Gardening Tips & Ideas

How does your garden grow? We show you how to make the most of your space whether it's a big backyard or a compact courtyard. Learn tips and techniques for planting, pruning, propagating and more. Follow our easy step-by-step projects and be inspired by great design ideas you can try at home. 

7 plants to grow and spice up your home cooking
For lovers of spicy Asian food, a stir-fry, laksas and curries will be favourites on the menu. And certain herbs and spices are necessary ingredients for these cuisines. Curry leaves, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, chilli, galangal, ginger and tur...
Create a lush tropical outdoor space with shade-loving plants. Image: Getty Images
Finding plants that will survive and thrive in locations where little sun penetrates is one of the most difficult gardening dilemmas. In Australia, this usually means the area on the south side of your home, which can be moist as well as shady. Man...
When it comes to garden solutions, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. So we asked the experts to share their solutions to Handyman readers’ outdoor problems.
All About Earthworms
There are about 1000 native species of earthworms in Australia and, as unappealing as they may be, they are a necessary part of the soil and play a vital role in the health of plants.  They work tirelessly beneath our feet to produce rich casting...
Build A Birdhouse

This plywood birdhouse can be customised to any shape or size

This birdhouse is simply a box with a bird-shaped lid turned on its side.  Made from plywood, the lid is attached with a hinge and a simple hook holds it closed. A half sheet of marine ply, costing $17, is enough for the birdhouse and it’s buil...
5 Extraordinary Uses For Clothes Pegs

Five ways to use clothes pegs 

Clothes pegs come in very handy during gardening and DIY. Here are five different ways you can use them to make your life easier.  1. Hammer helper  Make sure you hit the nail and not your finger by using a clothes peg to hold nails  when hammering...
Protect Garden Tools - Image: istock
Sponsored article Garden tools like shovels, trowels and forks see a lot of wear and tear, with constant digging in the soil exposing the metal to moisture and dirt.   This harsh environment can lead to rust and corrosion, which if left unchecked can...
Aphids can be incredibly destructive pests in the garden, but with this DIY organic spray, you can deter them from attacking your plants. All you'll need to make this spray is: 2 tablespoons of chilli flakes 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper 2...
How To Build A Timber Garden Planter
Build a self-watering raised bed from treated pine to grow salad greens.  Everyone loves to grow fresh salad greens, tomatoes and herbs. But backyard crops need regular water to thrive. Too much or too little can result in problems like rot, wilt...
An Urban Garden Oasis

Living in the city does not need to mean living without a garden 

On a global scale, different climates produce different gardens. From Australia to America, when creating an urban garden, climate, size and environment are all factors to be considered. But with just a little planning and know-how, you can tackl...
4 Common Fertiliser Blunders

Follow a few basic feeding guidelines for a lush lawn

Fertilising your lawn can be a simple task that brings great benefits however it’s surprisingly easy to get it wrong.  Homeowners and turf professionals alike tend to fall for the same four fertiliser no-nos.   Avoid these mistakes and you’ll sav...
Trolleys and Wheelbarrows

Move a large pot quickly and easily by strapping it onto a hand trolley.

When it comes to moving stuff, whether it’s a pile of soil or mulch, bags of compost or a large pot, there’s the hard way to do it and the easy way.  Attempting to carry a large object in your arms or making multiple trips is the hard way. Using...
In Ground Worm Farm
Sponsored Article Worms are nature’s great recyclers, digesting organic matter and converting it into rich compost that promotes healthy plant growth.   Setting up a worm farm at home makes it easy to harness the power of these creatures to improve y...
DIY Hanging Garden
Hanging baskets green up a pergola or patio fast, but for a lush effect in front of a wall or fence, planters work better. Lengths of PVC guttering make great lightweight hanging planters and can be cut down to any size to suit the available spac...
Decorative Plant Frame
Create a simple decorative outdoor feature with an old tin, a leafy herb and a distressed picture frame. Take an old timber frame and add decorative trim as a hanger for a potted plant. Use any tin you have or look for a vintage one in op shops....
Make Potted Gumboots
Turn an old pair of gumboots into fun containers for growing herbs or plants on the kitchen doorstep, a small balcony or in the garden.  Give them two coats of red spray paint, or any other bright colour, choosing a pair with a matt rather than s...
Trampoline Spring Protectors

Use soft foam to cover trampoline springs 

When kids are jumping and playing on the trampoline, it’s easy for them to be pinched by the metal springs that surround the mat.  To protect the kids and decorate the trampoline, cover the springs with foam. Simply trim pool noodles to size, the...
Rhubarb Pavers
Create leaf-shaped garden pavers in just a day and use them to lay a stepping stone path in the lawn.  To make the pavers, take a simple concrete cast from rhubarb leaves. Rhubarb leaves are a good choice for pavers because of their size.  As t...
How To Make A Flower Pot Shelf
A great way to bring living colour to a small outdoor area without taking up floorspace is to add a floating shelf with cutouts for pots.  Made from primed LOSP pine, this shelf is built using 220 x 220mm timber verandah brackets, about $12 each,...
 Create A Hanging Basket Display
Watch the video: How to pot up hanging baskets Bring your outdoor area to life with stunning hanging basket displays you can create in just a few hours.  Hanging baskets are a must-have for any backyard or balcony, as they add instant colour. A...
How To Treat Water-Repellent Soil
Have a dig around in many Australian backyards and you will find sandy soil.  There are plenty of plants that grow well in this type of soil, and one of the greatest advantages of sand over clay is good drainage.  But sandy soils are also susce...
Worm farm with blanket
Sponsored article Worm farms are a fantastic way to recycle kitchen scraps while making nutritious food for your garden. But as the seasons change, it’s important to check your worm farm and make adjustments as required.   When conditions are maintai...
In this video, we’ll show you how to set up a worm farm so you can recycle kitchen scraps to make fertiliser for your garden. We're using the Tumbleweed Worm Cafe, which is easy to set up, simple to use and comes with everything you need to get start...
How To Pick Healthy Plants
Head to the nursery with the know-how to pick the healthiest plants and get your garden growing.  Spring is in the air and most of us are keen to get growing and pop a few plants in the ground.  But it’s disappointing to bring home an armful of...
5 Ways To Enrich Garden Soil

Get the most out of your garden soil with these 5 tips. Image: Getty Images 

Healthier garden soil means healthier plants. It is the foundation of successful gardening and thus worth paying attention to.  Here are 5 ways you can enrich your garden soil.  1. Spread grass Grass clippings add nutrients as they decompose.They...
Repot An Indoor Plant
Most indoor plants need repotting every couple of years. Even if the plant hasn’t outgrown its container, potting mix degenerates and needs renewing to supply the plant with nutrients. If it is root-bound or has grown considerably, the plant will...
Growing Indoor Plants

House plants are just varieties that can survive happily inside. Image: Getty Images 

There’s really no such thing as an indoor plant, there are just certain species and varieties that can survive indoors.  House plants create harmony by breaking down the barriers between the inside and the outside world and can create stunning vi...
Attract Birds To Your Garden

Learn how to attract birds to your garden. Image: Thinkstock 

Birds can be assets in the garden. They assist in pollination, aid in pest control and are generally pleasing to the eye and ears, if you are a fan of birdsong, that is.  1. Add native shrubs Plant grevilleas, kangaroo paws and banksias in the...
Get The Tropical Look

This densely planted garden bed shows how this look can be the ideal solution for small spaces. Garden Design: Phil Withers

A tropical garden full of plants with vibrant blooms and oversized foliage, and an atmosphere of exotic living, isn’t just for warm-climate gardens.  With a few tricks and a bit of planning, you can create your own tropical look and feel in all b...
Turn pet waste into fertiliser with a pet poo worm farm

Compost pet droppings using the Tumbleweed Pet Poo Worm Farm

Sponsored Article Pets make fantastic companions for the whole family, but the downside is constantly cleaning up after them.   Tossing pet poo in the garbage makes the bin smell unpleasant and the sheer quantity of plastic bags required is bad for t...
5 Composting Tips And Tricks

These tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your compost. Image: Thinkstock 

1. Break it up  When it comes to the compost heap, the general rule is that the bigger it is, the longer it takes to decompose. For fast compost, break up the materials.  2. Build a pallet bin  Make a bin from timber pallets. They’re availabl...
How To Make Faux Stone Pots
Centuries-old stone pots look fantastic in the garden but can be hard to find and very pricey.  The stone pots used by English gardeners in the early 1900s were actually sinks and troughs from old buildings that had been cut from volcanic rock by...
Click here to subscribe to Handyman Magazine on YouTube  In this DIY video, we show you how to identify and protect seedlings in your garden. Have you ever planted seeds or seedlings in your garden, only to find that they’re hidden by a mass of wee...
Preparing The Garden For Winter
At this time of year most gardens are on the cusp of going into their winter dormancy, or are at least having a well-earned slow down. Now is the time to get outdoors and make things neat and tidy. Many of the simple tasks done in autumn prepare the...
Create A Weathered Wall

Create a weathered wall in your garden. Image: Thinkstock 

Create the look of an ancient European villa with this weathered paint effect for rendered walls. To create the gradient undercoat, apply a grey base coat to the entire wall using a roller and let it dry.  Divide the wall into five horizontal sec...
Install A Rotary Clothesline
Save money, time and energy by drying clothes outside, using wind power to get the job done faster.  A rotary clothesline is an Aussie icon and for good reason. In the 1950s and 60s most backyards featured a Hills Hoist, made of heavy unpainted...
Concrete Planter Wall
Besser concrete blocks are cheap, stackable and durable, with two cavities that are ideal for plants.  This mortared wall is made of eight courses using 26 blocks and four half-blocks, with 16 used as planters.  Dry-stack the blocks to get the...
Turn A Wall Into A Playground
Once children start school they tend to become involved in sport, and even the smallest backyard can provide a safe space for them to practice.  Using painter’s tape, create a temporary arena for your budding sports star. From footy in the winter...
Planting A Pond
Give your water garden a little maintenance now for a lush display throughout the summer months. Late spring is when the water temperature begins to rise and marks the beginning of the year for pond plants.  There are five types of pond plants....
Gardening With Kids

Adding a scarecrow to the vegie patch is a great way to combine craft with gardening to make it even more fun

Gardening can be a lot of fun for kids, giving them the chance to get outside and grub around in the dirt.  And if you give kids an area outdoors to call their own they’ll be rolling up their sleeves in no time.  The vegetable garden is a great...
Make Rustic Herb Signs

Give the garden character with these rustic herb signs 

    Handy  man  Managing editor and keen cook Lee Dashiell likes to add lots of herbs to his summer kitchen garden.  ‘This year I planted sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano and tarragon and in weeks the herbs had grown enough for me to start tip-prun...
How To Make A Worm Farm
Worms make a huge contribution to composting. They help break down decomposing organic matter and in the process neutralise soil pH. This happens when they release a thick, black paste called castings. If you don’t have the space for a compost he...
Ethical Eating

Even if you shop with a list, excess is a part of modern life so learn how to keep food fresh and use up leftovers. Image: Thinkstock 

Australian households throw out more than four million tonnes of food a year, which is equivalent to at least $5 billion, or about 20% of the food we buy. ‘When you throw out food, you’re also throwing out all of the resources that were used to g...
Worm farm and worms
Sponsored Article   Recycling your kitchen waste helps to reduce the carbon footprint of your household and creates rich nutrients to maximise the health of your garden.   But as the temperature decreases our soil-making friends, the composting eart...
Portable Garden Planter
This garden trolley is the perfect solution if you’re looking to grow more than a windowsill of herbs but don’t have the space for a full produce patch. Standing at about 800mm high, the trolley features a 900 x 650mm planting area that’s about 1...
Essential Guide to Mulchers

Choose the right mulcher to deal with your garden trimmings

Once all your bushes and trees have been pruned to perfection, you’ll need to do something about all the material you’ve trimmed off.  A mulcher, also called a shredder or chipper, is an invaluable garden accessory that converts the waste from pr...
DIY Basics: Essential Guide To Cultivators

Cultivators are perfect for starting new garden beds or reviving old ones

Tillers cut through soil to aerate and mix through organic material such as the leaves and branches you shredded after pruning them. Tillers are perfect for starting new garden beds or reviving old ones.  Improving the quality of a new garden bed...
DIY Basics: Essential Guide To Pruners

Keep your plants in shape by using the right tools for the job. Image: Thinkstock 

Whether you take pride and pleasure in trimming topiary, or if pruning is just another garden chore, it’s still important to know what tools to use.  Pruners come in a variety of power and manual options to shape your plants and trees. From small...
Make A Wire Wall Trellis
Jecca Blake had a bare exterior wall she wanted to green up. For a formal look she made a trellis and trained climbers over it. To make the trellis Jecca used stainless steel wire rope.  ‘As climbers grow they get heavier and wires can stretch...
Gardening in containers is a very rewarding way to get growing. It also has many advantages over planting in garden beds.   You have a lot more control over the growing conditions and you can place them in handier locations, such as close to the kitc...
Turn A Magazine Rack Into A Flower Frame
Handyman’s Lee Dashiell had an old metal magazine rack collecting dust.  ‘It had a nice shape so I turned it into a planter. I applied a primer then sprayed it with two coats of metal paint to prevent rust.’  Lee secured the rack to a pergola p...
Build A Bamboo Planter With A Trellis
Grow climbers over a custom-made lattice of bamboo attached to a timber box and use it as a leafy screen.  Add shade or privacy to a deck by building a bamboo trellis designed for climbers. It’s attached to a box made of treated pine frames clad...
How To Make Compost

A spadeful of compost for each plant a few times a year does the trick.

Australian households throw away more than three million tonnes of food a year, most of it fresh fruit and vegetables that end up rotting away in landfill. A better way of dealing with food waste is to set up a compost system at home, turning you...
Install Hanging Baskets
A hanging basket is an easy way to add instant appeal and seasonal colour to an exterior wall, enlivening the area. Many nurseries sell pre-planted hanging baskets but it’s easy to make one using flowers you like.  Buy a pot with a metal chain or...
A birdbath in the garden
Give birds, lizards and other small animals a place to call home by creating a wildlife retreat where they can forage and live safely. This great idea works in gardens large or small, and the kids can help with the planning and planting. Flagstones a...
Plant pots with herbs
Teach the kids about growing and cooking at the same time by creating a potted kitchen garden. For hassle-free sowing, use Mr Fothergill’s Seed Mats Easy Sow. The pre-sown paper mats are 8cm in diameter and are a good fit for 9cm terracotta pots, whi...
Plants growing in rolled up newspaper
Raising plants from seed is always a winner with kids and growing food to eat just doubles the fun.   Grow a lunchbox favourite like cherry tomatoes in newspaper tubes, and in a few weeks you’ll have lots of seedlings ready for pots or beds.   You ca...
Children playing in the garden
Gardening is one of the best activities you can encourage in your kids. It gets them into the fresh air and working with their hands while learning about plants and nature. Children can start gardening as soon as they are able to grip a trowel but th...
Smiling Horse, Use animal droppings as manure, handyman magazine,

Make your own organic manure with animal droppings that turn up in your yard. Image: iStock 

Properly used manure is great for the garden. It’s rich in nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, and adds organic matter to the soil. How it’s used depends on the type of manure, and type and age of plants. It can spread directly over establi...
Renew Hand Tools , Handyman magazine,

Get tools into top shape and enjoy easier gardening. Image: Getty Images 

 Giving timber-handled tools a bit of TLC to helps them last longer. Check the tools over and replace any with handles that are suffering from rot or severe cracks, especially tools that are used under pressure such as spades and mattocks.  For...
5 Fascinating Pollination Facts
Read on for five fun facts about pollination 
1.  Pollination is an essential part of the fertilisation process  The movement of pollen from one flower to another flower of the same species is an essential step in the fertilisation of plants and the development of the fruit and seeds needed...
A Guide to Leaf Blowers, Handyman magazine, Gardening,

Leaf blowers can save hours of tiresome sweeping or raking. Image: Getty Images 

Blower-vacs and leaf blowers save backbreaking hours of raking or sweeping leaves, debris or grass clippings from courtyards, decks, driveways, patios and more.  Visit your local hardware store and hold different models to get a feel for their we...

Perfect lawn edges require regular maintenance. Image: Thinkstock

‘If you’ve got a lawn then it’s a sure bet that you will need some kind of edger. After all, the grass has to end somewhere!’ says Handyman contributor Adam Woodhams.  The choice of whether to buy a dedicated edging machine or simply make do with...
Lawn Trimmer Buying Guide, handyman magazine, gardening
Trim lawn edges and remove weeds and straggly runners easily with a lawn trimmer. Image: Getty Images
Lawnmowers are great for wide areas, but they can’t cut right up to fences and walls, or around tree trunks and other vertical objects.  For this uncut strip, you’ll need a line trimmer or brush cutter. They also make short work of overgrown weed...
How to Paint Verdigris Pots
Handyman stylist Gema Beneitez created a rustic flowering display using plastic pots and new plants.  To turn pots into antique-look planters all you need is a few days and several types of paint.  The bluish-green coating that develops on copp...
How To Repot A Plant , Handyman magazine
Plants are often left in the pots they came home in but those plastic containers don’t do much for outdoor aesthetics and nursery sizes are only to be used for a limited period. When a plant outgrows its pot, it becomes hard for it to take up oxy...
Give Pots Better Drainage
The key to growing healthy plants is well-drained soil, so drill holes in the base to customise containers for planting.  For the best plant growth and health, the growing medium needs to supply a balance of water, oxygen and nutrients.  Pottin...
Thriving plants in a garden, Handyman magazine, DIY

These essential jobs will prepare your garden for the warmer months 

Over winter pests and diseases ease their grip on the garden but it’s worth keeping an eye out to make sure you’re on top of any infestations before warmer weather causes existing problems to multiply. A little prevention now can save you lots of har...
A handful of mulch from the garden

Rich, nutrient-filled leaf mould adds body to your soil and needs only fallen leaves, moisture and time to make. Image: Getty Images

Autumn leaves aren’t just pretty, they’re full of essential minerals for your garden.   The problem is they fall in such numbers that they can overwhelm the compost bin or form an impenetrable layer if left on the ground.   They are best compos...
As plots get smaller and homes get greener we seem to be demanding more and more from our shrinking outdoor spaces.    At the same time there is growing awareness about sustainability and the advantages of growing your own food.    But how do...
“Every body knows there’s fairies in the garden. If you just stay still and look long enough in the right places you’re sure to find them.   In our garden, there are lots of places for faires to hide but I thought I’d give them somewhere special to h...
“One of those great inevitabilities of working around the home and garden is moving is moving stuff. Bulky stuff. Heavy stuff. Awkward stuff. Now you can do it the hard way like this, or you can get smart and do it the easy way.    A trolley or...
gardening gloves and secateurs for pruning
A good pair of gardening gloves protect your hands from dirt and injury
Autumn is a very busy time for anyone wanting to prepare their garden for winter. And according to Julie Willis, horticultural advisor for The Diggers Club, pruning is a plant’s best defence against pests and diseases (diggers.com.au).   Julie...
drought resistant plants
For a lush, low maintenance garden use drought resistant plants
With a hot season on the way, hardy varieties will be the plants that survive. These ones retain their ornamental form while storing water, and require almost no maintenance. They especially suit lawn-free courtyard. Spikes of colour New Zealand fl...
Green up a shady spot by creating a stylised shape using moss, wire mesh and landscape fabric, planting the centre with a shade-loving species. Collect moss from the garden, levering it up with a flat knife or buy it in sheets from a nursery. To hang...
We show you how to pot up plants in hanging baskets and hang them on a balcony.   “I’m going to hang some planter baskets from the eaves. Lets first get the baskets ready. When potting plants I first like to get everything ready. Water the plan...