New growth is abundant in some parts of the Blue Mountains bushland burnt by fire, but in other areas it still resembles a blackened moonscape.
Thomas Pogson has a Bachelor of Science and Biology degree and studied landscape construction at TAFE in Wentworth Falls. He's been doing bush regeneration work for the Bush Doctor since 2013, and says Blue Mountains residents can help the flora and fauna recovery by planting native species in their gardens. This provides a food source for wildlife and a place to shelter.
"Each backyard has the potential to have a positive impact on the surrounding ecosystem by providing a safe habitat and a continuity of landscape for migratory fauna," Mr Pogson said.
"I want to help people realise their potential to provide havens in their backyard and manage their land more effectively."
Flowering plants bring insects and birds, and natives tolerate drought-like conditions well.
He suggests introducing bottlebrushes, banksias, correas and wattles. Ground cover such as vines or native violets was also good.
"Even a gum tree. It's an ecosystem in itself - when it flowers it brings insects and it has big hollows that birds can nest in and possums can hang in," Mr Pogson said.
Creating gardens which absorb or slow down water run-off from the road, would also help the environment, Mr Pogson said.
A lot of petrochemicals from the road were ending up in creeks and increasing the growth of weeds.
"If people can use their gardens as a green buffer to filter out chemicals off the road," he said.
Rushes and reeds were a good option to prevent the spread of chemicals, the Blackheath resident said.
Mr Pogson said in the seven years he has worked in the industry he had seen a void in incorporating bushland management in people's landscape design, which was part of the reason he chose to study at TAFE and become a certified structural landscape contractor.
TAFE NSW environmental studies teacher, Rick Toovey, said Mr Pogson was a shining example of the impact a career in landscape construction can have on the environment.
"It is fantastic to see Thomas applying the practical skills and experience gained during his studies to help the environment, especially after a devastating bushfire season," he said.
"His important work will ensure the next generation of Australians and tourists will be able to enjoy the beautiful ecosystem that is the Blue Mountains," Mr Toovey said.