Latest news on discussions with Council.
Wheels are turning in the background with regards to the clarifying the link between our planning permit and Engineering’s idea to run a third easement (storm drain) through our property. Engineering want us to supply Planning with the latest set of conceptual drawings to ensure there are no major issues with our proposal. One thing they’re keen to see is a drawing with our indigenous garden ideas. No problems at all with that request! With the two Departments working together, we are optimistic about getting a clearer idea of what is likely to happen next.
A bonus with Engineering offering to relocate and straighten the existing diagonal easement is that it gives us extra space at the back of the block. We can shuffle home #3 back a bit and provide more private open space for home #2. Private open space was a criteria causing some concern with Planning. Engineering are certainly doing their bit to help smooth the way with Planning.
Chance to get some indigenous garden ideas.
No point sitting on our hands while we wait for news from Council so we took an opportunity to get some indigenous garden ideas from an expert. One of the Aqua Aerobics crew has a landscaper in her family. He’s spent the last few years converting his suburban block into an indigenous-themed garden.
More about indigenous plant ideas later because our first impressions were taken by the water feature he’s built in the back garden.
Rain water is collected from the roof and runs into an underground storage tank constructed using drainage cells. These cells are designed to be load bearing so you can landscape the surface and not worry about the underground tank collapsing. A pump is used to circulate water whenever he wants to create the delightful sound of splashing water. The water flows down the rocks, enters the rocky basin area and then returns to the underground tank via hidden overflows.
That’s clever. No need to worry about a tank collapsing under the weight of the surface layers.
We are discussing having a dry river bed and overflow sump system as part of our landscaping. It would provide extra hold-up storage for any storm water that flowed down to the back of our block. Something like this could be a neat way to construct a concealed sump.
Meanwhile, back at the indigenous garden ideas.
After getting our fill of information about underground water storage, our host provided tips about how to start and maintain an indigenous garden.
Buy seedlings or small pots. Apparently, the natives get comfortable in the larger pots and are reluctant to spread their root systems far and wide when put into the garden. Get them young and, like most youngsters, they’ll be keen to explore their neighbourhood.
Water when the plants need it and then give them a good drink. This encourages the roots to go down into the subsurface and chase the water when the topsoil dries out a bit. Otherwise the plants keep their roots close to the surface and suffer in later life when they don’t get enough water in extended dry spells.
Tip prune regularly to avoid native plants ending up looking like something out of Dr Seuss (ie sticks heading skyward with tufts of green way up there). We’d like to see our shrubs and small trees have a bushy appearance so this routine sounds like a must have. As Libby said, “These low maintenance, natural looking native gardens do seem to require regular maintenance.”
All good suggestions which we appreciated him sharing.