This compact front garden is a tough site for plants – it is second line coastal, subject to salt-laden winds, full western sun and comprises alkaline limestone sands. The client brief was for a colourful, flower-rich, hardy garden to replace the high-maintenance lawn.

I drew upon the myriad of Mediterranean and native species to create a plant palette that was hardy and well suited to the site conditions, and would thrive in the impoverished sand and heat of a Perth summer.

The deep layer of coarse bark mulch insulates the ground and reduces water loss, while the large spaces allow rainfall to penetrate. In-line dripper irrigation below the mulch layer is connected to a rainwater tank to provide deep, infrequent irrigation if required.

Three months after planting this garden is beginning to establish. Despite a couple of heatwaves before Christmas it is proving hardy and tolerant of the conditions.