wattle (Acacia spathulifolia)

  Coastal Thryptomene (Thryptomene baeckeacea) (prostrate form)

  Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa) 

  Coastal Pigface (Carpobrotus virescens)

  Blueberry Lilly (Dianella revoluta)

  Knotted Club-rush (Ficinia nodosa)

  Lomandra maritima 

  Coastal Spinifex (Spinifex longifolius)

  Old Man’s Beard (Clematis linearifolia)

Trees and tall 

shrubs


Small - Medium 

shrubs


Ground covers  

and herbs  

Grasses and 

sedges 


Climbers

Lawn


Mulch

Gravel,  

rock mulch

Concrete,  

paving

29


 

The best time for planting is after the first winter rains, when the soil is 

still warm.  The warmth encourages root growth and gives plants time to 

establish before cold winter nights arrive.  

Keep an eye on your new plants throughout their first summer.  They may 

need an occasional deep watering, however try not to water more than 

once a week.  After their first summer they should be able to cope on their 

own or with very little water.  

Your aim is to establish strong, deep root systems that are water-efficient 

and drought tolerant. Over-watering will leach nutrients from the soil and 

encourage excessive growth, reducing flowers, along with the life of the 

plant.  Be mindful of current water restrictions and prescribed watering 

times.

A layer of coarse mulch added to your garden can reduce evaporative 



water loss by more than 70 per cent.  Organic mulch stabilises soil 

temperatures, which benefits root density, prevents weed growth and 

helps to promote good soil structure and productivity.

Apply 5 cm to 10 cm of mulch or gravel, creating a bowl shape around the 

plant to help retain water.  To avoid plant disease, mulch should be kept 

away from plant stems.

Growing local coastal native plants

When to plant

Watering

Mulch and 

gravels


31

Fertilisers are not generally needed for growing local native plants, and 

many are sensitive to the phosphorus found in most fertilisers.  The addition 

of organic mulch to the soil will often provide all the nutirents native plants 

require. If you do decide to fertilise, read the fertiliser package and ensure 

you select a slow release fertiliser suitable for native plants. Encouraging 

rapid growth should be avoided, as this will result in ‘leggy’ plants which 

are weak and short-lived. 

Local native plants benefit from a light pruning after flowering. 

Potted plants generally require a little more care than those planted into 

garden beds.  It is advisable to allow plants to become dormant in summer, 

as they would normally, so keep watering to a minimum.  Keep in mind also 

that some plants may need re-potting periodically, to prevent them from 

become root bound.

You can help your local environment by using sustainable and locally 

sourced materials and avoiding materials taken from natural systems such as 

moss rocks, river stones, fallen logs and red gum mulch.

Fertilising

Pruning

Potted plants



Sustainable 

landscaping

31


 

The following local native plants suit a variety of landscaping styles and can 

also be incorporated into your native garden.  For more information on 

these plants see ‘Useful resources’ on page 34.



Zygophyllum fruticulosum

Mesomelaena pseudostygia

Lomandra micrantha

Grey Saltbush (Atriplex cinerea)



Diplopeltis huegelii

Prickle Lily (Acanthocarpus preissii)

Running Postman or Scarlet Runner (Kennedia prostrata)

Scaevola thesioides

Striate-fruit Scaevola (Scaevola porocarya)

Other local native plants

Climbers


Grasses and  

sedges


Ground covers  

and herbs



Berry Saltbush (Rhagodia baccata) south NAR only

Fringe Myrtle (Calytrix fraseri)

Coast Saltbush (Atriplex isatidea)

Scaevola globulifera

Scholtzia umbellifera

Grey Saltbush (Atriplex cinerea)



Hibbertia spicata 

Fremantle Mallee (Eucalyptus foecunda) south NAR only

Native Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii)

Summer-scented Wattle (Acacia rostellifera)

Basket Bush (Spyridium globulosum)

Pebble Bush (Stylobasium spathulatum)

Rottnest Island Pine (Callitris preissii)

Weeping Pittosporum (Pittosporum phylliraeoides)

Small and  

medium shrubs

Trees and tall 

shrubs


33

Useful resources

  In the Garden – www.watercorporation.com.au

  Dial Before You Dig – www.1100.com.au

  Florabase -  https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/ 

  Sustainable Gardening Australia - www.sgaonline.org.au

  The Wildflower Society of Western Australia -  

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~wildflowers/

  Weeds or Wildflowers - www.environmentalweedsactionnetwork.org.au 

  Your local government’s website

  Northern Agricultural Catchments Council - www.nacc.com.au 

  NARvis (Northern Agricultural Region Vision) - www.narvis.com.au

  Coastal Gardens: A Planting Guide, Rural Solutions SA and AMLR NRM 

Board.

  Coastal Plants, Rippey, E. and Rowland, B., (1995).



  Coastal Plant Pocket Guide NAR WA, Northern Agricultural Catchments 

Council (2010).

  Creating a Water Wise Coastal Garden, Water Corporation (2011).

  Western Weeds: Second Edition, Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., 

Lloyd, S.G. and Cousens, R.D. (1997).

Online

Books 


Acknowledgements

The Northern Agricultural Catchments Council thanks the following 

contributors for their assistance and generous support in producing this 

Planting Guide:

Claire Lock, Rural Solutions SA; Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural 

Resources Management Board; The Geraldton Regional Herbarium;

WA Country Builders (Geraldton); Images and descriptions used with the 

permission of the Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Parks and 

Wildlife (https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/help/copyright); Additional Photos: 

Lex Bailey, Jenny Borger, Tony Brooker, Jenna Brooker, Mike Clarke, Chiara 

Danese, Ann Gunness, Tanith Mortimore, Robyn Nicholas, Riki Porteus, 

Natalie, Ken C. Richardson, Una Bell and Steve Vallance.

Project Team: Stephen Vigilante, Jason Sampson, Stephen Poole, Jenna 

Brooker, Tanith Mortimore (NACC), Ashley Robb (NACC), Wendy Payne 

(NACC). 


The Northern Agricultural Catchments Council acknowledges the funding 

support from the Australian Government in the preparation of this 

publication. NACC is the regional natural resource management body for the 

Northern Agricultural Region of Western Australia.

Production Date: March 2012

Revised Date: September 2015

35


This project is supported 

through funding from the 



Australian Government


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