Aussie Gardening Guru Offers Outdoor Revitalization Tips

Saturday, 8 Sep 2012, 11:00:00 PM

Brenton Garen

Jamie Durie is an internationally renowned landscape designer and horticulturalist.
Courtesy Photo
Jamie Durie is an internationally renowned landscape designer and horticulturalist.

Australian Jamie Durie, internationally celebrated landscape designer, horticulturalist, HGTV host of “The Outdoor Room,” and author of “The Outdoor Room,” earlier this summer hosted the Australia Rocks the Pier on Aug. 2 as part of the Twilight Concert Series.

He is the founder and director of Durie Design, an award-winning TV host and producer, the author of nine best-selling books and a passionate environmentalist and humanitarian.

Five years ago Durie was invited to be a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He now splits his time between his home and design studio in Sydney, Australia and his base in Los Angeles.

Durie took the time to speak with The Mirror to offer some outdoor gardening tips.

Jamie, what tips do you have for Santa Monica residents when it comes to revitalizing their outdoor spaces?

My favorite way to create impact in a garden is to change levels… even in a small space… this creates major impact. I also love unusual or unexpected planting combinations… and of course the clever use of color, lighting, etc.

There are many easy, budget re-vamp options for your outdoor room. Paint is a relatively inexpensive way of changing a whole look very quickly and there is nothing like it for freshening up a space. For summer you could paint that feature wall apple green or turquoise and in the winter a warming burnt orange or deep, crushed berry tone. Changing your cushion covers seasonally will also freshen up your outdoor room.

What challenges does warm weather all year round pose?

Who wouldn’t be happy with warm sunny weather all year round? Because backyards are a living, growing landscape, we should invest in suitable plants for the conditions, improve the soil where necessary, and critically, manage how we use water.

We should all be thinking about what we can do to save water around the home. Placement of plants within the garden is important for water conservation as you can save water by grouping plants with similar water requirements together. Water features have to be chosen carefully to reduce surface area and splash, keeping water lost to evaporation to a minimum. You can also save water by making sure your garden is mulched and filled with water crystals to help the soil retain moisture, by adding a trigger nozzle on your hose, and by installing a water tank.

What plants best suit this climate?

You should choose plants that are best suited to your micro-climate and you can get good advise at a local plant nursery like Armstrong Garden Centre in Santa Monica. However, drought-tolerant, California-friendly, water-wise plants would be an important part of a sustainable landscape for the Santa Monica climate. Succulents and cacti are some of my favorite plants because they are so architectural and textural as well... perfect for the warmer climates.

With the cooler months ahead, what winter inspirations can you suggest?

Orange is a beautiful color that warms you just by looking. It is associated with embers and campfires and sunsets and all types of coziness. Add some heat to your cold winter garden by introducing some orange soft furnishings, paint some pots or chairs in shades of orange or planting some vibrant Bird of Paradise plants (Strelitzia reginae) – a winter flowering favorite.

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