Selecting the right plants to grow your own backyard escape

STARTING a garden from scratch is no easy feat, and one of the biggest challenges budding green thumbs face is selecting suitable plants.

Julie Armstrong is no stranger to this hurdle, as after moving to 6900 ha property, Corynnia Station, west of Griffith, more than 40 years ago, she transformed a blank backyard space into a thriving outback oasis, which is attracting guests from across the country to her working farm.

John Deere has partnered with several garden experts, such as Julie, to collate a series of tips and tricks to give everyday gardeners and lawn keepers alike the extra hand they need to kickstart their own backyard haven.

Woman crouching down and gardening

What’s the first step in selecting plants for a new garden?

The first step when beginning a new garden should always be to do your research. The easiest way to start researching is to simply drive around your local area to investigate what plant varieties people have in their garden – this will show you what grows well in the region and you can start to decide what you like the look of. It is also important to research your own backyard. Set out on discovering what soil types are present, along with the annual rainfall and average yearly temperatures of your area. This is the best information to help you select the ideal plant and grass varieties for the local environment.

Landscape of flowers, bush and green hills on a cloudy day

What is your advice for establishing a garden hedge which is easy maintenance?

Hedges provide an opportunity to add depth to the landscape of your yard, particularly if you live in a flat area, but they can be a tricky feature to execute if you are unsure of what you are doing. When starting a new hedge, it is best to use durable plant varieties that can grow quickly without being a hassle to keep in order. Teucrium, euonymus and murrayas are all quite durable with good coverage and can create full hedging without gaps as opposed to more delicate varieties.

Garden with greenery and flowers next to a brown brick house

What are some recommended plant varieties for harsh environments?

Hardy plants such as Flinders Ranges Wattle and Cooba will do well in many areas and make a good wind break if you're in an open space. They are tolerant of numerous soil types as long as they have decent drainage. Some floral plants that are just as tough include Catmint Walkers Low, May Bush and Salvias. All of these plants are very resilient and would make a great addition to any garden.