Jacque Tucker: Design tips for a sporty garden

Section
Home and Garden,
Publish Date
Sunday, 29 January 2017, 9:20a.m.

Keep your borders narrow (.5 to 1m) so plants don't get stomped on to retrieve the ball.  Straight borders make for a better pitch shape.

* Keep planting simple with only 2 or 3 different plants - eg.  a row of the same tree, a shrub and then a groundcover border in front...looks great and can take a hit

* Avoid hunting for cricket balls in the undergrowth - limb up the lower branches of your hedge to give you clear space, then underplant with a low growing groundcover like liriope.  

* Mass planting looks tidy, and if plants get knocked out of shape there are others to fill the gap.  Narrow plants are harder to hit!

* Avoid plants that attract a lot of bees around the main zones of play.

* Low groundcovers make finding stray balls easy – try Selliera radicans, Pratia angulata or green Dichondra…natives that can take being stomped on occasionally.

* Buy larger grade plants - they're less likely to be crushed to death.

* Grasses are tough enough to take a falling tackle, but are also soft to land on - Lomandra 'Tanika', Anemanthele lessoniana, Carex virgata, Carex testacea are good choices.

* Site your productive garden out of harm's way, or behind a hedge.  

TOUGH PLANTS FOR SPORTY GARDENS

Tough natives include titoki, puka, karaka, hoheria,  kowhai and pohutukawa cultivars. Olive trees, Mexican alder, bangalow and queen palms...

Hedges - Pittosporum 'Screenmaster', Photinia, Laurus nobilis (bay tree), Prunus lusitanica, Griselinia, karo, michelia figo, clumping bamboo...

Shrubs - Choisya ternata, Griselinia, flaxes, Muehlenbeckia astonii, Corokia, Coprosma, Artemisia, hebes, Spirea, Osmanthus, Pseudopanax, Brachyglottis greyii...

Flowers/groundcovers - dwarf agapanthus, lavender, daylilies, thyme, Verbenia bonariensis,  Dianella 'Little Jess' and 'Little Rev', mondo grass, liriope, libertia, Ajuga (shady spots), Osteospermum, Arctotis, cranesbill geraniums,  Pimelea prostrata, Parahebe...

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