Summer Garden

"We all feel a tad frazzled after a long heat wave in fact our gardens are the same but there are a few simple things we can do to keep them looking gorgeous over the next few months."

All you have to do is remember one word as a summer garden guide - SWIMS -

S is for selection

"Correct plant selections is crucial look around your neighbourhood and see what's thriving in the hot summer get it right and you'll have no problems through summer, get it wrong and this is what's going to happen."

W - Water Saving

"Wetting agents are crucial to success in west Australian gardens what happens in soil that's bone dry is the water just beads and just runs off so you can get or granulated agents I like the liquid better because what we tend to do is sprinkle a granulated wetting agent on and not water it in for long enough."

I- Improving Soil

"Never plant anything without improving the soil sandy soil's drain so quickly that all the water goes past the root zone so improving the soil is going to hold the moisture around the plants roots."

M- Mulch

"Not all mulches are the same you need to choose one that's course and chunky because it allows the water to soak in to the soils surface if you use a fine mulch and you don't use very much water the mulch absorbs the water and defeats the reason what you put the mulch on in the first place."

S - Shade

"Shade is really important for the back yard a few strategically place trees makes a huge difference to the outside temperature it also protects the understory plants from the searing sun but if all else fails and on those really hot days a piece of shade cloth well it's your very best friend for delicate plants."

Summer's also a time when we like our lawn to look its best and just like the rest of your garden it can suffer if it's not looked after correctly.

"To help us with what to do with this lawn I've enlisted the help of friend Nick Bell who has been passionate about lawns for many years without giving away too many secrets how many years 50 ... 50 years, so it's your life looking after turf well everyday i learn something new."

According to Nick there are four simple steps to a better lawn - Feed with a slow release fertilizer 4 times a year. Ensure full water coverage. Use a wetting agent to ensure good water penetration -And mow to the correct height -"what do we do about dead patches? take the fork and prick them you'll notice this fork has special chisel shaped tines I like this fork that's because round tines make a hole in the corner of the hole it's compacted the earth has to go somewhere, where as this one you just push it in give it a little wiggle and that disturbs the earth below the tine and allows the water to penetrate, so aerated well fertilised judiciously watered and the key is mowing."

Nick says be realist with your expectations and if all else fails don't be afraid to start again. "I've come across lawns that take so much work that it's better to start again 14.16 nowadays there's some really good lawn varieties so I would say a good thing to do is to have a look at your lawn reduce the size."