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). 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.