Entrance Garden Makeover
An entrance garden, being the first element of a garden one sees when entering a property, should be a focal point that is neat and uncluttered but simultaneously attractive and interesting. When this San Lorenzo garden makeover was undertaken, the existing entrance garden was very uninteresting, with a common yellow Duranta Sheena’s Gold hedge acting as a visual border against the fence. This plant is not indigenous and is very overused. It is high maintenance, requiring regular clipping and shaping, and is not water-wise. The decision to replace it was not taken lightly however as it was a well-established hedge and whatever we replaced it with would not become established overnight.
Ultimately, the home owners love for diversity and indigenous water-wise plants made the decision easier, and the hedge was removed. The compromised privacy would only be a short-term problem. Where once there was a high maintenance non-indigenous Duranta hedge, there are now low maintenance, natural-looking, water-wise indigenous shrubs which will eventually grow big enough to screen garden from the road.
When it came to shaping the landscape in this section, it was an odd-shaped piece of land, and not easy to work with. Design ingenuity was called for so we designed the new garden around a reduced lawn size to make space for a beautiful selection of indigenous plants and then shaped the remaining lawn into a neat rectangle, bringing some order back. Some type of order is important in a garden as it helps the eye to ease over the landscape. Remaking the garden beds by planting them up also managed to camouflage the odd shape of this area of land.
The lawn itself was weed-riddled with tiny weeds. A special weedicide treatment was applied, and the lawn is now in the process of being loved back to beauty. Two members of the Eco Balance team are officially certified through the South African Green Industries Council ( SAGIC) to provide invasive species control plans that will enable lawns like this to get back to their full glory.
The next bed to be remade was the shaded bed against the house wall. This bed falls into shadow for the most of the day with only a little sunlight in the morning. Careful plant choice had to be considered, with different plants for the deep shade spot. We planted Arum Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopic), Chlorophytum saundersii and Ornithogalum thyrsoides.
We had to fit this in against the contrasting sun tolerant plants just a few meters away across the lawn. The contrasting result is very pleasing to the eye.
Another interesting aspect to this makeover is the inviting pathways leading to and from the lawn which draws one in to walk across the lawn and look further into the garden. One feels a little like Alice in her wonderland, keen to explore what is around the corner. All pavers used were form the existing garden, scrubbed up and used again in our aim to re-purpose , recycle and keep costs low.
We also repurposed a large, old, second-hand pot, and gave it new life with a “rust-finish” look. This is done with a 2-layer paint process. The first coat covers the pot with a paint that has iron shavings in it and the second coat is an activator paint . Once both coats were applied here, the black pot transformed into a rust-effect, recycled beauty.
The pot was planted up with a waterwise delight, the Portulacaria affra, also known as pork bush or spekkboom, and placed in front of the trellis against the wall.
If you’re keen to do your own entrance garden makeover, here are our top 3 tips:
1. An entrance area is a high-traffic area. If people need to cross over your lawn to get to your front door, make sure to create a paved pathway to ensure that the lawn doesn’t get trampled underfoot.
2. Remember that indigenous shrubs offer a great alternative to screening off your entrance area from the road with a hedge. They grow large and bushy and will offer adequate privacy.
3. A strategically placed pot or two at your entrance area, bubbling over with beautiful greenery, will add a lot of pizazz!