Towards an Amazing Midcentury Garden | The first steps

Mirror Bush, Cotoneaster, Sweet Pittosporum, English Ivy and Privet.

This would have been the dominant planting theme in a blog post describing our current 1960s Beaumaris garden.

Not very pleasant.  Or in keeping with the natural beauty of the area!

Moving into a new house has presented us with some amazing opportunities. Least of all is a chance to create an amazing new garden for our family (especially our little boy and our pets).

An old realestate shot
An old realestate shot showing some great midcentury elements to work with (along with the weeds)!

And excitingly for two landscape architects this is blank canvas sort of stuff.  The existing garden has been quite run down and ‘let go’.  There are some key native canopy trees, such as a beautiful Agonis flexuosa (Willow Myrtle) in the front yard, but generally the rest is a mess of exotics, dead stumps and weed species.

So my wife put her pen to paper and came up with our backyard design.  It features some great spaces for outdoor entertaining and play, plenty of great canopy trees and garden beds, and also opportunity to close off an area and keep our dog from annoying our son’s little friends when they visit.

The work of a talented landscape architect (my wife)!
The work of a talented landscape architect (my wife)!

But we aren’t jumping in the car and loading up at the nursery just yet.  As I said, the garden has a little bit of weed and wilderness to it, so the first step is clearing out the rubbish.

The back yard exhibiting it's wild side.
The back yard exhibiting its wild side (We have since mowed the lawn).

So that is exactly what we began last weekend, and will continue this weekend (hello Australia Day!)

Our first step was to hire a skip to take all this rubbish and then we got stuck into removing the weedy trees, including:

Mirror bush

Coprosma repens (Mirror Bush) – A New Zealand native that is highly invasive especially in sandy coastal soils.

Sweet Pittosporum

Pittosporum undulatum (Sweet Pittosporum) – Actually originates from SE Australia, however it has now spread beyond its natural range and is highly invasive.

Image via
Image via

Ligustrum lucidum (Chinese Privet) – From China & Japan.  This tree can cause irritation or allergic reactions through its pollen and invades both damp and dry native grassland and woodland.

These truly are tough and nasty plants and a weekend of hacking, sawing and pruning left the two of us scratched and itchy.  We were somewhat victorious however, and have a nice pile of weedy wood as a result.


This weekend we get stuck into clearing the front, along with the undergrowth of Hedera helix (English Ivy), Passionfruit Vine and Kikuyu grass that isn’t where it should be.

All of this with the vision of what could be an amazing garden to go with our beautiful 1960s Beaumaris home!


Blood, Kate, 2001, Environmental Weeds – A Field Guide for SE Australia, Melbourne