Inside Out gardening editor Brendan Moar is known for his impressive skills at creating and recharging green spaces.

Where do you start when planning an outdoor space?

First, understand what you want from the space. Then, consider the mood: how do you want to feel when you’re in it and how do you want others to experience it?

What are some of your favourite plants?

Bamboo, for the graceful vertical line of the stems and the clever screening it provides. There’s also rhipsalis, a plant that works in dry shade – a challenging place for plants to do well. I like plants that have a bulbous, cloud-like form low to the ground – such as Leucophyta brownii (an Australian native) – which partner well with plants with a strong but fine vertical line, such as Isolepsis nodosa (another Aussie native).

Clever alternatives to lawn?

A patchwork of stone-steppers with groundcovers, such as thyme and dichondra, always works well. You can simply reduce the size of your lawn as a way of keeping a sense of lawn but cut the water needed. Make it work hard for you.

Best shade providers?

Trees! You want a dappled shade that doesn’t create a headache in terms of leaf drop. Gleditsias, robinias and albizias can all work well. Shade structures that are covered with grapevines also create a beautiful quality of shade.

What are some ways to add colour to a outdoor area?

Painting walls, coloured tiles and using outdoor fabric as awnings or wall treatments are some of the most effective ways of injecting permanent reliable colour. Flowers and foliage are obvious ways of bringing colour into a garden, but are often fleeting.

Dream project?

Given all the disasters around the world, working on a project that somehow helps one of these devastated communities back on its feet would be great to be a part of.


More outdoor inspiration:

* Deck renovation
* Small garden design
* Outdoor ideas

More great ideas on our Facebook page or find us on Pinterest.