The Experts

The biggest mistake when planning a new garden


Paul Bangay is one of Australia’s best known and highly regarded landscape designers, sometimes referred to as the landscaper designer to the rich and famous. In over 25 years Paul Bangay has been busy creating some of Australia’s most beautiful, award-winning gardens, and written several books.

In this video Deb asks Paul, “What are the greatest mistakes that we make in terms of tending and having a garden?”

“The biggest mistake we make is impatience. People are really impatient – they want it big, they want it now, they want to cram it all together, and it’s not good for the health of the plant. If we can use a little patience. Plant things the right distance apart, select the right plant. Get it small – don’t get it super-big because it’s going to struggle.”

Paul wants everyone to bear in mind it’s all about patience and not about instant-gratification when it comes to setting up your garden. This can only work in a garden where you’re using plants in pots.

“People don’t think about the health of the plants and remember there’s two aspects – there’s gardening which is looking after your garden and making sure it grows, and there’s the design. We can easily do the design and shove everything together so it looks good from day one but it’s important you understand the gardening as well. You want it to look good in five years’ time.”

Do we have a quintessential Australian garden?

“I think we’re getting there but I don’t think we’re quite there yet. It really isn’t defined.”

I think it’s becoming almost a Los Angeles style because it’s really about how we live outside, with outdoor kitchens, big sofas, daybeds. It’s really about relaxing outside and I think that’s what’s becoming really Australian.

I don’t think we’ve quite got there with our mix of plants yet. We still struggle with that a little bit, but in terms of recreationally, we’re getting to an Australian style.”

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Paul Bangay’s 3 most important things when creating a garden

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