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

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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.

De­sign ref­er­ence

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

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