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Bo Kaap, Cape Town, 8001

Jaime-Lee Gardner
072 171 1979

Louise Martin
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Green Investment

By Esther de Villiers

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Green Investment

By Esther de Villiers

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3 min read

According to one Cape Town-based landscaper, Rose Buchanan, investing in and renovating your outdoor space can increase a property’s value by up to 20%.

Maintaining a beautiful garden, whether at a home or in the surrounding residential estate, can make all the difference to potential buyers who are often swayed by the first impression they get when approaching a property for the first time.

So how can you increase the appeal and value of gardens – particularly the ones surrounding estates?

1. Be waterwise

While water is precious, it’s key to keeping things green and growing. ‘It is important for aesthetics and investment, but most of all, keeping gardens beautiful and waterwise nurtures nature and in turn makes humans want to spend more time outdoors, which is good for their wellbeing,’ says Roné de Bruyn, South African country manager for community gardening app Candide ZA.

But ensuring that irrigation systems reach all the ends of the estate can be tricky and costly. Award-winning gardener Leon Kluge recommends one trick to address this problem. He lives in Franschhoek, where he is currently working on several estates and farm gardens, one of these being a historic property in his home town.

Leon at Chelsea

‘We phase out the thirsty plants the further away we get from the house and make it more indigenous towards the outer periphery, where plants need hardly any water at all,’ he advises.

2. Scaping is caring

Wise estate agents tend to seek advice on preparing the garden before setting in motion the sale of a property. Use the right landscaper to ensure that your garden is waterwise, cost effective, low maintenance and creature/bee friendly.

‘As a rule of thumb, property owners should invest around 10% of their property value in garden landscaping. Of course, this may vary depending on the specifics of the property,’ says de Bruyn.

Kluge adds: ‘People really want to see, feel and smell pretty gardens, and I think their allure is particularly important, no matter what the size of your home or estate is, in these post-lockdown days.’

To find the right landscaper, research ones that know the area and obtain references from previous projects they have worked on.

Reaching out to associations like SALI (South African Landscapers Institute) or GOLD (Guild of Landscape Designers) and SANA (South African Nursery Association) is a good starting point.

Otherwise, getting residents involved can be beneficial to the entire estate, so find estate members with a love of gardening to champion the maintenance.

3. Bring in colour

The Plettenberg Bay-based outfit GvH Landscapes recently brought home award-bling for the umpteenth time, after winning the Best Use of Colour in the Landscape category at the 2021 SALI Awards of Excellence.

In the post-awards press, it was explained that this trophy was gained after the adjudication of plant choice, design and installation. ‘SALI judges commend GvH Landscapes on their depth of coastal plant knowledge, which resulted in a vibrant colour palette selected specifically for the range of microclimates around the home.’

You don’t have to be an award-winning landscaper to bring a riot of colour to the surrounding residential estate. Consider creating colourful borders and adding colourful flower-filled pots. Don’t only buy flowers that are set to bring in colour in one season – think about the future too and select the right bulbs to flower later.

There are other ways to add colour to an estate if you must keep things a standard green – these include things like a feature wall, colourful benches, and pots.

4. Local is lekker

The advantage that comes with planting native plants is that they are generally low in maintenance and use less water.

According to Stodels, great South African drought-resistant plants include agapanthus, cranesbill, weeping lovegrass, dune crowberry, red flames and butterfly bush, to name but a few.

‘It’s important to be selective in your approach when choosing plant material to attract wildlife and support surrounding eco-systems,’ says Graham von Hoesslin of GvH Landscapes, adding that he plants as many endemic, indigenous species as possible.

He concurs with De Bruyn and Kluge on the importance of being waterwise – a goal reached by using appropriate drought-tolerant planting, as well as incorporating the processes of mulching and rainwater harvesting. ‘Installing rain sensors can further assist in minimising water wastage,’ he says.

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