Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Art Deco Garden Revisited

I was reminded again recently, what an amazing climate it is that we live in. With temperatures of 24-32*C (77-90*F) and plenty rain at night, the weather in Kwazulu-Natal is especially good for plants. I was visiting a garden that we completed about 18 months ago, and was surprised to see how much growth has occurred since I last visited.


This was a tropical style garden, which was designed around an art deco home, it consisted of 3 levels, and 4 distinct areas. Unfortunately, the way the house is designed, it doesn't interact functionally with the garden very well, there are only 2 entrances into the garden, and neither make it very easy to just walk out into the garden.




Although not physically easily connected to the house, the garden is quite visually connected to the house. The back garden is looked down onto from a patio area, and from both the first and second floors. As a result, the garden almost needed to be at its best when viewed from above.




The garden is also very open to its surrounds - it is bordered on 3 sides by a road, and therefore needed to be beautiful when viewed from outside.
But at the same time a fair degree of privacy was needed to be able to enjoy the garden from inside.


The plants were chosen for their tropical or colourful qualities - either bright flowers or bold foliage. I planted them in groups to show them at their best, but then planted plants with contrasting colours or texture close by in order to make the outstanding qualities stand out a little more. Its a style of planting that if its not done carefully can be too loud, and can result in a kitch, fruit-salad-type garden.




The garden would be half done if it only had interest when viewed from a distance. I chose plants that would pull you into the garden, down the winding grassy paths, and would be interesting to look at, would have a beautiful smell and would make you want to touch them.

I have explained a little bit more about the design in a previous post, as well as the sketches and before, during and after pics.

7 comments:

Skrip said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Love it! I love the separation of the lawn and plantings. Very clean and smooth. Amazing choice of plants, they look wonderful!

Garden Wise Guy said...

Your Dudeness! Stunning design and great pics. Any way we can do a collaborative project between South Africa and California? Maybe meet somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic?

I'm curious about your average rainfall. A lot of the material you use would need to be on life-support to make it through our summers and heavy soils. We get between 16 and 21 inches ("Sorry, too lazy to go metric," said the ugly American). What about y'all?

Also, the blue flowering plant looks like a salvia, but also reminds me of one of my favorite blue-flowering plants, Tibouchina heteromala. Do you use that one?

Chookie said...

It's beautiful... but how do you stop the lawn invading the garden beds?

Marcus said...

I would tend to agree. What a beautiful garden and design.

Ross said...

Jeepers...thanks for the compliments!

Thanks Skrip, effusive compliments are always welcome - stop by anytime!

Billy - a collaboration somewhere in the middle sounds great, that would be somewhere around Brazil...? Wouldn't that be something, think of the possibilities in a tropical rainforest!

Its ok, I speak American - we get about 40 inches a year here in Durban, which does open up the possibilities, but makes for sticky working conditions.

The plant is actually Plectranthus ecklonii - one of the most rewarding plants you'll meet, also comes in pink or white flowers.

No, we don't have Tibouchina heteromala - the closest is T. granulosa, but its more of a tree, but still beautiful. We also have our version of a Tibouchina - Dissotis princeps.

Thanks Chookie, I might have edged the beds with something if the budget was bigger, but unfortunately the grass is kept out just with a bit of sweat.

Thanks Marcus, much appreciated...

Allan Chavarria said...

Wooww dema chiva.. puro diseƱo.. felicidades... muy bien.. Pura Vida con el medio

Ross said...

Gracias Allan...

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