Just off the back of her award-winning display at the Melbourne Garden Show, ‘lady tradie’ Inge Jabara shone some light at the Home Show.
Inge is no stranger to getting her hands dirty. At five-years-old, just a little seedling, she would work beside her grandfather on the family garden. With the seed sown, Inge threw herself into Environmental Horticulture at the University of Melbourne and Landscape Architecture at RMIT respectively.
Her graduate cap had barely hit the soil before Inge started her business venture, aptly named Inge Jabara Landscapes. Now employing twelve, her team has created over 280 gardens. Her success has grown from strength-to-strength after being featured in The Block three times. She also won silver for her garden design, The Luxe Botanical, at Melbourne Garden Show.
Decking & Paving
Unless you enjoy playing cricket, big open garden spaces are fertile ground for entertaining guests, quiet contemplation and beautiful artistic set pieces.
Inge summarised paving, “what we’re doing is we’re telling people where to walk. Don’t just make it lawn. If you have a destination, make sure you have a little pathway to it.”
Firstly, you need to divide the garden into functional spaces – like a BBQ area, a veggie garden or sculpture. Explore your interests, your dreams and your hobbies. Your garden should offer the headspace to express your most natural self.
A pathway or steppers should guide you through these areas of self-expression. Inge recommends applying detailed bluestone paving trim around the border. Thus, separating the lawn and garden beds and keep mulch off the lawn.
Throughout her talk, Inge always returns to the concept of tiered landscaping. Like a castle, trees are the spires, hedges are the walls and the lawn your royal courtyard.
Starting with trees, Inge pointed at two 100 litre potted trees at the side of the stage.
“I do not suggest anyone goes out tomorrow and buy a 100-litre tree. That will set you back $1400!” These trees are so large they would require forklifts to move. As a compromise, 50-litre trees are well established and voila “you have an instant garden!” Exclaimed Inge.
Secondly, we apply hedges around the fence line to block out any apartments or townhouses next-door. The hedging provides a serene green backdrop and much-needed privacy.
Finally, Inge spoke on the topic of sustainability. People are introducing fruit and veg plants back into the garden. Wicking beds are popular choices as they hold a reservoir of water at the bottom and draws upwards like a wick.
The final element to your elegant garden castle is the lawn. “How many people have thrown out lawn seeds and the lawn seeds have been eaten by pigeons?” Inge’s question is met by several grins in the audience. “Looks like I’m right!”
Turf is serious business. Inge recommends using DNA certified turf, so you know the strain is bred in the right conditions. Sir Walter Buffalo is one of Australia’s most popular grass for good reason. It should be called Sir Walter Camel, because it’s extremely drought tolerant, requiring 70% less water than cheaper counterparts. That means if you go on vacation, during water restrictions or there’s an arid summer, your grass won’t turn into sad colours.
Inge revealed secrets from the trade: “In the industry, we prefer [turf] to be flat stacked, not rolled. If it’s flat stacked, it has more soil on the bottom of it, meaning it has a higher strike rate.”
Inge plugged her long-time supplier and Home Show exhibitors, Coolabah Turf, revered for fast delivery of freshly watered grass in a refrigerated van.
Lighting & Sculpture
“In the industry, we like to accent features like sculptures, a water feature, a tree. You could have a little gnome from grandmas, and if you want to highlight it, that’s fine!” Said Inge.
Whether you have a ‘boring corner’ or a ‘pokey courtyard’, lighting and sculpture can transform any space. Inge recommends LED strips underneath steps, decks or BBQs and backlighting posts to illuminate the night garden. Install three amber coloured lights on branches to make trees’ pop’.
If you need inspiration, look no further than ‘The Luxe Botanical’. Inge’s silver award-winning garden design turned heads at this year’s Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Limestone waterfall steps, mimicking bluestone marble, lead up between two’ reflection ponds’ that are still as mirrors. Soak up the tranquillity in the seating area underneath the arbour. Lighting drapes the features, accentuating every finish.
Three things to consider when choosing a landscape designer
1. Make sure landscaper is a registered budding practitioner.
2. Qualified landscaper – level 5 certification in landscaping
3. Need landscape architectural drawing – not conceptual design