Gardening expert reveals how you can get the most out of your backyard while in isolation

A TV presenter and gardening expert has shared an incredibly low-maintenance backyard makeover, and detailed exactly how you can landscape your own while in isolation. 

Northcote Pottery ambassador Melissa King recently renovated first-time mum Natasha’s garden in Camberwell, Victoria, to suit her specific needs, as the new parent lives with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a condition that restricts her movement. 

‘Outdoor areas don’t have to be time taxing to be beautiful and enjoyable. There are a lot of ways to keep a backyard simple without compromising on style,’ Ms King told FEMAIL.  

In the beginning there were old pavers and an older fence
Now there are beautiful new sand-coloured pavers and shrubs
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Northcote Pottery ambassador Melissa King recently renovated first-time mum Natasha’s garden in Camberwell, Victoria, to suit her specific needs (before and after pictured)

Gardening expert Melissa King (pictured)

Gardening expert Melissa King (pictured)

Gardening expert Melissa King (pictured)

BUY LIGHT COLOURED POTS 

A major challenge for Australian gardeners is combating our hot and dry climate. 

Choosing the proper pots can actually save considerably effort, time and toil.

Light coloured garden pots better deflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption, so they don’t dry out or warm up as quickly, meaning less water is required. Go for decorative pots in neutral colours, such as shades of white, sandy beige or washed grey.

In Natasha’s garden, Ms King used Northcote Pottery Precinct Lite Terrazzo Egg Pots in white. These sturdy, lightweight, fibreclay designs are easy to manoeuvre and add a contemporary touch that proves both practical and elegant.

ADD WATER STORING CRYSTALS TO POTS  

In addition to light coloured pots, adding water storing crystals prior to potting can significantly lessen the need for regular watering. 

These crystals will absorb and retain moisture, then gradually release water to the plants as needed.

Ms King recommends applying a wetting agent to the potting mix to ensure that water can soak deep into the root zone where it’s most needed.

With these easy supplements you’ll use less time and fewer resources, having your water work for you.

In addition to light coloured pots, adding water storing crystals prior to potting can significantly lessen the need for regular watering

In addition to light coloured pots, adding water storing crystals prior to potting can significantly lessen the need for regular watering

In addition to light coloured pots, adding water storing crystals prior to potting can significantly lessen the need for regular watering

OPT FOR AN OUTDOOR PATIO OVER A LAWN  

Lawns are beautiful, but they require work to maintain. Limiting your amount of lawn cuts back on labour requirements, and can offer even more ways to enjoy your garden.

Ms King lessened Natasha’s lawn by installing an outdoor patio, laid with Tuscan Path’s Porcelain Pavers in the shade sand, which are specially engineered for durability and easy maintenance. 

The pavers’ non-porous material doesn’t require sealing, has a stain resistant surface and high anti-slip rating.

Adding pavers not only reduced maintenance needs, but also transformed Natasha’s backyard use. Her family now has an alfresco space to socialise and enjoy their garden.

In other areas, Ms King replaced the existing turf with Sir Walter Buffalo Grass. This grass variety is durable, hard wearing and dry-tolerant, so Natasha still has a lawn area for her child to play on.

BEFORE: Lawns can look beautiful but they require a lot of work each week

BEFORE: Lawns can look beautiful but they require a lot of work each week

BEFORE: Lawns can look beautiful but they require a lot of work each week

AFTER: Ms King lessened Natasha's lawn by installing an outdoor patio, laid with Tuscan Path's Porcelain Pavers in the shade sand, which are specially engineered for durability and easy maintenance

AFTER: Ms King lessened Natasha's lawn by installing an outdoor patio, laid with Tuscan Path's Porcelain Pavers in the shade sand, which are specially engineered for durability and easy maintenance

AFTER: Ms King lessened Natasha’s lawn by installing an outdoor patio, laid with Tuscan Path’s Porcelain Pavers in the shade sand, which are specially engineered for durability and easy maintenance

CREATE A FEATURE 

Garden features, such as fire pits, add a creative and functional element with minimal upkeep.

Ms King recommends free-standing pits for ease of installation and operation. 

She chose GLOW Outdoor Heating Aurora Fire Pit for Natasha’s garden. The oxidised steel bowl and base make it exceptionally durable and easy to clean. Requiring only kindling and a spark to light, Aurora’s modern, geometric design provides a simply striking focal point in the garden.

Garden features, such as fire pits, add a creative and functional element with minimal upkeep

Garden features, such as fire pits, add a creative and functional element with minimal upkeep

Garden features, such as fire pits, add a creative and functional element with minimal upkeep

Ms King installed a decorative screen

Ms King installed a decorative screen

Ms King installed a decorative screen

OPT FOR A SCREEN  

Ms King installed decorative garden screens to hide unsightly views while providing privacy and embellishment to this garden sanctuary. 

Screens offer a low-effort and low-cost alternative to re-modelling or adding shrubbery. 

For additional style points, Ms King used Tuscan Path’s Geo Screen Panel

These panels are designed with exquisitely patterned cut-outs in hard weathering steel to provide a sense of rustic but refined artistry. 

USE A RANGE OF POT SIZES  

Ms King’s easy formula for a smartly styled garden is to use a variety of pots from the same set. 

An effortlessly chic look is achieved by using a range of sizes and shapes in matching materials and colours.

In Natasha’s garden, Ms King employed Precinct Lite Terrazzo in trough, cylinder, bowl and moon shapes to accommodate an array of vegetation (ranging from vines to succulents), while creating a cohesive aesthetic.

Ms King's easy formula for a smartly styled garden is to use a variety of pots from the same set

Ms King's easy formula for a smartly styled garden is to use a variety of pots from the same set

Ms King’s easy formula for a smartly styled garden is to use a variety of pots from the same set

USE PEBBLES SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEED  

To give the garden a fresh, sophisticated look, Ms King implemented a landscaper’s low-maintenance go-to – decorative pebbles and clean edging. 

Tuscan Path 20KG Snow White Crush pebbles were used as an accent to enhance the patio’s porcelain pavers and to help combat weeds, so they are both decorative and practical.

They were placed around the edges of the garden shrubs and looked emboldened next to the green of the plants.

To give the garden a fresh, sophisticated look, Ms King implemented a landscaper's low-maintenance go-to - decorative pebbles and clean edging

To give the garden a fresh, sophisticated look, Ms King implemented a landscaper's low-maintenance go-to - decorative pebbles and clean edging

To give the garden a fresh, sophisticated look, Ms King implemented a landscaper’s low-maintenance go-to – decorative pebbles and clean edging

PLANT YOUR TREES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR NEEDS  

For a low-maintenance garden, it’s vital to choose the right plants for the right space. 

Ms King positioned easy-to-care-for hardy shade lovers – such as Heucheras, Nandinas and Lamiums – in shadowy nooks. 

She balanced them with sunlight loving succulents in bright areas.

For splashes of colour, robust beauties such as Leucospermums and shrubs with brightly hued foliage, including Japanese Maples and Cercis, were planted in oversized pots. 

Leucospermums bloom with stunning spring flowers, while Japanese Maples become lovely sunset shades in the autumn. Cercis is the perfect choice for a small garden, as they provide summer shade, colours of autumn foliage, and spectacular spring flowers.

For a low-maintenance garden, it's vital to choose the right plants for the right space

For a low-maintenance garden, it's vital to choose the right plants for the right space

For a low-maintenance garden, it’s vital to choose the right plants for the right space

On the edges of the property, Ms King planted Pyrus ‘Capital’ ornamental pears, which grow tall and narrow and have dense foliage, to help block out neighbours.

 Pyrus are hardy, fast growing, and disease resistant, with the benefit of spring flowers and vibrant autumn foliage tones.

Low-maintenance design ultimately means more time for you to relax and enjoy your garden. 

With smart potting, the right plants, durable furnishings and special outdoor décor, you can create an easy to care for space that provides all the benefits of a beautiful backyard.

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