From the Mediterranean gardens of the coastal fringe to the lush tree-lined avenues of the northern suburbs. Landscaping in Sydney is a thrilling ‘choose your own adventure’ for horticultural enthusiasts. Our temperate climate allows for a rich variety of vegetation, while making a good outdoor living space almost as much of a necessity as any interior room! Landscaping in Sydney involves unique joys and challenges, which should be considered when planning your own beautiful Sydney garden.
Beneath the surface, Sydney gardens can throw up a few challenges for landscape gardeners, with various suburbs characterised by sandy soil, clay or solid sandstone, all of which can impact on construction. The key to navigating these issues is careful planning and employing the right team of experts, who will be able to work around the problems to achieve the garden of your dreams. (For more planning tips, read our advice on building a garden in Sydney.)
While other cities might have a single identifiable look, Sydney gardens are wildly varied, taking their cues from the different landscaping styles, soils and microclimates in each area. In choosing a landscaping theme, a good place to start is a wander through your own neighbourhood, which should give you an indication of what grows well near you. It will also give you a sense of the dominant ‘style’ of your area, which you can either copy or contrast. For some ideas of what you can and can’t do in Sydney, see our tips on planting.
Smaller blocks are becoming more common in Sydney, as in most cities, bringing with them an erosion of privacy. Creating a private garden sanctuary, so your neighbours don’t cop an eyeful, is a common request. Consider landscaping for privacy with a combination of mature trees and screen planting, as we did in this Coogee garden.
Sydney’s inner suburbs are crammed with smaller blocks, but this needn’t be bad news for gardeners, with urban landscapes offering rich potential for creativity. Take some tips from this inner city courtyard garden, where an entertainer’s paradise has been carved out of a petite plot. Looking beyond the backyard can also be a great option, with internal courtyards and indoor garden spaces, such as this warehouse garden, offering unique opportunities to introduce greenery and a taste of the outdoors.
Sydney’s sultry summers can be a blessing and a curse – we love soaking up the warmth, but when the mercury gets to scorching levels, we need gardens that are landscaped for shade. There are plenty of options for creating garden shade, depending on your budget and what kind of flexibility you need, from a solid ceiling for permanent shade and protection from inclement weather to a simple umbrella that can be collapsed and packed away in the cooler months. Greenery can be a great tool for cooling too, from shade trees to deciduous climbers, which will let in light and warmth when summer season passes.
Though our winters are short and blessedly mild, we Sydneysiders tend to feel the cold, or at least complain about it a lot! Don’t let a little nip in the air drive you indoors. With a few little landscape tips, you can enjoy your garden year-round. Whether it’s including a sunken lounge with a fire pit, or getting clever with deciduous trees that let through lovely winter sunshine, there are plenty of ways to winter-proof your backyard so you can enjoy life outdoors in the cooler months.