January 2018:

This new garden is currently looking good with no water other than seasonal rain. Not even grey water. 
How? 
1. We planted at the right time - during the cool season (June/ July) so that the plants would have time to settle in. 
2. A good water wise plant pallet in the theme of soft, airy meadow- like grasses and perennials in cool colours 
3. The use of Stockosorb moisture retaining granules
4. Thick woodchip mulch (10cm) 
5. Excellent vermi-compost which improved the soil structure 
6. Trees provide some shelter from all day glaring hot sun and wind (Only the largest trees were there before we began)

Solving a Narrow Garden

Location: Vredenberg estate, Somerset West
Completed: July 2017

BRIEF: Lara and Nick wanted an extension of their entertainment area which would make the garden feel integrated, inviting and more usable. They also needed a secondary seating/ entertaining space so that the family, including soon to be teenage children, could spread out more comfortably.

CHALLENGES:
Extreme water restrictions -see box left below for how we dealt with that. 
As is often the case with housing estate gardens, the home is slap bang in the middle of a small property, making all the garden space very narrow.  The garden and pool area was cut off from the stoep by a pronounced height difference and steep steps, creating a disconnected feeling and a disinclination to move into it. Winter shade, dogs, a clay soil and water restrictions made maintaining a lawn or even beds there impractical and it was looking sad and uninviting.

SOLUTIONS: We created a deck midway between stoep and ground level that maximizes the small space and facilitates ease of flow between all areas and a clean, inviting landing surface to spill out onto from the stoep. Garden lights lead the way to a secondary entertainment area, partially obscured by vegetation. A deck walkway extends towards the pool, visually and practically linking it to the whole.

FRONT GARDEN: We improved limited parking space by cementing pavers to formalise a half parking strip. Existing hardy plants were split and mass planted to help reduce costs.