Garden, Gardens

Water Features

Garden Bleu may be the go-to place for local Francophiles and Anglophiles with a penchant for traditional garden decor, but the Gauteng-based garden accessory provider also offers a more permanent European addition to your garden – a water feature. After interest was expressed in the garden decor shop's own water features, owners Rhoda and Andre Kruger expanded their business in Hatfield to include larger decor projects. 'We did the decor and interior wet works of the shop and people frequently asked who did it,' says Andre, who manages the project builds. 'Based on the demand we started with the decor and hard landscaping side of the business.' Much like the shop's Provencal, Tuscan and Victorian-inspired garden art and outdoor accessories, Garden Bleu's water features and decorative garden structures pay homage to an old-world European aesthetic. Weathered textures and colours – typically characteristic of old French, Italian and English buildings – abound in Garden Bleu's outdoor designs. 'I always say that the French countryside has a weathered look, but not a neglected look, and that is the look that inspires me,' says Andre. Like the cool stonework of French Chateaus, Andre tends to work mainly in greys and off whites, a decision that is still surprisingly challenging. 'It is almost an art to find a grey colour without a blue or purple undertone,' says Andre. In addition to muted hues, Andre works with a variety of materials like old farm taps and standard clay bricks – often incorporating reclaimed bricks for their weathered look and feel. Visual aesthetics aside, Andre pays close attention to the real star of any water feature – the water. 'The second element of the water feature, after the visual, is the sound of the water,' says Andre. 'I found that if water falls more than 500mm from the water level it could sound like a burst geyser – which defeats the object of tranquillity.' Looking at Garden Bleu's projects to date, peace and tranquility certainly come to mind. It's no wonder that this talented individual has built water features for a few familiar faces on TV, as well as for celebrated sculptor and friend, Ruhan Janse van Vuuren. Garden Bleu water features are priced anywhere between R5 000 and R100 000 (based on filtration systems and soil conditions), but on average projects usually range between R15 000 and R20 000. For more information on water features or Garden Bleu shops, visit gardenbleu.co.za.