Byrne-ing with Desire to Create Great Landscapes

Earlier this month, NACC NRM teamed up with Gardening Australia’s Josh Byrne to deliver a sustainable properties event in Dongara.

There was never a ‘dill’ moment with Josh, and the afternoon saw over 60 eager participants join us from all ‘clover’ the Northern Agricultural Region to discuss sustainable gardening and learn how to create a healthy property.

Josh doesn’t ‘moss’ around when it comes to sustainable gardening! He discussed his top tips and tricks for creating an eco-friendly garden and ran us through some of the key themes in creating sustainable landscapes. These included energy efficiency, habitat creation, organic waste recycling, growing your own food, organic management systems and water efficiency.

Under these themes Josh highlighted the importance of site planning, water sensitive designs and weed/pest management and how these play a significant role in ensuring that your landscape – large or small – thrives with minimum inputs and maximum outputs.

After a quick tea break, Josh delved into his own home as a case study and explained how he created an energy efficient, water sensitive, sustainable urban property. After 20 years renovating other people’s houses and gardens demonstrating sustainable design ideas, Josh undertook the design and construction of his own ten-star energy efficient family home in the Fremantle suburb of Hilton.

Josh also incorporated some of his favourite tricks on improving soil in your gardens, including:

  • Compost – making your own with a range of organic household materials, with the added benefit of reducing your household waste.
  • Worm castings – become a worm ‘farmer’ and get your ‘workers’ to create this wonderful soil conditioner.
  • Aged animal manures (e.g. chicken, sheep, cow, horse) – these are great for growing veggies and other hungry exotic plants. Remember that manure is nutrient rich and should be used lightly. It may also harm some native plants. There are specialist slow release fertilisers for natives – just ask your local nursery for further advice.
  • Packaged organic fertilisers (e.g. blood and bone, chicken manure pellets and liquid organic fertilisers) – these feed your plants and also improve the soil (just follow the product recommendations).
  • Organic mulches – these break down to improve the soil.

It’s important to remember that gardening and sustainable landscaping are often just ‘trowel’ and error and not to give up if something doesn’t ‘grow’ to plan. Creating a functioning and efficient garden takes patience and ‘thyme’.

If you want to talk more about sustainable gardening or water wise landscapes, please get in contact with our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators.

Annabelle Garratt


(P) 0448 986 879

Lizzie King


(P) 0447 361 335

This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

Annabelle Garratt & Lizzie King – Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators

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