Where is north in this photo? It looks to me as though the area in question is fairly shaded so a lot of the above options wont work if the area is on the southern side of the home, especially because of the winter shade. The space gets afternoon sun - in summer or winter? There are shadows from trees - are these deciduous or evergreen?Clay can vary enormously from being plasticine like to clay with rocks or stones in it. This will have an enormous bearing on the plants that you can use, precluding plants like westringias that require very good drainage.A plant that is as tough as old boots that will grow in both sun and shade [with some sunlight during the day] is Buxus microphylla var japonica varieties, while Aucuba japonica [Gold dust plant] or even some of the native lomandra grasses would work well. The first two can be grown as a hedge with the latter choosing a variety that you like [ there are so many], but have the plants all the same - don't mix them up. These will all grow in some shade, will grow in clay as well if it isn't too poorly drained.It does appear as though the area is sloping ever so slightly away from the house which is good. But I would steer clear of paving - unless its needed for access etc, it will look patchy and pointless - use plants instead to make your picture - its far more sustainable.Alison
Believe it or not, gardenias might do well there, especially if you protect them from the -10 frosts. I grew camelias under the window in Canberra and kept them trimmed, with gardenias in front. The heat from the bricks provides a warm micro climate if the area is protected from wind.
Astartea fascicularis and Westringia fruticosa would work well with the other plants with greyish leaves and white/mauve flowers. Both have fairly dense foliage, grow to 1 -1.5m and can be pruned, and both tolerate clay and frosts.
Garden planting ideas
what’s wrong with my plant? leaves become translucent and mushy
Herb Garden Layout
Plant of the week Crassula ‘Silver Jade Plant’
A few standard roses would go with a formal theme. A lot of people choose the all white Icebergs, but I'm a big fan of the pale-pink Bonica, which just about forms itself into a topiary-like ball of flowers.
@Wuff Continue the treatment seen in the first picture? Would that western sun in summer be a problem with a fully paved area?
I agree 100% with Wuff - never plant gardens right up against house. Personally, I would use planters or large pots, filling them with evergreen azaleas and/or standard roses (I have a Double Delight in a large pot and it grows really well). Maybe adding a small water feature similar to this one or a piece of sculpture.
be mindful of that shade, as suggested in a number of the comments posted. Paving, and general tidy up will look great once you find the right plants. I'm a fan of ferns/mondo grass for these types of areas.
I planted a row of petite camellias about 8 months ago in a south facing garden bed about 18mtrs long by 600mm wide . They get full sun in summer for about 4mths & the rest of the year they are in full shade. They only grow about 1.5 mtrs tall and have much thinner branches than the normal camellias, so they are easy to prune. All of them have double white flowers and they have been in flower now for about 3 months & look beautiful. You would need to do something about the clay. We had clay too & dug out a trench & refilled with good soil. This may be an option for you. I live just north of Sydney & the plants are exposed to the hot dry winds in summer with no problem so far. Hope this helps.