Life made simple

Be Water-wise. Plant an Autonomous Garden.


There’s been so much talk, lately, about the benefits of a low-maintenance garden. Because water is still scarce in some parts of the country, and because it will always be a precious commodity, we thought we’d re-post this handy guide – courtesy of House & Leisure – to help you create a garden that more or less takes care of itself, with plants that don’t need too much pampering.

As satisfying as it is to have a sprawling garden at home, maintaining all that greenery can be incredibly time-consuming and labour-intensive, and there aren’t many people who have that many spare hours or even the skills required.

One answer to this conundrum – aside from not having a garden at all – is to craft a backyard that doesn’t require a lot of input and maintenance and that doesn’t gobble up important resources, like your time and our precious water.

Landscaper Deidre Causton of Inspirations, a Johannesburg-based company that offers a full-spectrum design service for outside spaces, suggests the following tips for crafting a more self-sufficient garden.

Remove lawn and plant this space with indigenous grasses like Juncus or Anthiricum saundersii. These options self-seed and require minimal maintenance.

In sunny areas, create succulent beds with focal plants like Aloe bainesii as well as a selection of groundcovers like aptenia and firestick plants (Euphorbia).

Find out how to create a low-maintenance garden.

These tick two important boxes in that they’re both more or less self-sustaining and they need less water.

For colour, you can do a mass planting of agapanthus in sunnier areas and of zantedeschia and clivias in shady beds. They need very little care to thrive.

Make use of stepping stones, railway sleepers, pebbles and crushed stone with weed guards as these still create interest but alleviate the need to water and mow lawns.

Plant other water-wise plants, like plumbago, olea and chondropetalum, wherever you can.

Set up a system to harvest your rainwater and create natural ponds and pools to channel it into. You can then use this water to irrigate your garden.


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