Planting to make a good impression
An entrance garden designed on a lower level to the driveway creates maximum impact and a grand sense of arrival for owners who love to entertain
seven metres wide by 25 metres long – the space with which we had to work was a small, narrow strip, awkwardly positioned between a large double-storey home on one side and sloping driveway on the other,’ explains landscape architect Tirzah Stubbs. The main objective was to have the entrance garden exist as a separate entity in order to make the most of that vital first impression – and on a scale generous enough to balance the large home. ‘If space allows, it works well to separate pedestrian and vehicle access with low hedges and hardy perennials’, says Tirzah. Even simply using different surfacing for cars and people creates impact and prevents the front garden from looking like a parking area.
The Third Dimension
‘creating a counterpoint to the scale of the home was vital,’ says Tirzah. height and volume were introduced here by planting lines of mop-head robinia trees (Robinia
pseudoacacia inerme), immediately creating a masterful foil to the large home. This versatile tree with its naturally topiarised canopy and clean stem makes for a handsome entrance statement, whereas soft branches and leaves bring a delicacy to the look. It’s a great option for small spaces because the size of the tree canopy can easily be controlled with trimming.
in the rhythm
‘Visual impact is so often heightened by the repetition of select elements within your design,’ says Tirzah. here her philosophy has been applied to both planting and up-scaled stepping ‘pads’ – the latter cast on site and finished with white cement screed and Malmesbury sand. Planted groups of aromatic, bluegrey Teucrium fruticans have been clipped into domes and repeated in combination with Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’, agapanthus ‘nana’ and heliotrope, bringing rhythm and movement to the space. add the symmetrical placement and repetition of the upright robinia tree trunks, and one has a winning formula for a dramatic approach on entry.
The retaining wall – so often an unsightly necessity in a garden – has been positioned here between the sloping driveway and front access to the home. By referencing details from the home such as the cement moulding, colour and style, it becomes an integral design element adding to the impact of the overall scheme. ‘I wanted to acknowledge the architectural vernacular as well as the style of the owners with the landscape detailing and plant palette,’ explains Tirzah. clipped Murraya exotica hedging, planted hard up against the wall, disguises and softens. ‘By mirroring the hedging on the opposite wall, I was hoping to unify the design formality and drive the drama of the space. The walls of the home were then dressed with fragrant climbing roses for a wonderful perfume on arrival.’
little Black Book
Landscape architect Tirzah Stubbs 083 791 1886
Landscape installation Heimo Schulzer hsgardens.co.za
All plants available at nurseries and garden centres countrywide
from top left Climbing rose ‘Wedding garland’ planted Close to the front door for its Wonderful perfume; the hedged retaining Wall separating the entrance garden from the driveway above; the repeated plant Combination of robinia trees, Clipped Teucrium fruticans domes, salvia ‘mystic spires’ and agapanthus ‘nana’ opposite page the entrance garden as one enters through the bespoke pedestrian gate. the Central stairs takes one to the driveway level above