African Design Magazine November 2016 - Page 38

Landscaping SALI Awards ILASA judges’ comments The project sets a great precedent for urban living, converting small private garden spaces into well-designed functional units that have ample privacy and good views. The technical detail and finishes are to be commended and the indigenous plant palette is diverse. Special care has been taken by diverting stormwater through a wetland system that promotes sustainability and biodiversity. SALI judges’ comments Regional judge, landscape architect Christa Otto, along with national judge, nurseryman Morne Faulhammer, commended the landscape contractors Earthforce Landscapes, for a really special job; saying that the condition of the plants was excellent. The plant palette was seen to blend beautifully into the revamped golf course, so that the landscapes read as one with a seamless transition. They remarked on the challenging working conditions with limited access and the large area to be landscaped, which had been mastered. The maintenance of the site, also done by Earthforce (Jiri and Karine Pechous), with the access and infrastructure challenges had been effortlessly overcome by the contractor, with the provision of an excellent maintenance service illustrated by the condition of the plants and attention to detail throughout the landscaped areas. SALI national judge, Morne Faulhammer, chose The Houghton as the winner of the Just Trees Trophy for Best Construction with Design by Others because he found the landscape contractor Earthforce Landscapes’ attention to detail remarkable, particularly considering that at the time of the judges’ visit, the contractor had been relegated a small workspace with hardly any storage room. Earthforce Landscapes, a small hands-on contracting team (which Faulhammer felt was the reason for the extraordinary care taken) was responsible for all the planting and the installation of irrigation systems, the aluminium edges, the gravel surrounds and the dry packed stone gabion walls. Faulhammer commended both designer and contractor for the different ambience created in each garden across the site, with the combination of carefully positioned planting, care taken with the layering of gravel and positioning of pergolas, etc. He mentioned the successful plantings in the shaded and windy back areas, particularly behind the 12H wing. He added that much had been learnt from the challenges of the first phase of landscaping. He was in favour of the eclectic mix of indigenous plant species, from a number of areas in South Africa, saying that the design had achieved the required feel without strictly keeping to ‘locally indigenous’ plants... for example, the grass-like plants (largely restios) mixed with veldgrasses achieved the feel of a South African grassland setting, without stringent requirements to choose only local indigenous species – which are often difficult to acquire in any quantity, commercially. 38