House Nerd

Follow House Nerd

Follow on Bloglovin

Peeking into People's Places

Search House Nerd

10 Easy Tips for a Prettier Garden

Posted Sunday, October 4, 2015 in: The Outsiders Obsessed With

Since we had a baby and have been flat out working on getting the renovations in The Crap Shack finished, one thing has definitely suffered – our garden.

I actually really enjoy working in the garden... although you might not think it if you were to pop over our place right now! Although I am not an expert, I used to interview a lot of landscapers and professional gardeners when I was writing stories for the paper and let me tell you there is nothing like writing about gardening to get you inspired to get stuck into working on your own! But when you have so many other things you have to get done, it is easy for something you enjoy to turn into yet another chore that you put on the backburner.

Our garden back in summer at our gender reveal baby shower. Photos by Earthbound Images.

So in our garden the weeds started amassing, the hedges and vines grew wild and overgrown and the grass started to creep into the garden beds. Mr Nerd and I both kind of turned a blind eye to our garden recently until the other day. Mr Nerd was cutting a piece of wood to use as a window ledge in our kitchen, put in on our outdoor ‘coffee table’ (a huge slab of stone propped on some limestone blocks) and the stone cracked from a regular lack of sealant… oops.

Our stone table in better days! Flowers by Floral Army, photo by Earthbound Images.

How you design your garden, the soil and climate of where you live, which plants you choose and the amount and type of hardscaping will all determine how much maintenance it needs. Typically speaking though, there are a few absolute basics that most gardens regardless of design and climate will need.

With Little Nerd now taking longer daytime naps (bliss! I hope his daytime catnapping stage is over) we’ve had the luxury of time to get stuck back into our garden. So today I’m sharing ten easy tips for a prettier garden.

Invest in pruning equipment that will make the job fun.
When I was a teenager (and full of all the usual causes of teenage angst – failed maths test, eyebrows that didn’t match, unrequited love, flares that weren’t big enough, Sun-In attempts gone wrong etc) I used to take to the garden with shears whenever I was feeling particularly angst-y and hack away at things. One afternoon after two “E”s on Intro to Calculus tests I came home and took out my rage on two trees and cut down a 40-year-old rhododendron bush. I felt wonderful after – hedge trimming is very cathartic – but my dad came home from work and was so upset by the big brown, bare spot in his beautiful garden he sat quietly in his dark lounge for three days afterward, totally depressed. (They got me a maths tutor shortly afterward).

Most trees and bushes need pruning to encourage new growth and this is particularly the case for hedges and vines which need to be cut back regularly. This encourages denser foliage which provides a better screen for privacy, noise and shade. The plants you are growing will determine their rate of growth and how often you need to do this. Some varieties can and need to be heavily cut back to avoid ‘leggy’ growth which looks unsightly and forms large gaps in your hedge. You can seriously slash the amount of time it takes you to prune by investing in a hedge trimmer from specialists like Ryobi. We used our hedge trimmer to prune the trumpet vine hedge that was choking our lovely old dragon tree and the trimmer made a hard job a LOT easier! 

BEFORE: Spot the dragon tree. Almost choked by a trumpet vine hedge... sorry tree. 




Not only will you end up with a better-looking hedge if you use a good hedge trimmer, it will grow faster and rather than dreading pruning, you’ll probably end up finding it quite cathartic and enjoying it (a la myself in Year 10, post-calculus test).

see more

10 WA Interiors Instagrammers You Should Be Following

You guys have probably already realised I am pretty proud of the homes and design scene we have going on here in Western Australia... so I wrote a feature for Domain on 10 WA interiors Instagrammers you should be following. You can check it out here. Here's a snap from one account I really enjoy, Dani @darlingmess. She is a FIFO wife, mother ...

Confessions of a Verge Picker

I have been busy with newborn life lately and haven't had much chance to get stuck into my blog. However, if you miss me (ha! I make funny) a piece I wrote has been published on !

I am pretty excited and I have to say immodestly that I really do like this story. It is called 'Confessions of a Verge Picker' and it details my love ...

see more

The 1960s Minimalist House

The idea of living in a minimalist home is something that has always really interested me. Now when I say a minimalist home, I don’t mean that minimalist stereotype - a bare, cold, sterile abode with a little amount of furniture and little else. No soul.

When I talk about a minimalist home, I mean the kind of house where people have exactly ...

see more

Introducing Little Nerd

I have been a little absent from my blog these past couple of weeks - I am sure a few of you have guessed why! We have some news in nerd world – we had our baby! At 2.03am on Wednesday June 10th, Little Nerd was born.

He weighed in at 3.320kg and 50cm “tall”, and has brown eyes, a penchant for changing outfits at least eight times daily, can ...

see more

The 1930s Art Deco House in Kensington

If you are familiar with House Nerd, you might have noticed I love two other things as much as I love old houses - dogs and eating. (I was going to write ‘cooking’ instead of eating, which for purposes of this story would actually probably fit this story better, but while I do love cooking, that would be a bit of a lie as eating > cooking. I ...

see more

Before & After: Our 70s Bar Turned Walk-in Pantry Renovation

So I have exciting news - our new walk-in pantry/scullery renovation is finished! I think this may actually be my favourite renovated room in the house now (although I think I say that about every room once we finish it, even the toilet).

But I AM in love with our new pantry. I first learned about sculleries and larders when I was a kid and ...

see more

Obsessed With: Em.el Decorative Architraves

Every so often I come across a building or interior design product that is so clever I wonder why no-one has thought of it before. That was the case when I first came across em.el Decorative Architrave, a nifty product created by a very nice Perth-based husband and wife team, Mark and Lorna Spear. 

Do you know those standard metal bull-nosed ...

see more

The Warehouse Conversion Home of Luc Longley and Anna Gare

Recently I was lucky enough to be asked by one of my editors at The West to go write about the Fremantle warehouse conversion home of celebrity couple Luc Longley and Anna Gare. This request was promptly followed by two Google searches: one, to check that Luc Longley was indeed some kind of sports star as I suspected, two, to see who Anna Gare ...

see more

The Transformed 70s Italian Mansion

If you live in Perth, you will probably be familiar with our city’s old 1970s Italian and Greek mansions, predominantly dotting suburbs including Dianella, Morley, Karrinyup, Stirling, Fremantle and Mt Lawley. Perhaps as much a part of the Perth streetscape as the weatherboard worker’s cottage and the classic Federation home, many of these ...

see more