Create an ecofriendly outdoor oasis
With an average of more than 300 days of sunshine annually, the Townsville’s lifestyle lends itself to indoor-outdoor living all year round. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ or setting up outdoor movies under the stars for the kids, it’s time to make the most of your outdoor space.
Want to leave your visitors green with envy? We’ve spoken with Lendlease Regional Sustainability Manager Karen Greaves and State Urban Design Manager Sue Dewer on ways to transform your backyard into an eco-friendly outdoor oasis, with big biodiversity benefits.
“There are many amazing lifestyle benefits to creating a sustainable garden that encourages local habitats to thrive as well as enhancing your overall health and wellness,” said Karen.
“Due to the North Queensland climate, a great way to enhance your outdoor environment and improve your liveability is to plant gardens. Planting gardens rather than just using just hard materials in the landscape can help keep your home cooler. Trees and shrubs in the garden can provide shade to walls and windows and keep out the hot summer sun.
“Planting native plants for the Townsville climate has big biodiversity benefits, attracting birds, bees and insects."
Here’s our top picks for the best fauna attracting plants:
To attract honeyeaters:
- Banksia aquilona
- Callistemon species
- Melaleauca species
- Xanthostemon chrysanthus
To attract fruit eating birds:
- Acmena hemilampra
- Chionanthus ramiflora
- Cupaniopsis anacardioides
- Diospyros eminate
- Drypetes deplanchei
- Euroschinus falcata
- Ficus species (Native figs)
- Flacourtia sp. ‘Cooktown’
“When designing an eco-friendly outdoor area, you should consider a water-efficient garden through the plant species you choose and by installing a water efficient irrigation system,” said Karen.
“You can improve your garden’s water efficiency by mulching and by adding organic matter. Planting drought-tolerant plants and hardy shrubs will save you money on your water bill."
When planning your landscape and irrigation system, you should consider the following elements:
- Proximity to house and other hard surfaces
- Soil type
- SlopeRoot depth
- Plant material
- Weather conditions
- Water source (quantity, quality and pressure)
For more guidance on planning your water friendly garden, click here.
Design your entertaining areas with the Townsville climate in mind
The warm north Queensland climate and cool sea-breezes has made outdoor living fundamental to the Townsville lifestyle. Creating a cool, comfortable and useable outdoor oasis will allow you to maximise your time outdoors every day.
When creating your outdoor entertaining area consider the best location to face the prevailing breezes, ideally these are areas that are less affected by the low-angled sun in the hot afternoons. Our Townsville sun can have a bite to it, so make sure these living areas are shaded to maximise their usability. This can be achieved through building an outdoor roof, installing shade sails, planting trees or building a climber-covered slatted pergola.
Lendlease State Urban Design Manager Sue Dewar said there are many short and long-term benefits for creating an eco-friendly outdoor space.
“The short- term benefits of sustainable and eco-friendly environments are a more pleasant physical experience with lower temperatures as the result of shade and reduced reflectivity, flowers and vegetation that support native wildlife, food to eat - fresh, organically-grown fruits, berries and vegetables and reduced waste,” she said.
"One of my top tips for creating a sustainable outdoor oasis is good soil. Without good soil you will never have a great garden, so it is best to get this right first up. Your plants success depends on this. You can improve the quality of you soil by; adding compost (I have a worm farm that composts our vegetable waste which is then added to the garden).
“Using organic mulch which balances soil temperatures and can reduce water evaporation rates by as much as 75%, as well as providing your garden with valuable nutrients to help your plants flourish. Conduct a soil test every few years to determine what additional nutrients are needed to promote plant growth and production.”
Ready to live the green dream and create your own eco-friendly garden in Elliot Springs? We’ve made the process easy for you – simply follow these tips!
- Design your garden so that you are attracting local wildlife.
- Build with green materials. Natural brick, stone and pavers are ideal for walkways and allow rainfall to fall and stay where intended. Consider reclaimed timber or recycled wood when building an outdoor deck.
- Save on your power bill by installing solar powered lighting throughout the garden.
- Where possible, use low-maintenance and low-water grass alternatives like bark, wood chips, mulch and gravel. All are great eco-friendly ground covers.
- Create your own nutrient-rich soil using homemade compost. Collect your food scraps and organic materials from the garden and you will create your very own healthy fertiliser.
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