Julian Andrew

Paphos Cyprus Landscaping


How does your garden grow?
Writer: Karen Roe, Cyprus Living magazine

When you meet the wives of tilers, decorators or joiners, they are the first to tell you that their hubby's talents do not extend to their own habitat - their household needs are always put on hold; but when I met Julian Tyrer at his home in Anarita, I was surprised to see a garden which combined all forms of different areas of landscaping. The diversity of his garden would make a worthy show piece of his trade. The flow was smooth and you could be transported to a shady pond area or a tropical garden in five paces. I noted the textures of varied ground cover, gravel large & small, almond shells (my personal favourite), volcanic lava rock, tiles, grass and stone. There were climbers along wooden trellising, raised garden areas, seating areas, natural stonework, woodwork and a landscaped pool area. (And not a weed in sight!)

I was not surprised to learn that Julian has been in the landscaping industry for over 20 years and his move to Cyprus, two years ago, has opened another chapter in his already extensive portfolio. He told me, "Landscaping is not just about the plants, you have hard landscaping that covers work like paving, tiling, patios, walling, pergolas and trellising. The soft landscaping involves plants and grass areas." 

So who would employ a landscaper? Anyone really, as Julian told me he works with clients who needed inspiration from a small patio area to designing gardens for the large developers.

"Many developers are not interested in the outside of a house once they have completed it and the garden is secondary to the house, so often clients are left with a blank canvas which is always great to work with. We spend 8 or 9 months of our time outside each year so an unkempt garden is like having an untidy house, it looks bad and there is no excuse as it costs very little to keep it maintained."

Ex-pats are his main clients as he designs and maintains many holiday homes.

His main aim is to give the client what they want within their budget. He works closely with a local wholesale garden supplier where information is exchanged and advice is sought on the rare plants, which some clients request. The smaller the plant the less it costs but obviously it will take a little longer to achieve the overall look, however things grow much quicker here so it is not a big problem. Some clients want instant results and will pay for larger plants, especially palms, as some are slow growing. He always comes out and spends time surveying the area, and listening to his customers before he makes a recommendation. Setting a patio is not just about the tiles you choose; although it is outside it has to be structurally secure and earthquake proof and that means attaching it to your house with steel rods and mesh. There is also the drainage aspect or retaining walls that may have to be taken into account. All these things we mere mortals would not even think about.

So what are the main differences he has noted since working in Cyprus?

“Mainly the irrigation systems, obviously these are not needed in the UK but they don’t have to be visual and obtrusive. I like any irrigation system to be discreet and this is easily achieved even when using pots. Different plants need different amounts of water and this can be achieved on one system - it’s down to the feeder pipes to control the flow. The main problem most people have is that they kill their plants with kindness; they see it going brown then automatically think it needs water. Some plants go brown due to over watering so you need to know the amounts each one needs.”

At this point I recognise myself, with a pang of guilt I swiftly move on, promising myself I will buy a book on the subject so my plants can live a longer, healthier life.

Cyprus is a small Island but it doesn’t mean that all plants thrive in every place here. For example, the higher inland you travel do not expect to see Roembellinni (one type of palm) as it hates frost and would be killed if planted in these areas. On coastal areas the Arthompo Phoenix, which is a tropical rainforest palm, thrives very well but it requires plenty of water for its survival.

One other area of landscaping, which is often overlooked, is lighting. Even in summer, the nights are not long here but our outside living is, and light can not only help us see outside, it can highlight features and give colour & dimension to areas. Lighting, like irrigation, should be discreet and this, Julian says, is very easy to do - but be careful with the solar lights as they can look effective as highlighters but don’t give you much scope for actually lighting up pathways, especially when you need them most in winter months when sun power is limited.

One thing I was going to do when I came to Cyprus was to go back to the “Good Life”, trying to be self-sufficient growing my own fruit & veg. I asked for Julian’s comments on this: “Many people think that when they first come out here, but the local produce is abundant and inexpensive. Citrus trees are everywhere and in most villages someone always has a pile of the local fruit and you tend to find it on your doorstep. They also take up a lot of water, and if not harvested the rotting fruit or veg does nothing for the look of your garden. If a garden is small then veg patches and fruit trees take up a lot of space and people want to use their garden for socialising and enjoyment.”

Julian showed me a part of his garden that he calls his eco-system; he has created his own “jungle” where local wildlife can thrive. With the correct ground cover, plants, ornamental pots and a carefully planned pond, when it has matured it will attract insects which in turn will bring the birds, lizards and geckos.

The numerous television programmes about garden design have been good for the industry, making people realise they can extend their living area dramatically. His only concern was clients’ conception of time. We watch a half hour programme not realising that there is a large team of workers off camera and corners can be cut, i.e. no ground barriers laid where gravel is being put. So how long can it take to complete an outside area (some people have verandas or small terraces)?

Of course it depends on the area being done but landscaping a garden from scratch can be a little as a couple of days to 2 or 3 weeks. Julian always guarantees his plants and will come back to check them regularly. Should any not survive (within a reasonable time period), he replaces them immediately. Apart from landscaping, he will undertake maintenance as he does with holiday homes, which are designed for easy care. “Grass is wonderful and lifts a concrete-dominated area, giving it colour, but it needs lots of care with the irrigation, the use of pop-ups and cutting. I always relate this to my client before I proceed.”

Understanding the needs of his clients is paramount. He is working with a couple now that want to create a Canadian pine theme using conifers & pine junipers. This poses no problem.

Julian certainly prefers landscaping in Cyprus rather than the UK. The diversity of the plants and different ideas you can create is far more interesting. The added bonus is, of course, the weather, which allows extended working hours and in some cases quicker results.

So, if you lack inspiration or have a garden project you need to discuss, be it a small back yard or an expanse of land, give Julian a call. He is happy to share his knowledge and show you his extensive portfolio. It’s not just the rich & famous who use a landscape gardener. Remember, Julian is not a salesman, he just enjoys his trade and loves to see a well-kept garden; and it doesn’t have to cost the earth! Contact Julian.