Our clients in Poortview, close to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, and bordering the Ruimsig Butterfly Reserve, consulted us to upgrade their garden for aesthetics and to solve a drainage problem. Their request was for a rockery, with associated planting, upgrades to some of the back garden beds, and replacement of a large kikuyu lawn that was struggling in the semi-shade. Grounded Landscaping undertook to upgrade the various spaces, and create a new rockery that would fit naturally within the beautiful surrounds.
Grounded Landscaping's first task was to evaluate the drainage problem. It turned out that when it rained, a large volume of water would rush down from the driveway and down a slope beneath some Acacia trees, directly to the house. To solve this problem, two design factors were implemented; one was changing the existing lawn area into a natural looking rock garden - which would help with the infiltration rate of the water, and the other was to add contours to the remaining lawn areas to direct the water around the house and down to the bottom of the property.
Additional areas to the design were added for the back garden, and for these we again removed lawn and planted up the spaces with locally indigenous plant material. There were some design challenges, such as the amount of shade in the garden, which changed with the seasons as most of the trees were deciduous. For the rockery, large boulders were used, which required the use of a truck and crane to position them into place. Finally, pathways were added to allow easy access to the garden and to enjoy the wonderful biodiversity of the new space.
The installation and completed garden
The installation took five weeks, with the majority of the work involving ground preparation, as well as contouring to channel the run-off water. LM lawn plugs were used as a replacement to the Kikuyu where we needed to add contours, and where there was existing shade. Another addition was grass blocks which could be used to drive on, in an area that required access for rubble removal at certain times of the year.
LM grass plugs are an economical way to plant up large areas of LM lawn
Concrete grass blocks can be used in areas where vehicles may need to drive
Because the home was situated in an ecologically sensitive area, Grounded Landscaping used a number of species that were locally indigenous, along with a few additions from further afield. New species for the garden included Aloe greatheadii, Aloe arborescens, Melinis nerviglumis, Setaria megaphylla, Stipa dregeana, and Halleria lucida. Additional shade loving species were added for diversity, and these included: Crinum moorei, Clivia miniata, Draceana aletriformis, Streptocarpus sp., Crassula multicava, Chlorophytum comosum, and Strelitzia reginae.
One of the unexpected challenges of this garden was the local rabbit population in the Poortview area. Rabbits frequently enter the properties, and eat whatever takes their fancy. Because of this, we needed to make a change to some of the planting during a second phase, so that we could make the rabbits' favoured plants less palatable. Plants such as Chlorophytum saundersiae were absolutely relished by the rabbits, and so we swapped these out for less palatable species.
The completed garden
Overall the garden has started take shape, and with the drainage problem resolved, a new forest rockery section added, and new LM lawn areas, it is now a lush and inviting space for in the home.