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Our gardens and outdoor areas are a lifestyle that we have chosen for ourselves and our families. So it would stand to reason that we make careful and considered investment choices that anticipate an era of climate change and water insecurity. These changes should enhance and improve our experience of our homes, especially our outdoor lifestyle.
With expanded water restrictions and the spiraling cost of water it is now more important to invest correctly in our properties. Adapting to the new norm is exciting because it means re-invention and this is progress. Change it good.
It goes without saying that installing solar and battery technology liberates us from the insatiable hunger of self-serving Eskom. Right now and for a long time to come, access to and the preservation of water is our new big challenge. Boreholes, rainwater storage and recycling the grey water are all a part of the same investment strategy. Finding ways to integrate these systems with household and garden irrigation is the next level of investment.
Like security, these are primarily financial choices that have a big impact on our lifestyle and sense of wellbeing.
Invest in smart Landscape Design
Landscape design is a holistic process that will meet all the challenges already presented and go further too. Investment in innovative design will increase the value of our homes and improve the quality of our lives.
Good design is essential for new builds, being creative and pragmatic in method and blending architecture with the garden landscape. Landscape architects and designers can also transform an older and perhaps dysfunctional property by;
Incorporating service areas within the design, allowing for water storage and distribution. These areas can also accommodate organic waste systems for recycling purposes.
Creating more generous outdoor lifestyle courtyards which in turn increase the livable footprint of the home and encourage an al fresco culture.
Design specific play areas for children or adults.
Integrating smaller, economical and more intimate pools that engage better with garden and functional spaces.
Reducing the size of the non- functional and seldom used garden areas.
Providing infrastructure, access and function to every corner of the property
Designing an interactive garden that embraces our functional space and co-exists with us
Identify the right positions for shade trees that can cool and deciduous trees that let in the winter sun where needed.
Identify the appropriate planting species for our climate.
Small garden big property
By increasing the functionality of the outdoor area we can increase the footprint of the house, extending the living areas from inside to the outside.
The garden no longer need be big. The outcome of this balance between functionality and garden is that now the garden becomes integrated with our outdoor spaces just like courtyards of the Mediterranean region. These are paved and intimate garden spaces incorporating trees, climbers and planted shrubs.
Those of us with small properties less than 1000m2 are in the best position to make such lifestyle changes. Large properties need a different approach. There will be large gardens with expansive green lawns for some time to come, I am sure. But these water guzzling gardens are not the future of Cape Town’s suburbia. Those vast green lawns will have to be replaced sooner or later with innovative and sustainable garden design.