Things have become happier at the Ronald McDonald House Bunbury Retreat, thanks to a new garden transformation that was recently unveiled to the local community with the help of Habitat gardening editor Trevor Cochrane and Alinta Energy.

Alinta Energy donated more than $27,000 of goods and services to help transform the once desolate garden into a relaxing and serene space for families with ill children.

"This is a fantastic way to make children feel good - a great place to relax, unwind in a beautiful environment," Cochrane said. "It's not just good for physical recovery, it's helping from a mental point of view too."

The makeover included the installation of a new cubbyhouse and fort, new paving and outdoor furniture, lush new lawn and more than 300 plants.

"The cubbyhouse is a pretty great feature of the design as far as the kids are concerned, although lawn is important for them to have a run and a roll around on too," Cochrane said.

The makeover was a collaborative effort between Ronald McDonald House, Alinta Energy staff volunteers and various local businesses that contributed goods, including the City of Bunbury, Benara Nurseries, Total Eden, Pristine Landscaping, Barbeques Galore, Soils Aint Soils, Greenacres Turf Group and Astro Surface WA

"The design is sensational - it's waterwise but, most importantly, low maintenance," Cochrane said. "It is going to require the odd mow and the plants look after themselves."

Ronald McDonald House executive officer Alison Salmond said the makeover would go a long way to providing families with an enjoyable holiday to remember.

"The new garden will provide a much more fun and friendly experience for visitors who want a break from stresses of hospital and sickness, and enjoy quality time together as a family," she said.

The West Australian

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