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Aussie Green Thumb – Top Gardening Tips For Everyday People

Finding Space for your Dream Garden; Lessons from Burkes Backyard Magazine

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One of the greatest issues facing modern gardeners is space. With ever diminishing Block sizes, large gardens are making way for simple, courtyard gardens or smaller gardens in unique places around the family home. This raises the question of ‘what is the future of the Australian home garden?’ Burke’s Backyard perhaps has an answer.

The trend in the real estate around Australia currently is to buy a large block with a relatively front centred house and sub-divide or extend from the rear of the house to add rooms, leaving very little space out the back and more space for a garden in the front yard. It looks highly likely that in coming years the front yard will make a return to prevalence, and skill will be required to shape gardens which look good to the outside eye, while also providing privacy and functionality for the family unit.

In the November edition of Burke’s Backyard magazine, they feature an article titled ‘Pandora’s Box’. This tells the story of one Melbourne couple who faced the problem of a limited backyard and turned it to their advantage, crafting a functional, modern, elegant garden in their front yard which both maintained their privacy but created a stunning picture for passersby.

The article tells the story of a young couple who extended their house to gain space, but in the meantime, lost large chunks of their backyard garden. Rather than giving up on gardening, they decided to utilise their biggest outdoor space, their front yard, to their advantage.

What I love about the article is that it clearly explains how they went about crafting an actual living space in their front garden. Most Australians I come across today want a nice front garden so that as people go by, they don’t frown upon the house. The concept of actually using it as a living space is relatively new. This couples garden not only provides space for their children to play in safely, but looks good and has area’s for them to relax and unwind.

The style of the article is that of an inspirational piece, aimed at getting the reader to consider the possibilities of their own gardening space. The article almost seems to suggest the old adage is true, ‘every problem is merely an opportunity in disguise’. Who would have thought the humble front yard could become a three tiered extravaganza, and yet, that is exactly what this young Melbourne couple has done. From reading this article, I am already inspired to make better use of the area in front of my house, given I too live in unit built at the back of a subdivided block. A simple potted alcove garden would work well as both a relaxing station and also a beautiful first impression for any visitors.

This is what I love most about gardening magazines, they fill you with idea’s about what you can do in your garden. Though sometimes they may seem grandiose in scale, most of the ideas can be boiled down to their very essence and applied to even the smallest of gardening spaces. Reading various articles from professional and everyday gardeners helps me to dream more about how I can best grow my garden.

The future of the Australian garden is in good hands as long as we gardeners continue to dream and adapt to the changing landscape. Whether or not the front garden really takes off, the moral of this article is that you sometimes just have to think outside the box and try something a little different to truly make your gardening space work.

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