Indigenous landscaping & garden design
in Johannesburg & Pretoria, South Africa

Cost savings of an indigenous garden

  • Cost savings of an indigenous garden

    Lawns, hedges and lollipops (standards) require time and effort to maintain. Switching to an indigenous, wildlife-friendly garden can save home owners thousands of rands in annual maintenance costs

    We recently completed the seasonal maintenance of a garden in Randburg, one which we installed over three years ago. The garden was relatively small - about 180 square metres - and consisted almost exclusively of indigenous trees, shrubs and groundcovers. Importantly, the garden did not have any lawn, a request our client had made during the initial design phase. The maintenance took us a day, with a team of six, and consisted of thinning out some of the overgrowth, pruning/shaping some of the trees and shrubs, and removal of a few exotic weeds which had taken root over the past year. In total the day’s maintenance cost just under R4000.

    Whilst this might seem like a lot of money, it's important to note that this was the only maintenance that had been done on the garden in the past year. In twelve months there had not been a single gardener, or garden maintenance team on the property. The garden does not have irrigation, and had not been watered manually. The homeowner had simply relied on rainwater to water his garden, despite the fact that Johannesburg had recently experienced one of the worst drought periods in years, as well as extended heat waves. In fact, whilst many other gardens we saw were wilting and drying up - their lawns going brown - this particular garden had made it through the dry spell with no maintenance whatsoever, and still looked rather lush.

    Think about this in terms of your own garden, and the expenses you might be incurring on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. How does it compare? If you have a lush kikuyu lawn for example, how much does it cost you to maintain it? And if you have high maintenance plants such as hedges or 'lollipops', or exotic ornamentals, how much do they cost? To calculate some of these costs, here are some factors to consider:

    • Costs for a once-a-week gardener or garden maintenance service
    • Petrol expenses for the lawn mower, trimmer, and perhaps a blower
    • Maintenance of the lawn mower, trimmer and blower
    • Weekly or monthly trips to a municipal dump to dispose of garden refuse (unless you have a maintenance service, in which case these costs are likely included in their fee)
    • Weekly watering costs, either manually or with an irrigation system. And if you have an irrigation system, maintenance costs of the irrigation system.
    • Fertilisers and top-dressing for your lawn
    • Pesticides for weeds in the lawn or for pests or diseases on your exotic ornamentals

    All things considered, maintaining a lush green lawn and rows of hedges is usually a costly undertaking, and whilst these gardens might look beautiful for what they are, they are essentially high maintenance areas of your home, requiring time and effort to maintain. What's more, in terms of biodiversity, these gardens are relatively sterile.

    Not long ago, I visited a show garden in the leafy suburb of Fourways. It was small and almost exclusively indigenous, and had very little lawn - perhaps only 5-10% of it. The garden was a wildlife haven, with numerous birds and butterflies visiting it, and I walked around enjoying the space and the sensory appeal of it. And then, by chance, I happened to look over the wall into the adjoining neighbour’s property. They had a typical suburban garden, with a huge expanse of lawn, and trees and shrubs set right up against the boundary walls. The contrast between the two gardens could not have been more striking, and I could not help thinking that for a small change of design, the neighbour could have had the same, sensory-appealing show garden as the one I was now standing in. Not only that, but they could have significantly reduced their maintenance costs.

    Lawns, hedging and lollipops (left) take time and effort to maintain. Switching to a low maintenance, indigenous garden (right) can save homeowners thousands of rands each year

    If you're wanting to create a low maintenance garden in your home, here are some tips to get you started:

    • Firstly, consider if you really need so much lawn. Many parents want their kids to have lawn to play on, but lawn-free gardens can be just as enjoyable for kids, and some of our clients have beautiful lawn-free gardens for their children, with secret play areas and hidden pathways, using bark chips and groundcovers. Insects and birds are attracted to these gardens, and children interact with these creatures and learn about the natural environment.
    • Use locally indigenous plant material. Locally indigenous plants are more likely to be adapted to your climate and soil conditions, and will attract beneficial insects. These in turn will be preyed on by predatory insects and birds, thereby enhancing the biodiversity of your garden and creating a more ecologically friendly space. If your garden is sunny, consider installing an indigenous grassland. For more shaded gardens, consider a forest garden with associated indigenous forest plants. Visit our plantbook website for a list of options.
    • Do not use irrigation if you do not have to. Rather choose indigenous plant species, most of which are already drought tolerant.
    • Instead of using lawn for access through your garden, get creative with pathways by using stepping stones, rocks, gravel, river sand, bark chips, or even hardy groundcovers. You could even take a leaf out of Mother Nature's book and leave your pathways bare, allowing your footsteps to compact the ground and letting nature take its course.
    • Avoid hedges and standards (lollipops), which require constant maintenance to keep them in shape
    • If possible, avoid using high-maintenance water features or pots. Water features require constant care to ensure the pump filter stays clear and the water level remains high. Potted plants also require additional care, as the soil is contained and can dry out faster than soil in your garden. If you do need to use pots - perhaps you have a very small space - then try using hardy, indigenous species such as grasses, succulents or bulbs, rather than thirsty shrubs.
    • And finally, once your garden is in place, do not turn the soil or rake up the leaves. Leaves serve as a natural mulch in your garden, helping to conserve water and slowly enriching the soil as they break down.

    5 comments on “Cost savings of an indigenous garden”

    1. I have a hadeda sitting in her nest in my very big tree there used to be 2 hadedas but now it seems there is only one. She was also calling out for a long time looking for her mate but now is much quieter making very little noise. How can se cope I dont see her leaving the nest ever and feeding chicks alone. Im really worried.

      1. Hi Lorraine

        Thanks for visiting our site.

        I hope your hadeda has recovered. They do tend to go through a mourning period but nature has a way of providing and she should find a new mate soon.

        All the best.

    2. The low maintenance garden is quite interesting.
      Last year I moved into a new place and am striving to have a low maintenance garden as my husband (79) is not so much "movable" anymore, and I (65) am still working, but love gardening during weekends and days off, but this is not enough to keep it prim and proper..

      Could do with some tips.

    3. Great article, I completely agree. Have you visited "grow food, not lawns"? Great initiative.
      I wonder if you have some idea how to get rid of a grass verge quickly? Is there something you could plant in patches across the lawn that would take over the grass? I have about 500m2 of verge on a sloping bank that I want to get rid of!

      1. Hi Hugo

        Thanks for your feedback and for the link to FNL.
        Carpobrotus deliciosus (Purple Sour Fig) (see is a fantastic spreading groundcover to use on a sloped area. It is fast growing, water-wise and frost-tolerant. You could easily plant plugs or cuttings with a 20cm spacing without entirely removing your lawn and it will quickly spread and smoother the lawn.


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  • Testimonials

    • Charmaine Lack, WendywoodCharmaine Lack, Wendywood

      Glenice, Ryan and the team are absolutely superb! They are professional, efficient and always provide excellent service! My garden is now a safe haven because of them! Thank you so much Glenice, Ryan and the team!

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    • Kathy & Peter Strehler, Wilro ParkKathy & Peter Strehler, Wilro Park

      Once again thanks so much for all your hard work last week on our garden makeover. Your layout, plant selection and advice are appreciated and especially thanks for just being the special person you are. We are thrilled with the result and can’t wait to watch everything grow up and grow tall and lush.

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    • Candi Smith, LonehillCandi Smith, Lonehill

      It has been an honour to meet Glenice, Ryan and the Grounded Landscaping team who have completely transformed my garden into the most joyful and serene space with beauty and interest around every corner. Glenice has an inspirational passion and knowledge for gardens, wildlife and the environment and working with Ryan and the team, provided a very professional end to service from the garden design and installation of plants, hard landscaping, lights, veggie garden and a water feature. Glenice and Ryan share their vast knowledge and experience to educate people on the plants, animals and insects that share and enjoy the garden, with interesting and relevant advice on how to care for it. This was more than a project; it has been a fascinating and exciting experience. I highly recommend Grounded Landscaping to anyone looking to transform their home and environment.

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    • Lindy-Ann & John CunhaLindy-Ann & John Cunha

      For anyone looking to redo their garden and entertainment area, I can’t recommend Grounded Landscaping enough. They are an award-winning Johannesburg based landscaping company, headed up by Glenice Ebedes. They specialise in indigenous gardens, and focus on quality and attention to detail.

      Glenice and her partner Ryan make the most amazing team. They are so kind and gentle but fiercely professional too. They are uber efficient and super talented. Last year we briefed Glenice to design a beautiful but low maintenance garden for us, and right off the bat, we were impressed.

      I have never had a garden before and my green thumb is more a consequence of painting than gardening, so I really didn’t know where to start. Our designs were presented as professional layout renderings with full descriptions and explanations for the flowers chosen and trees selected. So much thought went into what plants would go where and why.

      Fast forward 6 months and our little Eden has really begun to take hold and flourish. I am so very proud of our beautiful garden and spend as much time in it as humanly possible. It has been perfectly designed as low maintenance as requested and as Glenice put it so perfectly, “this garden has been created for the birds, bees and butterflies” and I couldn’t be happier.

      *excerpt from

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    • Gordon & Sue Morrison, The Bush House, Madikwe Game ReserveGordon & Sue Morrison, The Bush House, Madikwe Game Reserve

      Glenice, Ryan and the team from Grounded Landscaping have been an absolute pleasure to work with from start to finish. Bearing in mind we are in the middle of a game reserve and so far away from Johannesburg, the planning and execution has been exemplary. In the seven days they were with us Glenice and Ryan were completely hands on, always available and totally involved with this large project. Everyone on the team was completely professional and friendly and it was a wonderful way for our staff and ourselves to learn so much with this hands on approach. Nothing was too much trouble and it was a project that had a “feel good“ effect. Our guests have been delighted with the result and we are doubly thrilled that due to this project we are saving 22 500 litres of water a week. Sincere thanks.

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    • Julia Blitz, MooikloofJulia Blitz, Mooikloof

      It is no surprise that this is an award winning company. It has been an absolute pleasure doing business with them as well as watching them work on my garden landscaping and planting. This is a professional team that works together, is passionate about the work that they do, and understands indigenous ecology at a deep systems level. I look forward to watching my new bushveld garden establish itself - the birds and butterflies are already appreciating it!
      I highly recommend this company and look forward to their maintenance visits over the forthcoming years.

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    • Mike & Irina, BryanstonMike & Irina, Bryanston

      We found Grounded Landscaping on the internet and we were really satisfied with service provided from the initial planning consultation, through to site work and after sale services. The whole team was professional, hard working and extremely reliable. Ryan Ebedes kept us informed of the progress and any difficulties were dealt with ensuring minimum delay to the project. The whole project was implemented in an efficient way, with outstanding quality, stuck to the budget and schedule outlined from the beginning. As we were away from home, the after sale services provided by the team were really appreciated. We can definitely recommend your services in future to our friends and wish you much success with the business!

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    • Leila Akahloun, AthollLeila Akahloun, Atholl

      Ryan and Glenice are experts at indigenous gardens. They provide designs and costings up front and are great thought partners on garden design. They manage a highly professional crew and they were quick , cost effective and efficient. I highly recommend their services. Top notch professionals!

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    • Kimon & Shernon Triantafillou, BedfordviewKimon & Shernon Triantafillou, Bedfordview

      The entire process from initial consultation through to installation and post sales was excellent! Very professional and would highly recommend Grounded Landscaping.

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    • Keith Coyne, Property ConsultantKeith Coyne, Property Consultant

      I think this should be used as a show garden to other residents with practical use of space by planting mainly indigenous species that will not get too big for the space and the limited use of exotic species intermixed with good herbs and veggies.

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    • Carel Robinson, RandburgCarel Robinson, Randburg

      Excellent client service. Glenice is focused to deliver a complete service to her clients. Attention to small details was done to the T.

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    • Derek Tedder, SandownDerek Tedder, Sandown

      I was very lucky to come across Grounded landscaping; it was an absolute pleasure to deal with people where the client comes first! From the first discussion to the finishing off, the service was great and nothing was too much. The knowledge and suggestions were first class and the results speak for themselves, very happy ????

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    • Kamanie Moodley, MidrandKamanie Moodley, Midrand

      From day one..from the initial meeting with Glenice, to the design stage and finally the installation; the entire process was hassle free and smooth sailing. It's exactly what I wanted - a hands on person who took charge at every stage to ensure her team were on track and keeping to design needs.

      Glenice was on site the entire time, keeping to deadlines; and always on time which is so unusual in this line of work. Her hands on approach and eagle's eye for attention to detail gave me alot of confidence. I have learnt so much from Glenice, in terms of what works for a garden and she has challenged my thinking on a few topics. I love her passion for indigenous planting as well as creating a space that attracts wildlife. I put in my first sisal nesting log last week; and waiting patiently now for barbets to occupy the nest. Thanks to Glenice for that! Next is the bee hotel!

      Ryan, her husband helped us with advice on the irrigation system so we have more efficient watering.
      They are a perfect team, listening attentively to the client's needs and patiently giving advise.

      Phase 1 of my garden is done. Now I can't wait for Phase 2 to begin!

      I highly recommend Grounded Landscaping to transform your garden into a haven. God knows, we all need something to revive our spirits during this Lockdown.

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    • Alex Dohm, FerndaleAlex Dohm, Ferndale

      Thank you to Ryan and his team for our garden makeover! From the word go, Ryan was professional, punctual and so easy to work with. He always made sure to take our ideas and requests on board while adding his knowledge, creativity and experience to ensure a superb end result. Our questions were always answered promptly and advice was always just an email away. Ryan constantly supervised his team during the project and delivered exactly what was promised. We would highly recommend Grounded Landscaping.

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    • Andrew & Melanie, WoodmeadAndrew & Melanie, Woodmead

      We have done extensive renovating and building in the past and I can honestly say that Grounded Landscaping provided us with by far the most professional and knowledgeable service yet. It’s easily apparent that Ryan and Glenice are passionate about what they do and this translates into a beautiful and considered final product. We love our garden renovation and the fire pit. The team working with Ryan was courteous, polite and hardworking. Ryan was on site all the time (unheard of with most jobs) and was always obliging and happy to help and give advice. This is a wonderful group of people who we couldn’t recommend more highly.

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    • Eric & Amelia Kleijn, ParktownEric & Amelia Kleijn, Parktown

      We would like to place on record our sincere thanks and gratitude for the outstanding service we received from Grounded Landscaping. The enthusiasm displayed by all your staff was a delight. It was so refreshing to work with knowledgeable people who clearly love what they do; and more importantly, are very good at what they do.

      We have no hesitation in recommending Grounded Landscaping. They genuinely care about their work and take great pride in it. And it shows! May they grow from strength to strength!

      All good wishes,

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    • Christelle Dunn, Highlands NorthChristelle Dunn, Highlands North

      Glenice really listened to our specific needs for the garden. We wanted a simple, low-maintenance garden with indigenous plants and a French look. Glenice delivered on all our requirements! She carefully considered all aspects of the garden and gave us regular feedback during the installation process. She also left us with a maintenance plan. Very professional service!

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    • Janice Walker, FairlandJanice Walker, Fairland

      Working with Grounded Landscaping was just a wonderful experience all round. My beautiful indigenous garden is just over a year old and gives me daily joy. Ditching the lawn was the best decision I ever made! Grounded Landscaping still provides support, as and when I need it. Glenice is the consummate professional with oodles of knowledge and experience. I thoroughly recommend this company

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    • Penny Allen, BroadacresPenny Allen, Broadacres

      Having had Glenice create a garden from scratch for my daughter to helping me with my garden on several occasions I cannot speak highly enough of her and her team. Glenice has a real understanding and love for the work she does and it SHOWS !! She has taught me a lot which adds to the overall appreciation of one’s unique space and opens one’s eyes to little aspects of nature that previously were not in one’s awareness. We need more of her in our world. She is an asset to nature.

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    • Vida Opperman, EdenburgVida Opperman, Edenburg

      Ryan, Glenice and team turned my messy overgrown hell scape into a grasslands oasis. Thank you for giving a bit of nature in the middle of Sandton...

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    • Barbara Devine, BlairgowrieBarbara Devine, Blairgowrie

      I found Grounded Landscaping through Google and liked what they were offering. I called, and they were very professional and efficient. Ryan came to quote and sent the design within 24 hours and the I received the quote within a week. I thought the price quoted was very reasonable. The work on the garden commenced as per agreed date and I am very happy with the final garden. Ryan kept me updated daily and the work carried out was professional and efficient, whilst being friendly and helpful. Once the garden was completed, Ryan and Glenice came to take me through the care of the plants and presented me with a book on indigenous plants which was a really nice touch. The small things make all the difference. A thoroughly enjoyable experience and I am very happy with the outcome and would definitely recommend Grounded Landscaping.

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    • Steven Green, GreenstoneSteven Green, Greenstone

      I was truly blown away by the service, in my experience there are very few companies now days that do as they say, not only was the job completed earlier than estimated but little things such as sourcing paint for the walling and replacing broken walkway steps from the original manufacturer were sourced and delivered within a few hours. I was expecting to have to do it myself. I can definitely recommend this company to anyone for all landscaping requirements, by far the best service provider I have dealt with in a very long time. Thank you Ryan and Glenice it was a pleasure working with you!

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    • Natalie Skoutellas, BedfordviewNatalie Skoutellas, Bedfordview

      From the moment I contacted Grounded Landscaping I received professional yet personal service from Glenice. Upon our first meeting I knew I could trust Glenice to give me the look & feel I wanted & I was right. Glenice goes the extra mile to make sure you’re happy. When she saw I had small kids eager to play outside, she pushed her team to work faster. We ended up needing extra work done like piping, drainage & irrigation & yet the job was completed before the time she initially quoted us on.
      Thank you guys so much. You’re an amazing team. My garden looks awesome.

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  • About us

    Grounded Landscaping is an award-winning landscaping company specialising in indigenous, wildlife-friendly gardens. We are based in the Cradle of Humankind, a world heritage site and part of the grassland biome of Southern Africa. We service most areas of Gauteng, including Johannesburg, Centurion and Pretoria.
    © Copyright 2023 Grounded Landscaping, Gauteng, South Africa, cc 2011/012073/23
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