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Hudson Yards, New York. Image: Forbes Massie

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Happy 2020!


t’s a new decade, it’s a new look, it’s an updated website… and we’re feeling good!

For us this year is all about saying YES! To new sections within our monthly mag, new opinions and feature writers and new ventures, all aimed at progressing the industry! We are thrilled to be starting the year on this positive note, growing our reach to all members involved in the design, build and maintenance sectors across South Africa, even abroad! This year we celebrate 5 years within the industry, and rest assured, we are pulling out all the stops to ensure you will be seeing us over all media platforms and online as much as in hard copy. Our January Issue looks at the latest trends, forecasts and newest materials for the built sector for 2020 and beyond. Our Nurture section has grown to include features, opinions and planting palettes, trends in garden design and softscaping which is fantastic! We are also promoting an Inspire section this year aimed at awakening the design mind in all our professionals. Every Issue is themed this year, to make the most of every sector within our industry and to address a plethora of topics related to you.

Follow us on Instagram @prolandscaperafrica Swing by our Facebook Page @Pro Landscaper Africa

FutureScape Africa 2020 is also going to be even bigger and better than last year, addressing industry relevant topics and presenting solutions, promoting products, celebrating the youth within our industry and creating a sense of green industry togetherness. 2020 we are certainly ready for you! Published by

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MEET THE TEAM FOR 2020 Justine Coleman Communications Manager 062 099 1403

Sarah Gregg-Macdonald Designer 083 307 8903

Tamsyn Halm Commissioning Editor 064 113 3039

Sheerah De Villiers Media Sales Executive 064 464 2203







News Update & Projects to Watch in 2020 New builds to look out for in the coming year


Agenda We ask a few of our industry experts for their thoughts on Green Buildings of the Future...


Landscape Architect’s Journal Josephine Dalberg, Winner of the Corobrik Most Innovative Landscape Architecture Award with “A River Remembered: reconnecting to landscape, memory and resource through water routes.”




Vessel (New York) by Heatherwick Studio


Just Peechy by Meshworks Architecture & Urbanism and Inspirations Landscaping


Cheré Botha School: Forward Thinking Design by Wolff


Aquatecture: The Future of Water Harvesting by Shaakira Jassat


Trends and Forecasts in the Built Environment by Rhuben Jacobs, Yes& Studio


Material Moodboard: Aram Lello, dhk Architects


2020 and Beyond Pro Landscaper Africa gets a perspective of 2020 design trends and forecasts by Ashleigh Williams-Longueira, general manager, and Wynand Green, head designer, of Pellerade Design House


Lighting Trends for 2020 and Beyond A perspective by QDP Lighting and Electrical Design's Annelize Dankworth (lighting designer) and Christine Binedell (director and lighting designer)


Learning to Listen: The approach that is driving an exciting new trend in landscape design by Cara Smith


51 Exploring New Realms of Landscape In 2020 The renowned desertINK are pioneering a new form of landscape architecture for the Middle East region moving into the new 54 decade.

Summer Selections & Planting Palettes by Fridhem Farm’s Marc Dawson and CND Nursery’s Andy de Wet


Development Trends in 2020 Blok Developer's Jacques van Embden forecasts trends in CEL_ProLA_Advert2020_FINAL.pdf 1 2020/01/20 12:05 property for the year ahead



Trend Forecasts for Gardening in 2020 by Martine de la Harpe Colour Your Garden Bluetifully by Life is a Garden









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TO WATCH IN 2020 THE LEONARDO Open date: Early 2020 Location: Sandton, Johannesburg The Leonardo is a 234m skyscraper that is a 55-floor mixed-use property. The Leonardo is set to become the tallest building in Africa, 11m taller than its predecessor. Construction for this development started in 2015 and is worth almost R3 billion. The development will include street level shops, an above ground podium with a swimming pool, restaurant and other facilities. As well as, office suites, conference facilities, a children’s creche and a cocktail bar. Developer: The Legacy Group Architect: Co-Arc International Architects Landscape architect: Landmark Studios 35 LOWER LONG Open date: March 2020 Location: Cape Town, Western Cape The new 35 Lower Long is an elegant and dynamic tower building that will invigorate Cape Town’s Foreshore precinct. The building is characterised by a singular sculpted massing with dynamic glazed facades that extend seamlessly over the office’s floors and parking levels. The glazed façade terminates above ground level to emphasise the activated street edge. The entire length of the street frontage along Lower Long and Jetty Street is enlivened by new ground level retail, multiple entry points to the office building and a prominent double-volume main entrance. The two main corners of the building are chamfered towards the roofline, breaking the solidity of the building. The glazing on these corners soars upwards past the roofline, further articulating the façade and extending past the building’s chamfered corners, giving the effect of a crystalline screen rather than solid building mass. The sculptural form of the building provides dynamic views from across the city, both at street level and from nearby buildings. Developers: Abland Architects: dhk UMHLANGA ARCH Open date: Beginning - Mid 2020 Location: Umhlanga, Durban The Umhlanga Arch is prominently positioned on the slopes of Umhlanga’s Ridgeside, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. It has admirable sea views and the development will encompass 45,000m2 of residential and commercial facilities. These facilities include the Hilton hotel, a retail centre, offices and 163 apartments. The Umhlanga Arch was specifically envisioned as a true mixed-use development, as opposed to a more traditional approach of a residential scheme. The vision includes a new lively environment that is planned to be green, walkable and cycle-friendly. The goal is to create something human, vibrant and very strong in character. A development which lends itself to placemaking – the real art of creating a sense of community. This is where businesses and residents will be fully-integrated to support each other and exist in a perfect symbiosis. Client: Multiply invest Architects: COA (Craft of Architecture)


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020



JEWEL CITY Open date: April 2020 Location: Johannesburg’s CBD Jewel City in Johannesburg’s CBD aims to create a vibrant living, shopping and office environment with its own pedestrian streetscape. This safe pedestrian urban precinct will cover six city blocks, and include a clinic, gym, Curro High School, parking, fast food and restaurants, along with the usual offices and shops. This R1.2 billion development will consist of over 40,000m2 of new buildings, with each block holding a different purpose, for example, block one will be residential and retail, and block two will be commercial and retail. Developers: Atterbury Properties Architects: GASS CINTOCARE: PRETORIA HEAD AND NECK HOSPITAL Open date: April 2020 Location: Menlyn, Pretoria The new 11,000m2 surgical centre in Menlyn, Pretoria, consists of seven floors, and is set to hold 160 beds and 335 parking bays. The building is set to be designed to the highest international standards and is set to become the first 'green certified' hospital in South Africa. Developers: Growthpoint Properties Architect: A3 Architects

MALL OF TEMBISA Open date: October 2020 Location: Thembisa Township, Gauteng The Tembisa township in Gauteng is set to have a new mall before the end of 2020. The R850 million development covers 42,889m2. The two-level retail development was designed by MDS Architecture for McCormick Property Development. The centre will be located in the under-serviced north-western quadrant of the sprawling township of Tembisa, on the main thoroughfare of Olifantsfontein road. The shopping centre design features steel structures that resemble tree trunks, both at the entrances and internally, where they extend through cut-outs in the slab to link the floors. Several design elements evoke the shape, colour and detail of leaves. Developers: McCormick Property Developer Architects: MDS Architecture PORT ELIZABETH BOARDWALK REDEVELOPMENT Open date: 2021 Location: Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape The Port Elizabeth Boardwalk precinct is set to undergo a major transformation, ultimately doubling the retail spaces. The 17,800m2 boardwalk is set to increase 26,000sqm and include the new Sun Park Square designed to host major events. MDS Architecture is designing the development, and work is planned to commence in early 2020. In addition to the increase in size, the project includes a substantial upgrade and reconfiguration. It will amplify leisure and retail options by integrating more shops, restaurants and family entertainment, as well as host major events in the new square. Developers: Flanagan & Gerard Group and Moolman Group Architects: MDS Architecture


January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa





AGENDA GREEN BUILDINGS OF THE FUTURE How would you describe the Green Building sector in South Africa at present? Do you think it is gaining momentum, or do you believe the industry still has a long way to go? Is Carbon Net Zero attainable, in your opinion, by 2050 as believed by the Green Building Council?



Martin Lardner Burke

Do you think it is gaining momentum, or do you believe the industry still has a long way to go? The industry still has a long way to go. We need to look at our procurement strategies to unlock the capex cost conundrum. When the cost of an innovative system is viewed with a whole life cost lens, innovative environmental solutions suddenly become plausible. Is carbon neutrality attainable, in your opinion, by 2050 as believed by the Green Building Council?

How would you describe the 'Green Building' sector in South Africa at present? Immature compared with many other countries, but slowly developing. However, the general trend in the current economic climate is to deliver within the industry norm. Innovative technologies and solutions, therefore, need to reduce capex expenditure to be considered. A 'nice to have' is seen as a luxury and will be omitted through the value engineering process unless it is linked to a marketing strategy.


It is attainable, but as with anything, it will need to be funded, legislated and incentivized to guide and force the change – it will not happen on its own. Do you think more people in the industry are becoming aware of the need to turn 'green'? It seems that people are becoming more aware of how complex the issues are. They are starting to understand that it is not just about humaninduced global warming and carbon emissions, or resource scarcity, such as shortages of water or pollution in our waters and habitat destruction impacting on nature’s ability to sustain itself or

recover. People who are well educated and media-savvy are possibly generally aware of the need to be ‘green’ and to become more sustainable in their own lives, but the sentiment and focus still shifts based on what is in the media on that day and how people’s lifestyles are being affected. Overall, most consultants and contractors within the industry are well aware of what needs to be done at an industry level. However, not many go beyond off their own accord – it takes a global event or client directive to shift the focus from the status quo. Have you seen any new ideas/textiles/materials emerging that will help achieve this green status? If by ‘green status’ we are talking about reducing embodied energy and operational costs in buildings (and the spaces around and in between buildings), then yes. There are many great ideas that have come to light recently that involve reducing energy consumption or managing and controlling microclimates, managing water, and using robust materials that are relatively inert, renewable, reusable, recyclable, and low in embodied energy. January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa




Managing director and landscape architect, Kainos Landscape Architects

Green building in South Africa will no longer be a fashionable trend, with rewards in the form of a point system. Sustainable Building Practices will become a legal requirement through policy/ regulations or by-laws. Net zero carbon emissions is aimed for in 2050 in four of SA’s Metros: Cape Town, eThekwini, Johannesburg and Tshwane. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group assists the process with Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) as the implementation partner. In each city there will be a technical advisor that drives the process. This initiative is in line with the National Building Codes energy efficiency (under review) (SANS 10400-XA) and the Draft National Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Strategies.


It is advised that independent environmentally sustainable design consultants accredited by


Senior architectural technologist, A3 Architects

Building Council to allow for GBCSA rating. This offers one way to measure ‘green’ and, while not all encompassing, it is a pathway to a world we want to create. Do you think it is gaining momentum, or do you believe the industry still has a long way to go?


How would you describe the 'Green Building' sector in South Africa at present? William Gibson, author of Neuromancer and the man who coined term the 'cyberspace' once said "the future is here, it's just not widely distributed yet". The green building sector in SA is still in its infancy relative to developed world, with awareness and demand definitely growing fast. The term ‘green’ itself has become synonymous with labels and not an effective solution needed to create environmental balance. A3 Architects designed the first Greenstar rated hospital in South Africa – the Cintocare Head and Neck Private Hospital for Growthpoint. Commercially, GBCSA requirements have been around for years. In healthcare, new calculators had to be designed by Aurecon and Green


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

We still have a long way to go, not only in South Africa, but worldwide. Green building tools are formulas which omit some essential elements required for an environmental building design. At present, the success of a building is judged by its Greenstar or LEED rating. I believe that ‘green’ design is a philosophy to be infused in the building design. It should transcend rating systems and create balance beyond simply green walls, water tanks and urea farms. We need to design that balance. Is carbon neutrality attainable, in your opinion, by 2050 as believed by the Green Building Council? I believe that it is. The urgency to correct course on climate change is still going to hit us all like a tsunami. As a goal, 2050 may be too far off. According to latest research, changes need to be effected within next decade. Even now, projects are able to achieve net zero/net positive ratings in carbon, water, waste and ecology. The need to pursue GBCSA and related goals will only increase in importance. What is critical to understand is that net zero is a process that is planned and designed into the building, and not the end goal. The goal is creating a better world to live in.

the Green Building Council form part of the Net Zero Carbon 2050 process as the Green Building Council has set the precedent for ensuring the implementation of sustainable design practices. New carbon reduction technology to look out for: Solidia Technologies, a start-up, developed a new cement-making process that produces 70% fewer CO2 emissions than Portland cement. The product was made and tested in two LafargeHolcim factories and proved the process could work without additional costs or factory modification. The product requires less heating, therefore less carbon emissions. It is possible to ensure that all new buildings built by 2050 will achieve building energy performance, when technical officers receive training to assess building plans and associated documentation according to the new regulations.

Furthermore, do you think more people in the industry are becoming aware of the need to turn 'green'? In every industry, yes. ‘Green’ is a buzzword. Suppliers are aligning with the GBCSA green tag information requirements to achieve the rating, while more products are manufactured from recycled sources. There is increased awareness of the need to go truly ‘green’, and the impact of our decisions of how we design and build today, on tomorrow. Have you seen any new ideas/textiles/materials popping up recently that will help achieve this green status? A3 Architects are creating a hospital that cleans air. This isn’t science fiction. As an innovation test bed, Cintocare Head and Neck Hospital from Growthpoint will be the first building in the southern hemisphere utilizing photocatalytic grade titanium dioxide coating on a portion of the building, effectively neutralizing carbon monoxide around the building. Titanium dioxide is now being used as an active ingredient in paint and building materials that can remove pollutants from the air. By applying the non-degradable coating, buildings themselves can purify the air indefinitely. To us, this is just the beginning. Design is about using innovation as a solutions to existing problems. The next term in architecture will be ‘clean’, meaning materials, transport, storage and construction methods will have to be balanced accordingly. 'Green' is a necessary term, hopefully one that allows us to lay the groundwork for the future. www.prolandscaper.co.za



in the country, especially the Western Cape. Even with this increased awareness and understanding, both by the public and the industry, the application of green building is not the norm and seen as a luxury instead.

Senior landscape architect, OvP Associates


One can say the main contributing factor to this is cost. The current methodology of is significantly more expensive than traditional construction in both material and post-construction maintenance.

How would you describe the 'Green Building' sector in South Africa at present? The understanding and benefit of 'Green Building' has received a big boost in the past couple of years due to the water crises we’ve had

Do you think it is gaining momentum, or do you believe the industry still has a long way to go? The industry is gaining momentum, but not as fast as it should be. While the mindset of constructing buildings in a green manner is increasingly attractive, it has not yet become the primary design methodology. This can

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be attributed to the fact that we are a still a developing nation and don’t have the finances or available resources to speed up the process. Nonetheless, we are heading in the right direction and, with each project, this concept and mindset is becoming a priority. Is carbon neutrality attainable, in your opinion, by 2050 as believed by the Green Building Council? This is a very positive goal and arguably an achievable one. However, without the support of both private and public sectors, this goal may not be realised within the desired time frame. Landscape architects should be the driving force, only using and encouraging the use of carbon neutral and sustainable materials in the built environment. If this is the mindset towards it, then yes, Carbon Net Zero is attainable by 2050.


The Journal:


“A River Remembered: reconnecting to landscape, memory and resource through water routes”

Josephine Dalberg Master of Landscape Architecture student at University of Cape Town 2019 and winner of the Corobrik Most Innovative Final Year Landscape Architecture Award


This award-winning thesis investigates the possibility of re-routing an existing concrete water channel, or leiwater, allowing residents from a disadvantaged community to access water for food gardens and the greening of their environment.

“The concept focuses on the historical relationships between people and the landscape,” explained Dalberg. “Having always had an interest in the Cederberg area, I decided to focus on Clanwilliam, which is the area’s oldest town and the gateway to the region.” Introduction This thesis started with an inquiry into how historical human relationships within the Cederberg landscape have been lost over time. What is explored in the design development is how these memories may be resurfaced into a contemporary setting to foster meaningful connections between people and place. The project’s research process led to an understanding of the central role that rivers and


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

tributaries have played in human engagement with landscape in the region’s history. In this local context, rivers functioned not only as a vital water resource but also as navigational corridors that cut through the Cederberg’s complex mountain range. These were water routes that supported human patterns of movement and gathering whilst simultaneously connecting far reaches of the wilderness. The thesis resurfaces these landscape memories by introducing a water thread to Clanwilliam, a gateway town of the region, that remembers and re-establishes the notion of rivers as movement routes and gathering edges. Simultaneously, the project’s proposed water infrastructures, namely a leiwater network and bioswale system, seek to connect this otherwise spatially and socially segregated town. Taking design and material reference from the immediate Cederberg landscape, this thesis hopes to connect Clanwilliam’s members not only to one another but also, importantly, to the wilderness landscape that surrounds the town and is so deeply embedded in its history.


A reimagining of infrastructure The idea of a leiwater system is not new to Clanwilliam; two already exist: one that runs off the Olifants River to feed the surrounding agricultural area, and another that brings water from the Jan Dissels River into the town centre where it serves a select few private gardens. This Jan Dissels water channel currently bypasses the peripheral RDP community of Clanwilliam as it is piped until it reaches the town centre; thus, what could be a shared resource is instead privatised. This is particularly poignant as the Jan Dissels water channel continued to flow through the height of the 2015-2017 drought, making it an incredibly valuable and important resource in what is otherwise a hot and dry environment. The project recognises the opportunity latent in this hidden infrastructure and proposes daylighting this water course to become a communal resource, resurfacing a historical relationship to water within the peripheral community. It is proposed that the Jan Dissels water from this open channel is pumped up into a reservoir from which a leiwater network can be gravity fed through the town. Understanding that this water is a



points. Here, tarred road is replaced with river rocks set in the earth, introducing a local material that recalls the Cederberg landscape. The bioswale is intended as a non-prescriptive intervention, offering a space that can be interacted with by community members according to their needs over time. Where the swale system is crossed by a leiwater, the celebration of water is proposed; here, shaded structures are introduced. These gathering spaces extend off a steel mesh walkway through the swale system, offering respite from the otherwise hot environment. On this note, the trees used in this project have been chosen for their indigeneity, fast growth and adaptability to these dry environments. Seasonality was also important in the decision process, as it speaks to the notion of change over time, a concept that reflects the changing nature of our relationship to landscape, as well as the changing nature of these bioswale systems that will inevitably transform through different seasons.

precious resource that should be treated with care, the leiwater network has been conceived as a metaphorically closed system, one that runs between private properties where the owners are able to take responsibility for the maintenance and integrity of this infrastructure. Gardens and place-making This leiwater system would be used in the community to feed an existing process of place-making, one which has seen gardens transform the community from a once dry, dusty and characterless place into an emerging green area. Driving through the neighbourhood, it is clear that these gardens are a point of pride for the community, which the leiwater system is intended to support. The proposed bioswale system seeks to mirror these private gardens, pulling them into the streetscape to contribute to this existing practice of place-making. Here the memory of rivers as edges along which movement and gathering take place is resurfaced. These seasonal swales are intended to redefine a major community axis, namely Dwars Street, which connects a complex of schools at its top to the far end of


the community at its end. Currently, one senses that this armature is a car-oriented one; the bioswale system seeks to address these street conditions by transforming the corridor into one that is defined by a planted, sometimes wet edge through which people can move and gather. This proposal acknowledges the fact that most people in this community move not by car but instead walk or cycle between their neighbourhood and the town centre. Water celebrated Intending to transform the streetscape, the bioswales are used to narrow the street to widths of either 5m or 3.3m so that vehicles are forced to slow down entirely on the now pedestrian-focused street. The narrowing of the road to 3.3m takes place wherever cars cross a water system; here the crossing is celebrated as a surface material change. Instead of using the engineered approach of concrete culverts, crossings such as dips in the road, cattle guards over swales and steel grating over leiwaters are used. The intention is to celebrate water and the movement through it or over it. Similarly, a road surface change is introduced in certain areas to slow cars, namely where they pass gathering

Community participation Included in the design proposal is a plant nursery, a structured space that is grounded in the recognition of the importance of the community’s participation in this project’s implementation. The project seeks to incentivise locals to participate in growing seeds into seedlings which could then be transferred into the swale system. By involving the community in the roll out of this project, including in the building of the walkways and shaded areas that have been designed for simple construction, the chances of the intervention being maintained are far higher. Conclusion Ultimately, this project seeks to redefine the Clanwilliam streetscape by reimagining infrastructure through the lens of historical memories of human relations to water systems. Currently, the town’s relationship to water is not very evident in its urban fabric; this thesis challenges that by making the vital resource a part of the residents’ everyday experience when moving and gathering through the town. The biggest lesson learnt through this project has been the process of coming to terms with the fact that sometimes one’s intervention needs to be a simple one for it to have a maximum impact. January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa


2020 and beyond


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020


F E AT U R E Pro Landscaper Africa gets a perspective of 2020 by Ashleigh Williams-Longueira, general manager, and Wynand Green, head designer, from Pellerade Design House

we are now utilising and how we encourage clients to create greener homes. The question we are constantly faced with, though, is how to define 'eco-friendly interiors'.

As we enter a new decade, the role of designers and architects aligning themselves with clientmood and lifestyle trends is paramount. No wonder that Dulux paints selected a cool-tone shade of green as its Colour of the Year for 2020, which is meant to offer an antidote to an “increasingly disconnected” modern society. Named ‘Tranquil Dawn’, it reflects a growing desire amongst us all to understand what is human, at a time when advances in technology are making us feel increasingly disconnected from each other. More to the point, what we are experiencing at Pellerade with our clients, is a need to return to nature and be responsible in looking after our planet.

To start with, they must ideally be made of sustainable materials that can be renewed rapidly – such as the rise in bamboo-made furnishings, and, in particular, flooring. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth, and its flooring is strong, versatile and super affordable. Also, look at natural stone tiles and flooring. They are eco-friendly, non-manufactured, and do not require chemicals, glazes and solvents to make them.

Tranquil Dawn’s green hue is a nod to elements of natural landscape and creates a calming and comforting atmosphere amidst the chaos of modern-day life. We can pair this with bold, black and rich vibrant colours, such as navy blues and maroon for thoroughly eclectic interiors. Colours aside, this 2020 trend encompasses the furniture


We are seeing more and more recycled materials used, from table tops to kitchen counters. European suppliers have been first off the block in this area, ensuring toxic chemicals are not used in the production process, and that minimal carbon footprint is used in shipping and delivery. Since eco-friendly furniture is designed specifically to reduce your home’s environmental impact, sustainable pieces are built to stand the test of time, and importantly, to shift the perception of furniture being disposable. Having high-

quality and durable furniture that is kept for a lifetime means fewer raw materials and energy resources are needed to produce new furniture. This also means that less pollution from the production, transportation and disposal of massproduced furniture. Whilst on current trends and green initiatives, we see more and more of natural outside habitation featuring inside homes and interiors. Apart from the sense of peace and calm that they bring into rooms, they also improve indoor air quality. Indoor planters and plant-filled atriums are increasingly popular as interior designers, architects and landscapers work together. One of the biggest trends in architecture right now is blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Obviously, with the superb Gauteng climate this is far easier to achieve. In taking client briefs, we understand that their home is an expression of themselves, both inside and outside. So as much as we have brought outside elements and feeling into the interiors, such as colours, plants and in natural finishes, it’s vital to extend this similarly onto outdoor living and entertaining spaces.

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa



In order to create a harmonious and relaxed feeling as you walk from, say your living room into your covered patio area, take the same colours from indoors to the outdoor areas, and let both the outside and inside feel as one. Moving onto exterior architectural and design trends – and I suppose in line with the ecofriendly era we’re embracing – is the trend moving away from cheaper vinyl finishes and towards more earthy looks, which is why natural stones for wall cladding and floor tiling is in huge demand. We are finding in our projects more and more requests for larger covered terraces, and also for bigger swimming pools. One must suppose that as summers are getting hotter, homeowners are insisting on more bodies of water on their properties. Natural fish ponds, fountains and water features are more commonplace than ever before. A really fascinating trend has been the increasing use of artificial grass into landscaping designs. Irrigating residential lawns uses an immeasurable amount of water, and requires regular maintenance to maintain a high aesthetic appeal. Little wonder that the “no-mow movement” will continue to pick up steam. This will last until the majority of – particularly high-end – homes have some form of eco-friendly landscaping. Finally, we should talk about technology and its impact on the exterior of our homes. California mandated that all newly-built homes will have solar panels installed from 2020 onward. The global shift towards solar power is in full effect, and this industry has simply exploded in South Africa over the past few years. With Elon Musk’s revolutionary solar roof tiles gaining momentum, it is only a matter of time until we will see this in our beautifully sunny country.

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Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020



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EXTERIOR lighting trends FOR 2020 AND BEYOND

Written by QDP Lighting and electrical design’s Annelize Dankworth (lighting designer) and Christine Binedell (director and lighting designer). Lighting design to exterior spaces plays such an important role in enhancing and complementing the landscape architecture and designs at night. By adding light, one not only makes the greenery visible during the darker hours of the day, but also brings it to life. More and more we see people noticing as well as understanding the importance of correct lighting. Landscape lighting in the past had become very mundane, similar in look and feel – there was a lot of uplighting in general. This trend has slowly started fading out, not only because of the repetitiveness in design, but due to the reliability of such fittings, the poor efficiency and the impact on the green building drive. Most people of today, including people in design fields, strive to do their part in conserving and protecting nature. This thought process can clearly be seen in the more modern design trends in external lighting. The challenges are to design efficiently, cost-effectively and most of all, the lighting must speak the same language as the landscaping. In projects like these, we, as lighting designers, normally get involved once landscape concepts have been defined and established. Based on the concepts proposed and the “vision of the landscape architect” in mind, we would then set out to put together a lighting design to complement these areas at night. Along with ensuring that we enhance the landscape architects masterpieces at night, we also have to bear in mind the fundamentals around the lighting of externals spaces at night, as well as the items touched on above. Once a


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

general concept and theme has been approved in principle, we take this design forward into more technical aspects. Use of materials, greenery, feature elements and water bodies all contribute, and to a certain extent, dictate, the design at hand. All the design and technical items combined will determine the type, location and quantity of fittings that will be used. Balancing these aspects is a task – an art in its own – and not always as simple as it seems. Whilst the lighting design itself varies from project to project, the thought process, layering of external spaces and the end goals are constant. Texture, colours, levels, layers and discovery of hidden gems are all extremely important aspects to unfold and explore when designing external lighting installations. Highlighting of details and contrasting elements – not only in materials, but varying colours – also contributes greatly to a successful and well-rounded design. Other important items to address are the aim, orientation and the final placement of lights. All the above is to ensure that one does not just floodlight the greenery, creating a flat canvas, losing the depth and abandoning the layers of the intended landscape design. Playing with colour temperatures also adds to and enhances the overall design. Warm colour temperatures generally complement landscaping lighting better than cool light. Especially in residential, hospitality and park areas. Using a cooler light for functional areas like main roads, main paths, and intersections also adds value to the designs, as these can be easily seen and having different function, to the deeper, more intimate, green, softer spaces. The rest of the precincts work well in warmer colours, more inviting, low level and indirect lighting. Certain feature elements could be isolated in a cooler colour amongst the warm backdrop. The overall lighting design, together with landscaping, will determine the mood at night, from soft and gentle spaces to amazing dramatic effects. The feeling and experience of externals space during the daytime, could to a certain extent be replicated or mimicked at night.




January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa



Layering in landscaping is enhanced by the layering of light. The accentuation of large trees amongst smaller, less significant elements or the highlighting of textured surfaces at night; without being overpowering, the lighting design should be subtle but effective. There is nothing worse than having landscape design looking like a circus at night. It is all about the balance.

Current clear trends are definitely sustainability, quality and, as always, costs. People want fittings which are efficient, good for the environment and long lasting. Responsible, sustainable lighting design is definitely the future. Light spill, light pollution and overlighting of designs are “no no’s”. Playing around with beam angles, intensities, glare treatments etc. can help overcome these issues.

Whilst design, enhancement and accentuation are major factors to be considered during the design process, safety is as big a concern. Clearly lit pathways and parks are essential. Once again, balance in key. Under lighting areas will install a sense of uneasiness for the pedestrians, but over lighting will destroy the atmosphere which was initially intended for the space. Playing with areas of shadow and darkness, is just as important as the lit areas. One’s mind tends to fill in the blanks. It is how these areas talk to and lead into each other which is crucial.

LED fittings have pretty much taken over completely in the external lighting field. The technology can simply not be summarized, as it changes every few months to a more efficient, better products. Gone are the days of highpressure sodiums or metal halides. LED is much more cost effective, energy efficient and versatile.

Talking trends and the future of landscape lighting (and lighting in general) is extremely exciting. The field is growing so fast, and we are truly privileged to be part of an industry which has evolved immensely over the past few years, and will no doubt, continue to do so in the years to come.


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Some more items to note are lighting control, as well as actual fitting designs and looks. It's almost deemed to be “old fashioned” to use standard timers for landscape lighting. We want intelligence, something that can sense seasonal change, the possibility of such units being “onboard” and not remote. We want a light fitting to send a notification when it is faulty or not performing correctly. Who knows what the future of LED’s holds – the technology is limitless! Due to the use of LED’s, fittings are smaller these days

– more aesthetic than in earlier years. They can be integrated into the outdoor units easier, hiding the source and only seeing the effect. Thus creating soft, indirect lighting where needed. Bollards have become feature elements within the landscape design, as opposed to just “light fittings”. The biggest “trend” these days (if one can call it that) is budget, budget, budget. As we all know, good quality external fittings come at a pretty penny. The challenge for the design team is to ensure that the money is spent where it is needed. This goes back to the fact of not just lighting everything, a good balance of well-lit spaces where needed, accent area and transition spaces. Once again, balance. Never compromise on quality rather than on quantity. A good design is only as good as the fittings specified and more so the implementation and maintenance thereof. So, going forward into 2020 and beyond, we believe that lighting will get even greener. Let's see solar lighting on more fittings, as well as integrated, energy-efficient and eco-friendly designs, architectural lighting elements and lighting designed into the landscaping, instead of lighting being an afterthought. Exciting times to say the least.



EXPLORING NEW REALMS OF LANDSCAPE IN 2020 desert INK has always been a proponent for positive change in the landscape industry in the Middle East. With Dubai EXPO 2020 around the corner, and with it the launch of the Sustainability Pavilion, desert INK is pioneering a new form of landscape architecture for the region. At the forefront of this new direction is a marked deviation from the well-established norms of tropical planting and associated lush green effect, which is in complete contrast to the natural systems of the region. “The best thing about working as a landscape architect in this region is the feeling that our discipline is on the verge of a significant opportunity for a major change, particularly in the U.A.E. It’s an opportunity that has the potential


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to shape the entire functioning of this city and the fabric of our urban design; perhaps even the identity we relate to as residents of a desertbased city,” explains William Bennett, Senior Landscape Architect at desert INK. Each one of us has an ingrained desire to create a lush green landscape and mimic ‘nature’ irrespective of where one originates from. Surrounding oneself with vegetation appears to be hard-wired, with many client’s specifically seeking a verdant retreat from the harsh surroundings. A dramatic tide of cultivation has swept across the middle east in the last 30 years, leaving a wonderfully-green, yet unsustainable network of ubiquitous landscapes. Through flagship projects like the Sustainability Pavilion, desert INK aims to expose decision makers

and the general public to attractive xerophytic landscapes. It’s hoped that a growing appreciation for new forms of xeriscape will emerge and filter into mainstream public landscapes where the significant environmental benefits are to be found. The principle is that greater exposure and understanding of these water efficient landscapes will develop an appreciation, desire and ultimately demand for this style. “It is always easier said than done of course, and it will probably take many years before the general public take plants like desert grasses, droughthardy perennials and succulents to their hearts. We have been encouraged by the realisation that the public always catch up eventually- whether in the art world, fashion, music or architecture. What is now thought of as avant garde in any field inevitably is adopted by the mainstream in due course. desert INK also take considerable inspiration from successful pioneers in other regions, such as South Africa, Australia, New Mexico and Arizona, where fantastic desert



aesthetics combine local stones, gravels and architectural features with sculptural xerophytic planting.” Comments Duncan Denley, Managing Director of desert INK. Denley continues on to explain how the team has been successful in identifying and establishing a palette of plants that give the lush green appearance but are well adapted to the region, “As a landscape architect, I am realistic and know that many clients simply will not accept a landscape design with a xerophytic appearance. Many still want the deep greens of tropical and temperate landscapes. At desert INK, we’ve devoted considerable time to seek out plants which have a lush green appearance, yet are actually well adapted to grow with small quantities of water. My own small garden is full of plants such as Pandanus baptisii, which gives a brilliant tropical lush effect, but requires very little water or maintenance.” “Wahat Al Sahraa, sister company of desert INK,


operates the largest plant nursery in the Middle East which has been instrumental in desert INK’s quest to ‘go native’. The nursery comprises a team of expert growers who have identified plants from, or best suited to the region and share this learning with the rest of the Desert Group. This feedback loop allows all of us to select drought tolerant trees like Millingtonia hortensis which actually provide the rich green tropical-effect canopy that our clients seek, yet require a fraction of the water.” adds Michael Mascarenhas, CEO, Desert Group

outcrops in the desert without any irrigation. The only source of water for these plants is rain which is very limited in the region, yet they survive well. With the growing need for draught tolerant species, these plants were our starting point for expanding the plant palette. Lo and behold, many of these native plants thrived when provided with even minimal irrigation and maintenance.” Explains Romit Chakravarty, Architect at desert INK.

desert INK’s efforts to establish a new landscape identity using indigenous planting will reach a crescendo with the Sustainability Pavilion. In collaboration with horticultural experts from the UK’s Eden Project, the team have developed a plant palette which has expanded the available species list by more than 100.

Chakravarty continues to elaborate, “Our teams from Wahat Al Sahraa went out into the desert, brought back seeds and cuttings which were then propagated. As with any new approach, there is a steep learning curve. Some propagations were successful and some weren’t. This knowledge was then implemented into the Sustainability Pavilion project.” desert INK hopes that this new standard will now pave the way for future designs in the region.

“We have always seen these incidental bushes growing on sand dunes and between rocky

In terms of convincing clients to adapt a more sustainable approach, reduced costs is one of the

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa



Photography - Fernando Guerra Architect and Interior Designer - ANARCHITECT

most convincing points which the team highlight when discussing the approach for planting with clients. Being more sustainable simply takes more design thought and time, it delivers both cap-ex and op-ex cost reductions. “In terms of cap-ex, sustainable landscapes generally cost less to install, because they utilise local materials, which are less costly than imported. Fewer plants are required, since the effect is less dense and often utilises local gravels, aggregates and lose stones to dress the ground surface, which are much more cost effective than plants with their associated composts, fertilisers and irrigation systems.” Elaborates, Bennett. Keeping true to their vision of ‘creating exiting places which enhance lives’, desert INK believe that opting for a sustainable approach to landscape architecture should not be seen as compromising aesthetics in favour of the environment. Taking the regional climatic challenges to their hearts has led to designs which are unique and moreover, have a sense of context. Put simply, desert INK’s designs look like they belong in their surroundings. Use of native plants, local stone, aggregates and perhaps some interesting interpretation of dune landforms creates a wonderful atmosphere. It feels appropriate to the setting rather than attempting to recreate a landscape character of the tropics or Europe. Cost savings and environmental kudos mentioned earlier are considered as added bonuses; the real benefit is that they are creating unique places that are inspired by local context and materials. Known for their context-driven, sustainable landscape designs, desert INK are a landscape design consultancy based in the Dubai Design District. With 18 years of experience in the region, Managing Director Duncan Denley leads a creative team backed up by the 30 years’ experience held in the Desert Group and vision of CEO Michael Mascarenhas.


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A forecast by Jacques van Embden managing director at Blok developers 2020 brings a fresh wave of design concepts and investor trends to the development industry. Creating concrete jungles that feature greenery, raw design trends and the rise of short stay tenants in sought-after suburbs are some of the elements that Jacques van Embden, managing director of Blok predicts that we will see in 2020. Jacques van Embden believes that what people are really looking for is confidence in what they’re buying, and there will be a lot of pressure on anyone building homes to put together an amazing package that helps consumers get off the fence. Short stay letting Short stay letting is a growing phenomenon for lifestyle cities. Almost every lifestyle city in the world is seeing an increase in number of nights booked per annum on homestay platforms. In 2018, Airbnb grew economic activity from its bookings and value added services in South Africa, from R5bn to R8.5bn, and about 70% of that was attributed to Cape Town. In 2018, Airbnb reported that there was a 65% year-over-year growth in guest arrivals in South Africa. That growth is astounding and fundamentally down to the appeal of homestay and short-term leasing.

DEVELOPMENTS IN 2020 More and more individuals are factoring in the potential revenue from homestay letting when purchasing a property, such as letting out their home whilst they are traveling – a unique way to build more income on the side. Jacques envisions that people who are lucky enough to buy in areas that are sought-after for homestays are going to start factoring this into their purchase decision – as property is expensive and homestay revenue is a means to supplement the financing of it. AirBnBsays the typical host shared their listing for less than two days a month and earned aroud R34 000 a year. AirBnB reports that up to 15% of hosts spent their earnings on rent or on mortgage. Sophisticated design When it comes to homestay apartments, design is increasingly important. Travellers want a well put-together interior. Gone are the days where


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you can just slap some average furniture into the apartment. What we are seeing as the market grows, is that the appeal for a more sophisticated design is on the rise. Travellers are looking for something that not only looks good, but a location that they would be excited for friends to visit or join for dinner. You need to have a product that not only looks great and is functional from a short stay guest perspective, but is also a space that offers additional facilities – whether it be some sort

of communal area, a pool, a gym, a tanning area, a laundromat, or whatever features give them more options when they travel. If one finds an investment that has those extras included in it, then it is a win, and will result in a higher average daily rate, as well as a higher occupancy.

or Barcelona as an example. Very often there happens to be refurbishments, which are five to 10-year projects, but a combat to that is homestays as they can bring very interesting accommodation into some of the best suburbs to live in.

Location The age-old adage “location, location, location,” still stands in very popular suburbs and globally, and it's very difficult to get hotels out the ground because the land is so expensive. Take Sea Point

Raw design Developers are going to need to make truly beautiful products that are made with much lower cost finishes – saving money on input costs, and in doing so, reducing the per square metre rate for the customer. We see design moving towards Raw developments, which is all about delivering better value for the customer. As customers are going to be constrained for the next few years, anything a developer can do to try and reduce the actual costs of making projects in a way that remains viable is critical. It’s pretty hard to save money on steel, as it is a fairly set and there are nominal ways to try and save money. However, there are really innovative ways to try to save money on design. Blok Raw is a product that ushers in a fresh design aesthetic whilst carrying Blok's strong principles of thoughtful design, third and shared spaces. Rooted in powerful simplicity, Blok Raw uses the natural products in a development as a design feature, such as concrete ceilings, screed flooring and bagged brick. Concrete jungles From a design perspective, what we hope to see is buildings that become more full of life with planting. What one wants to avoid is a concrete city and rather have a concrete jungle. Blok caters for planters in all of its buildings and in communal areas. Imagine these big buildings covered in plants. If you look at Buenos Aires or Tel Aviv, even though they are medium rise cities, they are covered in plants because all of the architecture takes greenery into the design which makes a very breathable, user-friendly city scape. This is also quite a cost-effective way to make something great to live in. When you are looking at greenery in a home, it is just synonymous – it makes a space, a home A confident future On a macro level, the trends are going to be under the pressure of a very tight economy in 2020, meaning developers are going to have to get a very strong value proposition in order to encourage consumers to transact. Consumers are still fairly nervous about the future and they are only going to make decisions when they are truly confident about the future.


January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa





VESSEL Location Hudson Yards, New York Completion date March 2019 Area 2,210m2 Height 45.7m Designer Heatherwick Studio Design director Thomas Heatherwick Group leader Stuart Wood Project leader Laurence Dudeney Client Related, Oxford Properties Group Vessel is a new type of public landmark – a 16-storey circular climbing frame, with 2,465 steps, 80 landings and views across the Hudson River and Manhattan. It is the central feature of the main public square in the Hudson Yards development – one of the largest real estate projects in American history, which is transforming a former rail yard in Manhattan’s West Side into a completely new neighbourhood, with more than five acres of new public spaces and gardens. Looking at the places in cities where people naturally congregate, the underlying infrastructure is often simple – a staircase, for example, such as the famous Spanish Steps in Rome. Researching this typology further, the studio explored traditional Indian stepwells. These have an intricate network of stone stairs, so that as the water level in the reservoir changes, the surface is still accessible. However, like an amphitheatre, the focus of a well is its centre, and the studio wanted to create an experience that was outward as well as inward-looking. By opening up voids between the steps to create a three-dimensional lattice, the public square could be stretched upwards, creating more than a mile of routes that could be explored in different ways. To create the continuous geometric pattern of the stepwell, with 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, the object had to be self-supporting. A discreet structural solution was required, which did not need additional columns and beams. This was resolved by inserting a steel spine between each pair of staircases, creating a natural division between ‘up’ and ‘down’. The raw-welded steel of this structure is exposed to give the object clarity and integrity, and the underside of the staircases is clad in a deep copper-toned metal, setting them apart from the surrounding architecture. January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa



Every element of the Vessel is bespoke, from the joints to the handrails. The 75 huge steel components were produced in Venice by specialist fabricator Cimolai, before being brought from Italy in six shipments, carried across the Hudson River by barge and assembled on site in a process that took three years. Despite the size of the Vessel, it has been designed at a human scale, to be climbed, explored and enjoyed by New Yorkers and visitors – a simple structure, animated by people and the reflections of the square beneath. Thomas Woltz, from renowned landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz, is proud of the impact of New York’s Hudson Yards development, stating that the project "has quite literally elevated the challenge of creating a beautiful, healthy ecosystem in a major urban area". He notes that the plaza is now complete, and the landscape will continue to evolve and grow with the seasons. "The team will be planting through the spring and summer. Big trees, for instance, can’t be dug and craned in during February and March because of the freezing temperatures."


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Woltz continues: "I feel like the team has been able to achieve the vast majority of what they set out to do – make a beautiful and hospitable place for the people of New York. This is the part of Hudson Yards where you don’t pay an admission fee, and you don’t have to buy anything to enjoy the plaza and gardens." Woltz is very proud of the fact that the business is making a civic space for the next century. "When you think on the term of a hundred years, you think about public space differently, and that shift in thinking affects how you build. For example, the team’s deep investment in the structures below grade will allow the large trees to get to full maturity." Because the skyscrapers cast so much shade, Woltz explains that they looked to the native forest ecology of the Hudson Valley, where there’s a really beautiful, diverse, and resilient plant community that thrives in the climate. They have relied heavily on the ornamental qualities of native plants, and Woltz explains that he thinks people will be rewarded for paying attention to subtle surprises, like tiny, ephemeral

lilies in the spring and bright red twig dogwood in the winter. There will be no purple cabbages and no shopping mall plants. The trees in the plaza were planted in the summer of 2018, which broke bud in the spring. In April, the large trees in the north garden were craned in. These needed to be planted while they were still dormant, so that they woke up in their new environment. After that, the team introduced shrubs. Then, the perennials when it got warmer, and bulbs again in the fall. Thomas Woltz explains: “We have had a major role in coordination of all the engineering decisions related to drainage, retention of stormwater, and structural considerations, so that the final design maintains its integrity. It’s been really interesting for our firm to have participated in that, and I think it helps debunk the myth that the landscape architect comes in with a truck of plants at the end of the project and makes it look pretty. No, the design of the space comes first, and that gets back to the very first point of making a welcoming environment for the public. Tens of thousands of people visit and observe this site from above, and we want them to be dazzled by the harmony of the design.” www.prolandscaper.co.za

Image: Forbes Massie

MEET THE TEAM Architecture: Heatherwick Studio Design director: Thomas Heatherwick Group leader: Stuart Wood Project leader: Laurence Dudeney Client: Related, Oxford Properties Group Design engineers: AKTII Structural engineers: Thornton Tomasetti Landscape architects: Nelson Byrd Woltz Architect of record: KPF Associates Steel contractor: Cimolai Cladding contractor: Permasteelisa Crowd analysis: ARUP Lighting designers: L’Observatoire International Project management: Tisham Thomas Woltz text extracts from: www.architecturalrecord.com





The Peech Hotel is a garden boutique hotel located in Melrose, Johannesburg. Meshworks Architecture + Urbanism was tasked with extending the hotel onto the newly acquired neighbouring property, as well as designing an addition that respected the existing hotel and built upon its best features. This hotel’s landscape was implemented by Inspiration Landscaping. Three years ago, owner James Peech acquired the neighbouring property which allowed him to expand his boutique hotel. The original 1950s heritage home was converted into The Peech Hotel, opening with just 6 rooms in 2004. Throughout, The Peech has maintained its homely, owner-run and operated ethos, expanding over 14 years to finally reach the vision achieved today. The Peech has been certified for Fair Trade Tourism since 2010. The brief The brief for Meshworks was to increase the hotel’s accommodation by sixteen rooms of approximately 45m2 each; apportion a reasonable garden space to the existing residence on the south half of the new property; retain the feel of private pavilions floating in a garden; respond to (but not necessarily match) the existing aesthetic; and consider the provision of circulation and an enlarged pool area. This project was Meshwork’s first foray into hotel design and, as they approached the initial design, found themselves immediately drawing on their residential and urban experiences. Their initial response was to create a village of buildings on the site as this form supported a density of units, maintained visual diversity, and restructured the traditional hotel to a more human scale. Conceptually, each pavilion was imagined as a customisable form, realised through vertical planes and surfaces. These facilitate a contrast between permeability and impermeability, soft and hard materials as well as surface and form. Planting on the facade of the pavilions will facilitate a third, changing and organic screening device. Materials The material choice for the pavilions drew influence from the large trees on the site. Softer timber elements contrast harder steel meshes which both wrap the buildings in different ways according to where each pavilion is sited. Open staircases and access routes take you up into the trees, and provide you with views of the garden below. www.prolandscaper.co.za

The planted steel mesh of the wrap-around balconies was an important element in the kit of parts the architectural team used to craft the articulated facades of an urban village. Together with the expressed steel framework of the buildings, it creates a play of layers, materials, light and shadows. The mesh provides a contrast with the impermeability of the masonry surfaces as well as comprising a changing organic screening device. This ‘wrapping' allows for an adaptability, depending on the particular siting conditions and orientation of the units. The expressive repetition of vertical steel members creates a rhythm across the site, supporting a cohesive visual language. Beyond this expressive role, the cladding was essential in establishing privacy gradients, ensuring that there was a considered relationship between the units, and in developing a language of visual connection and shielding. This allows guests to experience and control various degrees of visual permeability into and out of the units and their zones. This layering means that balconies can become private outdoor courtyards and so that guests can sleep with their sliding doors open. Different thresholds reveal different spaces which open up with movement through the unit. Lastly, because of its planted nature, but also because of the way it could direct and orientate each unit, the cladding became a tool in the integration of built form with landscape, expressing the passage of light and shadow. Cladding significantly contributed to the 'garden urbanity' embodied in the project. The articulation achieved through the various elements in the design palette created visual and spatial diversity, restructuring the traditional uniform scripting of a hotel typology. There were a number of existing trees in the gardens that were well established so the team transplanted on the first phase of preparation of the site so that these could all be saved and reutilised before a new pool was installed. The new, larger pool was positioned between the new units and the existing ones, so some screening was required for privacy at the pool area too. Fortunately, Inspiration Landscaping was involved from an early stage and so had input on the positioning of the new pool and the walkways to each new unit. This helped to bolster their concept of a 'hotel within a garden' setting. The team proposed Viburnum hedges, which are evergreen and have lovely leafy and dense foliage.

SUPPLIERS: Topsoil and Compost: Florahaven Organics – 011 227 0013 / 082 800 7592 Planting: Malanseuns – 012 549 2128/9 Central Nursery Depot – 010 035 5212 Mature Trees: Princess Groot Bome – 011 795 3675 Lighting: Leds-C4 Planters: Art to Date – 011 444 5077 Patio benches: Houtlander – 010 447 6509 Breezeblocks: DSM Masonry – 011 964 2995 All Tiles: LimeGreen – 021 447 2254 Steel work: Jaru Design Steel Works – 012 664 5208

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa



MEET THE TEAM Client James Peech/The Peech Boutique Hotel Architect Meshworks Architects Landscape contractor Inspiration Landscaping Steelwork contractor Jaru Design Cladding contractor Monro Roof Sheeting

The introduction of some speciality Agapanthus (such as Agapanthus 'Buccaneer'), framed the pool surround and accentuated the colour of the water. Most of the beds around the pool were planted with the clients existing plant material. By incorporating this, the team extended the fullness and effect of the beds from the onset. The new units were built on a site that was previously a tennis court, so there was a totally level surface – all the soil from the construction and the new pool was saved on site. The team then utilised this to create a series of berms that increased the privacy between the units and also created an element of seclusion and intimacy as visitors walk through to their units. The design of the walkways allows the visitor to meander through with a seemingly effortless and natural flow through the existing Celtis sinensis trees. The team also brought in a number of instant Buddleja saligna and Olea africana at an early stage of construction while access was still possible for


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this. These trees would add to the privacy to the top floor units and introduce some height to an otherwise open and exposed area. The Olea africana and Buddleja saligna trees have silvery grey, evergreen foliage introducing scent and an indigenous theme. The trees are also bird attracting, with the likes of bulbuls, mousebirds and starlings enjoying their fruit. In an effort to create a landscape that appears to drift in a naturalised way, the team mass planted Agapanthus africanus, using the plants the landscaping team moved from the existing gardens. Along with this, there were also new additions such as Agapanthus 'Twister', 'Lapis Lazuli' and 'Nana White' together with Carex Oshimensis 'Evergold', to shrubs like Escallonia 'Pink Princess'. Open flat areas were planted with Mazus reptans (also known as creeping mazus) to cover the soil and create a flatter green carpet in spaces where

they could assist in stabilising the soil and create a cool, green effective cover. The units have intentionally limited access, excluding the concrete screeded walkways as the idea was to keep as much green space around each unit as possible, providing garden views from every window inside. It was also important to keep the planting low maintenance so that there is not a requirement for much daily work around the units, and the mass planting of mostly indigenous groundcovers truly achieves this. The team then introduced one or two stone clad retaining walls where access was required, and these elements blend into the garden, becoming part of the landscape. The rest of the landscape is contoured and allows for rain water to run through the garden and absorb as much of the runoff as possible without having hard paved surfaces or subsoil drainage.



ABOUT MESHWORKS ARCHITECTURE + URBANISM Meshworks Architecture + Urbanism is a new architecture practice based in Parkview, Johannesburg, started by Catherine de Souza and Guy Trangos. The pair studied together at Wits University and almost a decade after graduating decided to pool their talents and start a practice. Catherine has substantial experience in residential design and Guy has spent years working on public projects. They both share significant research experience and integrate this approach into their practice. The company name, Meshworks, speaks to the diversity of processes, influences, and considerations that mesh together when creating successful and responsible design and research work.

ABOUT I N S P I R AT I O N S L A N D S C A P I N G A small family run business, Inspiration Landscaping was originally started by Lily Dercksen and Deidre Causton in 1994, and it has remained a small family-run company. Today, Deirdre and her partner Vanessa provide a full in-house design offering to their clients, most of whom are from a network of word of mouth referrals as Inspiration within a small geographic radius so our client base has grown stronger and stronger in these areas. This allows them to be very hands-on with every installation, and it has its own team of skilled landscape gardeners to implement designs and offer clients an integrated delivery. This is true from the original design of the landscape through to the implementation of design, advising and often implementing hard landscaping elements such as pools, paving, walkways, garden lighting, stone masonry, as well as training gardening staff on maintenance.


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This project was a Silver award winner at the ITC-SA Timber Engineered Product Awards in 2018 and also won a CIfA Award for Architecture


Construction timeline 2 years Floor area 3500m2 Client Provincial Government of Western Cape Location Meerlust Street, Bellville, Cape Town

Cheré Botha is a government school based in Cape Town’s Bellville district. It is a school for learners on the autism spectrum and with intellectual disabilities. It offers pupils with intellectual impairments and learning disabilities a safe space to learn and interact. Headed by Wolff, this is a brilliant example of designing with the user in mind. The Cheré Botha School was established in 1981 by Mike and Gloria Botha in honour of their daughter Cheré Botha who had been born with down syndrome and passed away due to leukemia before her 4th birthday. In 2017, they decided to move premises and created the new school in an attempt to improve the spaces offered to the pupils. The development was headed by the husband and wife duo Heinrich and Ilze Wolff of Wolff. Their major goal was to design and create a school that provides students with special "educational" needs an environment in which to learn, as well as one that limits excess stimuli and distraction. The project can also be seen to be defined by a series of collective spaces; covered, outdoor spaces where social and educational interaction can take place, spaces appropriate for children like those who are prone to respiratory diseases, spaces that can protect from the strong wind and rain of Cape Town. The school is divided into six distinct sections: an administration building, four classroom blocks for learners of various age groups and one block containing the hall, kitchen and workshops. Each of the classroom blocks is designed around a shared space which is expressed through a timber A-frame. These collective spaces are used in different ways, depending on the age group www.prolandscaper.co.za

of the learners; from play equipment for younger kids to vocational training for the older ones. The roofed outdoor spaces allow the kids to play and learn outside even in adverse weather conditions. These collective areas form become the social heart of the school. The horizontality of the canopy around the arrival court is contrasted with the verticality of the A-frame structures and the hall. The sculptural volumes of the hall and workshops with its characteristic roof profile are the central moments of the architectural composition. These two volumes are clad in corrugated iron and rise like cumulus clouds from the datum of the canopy at their base. The interior of the hall is triangulated in section just like the A-framed spaces. As another triangulated space, the hall becomes an exaggerated version of other collective spaces. Openings for light are carefully arranged to ensure a low glare interior. Beyond the hall is an exercise court, articulated by a horizontal canopy and open to the landscape and the mountains in the distance. The school was designed with no outside windows as this is a distraction to the learners. Also, with no outside windows, it makes for better security on the building. The design concept revolved around the kids at the centre, starting at the one-way circle route for drop-off on the pedestrian side, to the internal courtyards for covered, supervised play during hot summer and wet winter seasons. Here, the children are protected from both sun and rain. In the courtyards, a high roof makes for a cooler space as hot air rises. In the hall, it was more cost-effective to build a roof than to build walls.

By keeping the walls low and the roof relatively high, one has a larger space inside the room at a cheaper cost. Government projects always have a budget, which is part of what the Wolff team needed to keep in mind throughout each step of the process and when looking at their design plan holistically. They needed to try and stick to this, and each individual design decision was taken with costs in mind. The appointed quantity surveyor helped with costing options when the team needed to makes calls on reducing costs throughout the project. For the courtyards/exterior spaces, natural tone colours were used as so not to distract or trigger the learners as they are sensitive to bright colours. Open volume for an airy space was also paramount in these areas. Solid sheeting on the north side was used to limit sun, while translucent sheeting on the south side was used to advance natural light. As the building was constructed during the high-water restrictions, watering of gardens was problematic. The school has subsequently installed a good borehole and is slowly adding to its landscaped offerings as the children like to play outside on grass during breaks. Trees supplied dappled shading and grass fields are used for sports. Wolff express that they have had very good feedback from the principal of the school. They have said that this is the best school for learners with special educational needs that they have seen in the Western Cape, a great compliment and testament to the hard work and understanding that went into the project.

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa



MEET THE TEAM Client: Provincial Government of Western Cape Architects and principal agents: Wolff Project information: Radinka Mulder Structural engineers: AECOM Civil engineers: Hatch Goba Electrical and electronic engineers: S Ismail Consulting Electrical Engineers Mechanical engineers: New Consulting Eng. Quantity surveyors: Keevy & Keevy Quantity Surveyors Contractor: Boshard Construction (PTY) LTD

SUPPLIERS: Paving: C.E.L. Paving – 021 905 5998 Roof and timber: Elegant Roofing – 021 931 1240


Wolff is a design studio concerned with developing an architectural practice of consequence through the mediums of design, advocacy, research and documentation. The Wolff team is led by Ilze & Heinrich Wolff who work collaboratively with a group of highly skilled, committed and engaged architects, creative practitioners and administrators.


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020





Tel: 011 974 1061 admin@sawpa.co.za www.sawpa.co.za





Classic Blue Colour of the year for 2020

e r i p s In


THE FUTURE OF WATER HARVESTING Shaakira Jassat designs a panel to harvest rain water



haakira is a designer who has always been fascinated by water as a material in her projects. Since the recent drought in her native country, South Africa, she has shifted focus towards using her design work as a response to what she observed in Cape Town in 2018. During that time, people's behavior towards water changed very quickly, especially around Day Zero – the day they anticipated the city's taps would be shut off. The drought in Cape Town has eased up due to some rains last year, however, other parts of the country have experienced bouts of drought, as well as on the other extreme, subsequent flash floods. The unexpected changes in the climate inspired Shaakira to create something that would create a certain sense, but also bring about sensibility with the way things are currently designed, like how we experience water in urban environments. Shaakira's background in the architectural field provided the foundation for Aquatecture – a panel designed to harvest rain water, and when integrated with technology, it can harvest moisture from the atmosphere. Aquatecture can be installed as a façade panel on buildings, making water harvesting an integrated building feature. It can also be used to create free-standing elements in landscapes, creating water harvesting stations in various nodes throughout cities. Traditional architecture requires water to be kept out and away from a building, often flowing into stormwater drainage systems and picking up dirt along the route.


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

Given the dry situation in Cape Town, Shaakira envisioned buildings that could harvest and sustain their own water needs. Aquatecture is designed to collect falling rainwater as it trickles over the open punctures of the panel. The water that is collected is transported down to a collection tank and pumped back into the building's grey water system. Shaakira has reimagined a traditional practice like water harvesting, which usually requires space and doesn't easily fit into the urban aesthetic, into something that is compact and easier for people to engage with. She believes that this panel will help us reconnect with our water resources in the urban environment. The rain harvesting panels are made out of stainless steel. This material was preferred over other choices due to its durability in wet conditions. It also has the ability to withstand rust, making it an ideal water-friendly material. The water vapor condensing panel currently works with thermodynamics, cooling moist air to condense and harvest it. An in-depth pattern research was conducted in collaboration with Japanese graphic designer Aya Kawasaki prior to optimizing the final design of the openings. It started out with patterns that were a mix of what could possibly collect the most water as well as be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Prototypes of these were made and then tested with a real shower of water flowing slowly over them to emulate the rain as best as possible. Once tested with water, Shaakira selected the most efficient design and modified it until she was satisfied with the combined efficiency and aesthetics. The water collecting efficiency, aesthetic appeal and compactness of the design were key factors in determining the final design. The main goal was to create a water harvester that would fit in dense urban spheres through its compactness, visual identity and ability to integrate into architecture. The next step for Aquatecture is to test a life size installation on a building in Cape Town. Shaakira explains: “ I have been working closely with my team, made up of Mark Noble, development director of the V&A Waterfront Cape Town and Adam Ozinsky, building envelope designer from Arup, who will help to realise the next phase of the project. We have identified a site and are in the process of getting the plans for a mock up to be put into action. We plan to have the test patch up by early 2020. Ideally, I would like to get Aquatecture tested in various countries where rainfall and moisture content in the air varies.” Shaakira has continued her research on the next steps of embracing water in the urban environment. She was selected as a talent for the Bio Art Laboratories in Eindhoven, and has also studied 'air plants' under the microscope at their lab. Air plants (Tillandsia and Bromeliad species) are able to harvest their own water needs from the air.



During Dutch Design Week this past October, she exhibited research models showing the way these plants have inspired how architecture can evolve to embrace water entering the Symbiocene era.

In the Trichomic Wall, Shaakira suggests using hydrophilic material to create a hair-like facade in order to mimic Tillandsia trichomes. This will help cool the surface and help to trap enough moist air around the facade to facilitate condensation.

This new research shows various materials and designs of achieving the same outcome, i.e. to allow buildings and surfaces to embrace and collect water in the urban environment, this time also giving enough space for nature and animals, not only focusing purely on human need.

Wellbeing Wall: Inspired by Bromeliaceae plant species: Some bromeliads have a built-in water tank, able to collect and store water for prolonged periods of time. The inner water tank becomes a host for other species to thrive in. Spiders, frogs and insects all benefit from the hidden 'water well heart' of the bromeliad. Primarily, architectural walls have been used as a defense barrier between humans and the elements. In the design of the Wellbeing Wall, Shaakira aims to shift the focus of the human-nature relationship from anthropocentric to symbiotic. With this research, she creates extensions in the wall, allowing niches where water can ‘sit’. This provides an opportunity for other species, like birds, to use water in the city. Walls can now not only be used for human protection, but also for other organisms to thrive from.

Examples of this include: Trichomic Wall: Inspired by Tillandsia Genus: Tiny trichomes (hairs on leaves) of Tillandisa give the plant the ability to attract and absorb moisture from the air. These hairs create a cooling buffer space for air to hang around close to the surface to cool down and condense. Once wet, trichomes change their upright position and flatten out, allowing the leaf to fully absorb water by spreading it across the full surface of the leaf. www.prolandscaper.co.za

ABOUT S H A A K I R A J A S S AT Shaakira is a South African-born designer, now residing in the Netherlands. She graduated from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 2005 and graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2019, and founder of Studio Sway in 2019. Instagram: @studio_sway www.studio-sway.com Panel Production: Reith Laser c/o Levent Kara and colleagues.

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa





Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020



‘Grass Block’, the ‘Permeable Citylock’ and the ‘Waterwise Paver’. Each modular paving type has their own unique characteristics; the Grass Block helps with erosion control and allows grasses or smaller plants to grow between generous openings, while the Permeable Citylock and Waterwise Pavers allow water to easily permeate between each paver, minimizing overall runoff over large areas. Even though all three function similarly, their form differs significantly, allowing the designer a broader range of interesting paving layout options.

Rhuben Jacobs from Yes& Studio


s we arrive at the third decade of the 21st century, the undeniable truth is that we struggle to find new ways to deliver projects without harming our planet. This calls for drastic changes in the way we should be implementing our projects. We need to move towards designs, materials and construction systems that enable sustainable delivery whilst still meeting the demands that our rapidly growing populations require. I believe one key area that will improve how we build our future projects will be the better integration of technology into the construction industry. A 2015 Mckinsey & Company report found that the construction industry, second only to hunting, was the least digitized industry in the world. 2020 is the time to disrupt this and capitalize on initiatives and innovations. Whether it is new building materials, construction methods, robotics or even augmented reality, construction systems must change as technology improves. The main objective of using technology should improve cost, environmental impact and delivery but always end with projects that make relevant contributions to the way we inhabit our planet. Technology may prove to be an ally in the pursuit of environmental protection and improving the comfort of every individual within our built spaces. It has been found that large capital projects run, on average, 20 percent over on time. Modular design and construction can provide a solution. For example, Bosun currently have three modular permeable paving types for use in urban environments. These include the


Drone usage will become even more popular as they become more affordable and easier to use. Their application in the built environment is tenfold. Offering a fast, precise and costeffective way to get a complete aerial view of a construction site, they are now one of the most popular tools for providing accurate surveys and mapping a site. What would have taken a surveyor a day or weeks to carry out in the past can now be completed in a matter of minutes.

more affordable and, as a result, available to smaller firms. A significant shift away from the use of concrete may be on the cards. It takes a significant amount of energy to produce concrete and it is a major contributor to global carbon emissions. Concrete is a ubiquitous construction material, but finding an alternative wouldn’t hurt. A New York architecture firm known as 'The Living' designed and built a structure in 2014 made of fungi bricks. Each brick consisted of recycled mycelium; thin branching structures that look like roots. The mycelium was collected from fungi growing on agricultural waste, a completely sustainable and renewable material. The resultant bricks were made by placing organic material like dirt and nut shells packed with mushroom spores into brick moulds. After a few days, the mycelium grows into dense, compact brick modules. These bricks are 100% biodegradable. Unfortunately, the mushroom bricks aren’t very strong and have a relatively short lifespan.

A new invention called the Podder from AirSeed Technologies transforms an average drone into a sharpshooter, firing seeds rapidly into the earth. Made in South Africa, it can shoot two seeds every second at a velocity of up to 300 metres per second. Most modern drone models can also be retrofitted to become seed shooters using a pneumatic firing module. In line with AirSeed’s main objective to promptly fight global deforestation, they are aware that planting seeds manually is slow and hard work, while drone automation can plant seeds over a far greater area in the least amount of time.

Ashcrete is a modified version of concrete. Normal concrete is quite unsustainable; comprising of a mixture of sand, cement, water and stone aggregates. It’s no secret that stone aggregate on its own is a finite resource. Ashcrete is made using ash from waste-incineration facilities as the aggregate particles for concrete. So, in many cases, it can be used in traditional concrete applications and provides an opportunity for incineration facilities to recycle their waste. Unfortunately, it too isn’t perfect, taking longer to cure and is more susceptible to cracking.

VR headsets may also assist in providing a digital visualization of a design on site with added data to augment the experience, creating a 360-degree view of the intended project in-situ, also known as augmented reality (AR). This makes it easier to pinpoint any potential miscalculations or design flaws and AR may eventually replace paper plans or even CAD designs.

Two renewable resources like wool and seaweed have been identified as an unlikely duo to help reinforce standard clay bricks. Just like concrete, clay bricks aren’t great for the environment either as they require energy and natural resources to manufacture. Not to mention all the burning of wood and coal to heat up the bricks in their manufacturing process.

Aurecon, one of the largest global engineering, design and advisory companies, has started exploring the potential of this technology for use in the design and review process by surveying processed data and digitizing it into 3D models. This provides opportunities for collaborative design reviews where multiple users can wear AR goggles to enable a simultaneous engagement within a 3D generated mixed reality world. In 2020, I hope to see this technology becoming

In a 2010 paper published in the journal ‘Construction and Building Materials’; two architects suggested using wool and seaweed to make bricks stronger. The wool fibres combined with a natural compound from the seaweed called alginate is then mixed into traditional nonfired clay brick recipes. The alginate becomes a binding agent while the wool fibres significantly increase the strength and structure of the bricks, even more than traditional fired bricks.

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa



MATERIAL MOODBOARD Aram studied architecture at the University of Venice, Italy. He joined dhk in 2008 and has been based at the Johannesburg office since 2014. He has a wide range of work experience from new build and renovation projects through to large-scale masterplanning and regeneration projects across the commercial, residential, civic and education sectors. He has worked extensively on dhk’s projects in Northern Italy, and more recently on several new projects in Africa and South Africa. Aram is also an established product designer. Here Aram lists his top products and materials for 2020!

1 - EQUITONE EQUITONE is a fibre cement product consisting of Cement, Cellulose and MineralMaterials and is reinforced by a visible matrix.


5 - OUTDOOR LIGHTING Suitable for modern architecture. Create visual guidance with exceptional visual comfort. Suitable for pedestrian areas, building surrounds, shopping centres, squares and parks. The luminaire has no light above the horizontal. www.regentlight.co.za



ARAM LELLO Senior Associate www.dhk.co.za



Unique, bespoke, innovative laser cut divider screens and cladding.

Innovative technology and an appealing design RHEINZINK is the world's leading manufacturer of titanium zinc products.

The strength and durability of Corobrik's wide and versatile range of clay face bricks, is equally matched by its aesthetic qualities that are compelling and captivating.






Products made of Resysta have the look and feel of natural tropical wood. They are absolutely water-resistant, weather-proof and UV-resistant, do not crack and are 100% recyclable. www.resysta.com

Ceramic Drop Leaf Table A Collaboration by Wiid Design and Ceramic Matters. Materials: Manufactured from American Walnut, steel and reactive glazed tiles. www.wiiddesign.co.za

Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

8 - HANDCRAFTEDEFFECT TILES Zellige series are produced in 12 shades with glossy finish and visible variations in tone. Random installation creates a blend effect, in which the colours vibrate strongly. www.marazzigroup.com



Street Furniture, Paving, Bollards, Bins, Architectural Features, Pots, Planters and more!

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LEARNING TO LISTEN The approach that is driving an exciting new trend in landscape design


The longer that I am immersed in the art of landscape design, the more I am convinced that we must stop talking. We need to learn to listen instead and if we do, then, and only then, will we be able to do justice to the environment in which we work. By listening, I mean that we need to visit the site at various times of day, morning, noon, evening, find a comfortable spot, clear our minds and listen to what nature and the immediate environment is telling us. What does the wind whisper; how do sunlight and shadows play across the land; what about the soil underfoot and casting our eyes up; what can we learn from the horizon - and how will our design merge with, and compliment, all of what we see and hear? We need to be aware of the fact that in today’s fast paced world, creating a design that blends with the contours, the moods, the textures and colours of the landscape in which our clients live and work, provides them with a tranquil place where they can feel totally at home; in other words, a nurturing space that feeds their soul.

feature. Now we are designing more swales, SUDS system, seasonal ponds and eco pools. In the spirit of letting go, designers should be aware of the need to design landscapes that are low maintenance by selecting plants that perform double duties, that have more than just good looks to offer, and we are selecting resilient plants that are able to withstand the harsher conditions prevailing as a result to climate change and global warming. NATURAL MAINTENANCE We live in a famine of time - no-one has the time to manicure lawns, to trim hedges and sweep

leaves into little piles. That is why our landscape designs must allow for a certain amount of natural maintenance rather than low maintenance. In Japan they have pioneered a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (roughly translated as “forest bathing” or “taking in the atmosphere of the forest”). The purpose is twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country's forests and natural environment. In our frantic times, gardens are definitely a sanctuary from our busy worlds and because of

LETTING GO I also believe that we need to relax, to let go of our desire to control everything and allow nature to take its course - within reason of course. We are already letting go of heavily manicured and overly clipped gardens - thank goodness. Rolling lawns are a thing of the past, and large swimming pools and water features have quickly moved onto the outgoing list. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I designed a traditional looking water www.prolandscaper.co.za

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa


F E AT U R E this, natural landscaping and biophilic design - a concept pioneered in the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment - is more in demand than ever before. That is why, to me, a landscape design that allows our clients the opportunity to "forest bathe" and to reconnect with nature is a recipe for success. The more we learn to listen to be inspired by what we hear from nature and, importantly, learn to let go of control that strangles rather than nurtures our environment, the more success we will achieve. Humans are also naturally drawn to how something feels, internally and externally; the emotional connection is strong. If something is soft, it makes you linger longer. In landscaping we must create tactile, soft spaces to which our clients are drawn and where they can pause to recharge. This is why designers are now designing spaces as one continuous flowing area (shown in my plan) rather than the traditional idea of different rooms. In other words, no more front garden, side garden, back garden, etc. As open-plan living has evolved in the world of interiors, landscape design has also found that continuity and flow is everything and there has never been a more inspirational time to be in this profession. It's exciting to be able to create landscape designs that are complimentary to the local environment, complimentary to the design of existing structures, and to what our clients are seeking in their “safe” place. TACTILE COLOUR I am also tremendously excited that as South Africans, we are finally beginning to embrace and celebrate our unique culture through design. This is evident especially in furniture, textiles, fashion and the use of vibrant colour, such as Haldane Martin’s furniture collection. This trend is taking root among landscape designers and gardeners. I am convinced that the demand for colour will grow in the next decade as consumers become influenced and driven by colourful hues and vibrant energy and that's why designers are selecting plants more for their textural and foliage colour than for their floral attraction. Grasses still remain popular; as we are drawn to the fluffy lightness, how they move in the wind, how the light catches them, their goldenbrown hues, and how well they contrast against smooth textures of concrete and steel. And let's not forget that texture is king. Concrete, steel, glass, stone, and our superb South African raw materials are wonderful mediums to use in the garden.


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

GARDEN ‘PETS’ We must also apply our minds to the fact that apartment living is on the rise, and garden spaces are becoming smaller. Container planting is a new trend and indoor plant sales are booming as a result of urbanisation. Beautiful pots and a few key plants, inside and out, are fast becoming the new garden ‘pets’. Young city dwellers are turning into avid plant collectors, and if you’d love to join the houseplant movement but need some help keeping your plant ‘babies’ alive, you’re not alone! More and more gardeners are turning to garden tech to help keep their indoor greenery green.

As I have already said, there has never been a more exciting time to be a landscape designer as we enter a time of big, bold, bright colors and patterns, gaudy decor and colorful abstract paintings. But it's also about listening, seeing and applying our minds to what the environment in which we work is telling us.

CARA SMITH CONTOURS DESIGN STUDIO 082 876 7171 www.contoursdesignstudio.co.za



Planting Palette's FOR SUMMER By Fridhem Farm’s Marc Dawson

'What to plant for the coming Summer season?' is an open ended question. The suggestions that I will be giving have come from what I have learnt from the drought we experienced this last year and a half and the taxing knock on reality it has had on our green industry. That, to

me, was a warning light that the dynamics of our landscaping design will require a lot more thought when it comes to plant selection, and it has likely already changed forever. Even though the drought has broken, we can no longer use water as a buffer to make our plant combinations work. Landscaped areas will have to be zoned according to what the site offers. We have to consider the impact of elements like


direct sunlight, natural shade from trees, shade from buildings and structures, pelting South Easter winds in the Cape and poor alkali soils. These are some of the challenges that are now vital to consider when putting plant palettes together. Plants with similar requirements should be grouped together. Below are some plant suggestions that will look good over summer when we want our gardens to look their best.

Pelargonium betulinum, Pelargonium suburbanum, Felicia erigeroides Plecostachys serpyllacea, Helichrysum teretifolium, Felicia bergeriana Geranium incanum, Cotula sericea, Helichrysum cymosum, Otholobium decumbens, Hermannia pinnata, Scabiosa spp.

Athanasia dentata, Otholobium fruticans, Orthosiphon labiatus, Dyschoriste thunbergiiflora, Plumbago auriculata, Polygala nana, Tecomaria capensis, Hemizygia obermeyerae, Salvia africana-caerulea, Leonotis leonurus



Buddleja saligna, Pittosporum viridiflorum, Dais cotinifolia, Indigofera frutescens, Sideroxylon inerme, Euclea natalensis, Vachellia sieberiana, Vachellia xanthophloea

Aristea capitata, Aristea ecklonii, Aristida junciformis, Melinis nerviglumis, Setaria megaphylla, Watsonia sp, Ixia hybrids, Ornithogalum thyrsoides, Tritonia hybrids, Crocosmia aurea, Chlorophytum sauderaia


I have used the plants listed above in various combinations in landscapes that produce wonderful colour displays, with shading and texture over the Summer season. I hope that these will help you all to be more adventurous in your plant choices by introducing more plants to your plant palettes. www.prolandscaper.co.za

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa




These combinations draw more interest to the flowerbed. Pelargonium betulinum and Helichrysum cymosum, Geranium incanum and Cotula sericea, Scabiosa spp and Pelargonium suburbanum Hermannia pinnata and Otholobium decumbens.


CLIMBERS: Athanasia dentata, Otholobium fruticans and Salvia africana-lutea. Polygala nana, Salvia africana-caerulea, Leonotis leonurus, Orthosiphon labiatus, Dyschoriste thunbergii and Hemizygia obermeyerae. Plumbago auriculata and Tecoma capensis.

I like to group the shrubs in groups of odd numbers, where one offsets the other with its distinct flower colour, leaf shape and the shades of the foliage. Trees are the backbone of a landscape and need to be carefully thought out with long term growth and look in mind. Trees are particularly important for providing shade and adding scale to a project. They can also be used to create special, clarified


spaces in gardens where landscapers can plant the more tender shade-loving perennials and bulbs in their palette.

embankments. They are also great as groundcovers in areas under existing trees where soil is shallow and depleted by root mass of trees.

Grasses and bulbs are always great to use as effective fillers in a planting with large mixed sweeps below trees and on embankments.

By planting interesting combinations of plants in our gardens, we will increase biodiversity, attracting insects, birds, reptiles and mammals which come and seek food and shelter and in turn creates more interest for us. A wonderful win/win for us all!

Climbers are wonderful tools if you need to soften fence lines, gabion walls and

Andy de Wet of CND Nursery puts forward his ideas for new plants mixes for Summer 2020 Increasingly, the new trend in gardening is water-wise and indigenous choices. New plants for 2020 were bred in South Africa to fulfill both these criteria by Andy de Wet of De Wet Plant Breeders. New varieties of Agapanthus that rebloom are released in order to enable more colorful gardens that attract birds and insects throughout the year. These varieties are also strong, easy growing plants that produce an abundance of flowers. The latest varieties are: 1.


Agapanthus 'Fireworks' This plant has already won four international awards, including third place at RHS Chelsea's Plant Of The Year competition in the UK.

Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020


Agapanthus 'Poppin' Purple' This beautiful dark purple agapanthus hardly ever stops flowering.


Agapanthus 'Blue Thunder' With dark blue flowers in short stems, Blue Thunder's umbels are so dense they remind one of a hydrangea.


Agapanthus 'Purpalicious' Outstanding bright purple flowers to give a complete diverse color range for the one that plants a large agapanthus bed with different sizes and contrasting colors.

Aloe 'Hedgehog' and Aloe 'Peri-Peri' have also recently been elevated to mass landscaping status by a huge drop in unit prices, enabling any designer to incorporate large numbers into commercial and domestic gardens. Only these two cultivars mentioned are going cheap because they are ideal for commercial and bigger water-wise gardens and are being mass produced in order to fill a gap in the market – people, birds and bees love aloes.

These are all water-wise, and will grow well anywhere in South Africa. Despite them all being of similar purple hues, I do not think there are color preferences in gardening at the moment. People love something new and different, that is why these stand out.



Trend Forecast

FOR GARDENING IN 2020 Martine de la Harpe – Garden designer at De La Harpe Landscapes For centuries, knowledge, religion, wealth and power have influenced the design and purpose of gardens. From representations of ‘paradise’ in the Mughal Tomb Gardens, to overt demonstrations of ‘knowledge as power’ in the Renaissance Gardens, evidence of our need to capture significant aspects of our civilisation through meaningful gardens can be found all over the globe. While climate change may seem like the most compelling influence over us at present, increased urbanisation, the slowing global economy, political uncertainty and increasing environmental awareness are also having an impact on how we will take gardening into the future. Our separation from the natural environment is driving an increased yearning for the memory of nature. Now more than ever, we are feeling the need to be close to nature, to touch nature and connect with it. In addition, fewer resources – both natural and financial – are fuelling the search for sustainable gardening solutions. But the need for emotional well-being in a world that is increasingly unpredictable and seemingly out of control, is an even more powerful force that is compelling us to continue gardening. As environmental consciousness illuminates the fragility of our global ecosystem and our awareness of how we disrupt it deepens, we are no longer able to ignore the fact that we are responsible for marching more and more species, including our own, to the brink of extinction. The current trends in garden design are responding to these cues. Internationally, garden designers are turning back to nature to find solutions. With nature as our teacher and a deepening understanding of natural protocols the urge to partner with nature rather than asserting our will over it has become paramount.

A designed plant community of grasses and perennials


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

THE NATURAL ORDER Our success as gardeners facing increasingly hostile growing conditions will depend not only on how we change the way we garden, but more www.prolandscaper.co.za


"Citiveld”: a designed Highveld grassland planting

importantly how we transform the way we plant. In nature, plants grow in communities that occur in gradients which define the prevailing growing conditions such as soil, moisture and temperature. Each gradient is attractive to specific plants. A plant that occurs naturally at one gradient will not necessarily thrive in another. If the growing conditions of the gradient change, such as rising temperatures and less rainfall, then the plants that previously thrived there will disappear, and then others – for which the conditions are favourable – will emerge. While we can limit the effects of climate change in our gardens to some extent, such as irrigating plants to quench their thirst and planting trees to keep them cool, prolonged and more frequent periods of drought are demanding that we look for more far-reaching solutions. ‘Wild’ plant communities are the result of millions of years of natural selection and succession. The combination of species in a community is as a result of co-dependent relationships and complementary needs – plants with different root systems support one another. Plants that cover large areas in drifts complement those that are solitary, and those that draw nutrients from the soil settle beside those that add them. Biodiversity is the key to survival as it strengthens resilience and increases the sustainability of the entire community.


The study of these naturally occurring plant communities has resulted in a fundamental shift in horticultural thinking. Instead of exerting our will over nature and seeing how far we can push plants beyond their natural inclinations, garden designers are now creating designed plant communities that are translations of their wild counterparts. By planting communities of plants rather than individual specimens, we are fortifying our gardens to face the challenges of climate change while simultaneously developing a new aesthetic that reaches back to the wilderness and satisfies our yearning for the memory of nature. The opportunities for creative expression are wide open. The idea is to take inspiration from the plants that thrive in your region, plant them according to the dominant ecosystem, and amplify their characteristics to create an aesthetic statement. It is important to note that these plantings are not indigenous restorations, and nor should they be. The process of urbanisation and the development of the horticultural industry resulted in a cross pollination and transplant of species from all over the globe. Exotic plants that thrive in regions other than those of their origin become naturalised in their new home. The main criteria that defines these designed plant communities,

is that all the plants in the community thrive together, be they native or exotic. The artificial divide between indigenous and exotic plants becomes less relevant in designed plant communities as it is not the selection of species that is critical, but how they are planted. DESIGNING IN THE URBAN LANDSCAPE Contemporary thinking about the role of the designer is to organise the urban landscape with sensitivity to the surrounding built environment and to populate it with naturally thriving plantings. Emphasis is on structuring the landscape and organising spaces to facilitate movement, recreation and a sense of well-being. Terracing, contours, shapes and axes define the geometry of the design on the ground, while trees, plants, architecture and focal points provide verticals. Layered plantings in thier communities distribute colour and texture throughout the design. Likeminded and complementary plants are grouped together in, for example, grassland, woodland, fynbos, semi-desert and tropical combinations. The principles of this approach to garden design are the same regardless of the natural ecology. Study the ecology that thrives in your biome and create plant communities that mimic the planting style in the prevailing climatic conditions.

January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa


F E AT U R E Other considerations impacting on design are: The need for more light shade and woodland plantings, the value of biodiverse grassland plantings that integrate succulents, and bulbs and perennials with grasses. Designers are revising their plant choices – removing water-hungry plants from their palette and replacing them with water-wise varieties, both indigenous and exotic. CASE STUDY: DESIGNING ON THE HIGHVELD Highveld grassland is the second most biodiverse biome after fynbos. One of the critical limiting factors to growth in this region is the availability of water, and yet, Highveld grasslands are known to be water-generating landscapes. Dense, lowgrowing perennial grasses trap rainfall and give it time sink into the water table where it drains into wetlands that release a steady flow of clean, filtered water into streams and rivers throughout the year. The destruction of grassland vegetation therefore has far-reaching consequences, and yet, 98 % of Highveld grassland has already made way for mining, agriculture, forestry and urbanisation. A great starting point for garden designers on the Highveld is therefore to create ‘designed veld’ or a matrix of grasses through which rivers of perennials, bulbs and self-seeding annuals are scattered to provide colour and interest throughout the season. Grassland beds fortify perennials and free them to move around as they self-seed and multiply. They have the added advantages of barely needing preparation, being water-wise, and attracting a spectrum of suburban wildlife. A beehive is a wonderful addition to a garden in these plant communities. These plantings are a reimagining of nature, that not only beautifies our built environment, but also performs the vital functions of an ecosystem that is needed to secure life. Designers are becoming managers of natural ecosystems that

draw on a combination of indigenous and exotic species which are highly adaptable and resilient to create gardens and landscapes that will grow into the future. GARDENING PRACTICES The shift in thinking to naturally occurring phenomena does not stop with planting design. Vital to the sustainability of our suburban landscape is the adoption of ‘natural gardening’ practices and protocols. Once again, our task is to observe the processes that nourish and energise plants in nature. These are a few invaluable practices that will alter the sustainability of existing, as well as new, gardens: 1. COVER THE EARTH Exposed soil is like a wound from which the earth “bleeds”. Much like our bodies produce scabs to stop the bleeding, the earth sends in weeds to cover exposed earth. Cover the earth with natural mulches to restrict weeds and limit the damage done during planting. Refrain from turning the soil as this is like opening the wound over and over again. Gather leaves that fall in autumn and spread them between plants like a blanket to protect the soil and the life-giving microbes that live within it. This blanket of mulch is vital for the survival of your plants during hot and dry periods as it also slows down evaporation and keeps the soil cool and moist. 2. MIMIC RAINFALL WHEN IRRIGATING Water less often and for longer. Watering for less than 20 minutes is superficial and creates a dependency on irrigation that weakens plants and makes them vulnerable to heat and drought. Deep watering encourages deeper root growth to enable plants to access water in the sub soil, long after the top soil has dried out. 3. NO CHEMICALS It is vital to protect the ecosystems that are in your garden, as well as to ensure that your plants

are robust and naturally immune to disease. Healthy soil grows healthy plants. Healthy plants are more resilient to infection and infestation. Use only natural additives like organic fertilisers, earthworm castings and volcanic rock dust to enrich the soil, and apply only organic formulas when absolutely necessary to control disease and pests. When comparing designs, older gardens tend to favour plants selected for their ability to offer static, controlled and predictable aesthetics. They are frequently organised in contrived or stylistic landscapes and feature closely mowed lawns, evergreen architecture and block planted colour. Annual plantings are also a favourite in these designs that are manipulated representations of the natural environment. These gardens are not very resilient and frequently require artificial intervention. The new perennial movement comes closer to the natural order with looser and more organic organisations of plants in designs that depend on the seasons to capture the full spectrum of their beauty and worth. Wild life is welcome and chemicals are generally not needed. Seasonal intervention is essential. The current movement, advocating designed plant communities that strive to mimic natural planting patterns, is a far cry from gardening styles of the past but it has arisen out of organic processes that demand closer contact with nature and resilient gardens that can cope with the climatic challenges that lie ahead. As trade members, we have the unique responsibility of adapting these trends and practices to reflect in the spaces we design. It is more important for us now than ever to use these key indicators as a catalyst in our design and implementation well into the new decade and beyond!

Natural grasslands

The Highline Garden in New York - bringing nature back to the city


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020


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In a world of constant hustle and bustle, the trend forecasters at Pantone thought we need a little time out – and we cannot agree more. So, they have announced that the Pantone colour of the year 2020 is Classic Blue. In a press release from Pantone they give the following rationale for the decision:

add these plants to create a splash of blue to your outdoor palette.

“As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colours that are honest and offer the promise of protection. Non-aggressive and easily relatable, the trusted PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue lends itself to relaxed interaction. Associated with the return of another day, this universal favourite is comfortably embraced.”

Finding solace in the classics Cool down on hot summer days with a sea of agapanthus in shades of blue. Agapanthus is also known as the lily of the Nile, and comes from the Greek words “agape” meaning love and “anthos”, meaning flower. You’ll fall in love with the dwarf agapanthus 'Tinkerbell'. It has variegated leaves and clusters of pale blue flowers. Agapanthus 'Blue Velvet' has deep cornflower blue flowers with a velvet sheen. Grow agapanthus in broad sweeps in the landscape, in indigenous gardens, grouped in borders, as edgings along paths, and in large pots. Their robust root system is also suitable for holding soil on banks.

Life is a Garden echo's this sentiment, and what better way to bring the colour blue into your world than in your garden. It so happens that blue flowers attract butterflies and bees, and this means your garden will become a sanctuary of nature and an escape for your psyche. Surround yourself with calm and confidence and

Serene landscapes The colour blue is associated with the sea and sky and evokes peace and tranquillity. That’s why this colour is so effective in calming your mind. The Butterfly Bush 'Buddleja davidii' is available in a few smaller varieties such as Buddleja ‘Buzz’ and Buddleja ‘Lo and Behold’, which are hybrids


Pro Landscaper Africa | January 2020

of our indigenous varieties and have more colours available in blue, purple and cream. They are tasty nectar-producing plants which attract butterflies. These nectar-feeding insects will add charm and beauty to your garden and will, in turn, contribute to some restoration of the natural ecology of life in urban gardens. Butterflies have long proboscises to reach down into flowers to obtain the nectar on which they survive. Torenia, or Wishbone Flowers 'Torenia fournieri' are flowers for semi-shaded spots and summer’s answer to the pansy. Torenias are compact (30cm) bushes with dainty flowers that are blue, purple or pink with yellow throats – suitable for edgings, beds, hanging baskets and window boxes. These should be planted in rich, well-drained soil and watered regularly. Torenias make good companions with other shade lovers, such as impatiens and bedding begonias. Begonias with white, red, light or dark pink flowers with bronze or green leaves make pretty ribbons of colour along paths when in massed plantings, window boxes and containers.



Peaceful escapes Salvia nemorosa 'Black and Bloom' creates waves of tranquil blue bushes. These popular perennials have unusual black stems and are happy in partial to full sun areas. They parade large wellbranched bushes with strong-coloured flowers. Because the blue colour aids in concentration and helps your mind in a meditative state, adding more blue flowers to your garden will help you re-centre your thoughts and focus for 2020. Create a reflective space with blooming Salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue' which has long spires of dark blue flowers. They bloom throughout summer and attract happy butterflies to lighten up your mood. Be sure to add the proud Salvia 'Victoria' with its upright flower spikes, parading indigoblue flowers above the foliage. Be cool and confident Like the cat that’s got the cream, Clerodendrum myricoides ‘Ugandense’ (commonly known as the blue cat's whiskers) are born to stand out. In summer, these dainty, two-tone blue flowers are striking features of this medium-sized evergreen shrub. They are ideal for planting


in the background of a shrubby border. It bears masses of pleasant blue flowers in summer, and bees love them. You will soon be surrounded by the happy, buzzing noise of their visits. Their fruits are frugivorous birds’ favourite, and your garden will become the coolest hangout for nature’s little busybodies, while adding a little whimsy in the concrete jungle.

the full morning sun, and will appreciate a little afternoon shade. They prefer soil that is rich in organic matter, so you must add compost to the soil before planting. Keep the soil moist but not sodden, and pay particular attention to watering if in pots or baskets – Lobelia do not like to get thirsty! The Lobelia 'Curacao Compact Blue' are stunning planted in striking hanging baskets.

Timeless simplicity Our indigenous cobalt blue blossoms of Anchusa capensis 'Cape-forget-me-not' are charming easygoing plants. They require minimal care and grow in most soils. They are hardy and survive on very little water, which makes them our water-wise choice for dry summer regions. They are happy with the basics – well-drained soil and full sun areas, and will pop up again and again, perfect for any South African garden.

Although blue flowers are hard to find in the natural world, you can always find inspiration and advice from the friendly staff at your local GCA Garden Centre. Return some classic blues to your garden this summer and design a space of quietude. With touches of blue, you can create a serene escape from daily stress, where you can recharge your mind, body and soul. For more gardening inspiration visit Life is a Garden’s website www.lifeisagarden.co.za

Lobelia is part of the Campanulaceae family and has over 300 species. The most common species in our gardens is Lobelia erinus. This plant, is native to southern Africa and thrives in varying climates and topographies. The easy-to-grow plant enjoys January 2020 | Pro Landscaper Africa





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Pro Landscaper Africa January 2020  

January 2020 Issue

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January 2020 Issue