Murray Bridge spring garden competition won by Ross and Sandy Schrapel's water-saving oasis | PHOTOS

If Ross and Sandy Schrapel have an extra spring in their step this week, it's because their garden has been named the best in Murray Bridge.

The city's council revived its spring garden competition this year and announced the winners at a ceremony on Monday.

Mrs Schrapel said she was "dumbfounded" to have been named the overall winner as well as owner of the most environmentally friendly garden.

The Schrapels' front yard is mostly native species, with hibiscus for some summer colour.

Ferns and house plants grow along one side of their house, palms line the other side and there is a vegetable patch in a back corner.

A pagoda tree provides a shaded oasis at the centre of their courtyard-style back garden, which also features a sultana grape vine to shade the house's western wall, more than 50 roses, and a dozen espaliated fruit trees: a mandarin, a satsuma plum, two varieties each of apples and oranges, a peach, a peacherine, a nectarine, two apricots, a pear and a cherry.

The trees are arranged in such a way that they bear fruit in a cascade as the months pass.

"The cherries ripen first at Christmas, then the apricots ripen after Christmas and you work your way down," Mr Schrapel said.

"We can move a net along as they ripen."

Plastic snakes and gutter guards in the garden beds keep the blackbirds from making too much of a mess.

The entire garden is connected to an automated system which waters most of the plants once per week, for a period that suits each section, and the veggie patch twice a week.

"The only thing we have to water by hand is the pot plants; everything else has some sort of auto irrigation," Mr Schrapel said.

Any green waste they shred and use as compost.

The Schrapels dry the sultanas to make fruit bread for their breakfasts, and give away plenty of fruit to friends and family members - but only after their jam is made and their preserving jars are all full.

Garden competition entries were judged based on their design and layout, plant selection, plant health, maintenance and water-saving measures.

Mayor Brenton Lewis said the number of entries received from backyards, courtyards, community gardens and school grounds had made the competition a success, and that it would be held annually from now on.