We've just finished some landscaping for a wonderful couple in Durban North. They were very trusting in giving me quite a bit of freedom in the planting and design, but also had some good ideas that helped guide me in giving them what they wanted.
Their aim is to create as sustainable a home as is possible. They will be harvesting their natural run-off from their roof, to use in watering their garden. Solar panels on the roof help provide electricity. So the next project was the garden. We needed to create a balance between water-wise planting and still create a beautiful garden. Bearing in mind that the soil on the verge had been washed down the road in a previous thunderstorm, and therefore needed to be retained with strong plants.
The home was on a steeply sloped piece of land with magnificent sea views. The problem of the steep slope had been solved by creating a series of terraces with retaining blocks. The verge was still quite steep and the planting needed to be carefully chosen. The drawings below, show the level area near the house, with a patio, and water feature, that is positioned to make best use of the views.
The terraces drop away below, down to the verge, and the road. On the terraces, we decided to plant masses of the same plant on each level to create an impact when looked at from the top.
On the first terrace we planted Salvia leucantha, which has mauve and white spikes for flowers. The next level was a mass of grass - Melinis nerviglumis, with the start of a grove of Indigofera frutescens, and Grewia occidentalis.
This then carried through to the verge, which was a swathe of Aristida junciformis grasses, and Asystasia gangetica groundcover below. Both of these are great at holding soil, and also are fast growing. The grove of trees will help disguise the security fence, but neither the Grewia or Indigofera get high enough to block the views.
We piled in masses of compost, which would help bring nutrients back into the very sandy soil, as well as help speed up growth.