Here’s To A Water Wise Future
Recently, Servest’s Landscaping and Turf division received the SALI Rand Water trophy for Best Water Wise Project in South Africa in recognition of their contribution to the Meyersdal Eco Estate, a residential estate in Alberton, south of Johannesburg.
This achievement is an important breakthrough for any landscaper and is particularly remarkable because only 28 of the 208 projects entered into this year’s awards were not water wise specific in nature.
This further highlights the importance and need for landscape design utilising water-wise principals in future developments. Servest was awarded for transforming this typically trimmed garden in a natural landscape that does not require irrigation other than by natural means.
Shane Sparg, environmental expert at Servest comments that the old landscape did not embrace the values of a residential eco-estate and that it was time for a change in order to promote sustainability. To achieve this, many variety of plants were removed in favour of indigenous species and which were relocated from areas of construction.
Shane further comments that fundamentally, the right choice of plants must be used for a garden. It is vitally important to understand that while a species of plant may be indigenous to South Africa, the same might not be true to your specific area. To achieve a sustainable environment, it is imperative for plants to grow naturally and allow them to adapt to the environment.
So how can you achieve this? Well here are some guiding principles you can follow to create a sustainable environment:
Use elements from the surrounding environment like rocks, grass and plants, where possible, and include them in your design to keep a balanced eco-system.
“Our gardens should not only be sustainable but they should also be easy to maintain, a place for us to rest and relax and connect with nature, not spend hours of time on maintenance” says Shane.
Remove and replace
Re-evaluating an existing garden considering plants used and water use. Non-indigenous plants should be replaced for those that are. Large areas of lawn can be replaced with permeable paving and low growing water-wise ground cover. Limit rocks and stones that may otherwise draw unnecessary heat and where possible, use organic materials to lock in and maintain the moisture.
Go local and indigenous
Educate on the indigenous plants and which are best suited to your local environment. The same is true for grass. Ask around where the plants come from and refrain from using plants from the roadside as they might be plundered from natural areas.
Provide for Wildlife
A dead tree stump, shelter, ponds, rock formations and flat stones help wildlife thrive. Plants can attract bees, butterflies, birds, frogs and lizards. Help them in their environment with plants that are a source of food.
Consider why plants have picked up a bug before resorting to pesticides. Get to the core issue. It could be shade or sun or water related. If you need to use a product, choose organic.
The availability and usage of water is a top priority for us all. As South Africans, we need to take cognisance of how we use, respect and preserve this precious resource for a water wise future.
This article is courtesy of Servest, you can view their SALI member page by clicking the button below.