Aussie gardener's warning after tackling country's 'most overgrown yard'

Nathan Stafford from Sydney was told about the 'nightmare' garden this week, and said it's 'quite a few years of growth'. Now he has a message for Aussies.

Aussie gardener Nathan Stafford, of Nathan's Lawns and Gardens, at Sydney property with overgrown gardens.
Nathan Stafford, of Nathan's Lawns and Gardens, tackled his 'most overgrown yard' yet when he was called to the Sydney property this week. Source: Nathan Stafford

An Aussie gardener has issued a warning to homeowners and renters alike about the importance of maintaining backyards after he was faced with tackling what he called the country's "most overgrown yard".

Nathan Stafford, of Nathan's Lawns and Gardens, has made a name for himself on social media by helping struggling Aussies who can't afford to maintain unruly gardens at their homes. He's often bombarded with requests to help clear overgrown vegetation in neighbourhood areas, he told Yahoo News Australia.

But this week, the Sydney gardener admitted to tackling "the most overgrown yard" yet in Sydney's inner west. Stafford said he was in the area when someone had mentioned the "absolute nightmare" of a garden nearby, so he went to have a look.

"It's bad. It's very bad. The jungle's taken over," Stafford told Yahoo this week. "I'd heard about it a few days ago. But when I went out and actually looked over the fence, I couldn't believe it. That's quite a few years of growth."

A video shared on his social media accounts shows the extent of the job with trees and bushes rising well above the timber fence. Stafford is seen having a go at chopping down the overgrown shrubs, which leaves him knee-deep in a pile of greenery.

Aussie gardener Nathan Stafford, of Nathan's Lawns and Gardens, clearing garden at Sydney property.
Stafford spent one hour clearing the garden (right) but said there is still so much to do. Source: Nathan Stafford

After one hour in the garden, Stafford said he only got through one-third of the space. "There's still still a whole lot more," he admitted. But untamed gardens such as this one come with a warning, the gardener said.

Long grass and out-of-control shrubs and bushes are the perfect environment for snakes, spiders and other unwanted guests — a warning previously issued by Aussie vet Dr Liam Donaldson.

"Make sure everything's well cut back... we tend to find grass which is kept relatively short and tidy leaves less places for them [snakes] to hide," he told Yahoo.

Stafford, however, is always prepared, he admitted. "I've always got long pants on most of the time or a long-sleeved top, wearing a mask and whatnot and gloves. I'm pretty covered," he said.

"But I have had some very close calls," he continued. "I've been bitten by a redback, I've been bitten by many spiders in my years of doing this.

"But I once had a brown snake right next to my steel-cap boots and had a strike at it. And I'm just lucky I had steel-cap boots on. I didn't see it until I looked down and I heard this noise and it was right at my foot".

The Sydney gardener, whose growing popularity last month took him to New Zealand, advised homeowners to "call the professionals" if ever their gardens "get to that level" — and there are a few reasons why.

"You'll find the majority of the homeowners won't have the special tools. It's really hard on just standard domestic stuff to get through these thick stuff," he said. "Also lots of nasty things can get in there, and you got to be very careful".

Stafford's efforts were praised by his followers on Facebook who thanked him for his work.

"You've really gone all out with that one Nath. Cheers mate hope he appreciated your efforts," one said.

"Well done. For anyone who feels overwhelmed by a task, that's how you do it," said another. "Amazing job on that jungle," wrote a third.

Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.