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

Bryanston Private Residence

Bryanston Private Residence
An indigenous, wildlife-haven in the heart of Bryanston

The project

Our clients in Bryanston consulted us to design an indigenous, wildlife-friendly garden, with a new firepit and seating area as the central focal point. The garden originally consisted of a large lawn with relatively narrow beds against the boundary walls, a typical scenario in many established gardens. The clients enjoyed braaing and outdoor entertainment, but also wanted to make more use of their garden. Grounded Landscaping undertook to transform the garden into an inviting and welcoming space for the owners, their friends and family, as well as the local wildlife. This garden was installed over multiple phases, so what follows is a summary of the overall project.

The design

During our initial consultation with the clients it was pointed out that run-off water from the roof of the house entered the garden via two 110mm drainage pipes, so this water would need to be dealt with appropriately. As it turned out this factor became a central feature of the design, as we decided to channel the water into a natural-looking dry riverbed, which would meander through the garden - in front of the firepit - and down to the bottom of the property.

The original garden

Having a dry riverbed immediately provided new design opportunities, including contours, rocks and bridges, and an additional planting scheme in the form of water-loving plants. Small holding ponds were added to slow the water down and to act as temporary water features, so in effect the riverbed became as much a focal point of the garden as the firepit. From these points of reference we then designed various garden zones - including a succulent garden and a grassland - and contours and pathways to access the various spaces. Two informal seating areas were added to incorporate the existing garden furniture. As for the firepit there were a number of features that were included at the request of the clients, including: a built-in fire-making box, a wood storage/table combo, a Keith Hamilton pizza oven, and space for an existing Keith Hamilton boma. In the end the firepit, with its extensive seating framed by the rocky dry riverbed in front, made for an entertaining and practical outdoor space.

The 3D concept

The Installation

As with most projects, the first phase of the installation involved clearing and soil preparation. We found the soil to be slightly sandy, and working compost into it (down to 400mm) was relatively easy, albeit still labour intensive. During this process the clients managed to source some large Aloidendron barberaes (Tree Aloes) from a family friend, which provided instant structure after we'd positioned them in place.

Large tree aloes provided instant structure to the garden

Whilst our gardening team worked on the soil, our builders set to work on the construction of the firepit, which initially involved marking out the area using measurements from the design, then making minor adjustments based on the position of particular elements of the property. Adjustments such as the orientation of the firepit in relation to the house, as well as the angle of the open-ended 'arm' of the firepit, made a difference to the overall look and feel.

The initial plan for the ponds was to use them as soak away areas which would temporarily hold water after a heavy thunderstorm. To enhance this we added bentonite clay to the soil, which helps slow down the infiltration rate, thereby allowing the ponds to stay fuller for longer. Bentonite, though, is not a permanent solution because plant roots eventually break the seal, so whilst the clay served its purpose for the initial phase of the project, the clients soon reaslised they wanted a more permanent body of water, so we later rebuilt the upper pond as a solid concrete structure.

Working bentonite clay into the soil - a simple solution to reduce the water infiltration rate in this temporary pond
A few weeks in and the firepit and seating area are ready for grouting and painting
The completed firepit and upper pond, now holding water. Plus a rather sad looking Cyperus textilis that was transplanted to the pond - they do eventually recover! Note also the antique water pump added on a whim by the client. It added character to the pond, and we made it practical by hooking it up to the top-up water feed.
Flagstone steps alongside the dry riverbed and lower bentonite pond

The next phases of the garden involved concreting in the upper pond, adding a new larger pond, waterfall and wetland to the bottom of the garden, and removing more lawn to add a new succulent/semi-desert garden.

Steel reinforcement for the new upper pond. Plastic tubing filled with water is used to check the levels on all sides
Portable concrete mixers are useful for small projects

A new lower pond requested by our clients, fed by a wetland with a gravel filter to help keep the water clean
The newly planted wetland

The plants

Because of the scale of the project, and the various planting zones within the garden, Grounded Landscaping was able to incorporate a range of indigenous plant species. Structural planting was made up of the aforementioned tree aloes, along with three Heteropyxis natalensis trees behind the firepit. Additional trees included Kiggelaria africana - to attract the Garden acraea butterfly, Indigofera jacunda, two Acacias in the form of Acacia gerrardii (=Vachellia gerrardii) and Acacia hebeclada (=Vachellia hebeclada), as well as a number of large shrubs. For the succulent areas we were able to incorporate a large variety of indigenous succulents, but space was also left for the owners to add their own since they are avid plant enthusiasts. The grassland areas were planted up with indigenous grasses, aloes and bulbs, whilst a few 'exclusion' zones were planted with fruiting shrubs, including: Grewia occidentalis, Halleria lucida, Rhamnus prinoides, and Dovyalis caffra. Finally the dry riverbed and wetland areas allowed us to add more diversity in the form of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants, including: Kniphofia praecox, Eucomis autumnalis, Watsonia angusta, Zantedeschia aethiopica, Cyperus textilis, Tulbaghia violacea, Typha capensis, and Nymphaea hybrids.

The 'completed' garden

One of the reasons for the success of this garden is that the owners were intimately involved in its progress, and after completion are still looking for ways to improve it. This makes for a better garden, and it is always a pleasure to visit this home to see what's new and how the garden is developing. Because of the diversity of plants it is a space that is alive with insect and birdlife, and there is always something interesting to see. Ultimately the garden strikes a balance between functionality and plant diversity, and both the owners and the local wildlife are enjoying it.

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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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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  • 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 2024 Grounded Landscaping, Gauteng, South Africa, cc 2011/012073/23
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