Reader gar­den The beauty in sim­plic­ity

Clean lines and struc­tural el­e­ments are the hall­marks of this gor­geous Highveld gar­den.

Home (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Beatrice Moore-Nöth­nagel • Pho­tographs Elza Cooper

When Hen­riëtte and Jo­han de Beer viewed a house on the charm­ing Banken­veld Golf Es­tate in eMalahleni in 2016, it was love at first sight.

“From the get-go we adored this con­tem­po­rary home,” says Hen­riëtte. “But we weren’t im­pressed by the gar­den. It lacked char­ac­ter and there were no fo­cal points or nooks in which to re­lax. I be­lieve gar­den nooks are im­por­tant be­cause they give you a chance to sit and en­joy your sur­round­ings.”

The De Beers ap­proached Yvonne Joao of Jar­dinier Land­scape De­sign & Dé­cor as she’d land­scaped their pre­vi­ous gar­den. Her brief was to cre­ate a more clas­sic space with lots of struc­tural el­e­ments. Yet the aes­thetic had to be un­com­pli­cated, with not too many dif­fer­ent types of plants and colours. Yvonne took on this mas­sive task with the help of her con­trac­tor and right-hand man Stephan Eys­sel. “Our vi­sion was to cre­ate an in­for­mal gar­den, but with strik­ing struc­tural el­e­ments: steel gird­ers and pan­els as fo­cal points, gar­den paths that lead you to in­ter­est­ing cor­ners, eye-catch­ing hedges that frame the beds, lit­tle de­tails and un­ex­pected el­e­ments that draw the eye and give you pause for thought as you ad­mire the space,” says Yvonne.

“A spe­cial nook for ev­ery time of day and fo­cal points that can be seen from ev­ery room in the house were a pri­or­ity. The gar­den also had to have fra­grance and at­mos­phere.”

Lawn and mass plant­ings

The house, with its strong ar­chi­tec­tural lines, al­ready had a lovely deck that served as an ex­ten­sion of the liv­ing area. Large stack­ing doors can be opened up to ap­pre­ci­ate the view of the es­tate’s green belts and dam. To max­imise this view, the lawn was en­larged to lead your eye across the land­scape and in­vite you to ex­plore the var­i­ous gar­den rooms.

Sim­ple, clean lines were de­cided on for the flowerbeds, with mass plant­ings of the same species, such as wild gar­lic and large wild irises. The fo­liage in the gar­den is mainly green and grey, cre­at­ing a sense of tran­quil­lity, while pops of colour are pro­vided by an­nual seedlings such as be­go­nias, im­pa­tiens, petu­nias and ver­be­nas.

“Al­though the gar­den was given for­mal struc­ture, em­pha­sis was placed on or­na­men­tal and use­ful plants that also stim­u­late the senses,” says Yvonne. Wild gar­lic, for ex­am­ple, be­sides hav­ing a strong scent, also helps to de­ter aphids and snakes.

The goal was al­ways to blend the gar­den with its sur­round­ings to en­sure that the over­all look would re­main as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble. In­dige­nous trees such as jacket plum help, as do gabions filled with stones ob­tained lo­cally.

“In the end, the sin­gle lawn area cre­ated con­trast with the flowerbeds and soft­ened the hard land­scap­ing el­e­ments,” says Yvonne.

I love the con­trast be­tween the stone, wood and flow­ers in this nook. – Hen­riëtte

A sin­gle Aloe mar­lothii nes­tles among the wild gar­lic (above). In the back­ground, wind­mill palms (Trachy­car­pus for­tunei) draw the eye up to­wards the steel gird­ers and star jas­mine (Tra­ch­e­losper­mum jas­mi­noides) cov­ers the wall. White ‘Ice­berg’ roses are framed by Freylinia trop­ica and Abe­lia ‘Fran­cis Mason’.

Path­ways and gar­den rooms that work

Low neatly-trimmed hedges have been used to de­mar­cate var­i­ous gar­den rooms, cre­at­ing a seam­less flow be­tween each space. In­ter­est­ing paths con­nect all these ar­eas in the gar­den – one such path leads you through jas­mine-be­decked arches, with sev­eral un­ex­pected el­e­ments along the way.

“It’s not nec­es­sary for all your path­ways to look the same, but they must com­ple­ment each other,” says Yvonne. “In some ar­eas, tex­ture was added us­ing ground­cov­ers to break the monotony of the pavers and to soften them.”

The walk­way to the boma con­sists of Mois­tureShield deck­ing with small inset lights to show the way at night. “The fire pit is the most pop­u­lar el­e­ment in the new gar­den,” says Yvonne, who also de­signed this area. “It’s an at­trac­tive fea­ture, it’s func­tional and it pro­vides an ex­tra en­ter­tain­ment area out­doors.” The sur­face con­sists of nat­u­ral quartzite stones soft­ened by sil­ver car­pet (Dy­mon­dia mar­gare­tae), an in­dige­nous sil­very-grey ground­cover with yel­low flow­ers in sum­mer. “This plant works re­ally well be­tween step­ping stones,” says Yvonne.

Yvonne had to work around the ex­ist­ing 10 000L wa­ter tank that stores wa­ter for the house and for ir­ri­ga­tion. “I de­cided to paint the cor­ru­gated-iron dark grey to com­ple­ment the steel gird­ers, en­sur­ing that it forms part of the gar­den de­sign while also cre­at­ing a fo­cal point.”

Steel fea­tures

Con­tem­po­rary steel gird­ers that were al­ready part of the home’s de­sign may not be ev­ery­one’s idea of a fo­cal point in a gar­den, but here they have been clev­erly in­cor­po­rated into the land­scap­ing.

To com­ple­ment the steel gird­ers, Yvonne de­signed var­i­ous steel pan­els that were used as fo­cal points against the home’s ex­te­rior walls as well as next to the big wa­ter fea­ture.

“The lat­ter im­me­di­ately catches your at­ten­tion and the wa­ter adds sound and move­ment,” says Yvonne. “Scale was vi­tal here be­cause it’s such a huge space. I also wanted to make sure that the sound of the wa­ter would not get lost. Big­ger was def­i­nitely bet­ter.”

Steel pan­els were also added be­hind a smaller wa­ter fea­ture near the front door. “They also have strip lights that cre­ate lovely pat­terns against the dou­ble-vol­ume col­umns at night,” says Yvonne.

The project took six months to com­plete – in Oc­to­ber 2018 the gar­den will be a mere 18 months old.

The De Beers are clearly im­pressed with the end re­sult. “I love com­ing home af­ter a hard day’s work and sip­ping a cock­tail on my pa­tio, en­joy­ing my lovely gar­den and the breath­tak­ing view be­yond,” says Hen­riëtte. “The peace and quiet and the sound of the wa­ter re­laxes me im­me­di­ately.

“And I so ap­pre­ci­ate the many dif­fer­ent bird species that we now have in abun­dance.” “These fo­cal points come to life at night when the LED strip lights be­hind the steel pan­els high­light the pat­terns,” says Yvonne.

[YVONNE’S TIPS]

• Take the scale and style of your home into con­sid­er­a­tion when de­sign­ing and lay­ing out the gar­den.

• Keep beds sim­ple and don’t try to squeeze in too many dif­fer­ent types of plants. Rather use con­trast­ing colours here and there as a sur­prise el­e­ment.

• Keep the lo­ca­tion of doors and win­dows in mind when you cre­ate fo­cal points, path­ways and flowerbeds so you can see a beau­ti­ful view of the gar­den from ev­ery room.

• Se­lect wa­ter­wise plants that are eas­ily trans­planted or can grow from cut­tings, and group plants with sim­i­lar wa­ter re­quire­ments to­gether.

• Good soil prepa­ra­tion is es­sen­tial and try to work in com­post at least twice a year.

• Choose stalwart plants that add im­pact and pro­vide colour all year round – even if it’s only fo­liage colour.

Top 5 plants

• Star jas­mine (Tra­ch­e­losper­mum jas­mi­noides)

• White ‘Ice­berg’ roses

• Wild gar­lic (Tul­baghia vi­o­lacea)

• Large wild iris (Di­etes gran­di­flora)

• Rock rose (Echev­e­ria el­e­gans)

Trees in the gar­den

• Jacket plum (Pap­pea capen­sis)

• Ja­panese maple (Acer pal­ma­tum)

• Poplar (Pop­u­lus si­monii ‘Fasti­giata’)

• Pride of In­dia (Lager­stroemia in­dica)

Top 5 hedge plants

• Vibur­num sinen­sis

• Blue hon­ey­bell (Freylinia trop­ica)

• Abe­lia X gran­di­flora ‘Fran­cis Mason’

• Buxus mi­cro­phylla ‘Faulkner’

• Sage­wood (Bud­dleja salvi­ifo­lia)

STOCK­ISTS AND CON­TACT Jar­dinier Land­scape De­sign & Dé­cor 083 400 8661 Mois­tureShield 084 901 7772, mois­tureshield.co.za Tru Out­door Lux­ury 031 579 1467

Plec­tran­thus ‘Mona Laven­der’ adds a pop of lilac among the Dick­so­nia antarc­tica tree ferns.

In sum­mer, lo­belias and be­go­nias are grown be­tween the Cape thatch­ing reed (Ele­gia tec­to­rum).

Neatly trimmed Buxus ‘Faulkner’Liri­ope mus­cari ‘Ev­er­green Gi­ant’, be­go­nias and petu­nias pro­vide colour and tex­ture be­neath three Syzy­gium pan­ic­u­la­tum.

Gar­den fur­ni­ture and out­door rug from Tru Out­door Lux­ury; cush­ions from Jar­dinier Land­scape De­sign & Dé­cor

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