A Practical Waterwise Gardening Guide for Perth Gardeners 

A Practical Waterwise Gardening Guide for Perth Gardeners 

We all know that here in Perth, water is an especially precious resource.  

As gardeners, and for all our clients who love their gardens, it’s essential for us to create and maintain beautiful gardens while being mindful of water conservation and doing what we can to make our gardens as waterwise as possible.  

By using waterwise practices, we can significantly reduce water usage without compromising the health and care of our plants, gardens and lawns. In this blog, we’ll share some of our top tips for maintaining a waterwise garden in Perth, focusing on methods that help retain moisture, minimize evaporation, and maximize the efficiency of watering. 

Because we all want our gardens, and Perth, to stay healthy, green and beautiful – it’s up to all of us to do our part! 

There are of course, two aspects to a truly waterwise garden; one is creating a waterwise garden from the beginning, for a design, plant choices and reticulation system that will provide the best waterwise result. The second aspect, which is where we can help, is how to approach the ongoing maintenance and care of your existing garden in a waterwise way. 

To design and create a waterwise garden from scratch, you’ll need to talk to a Perth landscaping company like our sister company at Perth Landscaping Experts to carry out your project! 

Here are our care and maintenance tips for Waterwise Gardening 

1. Choose Waterwise Plants  

green branches with fresh water drop

Even the most established garden will always need some replanting or additional planting along the way. When you replace or add plants to your garden, make sure that you are choosing plants that are native or adapted, as well as right for the location so they will require as little water as possible. These plants have evolved to thrive in hot and dry conditions, requiring less water once established. Incorporate or make the switch to drought-tolerant species such as kangaroo paw, lavender, grevillea, and rosemary in your garden or opt for low-water grass varieties. Ask your local nursery, check out the Water Corporation’s “Waterwise Plants for Perth” database, or talk to a local landscaping company with horticulturalists on their team for help with waterwise plant selection

2. Improve Soil Health

While this is often overlooked, by investing in improving your soil’s health and structure, it can really enhance water absorption and retention and reduce runoff. Dig in organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure, promote water infiltration, and increase moisture-holding capacity. You can also regularly apply a wetting agent, especially in hot dry Perth summers, to make sure your garden can use every drop of water it gets. Healthy soil allows roots to access water more efficiently, reducing the frequency and amount of watering needed to keep your garden happy. 

Check and apply water regularly

3. Mulch Your Garden

One of the most effective and proven ways to reduce watering and increase the health of your plants and soils is the correct application of much – and maintaining it at the right level year-round. Mulch acts as a protective barrier, reducing evaporation and suppressing weed growth. It also helps regulate soil temperature and conserves moisture, allowing you to water less frequently. Maintain a mulch layer of around 3-4 inches for optimal effectiveness. We love pine bark mulch for its look, chunky style (waterwise mulches should have a coarse and irregular texture) and natural material – it’s a great choice for most plants and gardens here in Perth. 

4. Smart Watering Techniques 

If you have a garden in Perth, you know all about the need for a reticulation system and will be aware that it must be switched off over Winter and is restricted to 2 watering days the rest of the year. We fully support this initiative and don’t worry; it is still possible to keep your garden happy using waterwise gardening methods and smart watering techniques.   

These include: 

a. Watering Deeply: Instead of frequent shallow watering, water deeply during your watering times. This encourages deep root growth, making plants more resilient to drought and makes sure that it doesn’t just wet the top of the soil but get all the way to the roots.  

b. Time Your Watering: Water your garden during the early morning before 6am or late evening (but we recommend the mornings) when temperatures are cooler – never when the sun is out. This minimises evaporation and ensures more efficient water absorption by plants. 

c. Choose a Waterwise irrigation company: They will understand things like which sprinkler heads and watering durations will deliver the right amount of water to your plants in the watering times you have allocated, and know how to extend or optimise your system so the water is getting to all areas of your lawns and gardens that need them. 

d. Utilize Rainwater: Install a rainwater harvesting system to collect and store rainwater for later use in the garden. Use it for watering during drier periods or for specific plants that require extra attention. 

e. Know Your Plants. If you have an established native garden, you may not need to water it much anymore, if at all. So, if your reticulation system is currently in ‘set and forget’ mode, you might want to take another look at your garden and see how much water your plants in their current state of growth actually need. 

f. Watch your system watering. If your system is running at 6am, you might not have seen it in a while, so things like leaks, broken sprinklers that don’t pop up anymore or areas where more water might be going on your paths or driveways than your gardens!

5. Consider – Do You Really Need a Lawn?

Modern grass texture

We love a green vibrant lawn as much as anyone – but we also love making smart and waterwise garden choices. If you have a large verge area or grassed backyard, but don’t have a dog or you and your family just never use the area, maybe it’s time to consider replacing part or all of the grassy area with water-efficient alternatives like native ground covers or mulch. Turning your verge into a lush, native garden will reduce your water use dramatically, reduce the need for lawn mowing, and make it an incredibly attractive entrance to your property!  

Another option is to replant lawn areas that don’t get much sun, such as around the base of a tree, with alternatives like native ground covers or mulch. Often lawn struggles to grow in these areas anyway so this won’t just reduce your maintenance requirements and water use but can also improve the entire look of the area as it will stay green where lawn would look turn brown or unhealthy.  

At the end of the day, we all love a lawn, so for the spaces in your landscape you really must have one, go for a water-efficient species such as Saltene, Zoysia or one of the soft leafed Buffalos. 

6. Carry Out Regular Garden Maintenance

Maintaining a waterwise garden involves regular care and attention. Having a regular gardening service helps with things like: 

  • Pruning and trimming plants to make sure the sun, rain and reticulation system can get to all areas of your gardens and lawns 
  • Well-pruned plants are also more efficient in their water utilisation than overgrown ones 
  • Control weed growth so that every drop of water and nutrients are going to your plants, not to them! This also stops the weeds from blocking your sprinkler heads which can impact their area coverage 
  • Regular mulch top-ups to maintain their water retention and fill in any gaps that occur 
  • Prompt spotting of any garden health issues like dry or dead spots, reticulation leaks or water wastage 

Did you know we are a waterwise garden company? 

We are certified with the Water Corporation Waterwise Program, and so are our sister companies, so for anything garden maintenance, reticulation or landscaping, we can help or point you in the right direction!  

Ready to create and maintain a waterwise garden?  

We hope that by knowing and implementing these tips, you can enjoy a beautiful and thriving garden while significantly reducing water usage. By choosing the right plants, improving soil health, mulching effectively, utilising smart watering techniques, and practicing regular garden maintenance, you can contribute to conserving our valuable water resources while enjoying the beauty of your garden.  

For help with regular garden maintenance, just get in touch with us on 08 6263 4645 and our lovely team will be happy to help your garden thrive! 

How to Get a Greener Lawn in 10 Simple Steps

How to Get a Greener Lawn in 10 Simple Steps

A lush green lawn is a sight to behold – and the envy of every neighbour. However, it takes more than just watering and mowing to achieve that perfect green lawn. With the right care and attention, it is possible to transform even the most lacklustre lawn into a verdant oasis. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with 10 simple steps to get a greener lawn.

Step 1: Know Your Lawn

Before you start any lawn care routine, it’s essential to understand your lawn grass type. Different types of grass require different types of care. In Perth, the most common grass types are Couch, Buffalo, and Kikuyu. Understanding your lawn type will help you determine the best watering and fertilising schedule.

Step 2: Water Your Lawn Correctly

close up details of automatic lawn pop-up sprinkler

In Perth, watering your lawn is crucial. During the hot summer months, it’s important to give your lawn enough water to prevent it from drying out. However, it’s equally important not to overwater. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. As a rule of thumb, water your lawn deeply once or twice a week rather than lightly every day. Make sure to check with your local reticulation company to be sure your gardens and lawns are getting the water coverage and amount they need!

Step 3: Fertilise Your Lawn

Fertilising your lawn is essential to ensure it remains healthy and green. It’s best to fertilise your lawn in the spring and summer months, when the grass is actively growing. Choose a fertiliser that is suitable for your lawn type and avoid using too much fertiliser as it can burn your lawn.

Step 4: Mow Your Lawn Regularly

Here are some lawn mowing tips for a healthy lawn. Mowing your lawn is necessary to keep it looking neat and tidy. However, it’s important not to cut your lawn too short as this can cause stress to the grass and make it more susceptible to disease. In Perth, it’s recommended to keep your lawn between 2.5 to 4 cm in height.

Step 5: Aerate Your Lawn

Aerating your lawn is an essential step in maintaining a healthy lawn. Aerating helps to improve water and nutrient uptake, reduces soil compaction, and promotes deeper root growth. In Perth, it’s recommended to aerate your lawn in autumn or spring.

Step 6: Control Weeds

Weeds can quickly take over your lawn and cause it to look unsightly. It’s important to remove weeds regularly and use a selective herbicide to prevent them from coming back. Be careful when choosing a herbicide as some can damage your lawn. It’s important to know the best methods for weeding lawns to keep them healthy and vibrant.

Step 7: Repair Bald Patches

Bald patches in your lawn can be caused by a variety of factors, including pests, disease, and poor soil conditions. It’s important to address the underlying issue before repairing the patch. Once you’ve identified the problem, reseed the area with a grass seed suitable for your lawn type.

dead grass spot lawn

Step 8: Provide Shade

In Perth, the hot sun can quickly dry out your lawn, causing it to turn brown. Providing shade to your lawn can help prevent it from drying out. Plant trees or install a shade sail to provide your lawn with the necessary shade. A good tip is to plant ground cover instead of lawn in areas which get zero sunlight, like at the base of trees, rather than trying to keep a lawn alive without sunlight amid roots and debris.

Step 9: Remove Lawn Clippings

Leaving lawn clippings on your lawn can prevent sunlight and air from reaching the grass, causing it to turn yellow. It’s important to remove lawn clippings regularly and dispose of them correctly.

Step 10: Hire The Experts

gardener mowing front yard lawn care

Achieving a green lawn takes time and effort. By following these 10 simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to a lush, green lawn.

If you’re struggling to get your lawn looking green and lush, it’s worth seeking professional help. Our garden and lawn care experts in Perth can help you keep your lawns and gardens looking healthy and lush with our garden maintenance services in Perth.

Contact us on 08 6263 4645 today to book in a service – your lawn and garden will thank you for it!

Want more expert lawn care tips

Here are our answers to some frequently asked questions about getting a greener lawn in Perth:

Q: What type of fertiliser should I use for my lawn in Perth?

A: The type of fertiliser you use will depend on your lawn type. In general, a slow-release fertiliser with a balanced NPK ratio is suitable for most lawns in Perth. It’s best to fertilise your lawn in the spring and summer months when the grass is actively growing.

Q: Can I mow my lawn when it’s wet?

A: It’s not recommended to mow your lawn when it’s wet. Wet grass can clog up your lawn mower and make it harder to cut your lawn evenly. It’s best to wait until your lawn is dry before mowing.

Q: How can I tell if my lawn needs aeration?

A: If your lawn is looking thin or patchy, it may need aerating. You can also perform a soil compaction test by pushing a garden fork into the ground. If the fork doesn’t go in easily, it’s likely that your soil is compacted and in need of aeration.

Q: How do I repair bald patches in my lawn?

A: Bald patches in your lawn can be caused by a variety of factors, including pests, disease, and poor soil conditions. Once you’ve identified the problem, reseed the area with a grass seed suitable for your lawn type. Keep the area moist until the grass seed has germinated and established.

Q: How can I prevent weeds from growing in my lawn?

A: Regular mowing and fertilising can help prevent weeds from growing in your lawn. However, it’s also important to remove weeds regularly and use a selective herbicide to prevent them from coming back.

Q: How can I provide shade for my lawn?

A: Planting trees or installing a shade sail can provide your lawn with the necessary shade. However, it’s important not to plant trees too close to your lawn as their roots can compete with your grass for water and nutrients.

Q: Do I need professional help to get a greener lawn?

A: While it’s possible to achieve a green lawn on your own, seeking professional help can save you time and effort. Lawn care experts in Perth can provide you with a personalised lawn care plan and recommend the best products for your lawn type. They can also help diagnose and treat any issues with your lawn.

How to Improve Soil Quality in Your Garden

How to Improve Soil Quality in Your Garden

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that healthy soil can transform your garden!
All true garden geeks know that quality soil delivers vibrant plant growth, and tastier, more nutritious fruit and veg.

But did you know that improving your soil can save you time? And money? And help the environment?

So if you’re time-poor, budget-conscious, or just love the taste of those heirloom tomatoes (but hate the price), read on!

Whether you are a ‘garden gourmet’, dollar-wise, or want to save the planet, this blog can help!

Why Does Improving Soil Quality Matter?

Poor soil is a problem for many Perth gardeners. 

It can be hard to dig, erode easily, and starve plants of nutrients and water. 

Plants can be low-yielding, unattractive, and die young!

This post will help you diagnose what ails your soil, and learn about  the antidotes and how to improve your soil.

So put on your white coat and get ready to treat the patient!

Perth Soil Types

Western Australia has too many soil types to discuss in detail here (at least 60!)

We will however:

  • introduce you to ‘soil supergroups’ found in Perth
  • help identify your soil-type
  • share our top ten soil improvement tips.

Soil Supergroups – different types of Perth soils

1. Wet/Waterlogged soils

Wet soils can occur near former swamps, on river plains and near lakes.

They can be fertile, and are usually waterlogged seasonally, rather than all year. They can also have problems, including waterlogged patches, salinity, and metal toxicity.

2. Rocky/Stony Soils

These soils have >50% coarse fragments (pebbles, stones, gravel, boulders and underlying rock slabs).

Problems vary depending on the type/size of stones, and whether soil is sand, loam or clay.

Stony soils can have problematic pH, patchy depth, poor water penetration/retention, and low fertility. They are hard work!

3. Ironstone Gravelly Soils

Ironstone gravelly soils have similar problems, but can suit Mediterranean plants like olives and grapes.

4. Sandy Topsoil

This is the type of soil you will find in a lot of Perth gardens! Most of Perth has sandy topsoil, infamous for its poor absorption and poor retention of moisture and nutrients.

Unimproved sandy soils generally sustain only hardy plants.

The main sandy soil subtypes are:

  • Sandy Duplexes (<80cm sand over clay or loam)
  • Shallow Sands (sand <80cm over rock/hardpan layer)
  • Deep Sands ( sand >80cm deep)
  • Sandy Earths (sand grading to loam/clay by 80cms)

If your soil is sandy, try to determine the subtype. If this is too tricky and you just want help to improve the quality of sandy soil in your garden or health of your plants and garden – get in touch with our Perth gardeners today.

5. Loamy Topsoil

Loamy soil is 3cm to 80cm of loamy soil, over rock or clay.

Loam is fertile, retains moisture, and needs little improvement, but isn’t common in Perth.

6. Clay Topsoil

Clay soil is also relatively uncommon.

Depending on subsoil, clay is neutral to acidic, and moderately fertile.

Problems include waterlogging, water resistance, compaction, and drying rock-hard. This constricts roots and discourages earthworms.

Summary of common soil problems

Problem soil may:

  • repel water
  • lack nutrients or struggle to retain nutrients
  • lack microorganisms
  • be too acidic/alkaline
  • be compacted
  • be prone to waterlogging
  • erode easily
  • be saline
  • have toxicities
  • be hard work!

What type of soil do I have?

Your location will often determine your soil type.

Perth is on the Swan Coastal Plain, which runs from the coast to Perth hills.

There are three ancient dune systems, and an alluvial floodplain area.

Quindalup Dune System

Some coastal suburbs are on deep sand — the Quindalup dune system. Soil is cream coloured calcareous sand (contains marine shells).

Spearwood Dune System

Central suburbs and remaining coastal areas are on the Spearwood dune system, with predominantly deep yellow sand, or shallow brown sand over limestone.

Bassendean Dune System

Further inland is the Bassendean dune system, predominantly deep pale grey and brown sand.

Pinjarra Alluvial Plain

The fertile Pinjarra alluvial plain runs beside the Perth Hills. It has sandy duplex soils, brown sandy earths, shallow loamy duplex soils and brown loamy earth.

This guide from ChemCentre can help you see where your garden sits in the soil system.

Top Ten Strategies for Soil Improvement

A Guide to Organic Fertilizers

While sandy soils are common, soil types vary, so treatments vary.

We recommend these steps to find the best solution for your soil!

1. Check your soil type

Use the Chemcentre map, and your own observations (or expert advice) to identify your soil. Remember:

  • Sandy soil feels gritty and won’t clump, even when wet.
  • Clay soil is sticky when wet – it can be rolled into a ‘sausage’.
  • Loam is moldable, but not sticky.
  • Silt is powdery when dry.
  • Peat soil is dark and spongy.

2. Find out what’s missing!

Before improving soil, analyse it!

To save time and money, start by identifying what nutrients are lacking, and check for salt and toxicity.

NOTE: To determine what treatments will be effective, talk to an expert.

A soil analyst or ChemCentre can give a detailed report.

3. Neutralise your soil’s pH level

Before planting, check soil pH using professional analysis, or a home test, and neutralise your soil.

  • Acid soil = pH <7.0.
  • Neutral soil = pH 7.0
  • Alkaline soil = pH >7.0.

A pH of 6.5 will suit most plants, supporting growth of good bacteria, strong nutrient uptake, and healthy earthworms.

Some plants have specific needs however — for example, azaleas need acidic soil — so consider plantings before correcting pH.

Lime raises pH.

Sulphur and nitrogen decrease pH.

4. Add compost / organic matter

Well-rotted manure or compost improves fertility and water/nutrient retention in sand.

Leaf compost reduces compaction/improves drainage in clay.

Most composts and manures are salty, so not recommended for saline soil. Sphagnum peat and plant-only composts are low-salt alternatives.

Vermiculite (a clay) improves water/nutrient retention in sand.

5. Fertilise

Based on soil analysis, add fertiliser with nutrients your soil lacks.

6. Mulch

Mulching improves:

  • water retention
  • soil temperature
  • nutrient uptake
  • biological activity.

Laying mulch decreases:

  • weeds
  • salinity
  • pests
  • diseases.

It’s important to choose the best mulch for your garden. For example lucerne and pea straw mulches return nutrients to soil, improving soil structure.

Hardwood bark mulch forms rich black soil, improving pH.

Softwood bark mulches, paper and hay are economical alternatives.

7. Improve aeration

Compacted soil lacks oxygen and drains poorly, stunting plant growth.

Mulching and composting help address these problems.

Rice hulls, pumice, biochar and perlite are all effective additives.

Turning soil with a shovel, or aeration by penetrating it with a fork, tiller, or aerator can also help. However, this can be hard on earthworms!

Do your homework, or seek expert advice on what will work best for your soil!

8. Plant ground covers, soil builders or green manures

Ground covers insulate, reduce water loss and erosion, and add organic matter to soil.

Agriculture WA provides useful information on groundcovers.

Green manures are plants grown specifically to be dug back in, to enrich soil before permanent plantings. They improve soil structure and:

  • increase water retention/nutrient uptake
  • suppress weeds
  • reduce compaction and erosion.

Clover, alfalfa, peas, mustard and green manure seed-mixes are popular options.

Soil builders are fast-growing plants that accumulate nutrients. They often have strong roots that break up hard subsoils.

Instead of digging the whole plant back in, foliage is used as an enriching mulch/compost.

9. Encourage earthworms

Earthworms aerate soil, adding essential nutrients.

Worm farms supply nutrients, but your garden should also be ‘worm friendly’.

To achieve this add organic matter like:

  • compost
  • manure
  • coffee grounds
  • veggie scraps

Insulate soil, keeping it moist and avoiding extreme temperatures, using:

  • mulch
  • straw/grass clippings
  • cardboard/paper.

Keep pH between 5 and 8.

Try to minimise digging. Let the worms do the work!

10. If all else fails, ask the experts!

Just as soil analysis is sometimes best done by experts, soil improvement can also benefit from expert assistance.
Perth Gardening Experts are happy to help with your soil improvement!

So are you ready to improve your soil?

This blog may have given you all you need to get started on solving your soil problems.

But if you still have questions, or aren’t sure you’re equipped for the task, contact us call us now on (08) 6263 4645.

The friendly team at Perth Gardening Experts will help you work out what is best for you, and how we can help!

Organic Gardening Tips for a Healthier Garden

Organic Gardening Tips for a Healthier Garden

Looking for eco-friendly gardening methods?

At Perth Gardening, we know the right techniques and natural treatments required to promote healthy garden growth – without relying on toxic chemicals and harmful solutions. You can still encourage growth and deter pests the natural way – and with regular maintenance, you can have a healthy organic garden that looks great while keeping your family and pets safe and healthy.

As many of us are becoming increasingly aware of the world’s ecological footprint, the demand for organic gardening is on the rise. Many gardening product manufacturers are thinking twice about what they offer as well since their market is shifting to more eco-friendly options.

After all, using organic and natural techniques for fertilising, weeding and treating your garden not only protects the Earth, but protects your family as well.

The more we learn about the negative effects of chemical pesticides and herbicides and synthetic fertilisers, the more we want to stay away from them.

That is why we try provide earth-friendly Gardening services as much as possible, from natural lawn installation to chemical-free weed control, the use of electric tools and waterwise, native planting. If you would like a gardening service that is eco-friendly from a company that is passionate about looking after our planet – we would love to help you!

From organic fertilisers to a range of organic gardening techniques, here are our tips for organic gardening.

Best Organic Weed Control Methods
Organic Weed Control

Our Tips for Organic Gardening

1. Non-chemical options for weed control

We try to avoid using chemical weed control options, most of those products are bad for the environment and very toxic for the person applying them. They also can pollute our water supply by running off into waterways and being absorbed into the soil. We believe in using preventive methods (mulching and regular garden care) that preserve the health of your garden, our waterways and the soil. In our packages, our gardeners will remove the weeds by hand to get the entire root, along with tools when needed – such as whippersnappers to cut them down and reduce growth by limiting their access to sunlight.


Mulching is one of the top methods for natural weed control – and as an added bonus, it also helps to improve the quality and health of the soil itself, along with reducing water evaporation so it’s great for looking after our water resources (and your water bill!) as well. Learn more about the best mulch for gardens here in our blog.

Choose a good quality mulch like Pine Bark and apply it in a good thick layer, a depth of between 50-100mm, for best results. A great thickness to aim for is 75mm to really restrict weed growth. This also means that any weeds which do grow through will be easier to pull out.

Regular Weeding

Try to stay on top of any weeds that do grow so they never get a chance to go to seed! Once they do that, you are fighting a losing battle. Let’s face it, unless you pave your entire backyard, it is a living space, so there will be growth and there will be weeds. Learn the types of weeds as well so you know where to spend your energy, for example, which are perennial (regrow season after season) and which are annual (go from seed to seed in one growing season/one year).

Planting – create competition!

Weeds need all the same nutrients that plants do, so if you have empty spaces where they are thriving – try planting something there instead! Add in groundcover or native plants so it is still low-maintenance but also looks great and takes the nutrients, water and sunlight that your weeds need. Make sure to plant them thickly so there is limited space for weeds to take over.

2. Using ‘natural’ options for fertiliser

First, why do we use fertiliser? It’s to give our plants extra nutrients. One of the biggest reasons we have to use fertilisers is that our soil itself is quite depleted and of poor quality – especially here in Perth it’s sandy soils. So the most ‘natural’ fertiliser should actually start with improving the quality of the soil. There will always be things to add for an extra boost, but if the soil is rich and healthy, your plants will be too.

Improving your soil quality

There are many ways to improve your soil and it takes work and time – but it is always worth it! Options like blood and bone or quality organic manures are a great place to start, along with adding materials that break down over time like lupin mulch. A blend of these, mixed into your soil, with a layer of clean, natural cardboard, topped with a thick layer of quality mulch, like pine bark, creates a layered, ‘green house’ effect. Give it a good soak and let it slowly work its magic, breaking down, trapping in warmth and crating its own micro-climate – eventually turning into a rich, loamy soil your plants will love!

Best natural liquid fertilisers

For a quick boost while your soil improvers work their magic, liquid fertilisers are the best way to go. Be cautious even when using natural fertiliser as often the concentration in nutrients are quite high and may leach into the waterways and pollute the soils. Our gardeners can advise on what is the best option for your garden, lawn and plants along with applying it at the right times in the right quantities for you.

Seaweed or Kelp liquid fertilisers are amazing for both plants and soil. They actually stimulate the soil itself so are the perfect complement to your soil improvement efforts.

well maintained garden

3. Regular Garden Maintenance

One of the best ways to keep your garden healthy naturally is regular maintenance. Why?

  • Staying on top of your weeds so they don’t get a chance to seed, means that you don’t have to eventually resort to chemical weed killer as the only option to get on top of things again.
  • Making sure that your hedges and shrubs are trimmed and pruned regularly to promote healthy growth means you don’t have to resort to heavy doses of fertilisers to try and bring them back to life.
  • Regularly improving your soil by adding good quality fertiliers to build them up, regularly topping up your mulch – all these things are part of creating a healthy, resilient garden that looks beautiful… naturally.

If you would like to look after your garden in a more natural, organic way, get in touch with us to book in a service and our gardeners can provide a regular maintenance plan, advise on soil improvement, mulching and anything else they recommend to make your garden healthy and happy as organically as possible.

What’s the Best Mulch for Gardens

What’s the Best Mulch for Gardens

Whether you’re a total newbie, or a garden geek, gardening presents challenges in WA —  invasive weeds, dry climate, and sandy soil are just a few.

So, what’s the best solution?

Although a great garden takes time and skill, one simple trick can help improve the health of your plants and soil straight away. 

What is this? Mulch! 

This humble garden staple can be a game-changer. 

For inexperienced gardeners, choosing mulch can feel intimidating. 

We’re here to help with the low-down on the best mulch for gardens! 

Best Mulch for Gardens

Mulch may be the magic silver bullet that takes your garden to the next level! There are so many benefits to mulching in your garden. It can:

  • retain moisture, reduce watering
  • protect plants during heatwaves
  • counteract dry, sandy soil 
  • improve soil structure/nutrients
  • support seedlings
  • reduce soil erosion 
  • attract friendly garden guests like bees, ladybirds and spiders for pest control/pollination 
  • slow down weed growth creating a protective layer
  • recycle food/garden waste!

So, now you know why mulch is important! Now let’s choose the best mulch for you!

best mulch for gardens in perth blog

Wood Chip Mulch

Made from tree cuttings, wood chip mulch is a great “all-purpose” go-to. 

Many consider it the best mulch for shrubs and trees, particularly fruiting ones. It looks good, is easy to lay, and is economical.

Do wood chips have a downside? 

Some gardeners worry about “nitrogen drawn-down” — (wood chip mulch leaching nitrogen from the soil).

This fear is mostly based on urban myth — in fact, wood chip mulch increases soil nutrients. Minor nitrogen draw-down doesn’t affect deeply-rooted plants like fruit trees. However, avoid wood chip mulch for shallow-rooted plants like veggies. 

Woodchip mulch safety tips

Woodchip mulch can be a fire hazard in some circumstances, especially given Perth’s high temperatures. Don’t layer it too thick — 2-10cm is ideal. 

Store mulch in a cool, shady place, and check regularly to ensure it isn’t overheating.  Avoid mulching thickly around tree trunks — in bushfire season this can be hazardous. 

garden bed mulch woodchips

Shredded Pine Bark Mulch

This is our favourite – we think this is the best mulch!

Shredded bark mulch helps block weed shoots from sunlight, helps retain moisture, and enriches soil nutrients. Pine bark is also great for Perth gardens, it’s rusty red colour looks great, while it’s chunky cut allows water to get through to the roots, and it even helps improve the quality of the soil itself.

Bark nuggets last longer than wood chips, but their slow decomposition may attract carpenter ants so keep on top of pest control!

Tips for using shredded bark mulch

When spreading shredded bark, keep it away from tree trunks to avoid rot and rodent damage. Watch for extreme weather — strong winds, rain or flooding may mean re-laying mulch. 

Which Mulch should you avoid? Black Mulch never gets our vote as the best mulch – some people choose it because they like the look, and it does create a great contrast, but it is very fibrous, which means it actually absorbs water, reducing the amount that will actually penetrate and get through to your plants. It also does very little to help improve the soil, and doesn’t last as long as Pine Bark.

Recycled Mulch

Recycled mulches are made from various materials, including recycled rubber or timber. They can lower your garden’s carbon footprint, so may be the best mulch for eco-conscious gardeners. 

Pallet/timber mulch is long-lastingretains moisture, and is usually eco-friendly.  However, check how contamination is managed — it may be tainted by chemicals or toxins. 

Rubber mulch repels pests, insects and weeds, and provides a ‘soft fall’ in play areas. It is long-lasting, won’t decompose and reduces mould/fungal growth.  

Safety tip: some rubber mulch releases chemicals in hot weather. Look for a non-toxic brand. 

Hay Mulch

Hay mulch is a well-kept secret we’re letting you in on… 

Hay is grass cut while still green — it contains lots of moisture. 

Many believe it’s the best mulch for flower and veggie gardens — it blocks weeds, and delivers nutrients to the soil as it composts. 

This is especially good for seedlings. 

How to use hay as mulch 

Buy quality hay to minimise weeds. Ideally, spread hay approximately 20cm deep.

Lucerne hay 

Lucerne hay is probably the best mulch for gardens with roses, fruit trees and vegetables. It provides extra nitrogen when decomposing. 

Straw Mulch

Straw mulch is lighter than hay, so weeds come through more easily, but takes longer to decompose and looks better than hay.

Try combining hay and straw. Start with a deep layer of hay to retain moisture and provide nutrients. Top with a light layer of straw. 

Leaf Mulch and Compost

Leaves can be a fantastic addition to other mulch. 

You can shred dry leaves with your lawnmower and spread them on top of gardens,  add leaves to compost or dig them into soil. 

Grass Cuttings

Using grass cuttings as mulch is simple — after mowing, spread clippings across garden beds, then wait! 

Grass mulch cools the root zone, conserves moisture, and restores nutrients, especially nitrogen.  

Grass clippings can also be spread on your lawn to keep it healthy.

Rock and Gravel Mulch

We don’t normally think of rocks or gravel as mulch — but they can be! 

Rocks and gravel:

  • prevent excess drainage and erosion
  • block weeds
  • create a classy look
  • last (almost) forever.


  • cost less than organic mulches and
  • unlike organic mulch, will not attract insect pests.

Note: rock/gravel mulch will not enrich soil, is difficult to remove once installed, and harder to put new plants in. 

How to use rock and gravel mulch

Rocks and gravel suit decorative formal gardens as they don’t decompose. They are often used where plants are permanently established

Leave roughly a 5cm gap around the base of plants/trees. 

To combine with other mulch, lay organic mulch first, then top with rocks!

pine bark mulch in perth garden bed


Weed Mat

Weedmat isn’t technically mulch, but helps protect your garden from weeds and to retain moisture. 

Ideal for fruit and veggie gardens, it can protect crops on vines like melons and pumpkins from decay.

For best results, place the weed mat between soil and mulch. 


Compost is also important, but unlike mulch is dug into the soil to provide nutrients and hydration. 

Compost can be made from:

  • fruit/vegetable scraps
  • coffee grounds
  • eggshells 
  • grass/plant clippings
  • leaves 
  • chipped wood/bark  
  • shredded paper
  • straw
  • clean sawdust.

Ingredients are put in a compost tumbler, garbage bag or heap, to decompose.  Water, ‘compost starter’ and regular turning all help the process. 

The best compost is around three parts “dry”, and one part “wet”. If it’s too dry, add water, or wet ingredients like fresh grass. If too wet, add dry materials like newspaper or straw.

Health & Safety Tips When Handling Mulch or Compost

Wear a mask and gloves when handling organic/recycled mulch/potting mix, particularly for those with chronic health conditions. They can contain Legionella bacteria, fungal spores or toxins that may be dangerous if they are disturbed and become airborne. 

Other safety precautions include storing potting mix and mulch where it’s cool, and washing hands thoroughly after use. To avoid inhaling particles, open bags carefully and keep mulch/compost damp.

5 Best Small Garden Ideas For Your Outdoor Space

5 Best Small Garden Ideas For Your Outdoor Space

There are several ways you can maximise the functionality of your backyard garden area – even if it is a small space.

Building a small garden can often take more effort than a large garden. Why?

Because it requires clever and thoughtful planning to get the most out of compact spaces.

While creating a small backyard garden, the important thing is to ensure that your garden doesn’t feel cramped or cluttered.

In this blog post, we’ll give you ideas, tips, and techniques to build a functional outdoor space that looks breathtaking all year round.

5 Best Small Garden Ideas For Your Outdoor Space

1. Create a plan

A well-designed garden provides beauty and a functional space that can improve your lifestyle. To get the most out of your small garden, in-depth research and planning are the key to a successful project.

There are a plethora of small garden design ideas on Pinterest that you can use as an inspiration to find your preferred garden style.

First, spend some time understanding what you need from your space and what you will use your backyard for – entertaining, kids/pets play area, relaxing, etc – and define your budget and then create your plan around these two key factors.

Visualise your garden plan on paper first if possible -t’s easier and much less expensive to correct a mistake on paper.

Measure your backyard and take note of problems that you may need to resolve. Does your drainage system need to be revamped? Does your garden not include a shaded area large enough for you to build your sitting space?

Survey the area that receives the most sunlight and plan your planting areas accordingly.

If you want more from less space and don’t want to dedicate your small backyard garden entirely to plants and flowers, make it multi-purpose.

You can have your standard dining area and create a romantic setting with a swing chair and string lights.

And, of course, you have your garden, too.

2. Keep Plants Vertical, Not Horizontal

In small spaces, less is always more. So instead of trying to cram plants on the garden floor, spruce up your wall.

Vertical gardens are extremely practical, especially in small spaces.

This gives an excellent illusion of being surrounded by greenery everytime you’re in your garden, and it doesn’t take up the much-needed space.

Try adding one big pot instead of several small potted plants, this helps with reducing visual clutter and makes your small garden landscape look more spacious and elegant.

3. Create a Backyard Focal Point

Creating a sitting space at the end of a narrow garden will create an illusion of a larger area.

Position your furniture at the back of a paved area and build a pathway leading to this sitting space to draw attention to this space.

This is a great alternative to a common method of creating your focal point in the centre of your garden. Use the rule of thirds; plan your focal point on the left-third or right-third of your garden (typically away from the entrance).

One tip to make your garden look bigger is by taking advantage of optical illusions with a contemporary garden mirror panel.

4. Choose the Right Plants

Take advantage of foliage and the texture of tropical plants. Plants with large leaves like the Elephant Ear plant will change the scale of your small backyard space.

You can create a sense of depth in your small garden with your choice of plants. You can do this by simply playing with the heights of different plants to create a layered look.

You can try layering colour, too – you can either include gradations (reds, oranges, and yellows) or go for a classic combination like red and purple.

If you want, you can even stick to one variety when it comes to your flowering plants, for example. It gives your small backyard garden a consistent aesthetic and reduces the work you have to do to maintain your plants.

5. Choose the Right Furniture

Get functional furniture for your outdoor space that helps you save space by doubling as a storage unit for things like your gardening tools.

Use portable furniture that you can effortlessly bring out, put away, and roll around (coffee table on wheels) as and when you need them. Choose flexible pieces of furniture like collapsible tables and foldable chairs that can be easily stored.

Hang furniture to create an illusion of more floor space. All you need is a nook of your garden to mount a hanging chair and make it your own cozy reading corner.

You can even hang a relaxing hammock under shade for a lazy afternoon nap. When not in use, you can simply hang both ends from the same hook and make use of the additional space.

If you don’t have a shaded area in your garden, you can easily create it with a large patio umbrella.

You can also use perspective to add different levels to your garden.

Raised garden beds, sunken fire pits, and a raised platform will open up more creative ways for you to optimise your small backyard garden area.

You can even stack container plants on multiple levels to add dimension. You can integrate large terracotta with slender and tall glazed pots.

Outdoor fireplaces are even more suited for small backyard gardens than large ones because they bring in an element of coziness and intimacy.

And that’s it!

Those are our 5 best small garden ideas to help you get inspired and create a perfect backyard!

If you want someone to help you install your new garden, get in touch with us, and we can supply and install your new plants, garden beds and mulching, etc. Or, get in touch with our sister company at Perth Landscaping Experts to install the entire project! Together, we’ll create a yard that’ll amaze your entire neighbourhood.

Now we understand that not everyone likes to work outside in a cold rainy Perth Winter, and not everyone can afford to spend hours in their garden to keep on top of all the gardening tasks – life gets busy right?

At Perth Gardening, all our Landscape Gardeners are tough (and own sturdy rain jackets!) and are dedicated to create outstanding gardens. Get in touch today to discuss your garden maintenance requirements.