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With the recent foul weather we had in Sydney area, now meteorologists are promising some dry and sunny spells. This will give homeowners the perfect opportunity to see to their gardens and sort them out before spring planting begins. The torrential rain brought flooding to many areas in NSW and a number of properties were severely affected. But once residents have dealt with the cleaning up process, many by taking advantage of the free green waste removal service, offered by local councils, and once the floodwater has subsided from waterlogged lawns that have a good drainage system, people can now start thinking about improving their outdoor space. Commonly, city gardens have certain similarities in their design, when it comes to some popular recreational features. There are the patio area and the barbecue corner, the beautifully maintained lawn and the nicely laid flowerbeds. Some avid gardeners may have opted for installing a focus water feature or a fountain, others favour an aesthetically designed rockery or a carefully arranged shrubbery. Depending on how pro people feel about “messing” with their gardens, they may attempt to have a go themselves at designing their outdoor space. Those, who feel that they are at a beginner’s level, may be more modest with their efforts and not dare be adventurous with their planting until they have read every guide or gardening book, which offers easy tips and ideas. Whether you feel confident or not, there is one improvement that anyone can do in their yard, because it is not only pretty to look, but also renders practicality and functionality within its concept, especially when we are confronted with a drenched lawn after days of heavy rainfall and stormy weather. Moreover, it is a gardening job that is perfect for doing in the winter, when there is less stuff to do outside. The Garden Stepping Stones There is a plethora of design ideas on how you can use stepping stones in your garden, in order to improve its look and add a functional purpose to the plan. The pathway The stepping feature can be integrated with an already designed pathway. Whether the slabs are fixed firmly within the gravel path, or they are hammered in directly into the lawn, the execution of such project requires a little bit of a know-how. The Gravel Path Tiles and Pebble square feature path Combining different materials, such as terracotta tiles and colourful pebbles will give your backyard an abstract look. So next, I would like to carry on with my list by featuring some fast and easy stepping stones ideas that only require the strength of your muscles, because one just has to plonk the natural stones, tiles or granite slabs onto the designated area on your lawn. This method is the best and the fastest solution to a problem with a sodden and soggy ground in the wet weather that we have had so far. The stepping stones are also easy to maintain and clean, as a quick sweep and the occasional pressure washing will be enough to keep your garden focus feature in the spotlight. The Path A natural stone path looks very attractive, especially when it is made of different sized stones. Another idea for creating a practical and functional pathway, is to use man-cut slabs that could be placed on a gravel ground or directly on the lawn. The Patio A freestyle patio can be effortlessly constructed with very little fuss. It gives a quirky look to your garden and offers also a practical solution, as it can prevent a grass-free ground from turning into a muddy slush in the rain. The Random feature Randomly laid slabs of stone, which follow no particular geometrical pattern, are also a great solution to drenched lawns in the winter. The Border feature Small stones can be placed together in square or rectangular shapes around shrubs or flowerbeds to form a neat and handy border. The list of ideas is endless and if one employs their creative mind, they could make wonders in their garden and design a stepping stone feature that conveniently serves its purpose, when the weather is rather wet.
Green roofs and walls are often discussed these days. But few realise that they have been part of Sydney's landscape since the 1930's. True, they were a rare sight back then a luxury reserved only for multi-national companies and just in ten years there has been a 70% spike in the number of green buildings across the metropolis. However, over the last eighty years local government in NSW's capital city has done much to support and encourage the green roofs and wall installations in the metropolis. Having in mind that synopsis predict average growth of urban population in Australia's biggest cities to reach more than 40% by 2030. So far there are 49 approved green roof installations on Sydney's territory varying significantly in proportions. Some are as small as a couple of planter boxes placed on a building's rooftop while others are truly majestic. The most expensive and memorable rooftop garden built on local ground is the iconic garden on top of the MCentral residential building in Pyrmont. Spreading on over 2600 square meters of community rooftop area which was considered a breath of fresh air as opposed to the "standard in luxury housing" - huge swimming pools. Green walls also are becoming a more common sight in the city. 14 sites across the metropolis already have such installations. Sydney's pride and joy in sustainable architecture is Australia's biggest green wall (so far). The formidable installation in Chipendale, Sydney is certainly a sight worth seeing. With green panels covering 1,000 square meters of the One Central Park both on the in- and outside. This exceeds the previous Australian record holder - the installation at 1 Bligh Street (again in Sydney) which is 9 metre high and 40 metre long. Breaking Ground on the New Green Roof and Wall Policy in Sydney The City of Sydney has chosen an ambitious but estimable path to expand the green areas in the metropolis and encourage green building and sustainable development in the area. The local authorities have been conducting studies on green installations. Some are aimed towards assessing public opinion while others try to measure the estimate costs and benefits of green roofs and walls. Additionally, potential locations are being scouted. After a full analysis of the industry environment, international policies and programs, as well as considering the current industry drivers and development, the government will develop a special policy to encourage the green roof and wall creation in the city. Main Objectives of the New Green Roof and Wall Policy Providing guidance and leadership to local businesses and residential associations; Addressing potential obstacles to the implementation of green roofs and walls projects in the metropolitan zone; Working shoulder-to-shoulder with community members, local and international businesses and other stakeholders; Promoting the green roofs and walls idea and providing more information about it; Aid local research on the subject; Leading by example with implementing green roof and wall technologies on Government and Council properties; Documenting, evaluating and publishing current results of the development of each project. While many obstacles lie ahead like minimising the costs of the special irrigation systems, the creation of a potential project by a specialised landscape architect and naturally the day-to-day garden space maintenance which also needs to be conducted by professionals, the benefits of green roofs and walls remain immense. Professor Stuart White of the University of Technology in Sydney reminds that the green roof and walls projects might not solve the city's air quality issues but they are still a vital step towards a better, greener future for NSW's capital city. A Great Example of the Benefits of Green Spaces Wayside Chapel in Potts Point has a rooftop garden. While the installation certainly improves the building's carbon footprints and its overall sustainability but its benefits don't end there. For people with mental disabilities, taking care of plants and seeing them grow and flourish is a part of their healing process. Producing the food served in the dishes is more therapeutic than one would imagine. Thus, the advantages of adding more green areas throughout the city is about more than just improving the sustainability of Sydney, it's about strengthening community bonds.