Easy Shade Garden Ideas: Castlecrag Case Study

Project details

  • Recently excavated
  • Private backyard and front yard
  • Family friendly
  • Lots of shade [backyard]

Key goals

  • Select low maintenance plants
  • Plants must be shade tolerant
  • Modern design
  • Provide privacy from neighbours

The challenge

Whilst we were presented with a blank canvas for this job, the back garden had been recently excavated by builders and they had left the soil stripped about 30cm down. The challenge here was that the side passage is very narrow, so a solution was required to move a large amount of soil to the back. The back garden contained a large tree, which covered it in shade for most of the day. Our client’s family included young children, which meant it was essential that the turf could withstand not only the shade but the impact of regular play.

Our approach

  • Soil: The back garden required an additional 30cm of soil in order to reach the required height. However, due to the very narrow side access to the back garden, our only solution was to pump the soil.

Easy Shade Garden Ideas - soil

  • Turf: We selected Sir Walter Buffalo because it will tolerate the sun as well as the shade, and it’s quite a tough grass and with kids running around on it all the time, it’s very practical.
Easy Shade Garden Ideas -  turf
  • “Pool Friendly” plants: Around the pool, we selected a range of low maintenance plants that do not drop a lot of leaves. The Golden Canes were a good choice, as they are able to tolerate full sun and to create layers we added Little Rubies and Xanadus. Each of these plant varieties will also handle the splash of chlorinated water from the pool.
Easy Shade Garden Ideas - pool friendly
  • Provide privacy: Along the back fence, we chose to plant Podocarpus. It’s quite a narrow plant so you can keep it very close against the fence. The plan is to let it grow about half a metre above the top of the fence so that it provides a screen from the house behind. For the side, we selected Little Gem Magnolias, which will be pruned to be 2-2.5 metres high so they grow as a hedge. Magnolia little gem is not often used as a hedge, but they love to be pruned and will become a thick screen. For the street front, we placed a couple of bits of timber to create the illusion of a fence, with plants in between to create privacy – without physically having a fence.
Easy Shade Garden Ideas - provide privacy
  • Shade Tolerance: For the central bed in the back garden, shade tolerant plants were chosen such as New Zealand rock lilies, which have a beautiful pink flower with flowerettes along the spike. We also selected the Guzmania bromeliad and a cycad as the feature plant. We mulched in between the plants; however, once the plants grow and spread, you won’t see any of the mulch. Similarly, the low-maintenance tri-colour Star Jasmine will spread to make a border below the Podocarpus.
Easy Shade Garden Ideas - shade tolerance


  • Create a modern look: For the front garden, we designed square gardens, with different things planned for each square. For example, we mixed succulents with some exotic plants. Core 10 steel was used to frame the garden in both the front and the back as the edging. This steel develops lovely colours as it rusts and will create a modern look.
Easy Shade Garden Ideas - modern look
  • A touch of colour: Succulents were planted in little troughs and bolted to the wall outside the kitchen window. Again, they’re low maintenance and it’s quite a sunny spot around there, so they’ll do really well – but most importantly, they add a lovely dash of colour.Easy Shade Garden Ideas: Castlecrag Case Study - touch of colour

Do you need shade garden ideas?

If you have a garden, courtyard or balcony that is shaded for most or all of the day, plant selection is critical! We offer landscaping and design services to ensure you get the right advice so that your plants thrive.
For more information, please give us a call or visit us to schedule a free consultation.

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Grand Waterfront Property in Longueville: Front Garden Case Study

Project details

  • Waterfront property exposed to high wind
  • Create a sense of grandeur
  • Improve appeal of the house from the street frontage

Key goals

  • Select plants that can withstand winds
  • Create two tone colour theme (white and green]
  • Create balance between the large two-story home and the landscape environment
  • Design a grand front door entrance area

Our approach

1. Trees: We had to consider a Magnolia that was in the front garden because the wind was burning the leaves, which reduced the appeal of the garden at the front of the house. For this reason, we transplanted it to a more protected area in the back garden and replaced it with Snow Pears, creating a sense of grandeur to the front entrance of the house from the street.

Front Garden Case Study - Trees section


2. Wind Resistance: To protect the smaller plants along the driveway and create a windbreak, we planted a mature hedge of Japanese Buxus that was approximately 1 metre high. Snow Pears are also wind resistant, so were a perfect choice for this garden.

Front Garden Case Study - Wind resistance section


3. Balance and layers: Snow Pears were also selected to create height in the garden and create balance between the two-story house and the garden. To create balance between the plants, we used a smaller Buxus hedge, approximately 25cm high, down the path to the bottom of the steps.

Front Garden Case Study -  Balance and layers section


4. Colour and Contrast: Snow Pears have a beautiful white flower in the spring and they also create grandeur to the front entrance of the house. We used Iceberg Roses throughout the garden, as they can withstand the wind and love the afternoon sun that this garden receives and they will flower 8-9 months of the year. As a lower plant around the Iceberg Roses and Snow Pears, we used tricoloured Jasmine, to create the contrast in colour between the plants, from the lime green of the Buxus and the dark green of the Roses.

Front Garden Case Study - Colour and Contrast section


5. Grand Entrance: To perfectly frame the front entrance of this Hampton style home, we selected two Magnolia trees, planted in large Alfresco Low Round pots. Garden beds on either side of the door contained clay soil with no topsoil. Flowering plums were planted here, with English Large Leaf Ivy as a ground cover around the base of the flowering Plums. This created a sense of contrast between the burgundy colour of the Plums and the dark green of the Ivy.

Front Garden Case Study - Grand entrance section


For more information, please give us a call or visit us to schedule a free consultation.


Private Backyard Design Case Study: Freshwater


Project details

  • Private backyard
  • Family friendly
  • Modern and private concept

Key goals

  • Transform the backyard completely
  • Remove trees and stumps
  • Remove dangerous old walls and vegetable gardens
  • Level the ground and plant turf
  • Plant trees
Private Backyard Design

The challenge

In this private backyard design case study, we will examine a project at Freshwater. We were met with a challenge, as the backyard was full of Privet Trees, numerous unkempt vegetable gardens, old roots, and a lot of rubbish. Additionally, old paver walls and bricks were falling down in the backyard, which made it dangerous.

The brief was to transform the backyard into a private, modern garden with enough space for children to play.

Our approach

  1. Excavate: An excavator was needed to take down the walls and remove the bricks, rubbish, roots, etc and to flatten the garden.
  2. Lay turf: We filled the entire backyard with turf that just slopes through without the need for walls.
  3. Create a backdrop: In order to create a backdrop, we planted Murrayas on both sides of the backyard. We also chose Lilly Pillies for the back as they provide amazing colours and are low maintenance.
  4. Create a modern look: We painted them with Woodlands Grey to create a modern look. We also added some plants along the front of the fence to make it look and feel more refreshing.
  5. Create privacy: In the back part of the yard, we added —– red tip and Lilly Pillies to increase the sense of privacy as they grow over time.

A Private Backyard Design Makeover

The old and shallow Wyndora Avenue Freshwater backyard became a practical and beautiful space with a modern feel. This complete makeover was a tremendous success.

We’ve turned a backyard filled with rubbish into a welcoming and beautiful space. On top of that, we made it suitable for kids to play and added a sense of privacy.


Would you like to renovate your backyard?

Do you have an older style backyard that is screaming out for a renovation? You can transform your outdoor space into a practical and beautiful setting. We offer landscaping and design services to ensure you get the renovation for you garden, courtyard or balcony that you really want!

For more information, please give us a call or visit us to schedule a free consultation.


Private Garden Design Case Study: Hill Street Roseville

Roseville Private Garden Design

Project details

Private property, small front courtyard
Formal garden concept
Low maintenance

Key goals

  • Create a formal garden with a layered structure
  • Choose plants and trees that are low maintenance
  • Plant new turf
  • Create a sense of privacy

The challenge

After house renovations, the builders left a blank canvas. This meant we had a nice level courtyard with excellent street access, which made it convenient for deliveries.

The client’s brief for the landscape and garden design, was a formal concept but low maintenance, with privacy and screening from the neighbours and the street.

Our approach

  • Lay new turf: The client wanted a ‘fine’ short lawn, so we laid Queensland Blue Couch, which is best in full sun and can go ‘off’ in cold weather or winter.
  • Privacy or Screening: To increase privacy, we added Little Gem Magnolias near the Boundary fence. These trees change over the years and bloom white flowers during spring. Their dark green leaves with rust underneath create a wonderful backdrop. The Snow Pears were used to create a ‘pleated’ look above the timber panelling and create a subtle screen that it would in itself, be a feature as much as the timber panelling.
  • Formal garden: We selected plants based on the contrast between foliage colour and the shape of the leaf. We picked mostly white flowers for the sharp crisp look, and which will flower throughout the year. Framing the lawn in a kidney shaped pattern, we planted a Buxus hedge to create a formal look.
  • Create depth and dimension: We created a layered garden featuring New Zealand Rock Lilies, Gardenias, Camellia Sasanquas, Cycads, Little Rubies, Snow Pears and Bicopa.. The different sizes, shapes and colours of the plants helped in achieving depth.
  • Seasonal colours: We played with the seasonal colours to create contrast. We chose the colour white as the dominant flower colour as it stands out more in a courtyard. We used various shades of green and grey to give contrast and a sense of depth to the courtyard. The outcome

From an empty space, we transformed the location into a beautiful, formal show garden which is low maintenance, except for the pruning of the hedge and mowing of the lawn.

> You might also like: Balcony Renovation Case Study, Manly

Do you need landscaping services for your garden?

What do you think about this private garden design case study? Mosarte offers a wide range of landscaping and garden design services in Sydney. We know how important garden design and landscaping can be in the transformation of outdoor spaces. It can fully change the appearance, functionality, and comfort of your home.

For more information, please contact us now to get your questions answered. You can also give us a call to schedule a free consultation.


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Balcony Renovation Case Study: Manly


Project details

  • Private balcony
  • Feature plants and pots
  • Hide the neighbouring property roofline without obscuring the view
  • Compliment the Silver Travertine tiles which are laid in a French pattern
  • Use low maintenance plants

The challenge

At this idyllic Manly location, the balcony had undergone a renovation, where the old terracotta tiles were replaced by gorgeous silver Travertine tiles, laid in a French pattern.

The client requested that we soften the neighbouring property roofline without obstructing the harbour view.

The balcony is facing due north, and is potentially exposed to winds from several directions, so therefore it was critical that the plants chosen could handle these conditions.

The brief also stated that everything had to be very low maintenance as our clients were business professionals who have very little time to water and maintain the plants.

Our approach

  1. Soften the roofline: To soften the roofline of the neighbouring property, we placed the largest pot in the centre to break up the roofline and used a cluster of pots of various sizes to bring your eye forward to take away the focus of the building behind.
  2. Plants: We selected a range of plants that tolerate moderate winds and the hot sun. We used mostly succulents, such as different coloured Jades and Dragon Trees with underplanting of ground cover succulents. The ground cover succulents create high impact with both colour and texture. Eg Golden Sedum.
  3. Contrast and ambience: We selected pots of different shapes and sizes and placed them on the sides of the balcony to create a sense of depth and improve the ambiance.

A stunning balcony makeover case study

We were able to create a strong, visually appealing outdoor space. As the plants mature and grow, they will create a bigger impact and contrast.

Would you like to renovate your balcony?

Are you interested in any of the renovation points we’ve mentioned above? Mosarte offers a wide range of gardening and landscaping services to turn your outdoor space into your welcoming retreat. You can transform the appearance of your garden, courtyard or balcony, starting today.

For more details, please contact us now to get your questions answered. You can also give us a call to schedule a free consultation or visit us in Sydney.

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