Kay Montgomery

Kay Montgomery

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 18:04

Waterscaping transforms Ballito

The presence of water transforms a shopping centre, a residential estate or even a home.

Across KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), talented South African Landscapers Institute (SALI) members are transforming business prospects and the landscapes with water.

On the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal in seaside Ballito, SALI landscaper, Harry Dickinson is showcasing a waterscaping success story.

Ballito Lifestyle Centre

Established 15 years ago, Ballito’s Lifestyle Centre was a successful regional shopping centre with a growing residential area that was attracting upmarket retirees and holiday-makers.

In April 2017, Ballito Lifestyle Centre faced their biggest business challenge to date.

A brand new 70 000m2 regional shopping mall opened their doors directly across the road. 30% of the tenants in the Ballito Lifestyle Centre, including all the fashion outlets, moved across the road to the new mall at the end of 2017, resulting in a 12 000m2 loss of previously tenanted floor space.

Ballito Lifestyle Centre 3 PS

Complex redevelopment

Facing a retail challenge, the Ballito Lifestyle Centre embarked on a redevelopment and repositioning project that aimed to ‘differentiate’ themselves from their newly opened ‘mall’ neighbour.
Three major areas of redevelopment were identified:

i) Waterscaping. Create an enchanting network of water features that act as a spectacular and welcoming waterscape. The ponds cool the complex, are an eco-focal point for visitors and provide a barrier zone between a busy main road and the Lifestyle Ballito Centre.

ii) The Market. Develop an open plan setting for an array of locally created artisanal food offerings, in a market setting across 1 600m2

iii) Eat Street. Develop a carefully chosen range of niche restaurants in a cosmopolitan open air environment beside the waterscapes.


Ballito Lifestyle Centre 5 PS

Waterscaping redevelopment

Green Earth Landscapes was given the contract to develop the multi-layered waterscapes that are so much a part of the recent Ballito Lifestyle Centre redevelopment.

The three month waterscaping project began in November 2017 and finished in early 2018.

“The waterscapes are 60m long x 4m wide in most places, but do get wider”, says Harry Dickinson from Green Earth Landscapes.

“We introduced layers into the water feature and oxygen into the system through stone cavities in the root area of plants”, he adds.

“The entire pond system is run on natural biofilter technology, is planted up with aquatic and marsh plants and is surrounded with timber decking”.


 The ponds have become a mecca of wildlife and include fish and frogs.

“Large geometric concrete islands in the ponds act as ‘lily pads’ and offer interaction spaces for the children to connect with nature.

The ponds have become a mecca of wildlife and include fish and frogs”, says Dickinson.


Ballito Lifestyle Centre 1 PS





Saturday, 01 December 2018 18:16

Firescaping plants for the Western Cape

The summer fire season has arrived.

Disaster management fire experts suggest that the drought during the summer of 2017/2018 kept fires in the Western Cape at a conservative figure. Good rains this year have increased the biomass in the region and more intense fires are predicted.

So far the predictions are regretfully on target. Close to 90 000 hectares was destroyed in the 2018 George-Outeniqua fire (29 -31 October, 2018).

It is estimated that the George-Outeniqua fire destroyed an area four times the size of the 2017 Knysna fires (7-10 June, 2017) - which saw 22 000 hectares razed.

“Professional landscapers spend their life working in nature and are sensitised to the dangers that fire pose to life, property and infrastructure”, says SALI National Chair, Norah de Wet.

Landscaping an area to be firewise requires planting in zones and is known as firescaping. “Knowing which plants to use in three firescaped zones on a property will go a long way to reducing damage in the face of a runaway wildfire”, says de Wet.

In the Knysna fires, for example, walls covered in star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and pavements planted up with aloes were destroyed by the intense flames and heat.

However, they protected the homes and perimeter walls against which they were planted by being in the path of the fire and absorbing the impact of the fire.

Three firescaping zones

Landscape a defensible space against wild fires with three zones of firewise plants.

What plants should you choose to plant in these three zones of firescaping in your garden. Aim now to save lives and infrastructure this summer with firewise planting. 

Firescaping Cape Firewise PosterPS


Plants for firescaping in three zones

Consider these plants for firewise landscaping in three zones.

 1.  Perimeter zone

This is a buffer zone area on the boundary of your propert which should be planted up with low growing, fleshy-leaved ground covers, hedging plants and isolated forest trees or large succulent aloes that are fire-resistant and resprout when damaged by fire.

  • Low growing ground covers with fleshly leaves that have a high resistance to fire:      Vygies, (Lampranthus, Malephora, Drosanthemum, Delosperma and Carpobrotus), Gazania, Arctotis, Cliffortia ferruginea, Aloe brevifolia and other suitable ground-covering aloes.
  • Bulbs that resprout:    Tulbaghia violacea, agapanthus, watsonia.
  • Screening or hedging plant that resprout or do not burn easily:    Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens), other suitable aloes, dune crowberry (Searsia crenata syn. Rhus crenata), Searsia glauca, glossy currant (Searsia lucida), Tarchonanthus camphorates, Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus, Osteospermum moniliferum, milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme).
  • Forest trees that do not burn easily:     Cape holly (Ilex mitis), Cape beech (Rapanea melanophloeos), wild almond (Brabejum stellatifolium), rooiels or butterspoon tree (Cunonia capensis), including indigenous cherry (Maurocenia frangularia), and rock elder (Canthium mundianum), tree fuchsia (Halleria lucida). 

2. Garden zone

Within the garden, design 'island beds' surrounded by lawn, paving or gravel.

Choose fire-resistant trees and shrubs, but make sure that they do not touch each other or create a ladder effect that can deliver a fire to your home. Interplant the islands with low growing ground covers.

  • Resprouters such as Leucadendron salignum, Chondropetalum tectorum, Erica spp., Maytenus oleoides, Brachylaena discolour, indigenous Salvia spp. (Salvia africana caerulea, Salvia africana-lutea), Pelargonium cucullatum, king protea (Protea cynaroides), Felicia echinata, wild olive (Olea europeana subsp. Africana), wild peach (Kiggelaria africana), glossy currant (Searsia syn. Rhus lucida).
  • Corky bark:      Leucospermum cococarpodendron, Protea nitida, Mimetes cucullatus, Aloe plicatus.
  • Bulbs that resprout:     Agapanthus, watsonia, Haemanthus coccineus, Cyrtanthus ventricosus, Kniphofia praecox.

3. Patio zone

Create a 3m wide zone of hard landscaping, lawn or low growing fire-resistant plantings around the house. This patio zone is a great place for shade loving, flowering plants.


  • For sun: Cliffortia ferruginea, Otholobium decumbens, Dymondia margaretae, Gazania spp., Helichrysum argyrophyllum, Hermannia saccifera, Cotula lineariloba, Agathosma ovata ‘Kluitjies kraal’ and vygies.
  • For shade: Plectranthus verticillatus, P. neochilus (which can also grow in the sun), and P. ciliatus ‘Drege’.

Shrubs: Agathosma serpyllacea, Phylica ericoides, Felicia spp., Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa & cvs.), Cotyledon orbiculata, Scabiosa spp., and geelblombos (Athanasia dentata).

Firescaping Firewise TbarsPS


Firewise plants for landscaping

Include these 40 firewise plants in any fire-prone landscapes in the Western Cape this summer. 

  • Trees: Cape ash (Ekebergia capensis), tree fuchsia (Halleria lucida), wild peach (Kiggelaria africana), Cape holly (Ilex mitis), forest elder (Nuxia floribunda), wild olive (Olea europeana subsp. africana), Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), all oaks, (Quercus spp.), milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme), all flowering plums, peaches, crabapples and cherries.
  • Shrubs: Buchu (Agathosma spp.), Marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum spp. & cvs.), camellias, Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa & cvs.), tick berry (Chrysanthemoides monilifera), coprosma (Coprosma repens & cvs.), Cordyline australis & cvs., Erica spp., felicia, Gardenia augusta & cvs., Hibiscus rosa-sinensis & cvs., hydrangeas, Leucadendron spp., roses, Protea spp., dune crowberry (Searsia crenata syn. Rhus crenata), crane flower (Strelitzia reginae), Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis), all succulents.
  • Ground covers: Ground covering succulents and vygies, agapanthus, artotis, rockrose (Cistus spp.), Dymondia margaretae, Gazania spp., Helichrysum spp., statice (Limonium perezii), Plectranthus spp., scabiosa, star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), wild garlic, (Tulbaghia spp.)




Click here to download page 1 of a z-folder entitled:   A Guide to Firescaping your Garden - Page 1 of 2

Click here to download page 2 of a z-folder entitled:   A Guide to Firescaping your Garden - Page 2 of 2


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Firescaping your garden1PS

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Firescaping your garden2PS





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Discover more about the best products available on the market and actively contribute to the advancement of the industry.

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