landscape gardening industry

Written by Peter Shaw from Ocean Road Landscaping

becoming a landscape gardener

Have you been thinking that you would like enter the landscape gardening industry?  The following information will hopefully guide you in the right direction.  For myself, entering the landscape gardening industry was a natural progression after leaving high school. I entered the landscape gardening industry primarily because I felt very at home with gardens and plants and less at ease with the school environment.  I had a passion and interest in gardening and growing things.  I was also very good with my hands.

I knew from the very young age what I want to do. If you can align your passion and interest with your vocation you are very lucky – the dream job. And the horticulture and landscaping industry is a space where this happens for many people.

There are numerous ways to enter the landscape gardening industry. The most common and successful way is to find an employer to offer you an apprenticeship. For the right employer, an apprentice it is an investment in the future. When looking for the ideal company and applying for an apprenticeship, try to look for somewhere where you believe you would fit in well.

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designing your new garden

Let’s say you’re in the process of designing your new garden, and you’ve managed to get all the not-so-exciting but essential preparation work done. In other words, you’ve taken a deep breath, pulled out the weedy trees and shrubs, and you now have a clear space to work with. This is the moment when it all starts to get very interesting. This is when you start to design your new garden…   

Some people already have an idea of what they want, and how that might end up as a new landscape wrapped around their home. Others have no idea and they’ll be looking for inspiration, here is where we help. Whether you have some ideas or not, there are lots of places to go and get good ideas or at least fine tune your existing ones. The Australian Garden at Cranbourne is one of the best – especially inspiring for coastal gardeners – as is the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Open Gardens in your area are also great because they are examples of what works under your growing conditions. When you are out and about, be systematic in your information gathering. Take photos of what interests you; note down plant names if they’re labelled. Pay attention to materials: what’s been used as the paving; where there are retaining walls, what are they made of; are the decking timbers narrow or wide; where there’s a change in levels, how is this sorted?

professional garden designer

See something you like? Then look at it closely at the design to see why it works. Here the tall grasses screen the neighbouring roof; the carefully placed boulders draw the eye and give the steel-edged gravel path a reason to meander.

Engaging a professional garden designer is a smart move at this early stage. Even if you just want some support for your ideas, having a professional coming in will help you see with fresh eyes what your site needs and help show you how to achieve it. The trick is to work with someone who is not only a good designer – if you see a garden you like, find out who designed it – but also a good listener. You want someone who hears what you’re trying to achieve and responds to that, rather than just imposing themselves and their style on your site.

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kids in the garden

kids in the garden landscape

Six month old Patrick, (son of Tim who is part of the Ocean Road Landscaping team), is clearly jumping out of his skin as he crawls all over his own nice new lawn. Letting kids in the garden play and explore is a wonderful thing to do.

If you spend time with kids in the garden, you’ve probably noticed how relaxed they are when they’re outdoors. Unsettled babies will relax if you pop them into a pram and head out for a walk, and a toddler in the park will begin playing almost as their feet hit the grass. But it’s also a given that children occupy a world that’s full of the lure of screen devices, so to balance that, we instinctively want our children to be outside, initiating their own play as much as possible. But how best to go about it?Continue Reading

drought tolerant plants

drought tolerant plants

As written by Peter Shaw in Surf Coast Living Magazine.

Here’s a good trick used by many garden designers – amateurs and professionals. And once it’s been explained to you, you’ll start to spot it being put to good use all over the place. But not in a way that means you’ll see a lot of gardens that all look identical. No, this trick is based on method rather than the look, and is gives fantastic results. Read on if you’d like to inject your garden with a bit more health and general good looks.

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inspirational gardens

by Peter Shaw of Ocean Road Landscaping

There is nothing wrong with seeking out inspiration gardens, using ideas from other gardeners and their gardens. Sometimes it’s as simple as going for a walk in your own neighbourhood and deliberately taking a different route so that you come across new gardens that are unfamiliar to you.

It’s all about stopping and paying attention where a garden’s orientation might be the same as yours, or where the house style is similar. Take a mental note of anything that’s working well and think about taking these ideas home with you.

Then there are the many great inspirational gardens which ar

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Garden design checklist

Written by Peter Shaw

So you’re about to launch into the pleasurable business of designing your garden.  Putting together a garden design checklist, you’ve probably got a scrap-book full of ideas – bits and pieces gathered over time that might (or might not) become a reality. What follows is just as important to add into the design process for the simple reason that it keeps things real. It’s easy to be distracted by something in a glossy magazine or spotted online. The trick to making a great garden – one that works and feels right – is to incorporate the glossy ideas over a solid foundation of honest practicality.  

Here is a garden design checklist…

Garden design checklist

  1. How much money do you want to spend? It’s worth facing the Big Question up front because everything hangs off the answer. As a rule of thumb, between seven and ten percent of the property value is a reasonable amount to spend on a whole garden construction: this amount needs to cover both the hard landscaping (paths, desks, pergolas etc) and the soft (the plants).Continue Reading

mindful gardening

When someone asks me what’s the best first step to take in the garden, I say, put a plan together. And that makes sense because a master plan, pinned to the back of the laundry door, will help make the garden develop the way you want it to. Whether your projects are big – a new drive, deck, pergola, pool – or small – renovating a garden bed, planting some trees – your master plan will keep things ticking along very nicely. That’s the logical approach and it’s my professional approach… but there’s also another way to garden, I call it mindful gardening.

It’s what happens sometimes when you head outside with a job in mind, but somehow a subconscious thought creeps in. And this is the moment when I say, go with your subconscious, because gardening is also about not forcing things. There are times when it’s about not having a plan.

Mindful gardening - landscape gardening

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gardening for busy people

gardening for busy people 

As written featured in Geelong and Surf Coast Living magazine 2015-by Peter Shaw

Like anything worth achieving in life, gardening is something that takes discipline, it’s easy to be distracted and simply not get started, which makes it hard to schedule in gardening for busy people. It’s also easy to just dream about all the things that will get done and if you are busy, a lot of what you think will happen, simply won’t come to fruition without some hard work and sacrifice.  If you enjoy gardening and the satisfaction it brings by being personally involved you will know what I am talking about.  Making time to do what you enjoy is half the battle, like training for a big run or ride the hardest work starts when the alarm rings at 5 am.Continue Reading

child friendly garden

by Peter Shaw of Ocean Road Landscaping

We recently opened our own garden to the public through Open Gardens Australia and watched to see what people gravitated to. The answer was unexpected and it’s made me think a lot more about the relationship between children and natural spaces. Visitors, adults and children alike – were attracted to the bits specifically incorporated for our kids’ sake in our child friendly garden. If you’re like us, keen to encourage natural play rather than hours spent indoors in front of a screen, then you might find the following helpful. It’s what we’ve done, and done cheaply, and it seems to be working.Continue Reading

Open Gardens event

Sunnymeade garden is open on the 24th & 25th January 2015 in the Open Gardens Australia program.

Gravel tracks lead through a field of native grasses to an open lawn and shrubs sheltering beneath local stringybarks. Some beautiful stone walls soften the level changes around the house. Emu bushes have been clipped into ball shapes, while garden beds are filled with tough Australian natives. There are also plantings of vegetables and a Moonah forest as well as grass sculptured effects on the lawn.Continue Reading