African Birdlife
Zen Goes Local Image Credit: African Birdlife
Zen Goes Local Image Credit: African Birdlife

Zen Goes Local

South Africa is known for its cultural diversity and this is mirrored in the increasing number of requests for variety in garden designs.

Glenice Ebedes

Last year, we were approached by a landscape designer who specialises in creating Japanese gardens. Kim Nicholls from Japanese Garden Concepts had devised a Japanese-themed garden for her clients who were moving into a residential estate in Boksburg that has a strict indigenous plants-only policy. Being an expert in the use of typical Japanese garden plants (which traditionally include maple, bamboo and camellia), Kim needed input on the indigenous alternatives she could use and still achieve her theme.

The transition to indigenous plant selection is relatively new to many property developers, as well as to the majority of homeowners, many of whom have a sentimental connection to more traditional, exotic gardens. In the face of opposition from homeowners, many estates that had initially decreed a fully indigenous planting scheme have made allowances for some non-invasive exotic species to be included. In this particular instance, the estate has now permitted a maximum of 10 per cent exotic plant material. All garden designs are reviewed before the start of the project and are inspected during and after installation to ensure compliance.

The clients were down-scaling from a large property and their main stipulation was for a low-maintenance garden. Japanese garden design principles focus on simplicity

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