Our clients in Lonehill consulted us to design an indigenous garden for their new home in an upmarket Lonehill estate. The house was a double story contemporary design, and the clients wanted an indigenous garden to match. Straight lines and modern flagstone hardscaping would be required to blend with the finishings of the exterior of the home. Additional requests were a firepit, lighting, and a precast water feature. Because of the water-wise aspect of the planting, we advised our clients that irrigation would not be necessary, and they agreed that they would handle the initial water requirements of the garden for the first few months, and thereafter use water on an adhoc basis as needed.
As with most projects we used the site plans of the property - combined with our own measurements and photographs - to form the framework of the design. The clients enjoyed succulents, and already had some species from the previous garden that they wanted us to use. We began with the verge where we incorporated large tree aloes as the structural softlandscaping, followed by smaller aloe species and exotic Pachypodiums. Because the verge was already fairly narrow, we decided to stay with a formal layout for the flagstone pathways.
The 3D concept
For the inside garden the main focal point was the firepit, which we structured as a formal square in the main garden corner, framed by bamboo, succulents and grasses. A small lawn area (LM) in front of the firepit made for easy access, and this then led to a curved flagstone pathway which meandered in front of the water feature and on to the swimming pool. A utility area around the side of the home was planted up with succulents and grasses, in keeping with the theme.
Because of the client's love of succulents we used a combination of succulents and grasses for the softscaping. Aloidendron barberae, Aloe marlothii, Aloe van Balenii, and Aloe greatheadii were the main structural plants, along with a Euphorbia cooperi specimen which the clients had brought with them from their previous home. The clients also loved Pachypodiums, so although we couldn't use the local species due to it being unsuitable for the Gauteng climate, we were able to incorporate the madagascan version - Pachypodium lamerei. Grasses included Melinis nerviglumis, Aristida junciformis, and Eragrostis curvula. Chlorophytum saundersiae and Crocosmia aurea made up the bulk of the groundcovers in the shadier strip gardens around the home.
The installation and completed garden
The installation took four weeks and involved clearing, a small amount of debris removal, composting and fertilising, as well as some contouring for appropriate spaces. The flagstone pathways took time to ensure they we accurately laid, as well as the position of the large tree aloes, lighting, and the water feature.
Finally the garden was complete, and the owners are pleased with the outcome, as well as the amount of water they are saving with this water-wise layout.