Awarded second prize for design, Galactic Grasslands, created by Cheri Steenkamp, Zen Kieser and Nick van der Hyde, is themed on the galaxy.
Awarded second prize for design, Galactic Grasslands, created by Cheri Steenkamp, Zen Kieser and Nick van der Hyde, is themed on the galaxy.
Danial Mampa and Jonathan Musasa were awarded Rand Water's Waterwise Trophy.
Danial Mampa and Jonathan Musasa were awarded Rand Water's Waterwise Trophy.

Johannesburg – Keen gardeners are always on the lookout for the latest trends in garden design.

If you are looking for inspiration, visit the Lifestyle Home Garden Design Show where eight show gardens offer a profusion of exciting new ideas and techniques.

This is the 18th year of this annual landscaping event, which is visited by gardeners, homeowners and garden clubs from across the country.

The show gardens are designed by 22 students from the Lifestyle College who are completing their qualification in Landscape Design from City & Guilds London. Under the mentorship of College lecturers Bruce Stead, Mike Rickhoff and Karl Sutcliffe, and principal Richard Gibb, the gardens reflect the student’s enthusiasm and passion for creating gardens for 21st-century homeowners. This year, low maintenance garden options are a major trend.

“Viewing these low maintenance gardens is highly informative, as they demonstrate that low maintenance gardens can be created in a wide range of design styles, ranging from tropical lushness, modern Japanese and indigenous through to a desert and a prairie garden,” says gardening expert Beverley Ballard-Tremeer.

Ballard-Tremeer explains how low-maintenance gardens have certain characteristics in common. “Lawn areas have been done away with to eliminate time-consuming lawn mowing, fertilising and watering. Instead paving, pebbles, gravel, bark nuggets and artificial lawn are used,” she says.

“Evergreen foliage shrubs, perennials, and grasses which look good all year round are the predominant plant choice. These plants have been selected to provide interest and contrast in the garden with their differing leaf colours, shapes, textures and sizes”.

The call to create water-smart gardens is strongly evident in plant choice, non-spray small water features and the use permeable surfaces, such as gravel, pebbles and bark chips. Danial Mampa and Jonathan Musasa were awarded Rand Water’s Waterwise accolade as well as third place for design for their “Urban Escape” garden.

Other trends seen at the show include growing your own veggies, wildlife-friendly gardens and the use of fewer flower colours. Walling tends to be painted grey, which sets off green foliage beautifully. There is inspiration for solving the problem of the bleakness of the tall walling of today with vertical plantings or decorative elements.

Both the Lifestyle College team’s demo garden and “Galactic Grasslands” contain low water usage grasses, not necessarily indigenous. The former is planted in a typical prairie style and includes water-wise perennials, with large geometric containers forming a strong contrast. Grass plantings are the only dominant element in “Galactic Grasslands”.

Thoughtful planting to create contrast, and a few carefully positioned succulents, rocks and mirror-mosaic small spheres and containers make this garden an inspiration for a new grassland style that is water wise and eco-friendly – particularly as more indigenous grasses are becoming available.

Created by Cheri Steenkamp, Zen Kieser and Nick van der Hyde this garden was judged the second-best garden in the show.

However, it was the “Shaken and Stirred” garden design and plantings that impressed the judges most and which was awarded the “Best on Show” accolade.

This contemporary garden was created by Praveer Sooka and Constance Smith.

“Our inspiration came from the art of the Cubism period, which inspired the fractured garden layout pattern and the muted planting palette,” says Smith.

The plantings comprise mainly of massed groups of foliage plants. The few plants with flowers all bear white blooms (Iceberg rose, star jasmine, mandevilla and alyssum).

Visit the Lifestyle Garden Design Show from February 21 to the end of May, 8am to 5pm, daily. Lifestyle Home Garden Centre, corner Beyers Naudé Drive and Ysterhout Avenue, Randpark Ridge, Randburg. Entrance is free. For more information, call 011 792 5616.