Plan to plant on your small property

Page last updated: Thursday, 15 March 2018 - 2:05pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Revegetating your dream property can be a challenge, so make sure you take the time to plan.

It’s vital to know what you are trying to achieve before you take any action. Your reasons are what will guide what you do, how you do it and when you do it.

Plan well before you begin, so you don’t have to restart or even worse, rip out your work later.

Before you start

Before you start, ask yourself some questions:

  • How big is the area you want to plant? The size of the area will determine how many plants you need and how long the project will take to complete.
  • Where is it located?
  • What grew there before? What’s growing there now? Different weeds require specific control treatments at different times of their growing cycles or year.
  • What activities have occurred there – has it been grazed or cropped? A site that’s been grazed will need to be ripped to break up any soil compaction. Areas used for pasture or cropping will need more intense weed control prior to and post planting.
  • What is the site like – is it flat or sloping? Sloping sites need to be ripped and/or mounded along the contour to minimise the risk of erosion.
  • Boggy or dry? A boggy site will need to be mounded so plants don’t get waterlogged. A boggy site that has been grazed will need to be both ripped and mounded.
  • Are there drainage lines running through the land or is it fairly uniform?
  • What is the soil like – sand, loam or clay? Gravel, sandy, clay and drainage line/waterway/wetland/waterlogged sites all need different plant species.
  • What direction do the prevailing winds come from? Planting lines need to be orientated perpendicular to the prevailing winds and be composed of both tall trees and large bushy shrubs to have the maximum effect.
  • Do you have Phytophthora (dieback), or think you might? If dieback is present in the soil in your revegetation area, you will need to use dieback resistant species and implement the appropriate hygiene practices during all phases of your project to avoid spreading the pathogen to other parts of your property.

You need to know the answer to all these questions before you can plan an effective revegetation project.

Knowing the answers will allow you to set a timeframe and a budget and start planning the details.

It’s helpful to create a map of your proposed project overlaid on an aerial photograph of your property. This brings the project into perspective and helps you to visualise what your property will look like once it’s complete.


Once you know how much you can afford to spend on the project in a 12 month period, you’ll be able to work out how long it will take to complete your revegetation project.

The basic resources needed for a planting project include:

  • time (lead time – 12 months is recommended to allow effective weed control)
  • money (plants, weed control, pest control, fencing, ripping, etc.)
  • plants (research species that are best for your situation)
  • tools and equipment (planting aids, shovel, etc.)
  • labour.

Costing your project

Now you have decided the area to be planted, the method you will use and your annual budget, you can cost the project.

Use a table such as the one pictured to outline your costs and compare them from year to year.

Item Year 1 Year 2
Initial weed control    
Pest control    
Labour (planting/seeding)    
Tree guards    
Follow-up weed control    
Total cost    

Plant species

The plant species you choose for your revegetation project will depend on:

  • The location of your site – for example you will need to match the plant species to the type of soil in your area. Your local catchment council and native plant nurseries are able to provide advice regarding the most appropriate species for your location and soil type.
  • Reason for revegetating the site, for example if you want to attract birds, you’ll need to plant a wide variety of species that flower at different times of the year to ensure a constant supply of nectar. If you want shelter from prevailing winds, you’ll need to plant quick-growing trees, large shrubs and medium shrubs. If you’re trying to replace what once grew there, you’ll need a mixture of trees, shrubs and groundcovers specific to your location.

A good general guide for the ratio of trees to shrubs/understorey plants is 1:10.

Seedlings versus seed

Direct seeding (the broadcasting of seeds onto the soil surface) provides a more natural-looking revegetation site, however getting good results from direct seeding can be tricky. It is generally best undertaken by experienced people/contractors.

Planting out of seedlings is the most common revegetation method. Seedlings of local native species can be sourced from native plant nurseries.

Some of these nurseries will grow seed you have supplied from your property, or will collect and grow the seed for you.


Seedlings need to be ordered from most nurseries no later than November in the year preceding planting. This allows the nursery sufficient time to collect, germinate and grow the seedlings before you come to pick them up for planting in June/July.

There are several different sizes of seedlings available and all are priced differently.

Also, it takes specialist skills and knowledge to propagate most native species; this means that some nurseries will have a larger range than others.

Funding is often available for revegetation projects. Check with your local landcare group or catchment council for details.

Revegetating your property can be have many benefits, but before you start, make sure you take the time to plan to ensure that your revegetation project is a success.