Water conservation in Brisbane's residential landscapes : Towards the optimisation of water in front garden design
Poulton, Delwynn V. (1998) Water conservation in Brisbane's residential landscapes : Towards the optimisation of water in front garden design. .
One of the most critical issues that the world faces as it enters the new millennium is the provision of a continued supply of fresh water – the source of all life. The depletion problem of this resource through uneducated use is world-wide as well as being specific to Australia. This study centres on this issue in the Australian context with particular reference to gardening practices in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. The study examines methods by which fresh water can be saved through innovative garden design options. The cultural philosophies which underpin Brisbane’s suburban residential front gardens were investigated through an examination of literature, painting, and letters of the early settlement days in Australia and, in particular in Queensland. The findings were used to establish the theoretical framework for a qualitative study of seventy two Brisbane gardeners and their gardens. These gardens were selected from sites in a corridor of seven suburbs occupying a south-east segment of the city. The corridor included these components – an outward historical growth pattern, a range of socio-economic and cultural issues, varying soil types, topographical forms and a variety of residential forms and styles with a range of compass frontages. Each selected gardener was encouraged to ‘talk’ about the garden and its design and ‘making’ and the comments were analysed in the light of the author’s theoretical investigations. The results of this investigation provided an understanding of current gardening practices which also involve the use of 50-60 per cent of Brisbane’s domestic water on the garden. The findings suggest that Brisbane’s, and indeed, Australian gardens are based on philosophical notions that have Eurocentric foundations. Alternative and innovative water saving practices were explored and these techniques were modified to suit the design and construction of Brisbane gardens, whilst still satisfying the cultural values behind existing garden practices. The conclusions suggest that if gardeners are to be convinced about adopting water saving techniques, future garden designs must meet existing norms in terms of form and function as well as being able to conserve water.
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