DIY - Glenice's advice for your garden

21-day lockdown – Day 21 – Stories from the field

As we reach the end of 21-days (and head into a further two weeks) of lock-down, we thought we’d end off our articles with some fun stories that have happened to us in the field. Most projects have something notable about them, but occasionally we encounter scenarios that are quite memorable, so we thought we’d

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21-day lockdown – Day 20 – Wetland filter

Today we thought we’d briefly discuss a relatively simple filter system we created to keep our water feature clean. When we first installed our garden, we added an artificial water feature, not only for the soothing sound of water, but also to give our birds a place to drink and bath. But as many water

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21-day lockdown – Day 19 – Irrigation by the numbers

In our water-wise gardening article on Sunday, we discussed some of the ways you can reduce your water requirements for your garden. Some of these included reducing the size of your lawn, making use of indigenous plants, keeping already existing ‘exclusion zones’, and using mulch extensively in your garden. But today we thought we’d walk

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21-day lockdown – Day 18 – Creating a robust irrigation system – Part 2

Last week we discussed one of the fundamentals of creating a robust irrigation system, namely using HDPE pipes and fittings. Today we’d like to extend this article and discuss the other factors that make an irrigation system robust. As mentioned previously, we want our systems to be as robust as possible, so that they are

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21-day lockdown – Day 17 – Ideas for creating a water-wise garden

Converting your garden to a water-wise garden is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to help save water. When people think of water-wise plants they usually think of succulents, but this is not necessarily the case, and there are some beautiful indigenous plants that can be used to create water-wise gardens. Most

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21-day lockdown – Day 16 – Plants for a grassland garden

  When creating a grassland garden, we’re not just restricted to only planting grasses. On the contrary, unlike a boring lawn that is just a mass-planting of one grass species, a typical highveld grassland contains a variety of grass species and herbaceous plants. This combination ensures that there is variety to attract a range of

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21-day lockdown – Day 15 – Virtual Easter egg hunt!

Happy Easter! In celebration of Easter, we thought we’d take a break from working in the garden, and go on an Easter egg hunt! Since you have already created all those interesting and unique features in your garden, such as seating areas, water features, pathways, not to mention all those wonderful indigenous plants, you now

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21-day lockdown – Day 14 – Favourite plants

Every so often, I get asked what my favourite plant is. Working with such a rich variety of plants daily, it’s impossible to have a specific answer. Instead, I prefer to select a variety of my favourite plants for a specific setting. So, over the coming days, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite plants

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21-day lockdown – Day 13 – Evolution of a garden

Today we thought we’d briefly illustrate how a garden evolves over time. When we design gardens, we plan their layout with a long term goal in mind, usually 5-10 years. This means ensuring that the major structure of the garden is appropriate for when the garden has matured. It’s important to note however that the

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21-day lockdown – Day 12 – Creating a robust irrigation system – Part 1

Today we’d like to return to irrigation, and discuss one of the key principles behind creating a robust irrigation system – namely high-density pipework. As many home owners can attest to, an irrigation system – whilst convenient – can become a maintenance headache if you are constantly repairing leaks or burst pipes. I was once

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21-day lockdown – Day 11 – New beginnings

Traditionally, Easter is a celebration of rebirth, so let’s look at what we as gardeners can do to create new life in the garden. By that I mean, how can we assist in “creating” new plants using the resources present in our gardens. Propagating plants gives me great pleasure as it not only alllows me

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21-day lockdown – Day 10 – Spider hunt!

In celebration of all things wild, we thought we take you on a virtual spider hunt today! Some people would rather not have any spiders in their gardens, but the truth is that these incredible creatures are a sign of a healthy eco-system. You may not believe it, but if you have a healthy, pesticide-free

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21-day lockdown – Day 9 – Providing more “Colour”

When meeting with new clients we often get the request for “more colour” in their gardens. When we get such requests, the first thing we usually do is to point out that green is a colour! But, of course, we do understand what people really mean. In most cases they’d like to see vast swathes

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21-day lockdown – Day 8 – Creating a bird-friendly garden – Part 2

Following on from yesterday’s article on how to create a bird-friendly garden, today we’ll discuss the plants you can add to your garden to naturally attract birds. Note that most indigenous plants have some appeal to birds, whether it be for food, nesting materials, nesting opportunities, or refuge, so just by converting your garden to

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21-day lockdown – Day 7 – Creating a bird-friendly garden – Part 1

Okay, so you’ve enhanced your soil using food scraps from your kitchen, you’ve decided on new seating areas for your garden, and you’ve realised the importance of attracting creatures to your garden. The question now becomes, how do you attract creatures to your garden? Today and tomorrow we’ll discuss the changes you can make to

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21-day lockdown – Day 6 – Finding a place to sit

At this stage in the lockdown, you may be needing some fresh air and a break from being cooped up indoors. Hopefully, by this stage, you’ve carried out all the outstanding chores and have some time to relax. Let’s venture into the garden and consider some seating options to make your escape more comfortable. When

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21-day lockdown – Day 5 – Fixing pressure problems with your irrigation system

Now that you’ve planted your veggies, and are thinking about ways to encourage insects to visit your garden, we thought we’d shift tack for today and discuss how you can fix some of those nagging and annoying irrigation problems you might have in your garden. Over the past year we’ve helped a number of clients

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21-day lockdown – Day 4 – Creatures in the garden

We’ve encountered some interesting (and sometimes quite funny) scenarios when it comes to creatures in people’s gardens. Everything from clients insisting they don’t want any spiders in their new garden, to neighbours who haul out doom and start spraying their soil, because they uprooted some plants and saw that the soil was ‘infested’ with insects!

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21-day lockdown – Day 3 – Finding vegetables to plant

Now that we’ve whet your appetite with the possibility of planting your own vegetables, you’re no doubt wanting to take the plunge since you have more time on your hands. Sadly, all garden centres are closed for the lockdown, so you can’t rush out to buy seedlings to kickstart your enterprise. But don’t despair, there

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21-day lockdown – Day 2 – Burying food-waste in the garden

Before we get onto day 2’s topic, (and following on from yesterday’s article), I thought I would show you a picture of a butternut that overran our rain gauge. As Ryan ‘dryly’ puts it: the best thing about this butternut is that it’s protecting our rain gauge from the elements! Now that we’re all staying

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21-day lockdown – Day 1 – The Story of the Escaping Pumpkin

On 23 March President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a lockdown of South Africa to try and curb the spread of Covid-19. This means everyone will have to stay at home, and will only be able to go out for essential services or emergencies. Following this announcement, which took place at around 8 o’clock in the evening,

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African Birdlife Nov/Dec 2018

  Go with the flow When homes are designed and built, measures are taken to divert rainwater away from the house and off the property.  Structural changes on the property or in the surrounding environment may cause changes to volume and flow of water entering a property and very often require modifications to the initial

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African Birdlife Sep/Oct 2018

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African Birdlife Jul/Aug 2018

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African Birdlife May/Jun 2018

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African Birdlife Mar/Apr 2018

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Top 10 irrigation system problems & solutions

Over the years we’ve visited many gardens in Gauteng, and have seen a variety of irrigation problems. In this article we’d like to discuss some of the most common problems we’ve encountered, and provide some advice on how you can go about fixing them. Please note that every system is unique, and there may be

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Top 14 garden problems & solutions

Over the years we’ve visited hundreds of gardens in Gauteng, and have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the many problems that home owners face with regards to their gardens. In most cases the problems we encounter are not unique, and are experienced by many other home owners. Often these problems have simple solutions, so

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African Birdlife Jan/Feb 2018

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African Birdlife Nov/Dec 2017

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African Birdlife Sep/Oct 2017: Bushveld Gardens

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African Birdlife July/Aug 2017: Succulent Gardens

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African Birdlife May/Jun 2017: Forest Gardens

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Top 14 water-wise plants for your garden

With the recent drought in South Africa, home owners have become more savvy in the way they use water around their homes. Many have resorted to installing rain water harvesting or grey water systems (properly filtered) in order to irrigate their gardens, whilst others have installed boreholes to utilise groundwater. These techniques go a long

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Rubble in the garden

We recently completed a small garden for a client in Olivedale, a beautiful home in a modern complex. Although our client had owned the property for 10 years, they’d continuously worked on their garden, adding lawn as well as a few trees. They’d maintained an automatic irrigation system and had used appropriate watering cycles for

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Saving water in Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Game Reserve is a magnificent 750km² reserve lying 300 kilometres to the north of Johannesburg, in the North West Province. It is home to the big five, as well as numerous animal, reptile and bird species, and has a bird list of over 350. The climate year-round is moderate to hot, with winter temperatures

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Hadedas in the garden

The Hadeda Ibis does not rank highly as most people’s favourite garden bird, probably because of their raucous, trumpeting call that can build to a deafening cacophony. The Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash) is a large (76cm) bird with a brownish-grey head, nape and neck. Despite their seemingly drab appearance, their rump and wing feathers have

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A truly low maintenance garden

We recently completed the seasonal maintenance of a garden in Randburg, one which we had installed over three years ago. The garden was relatively small, about 20m x 20m, and consisted almost exclusively of indigenous trees, shrubs and groundcovers. Importantly, the garden did not have any lawn, a request that our client had made during

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Indigenous trees with interesting bark

Each tree offers something unique and there are so many trees with stunning characteristics. When choosing a tree, remember that the bark can be a striking focal point. Whether peeling, patchy, colourful, shiny or dull, bark is an asset. When you plant trees with an ornamental bark, think of positioning them against a backdrop of

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Why is my lawn patchy?

In many new housing developments, the developer supplies the home with lawn to give the homeowner something green to get him/her started. In many cases, the lawn may look green and healthy for a few seasons, but then gradually starts deteriorating, leaving unsightly bare patches. Very often, no matter how much lawn dressing and fertiliser

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Indigenous Cut Flowers

There is something deeply satisfying about picking flowers from your garden for an indoor arrangement. Typically, we view indigenous flowers as wild and unsuitable. There are, however, some wonderful long-lasting species. Most gardens are a florist’s treasure. You don’t necessarily have to find perfectly straight and long stemmed flowers. Consider the benefit of using foliage

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Over-watering

Gauteng is currently in the middle of its rain season. Usually, this would be a gardener’s dream, but the persistent wet weather affects drainage and most plants cannot tolerate having “wet feet”. Giving plants too much water is one of the biggest issues we see in landscapes today. Over-watering is not easy to diagnose as

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Top 10 trees to plant in a small garden

South Africa is home to a magnificent variety of indigenous trees and shrubs, and with a move by home owners towards the use of indigenous plants, it has become ever more important to choose species that will work in your home. Whilst many indigenous species are now being planted in gardens around Gauteng, not all

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How to plant garlic

Garlic is a wonderfully fragrant herb to add to many cooked dishes.  It has numerous health benefits, acts as an antibiotic, cures chest infections, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and prevents strokes by thinning the blood. Garlic has a specific planting window from mid-February to the end of March. For best results one should use

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Help! This tree is breaking my wall

One of the benefits of being a landscaper is that you get to see firsthand how seemingly benign planting practices from the past can cause major problems to an owner’s property. One of the most common problems we encounter with regards to this is the planting of trees too close to a home, perimeter wall,

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What is mulch?

Mulch is a layer of material, organic or inorganic, that is spread over the surface of your soil to help lock in moisture and to help save water. It is often neglected in gardens, but is very beneficial if used correctly. If you think of an indigenous forest with its layers of leaves, sticks and

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Choosing a tree for your garden

Trees serve various functions and we may use them domestically for the shade they provide; to screen off the view of neighbouring properties; to block out the sounds from a busy road; and to provide food, shelter and roosting spots for our feathered friends and other creatures. The ancient Chinese proverb says: “The best time

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Attracting butterflies to your garden

Butterflies have a magical quality to them and everyone loves seeing these brightly-coloured delicate creatures dancing and flirting from flower to flower. South Africa boasts over 650 different species of butterfly and by hosting them in your garden, you can ensure that these living jewels can continue to thrive in our threatened environment. It’s easy

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Why have a garden

In South Africa, we’re blessed with a wonderful climate with an average of 9 warm months which give plants a long growth period. Because of this, there is a large variety of plants which can provide us with pleasure throughout the year. Gardens of any size are and extension of your house, so an attractive

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Design options for your garden

Design is an important part of any garden or landscaping project, allowing you to conceptualize your garden layout before implementation. Creating a complete design beforehand allows you to visualize your future garden, as well as to list the hard and soft landscaping elements so that you can complete an accurate bill of quantities and costing.

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21-day lockdown – Day 21 – Stories from the field

As we reach the end of 21-days (and head into a further two


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