The SA Landscapers Institute (Sali) annual awards honoured the country’s top landscapers at the recent SA Green Industries Council Convention in Cape Town.

More than 100 projects were entered into the 2012 competition and judging took place over the summer. Gold medals were awarded to 54 projects and 12 trophies honoured outstanding projects across SA.

This year’s winning projects comprised private residences (24 percent), commercial and corporate (23 percent), institutions (12 percent), residential estates (12 percent), public open spaces (11 percent), hotels and hospitality industry (9 percent) and sports fields and stadiums (9 percent).

River rehabilitation

The 2012 Sali Shield, the landscaping industry’s highest national honour, went to Chris Devine of Blue Wood Landscaping for the rehabilitation of the Lourens River in Somerset West, near Cape Town.

It’s the only river in the country with a Protected Natural Environment status, and the project showcased how a river could be rehabilitated with gabions and planting.

“Returning the Lourens River to its former glory for the community in Somerset West just shows what can be done with other suburban rivers nationwide,” says Devine.

“We learnt a great deal on this project, but hopefully our blueprint can now be used in rivers flowing through urban areas across the country.”

Vertical gardens

A vertical garden installed on the walls of The Grand, in Rivonia, Sandton, by the Servest Group was the most innovative and unusual Gauteng project. At least a dozen vertical gardens were showcased at the Chelsea Flower Show last month, none of which approximated the size or scale of The Grand’s.

Reaching two storeys high and wrapped around The Grand on two sides, this spectacular vertical garden on the upmarket strip club was a showstopper at the awards.

Gauteng success

By far the most gold medals for Gauteng-based projects went to either the Servest Group or Life Landscapes.

The Servest Group received gold medals for work at the gazebo wedding area at the Johannesburg Country Club, San Sereno Retirement Village, the Department of Basic Education building, Palazzo Hotel gardens and the Absa Capital corporate garden at 15 Alice Lane, Sandton, designed by Insite Landscape Architects.

Life Landscapes received gold medals for Waterfall Country & Equestrian Estate, Waterfall Hills Mature Lifestyle Community, Siemens head office, Aldum Estate and Pretoria’s Freedom Park Phase 2A, designed by BGM Landscape Architects. Life Sports Turf was awarded a gold medal for its work at the Kyalami Country Club. The TopTurf Group received a gold medal for its work at the Dimension Data Golf Course, and RSA Designing and Consulting Landscaping for the GFIP central operations centre, Sanral (design by Cecile le Roux). On the domestic garden front, gold medals went to Four Seasons Gardens for House Mansour and to Life Landscapes for House Rynners Cilliers (design by Rescape Landscape Design).

Trophy winners

* Evergreen Turf Trophy for the Best Novice Entry: Environmental Studios for La Folie, KwaZulu-Natal.

* MayFord Trophy for the Best use of Colour in the Landscape: GvH Landscapes for House Stevens, Plettenberg Bay.

* Bristle Cone Trophy for the Most Innovative and Original Use of Plant Material: Servest Group for The Grand, Rivonia.

* Rand Water Trophy for the Best Water-Wise Entry: Urban Landscape Solutions for Cape Town Biodiversity Gardens, Green Point.

* Best Specialised Landscape Construction: TopTurf Group for Priority Zone Roof Top Garden, KwaZulu-Natal.

* Best Landscape and Turf Maintenance: Life Landscapes for Waterfall Hills Mature Lifestyle Community, Midrand.

* Best Specialised Turf Construction: Life Sports Turf for Stade de L’amitie Sino-Gabonaise, Gabon.

* Best Environmental Landscape Work: Blue Wood Landscaping for Lourens River Flood Alleviation, Somerset West.

* Best Landscape Construction with Design by Others: Servest Group for 15 Alice Lane, Sandton.

* Efekto Trophy for the Best Landscape Construction with In-House Design: Environmental Studios for La Folie, KZN.

* Sali Shield for Excellence in Landscaping (Overall Award): Blue Wood Landscaping for Lourens River Flood Alleviation, Somerset West. - Saturday Star

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