​6 landscaping ideas for South African gardens

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Greenacres Cape landscaping Minimalist style garden
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It doesn’t matter if you’re scoping out new sofas for the living room or planning on giving your hallway new lighting fixtures, good planning is essential when it comes to interior design. But that is also true for exterior spaces, like the garden

After all, wouldn’t you want your front- and back gardens to inform neighbours and guests that your house’s exterior design is just as elegant and stylish as the internal areas? 

Going hand in hand with good planning is the use of a professional which, when it comes to gardens, could be a landscape designer. But when do you know you require one? And what can they help achieve that you and your limited DIY gardening skills can’t?

Let’s find out with these landscaping ideas…

1. Which landscaping ideas require a landscaper?

Truth be told, you do not need to hire a seasoned landscape designer when you want to do something simple and straightforward, like plant a few roses in your front yard. However, their extensive skills and expertise might be required when:

  1. You want your garden and lawn to resemble the ones seen in glossy magazines like Home and Garden
  2. Your dream garden is anything but simple and includes various different elements and areas for swimming, entertainment, relaxation, etc.  
  3. You are living in an estate which requires you to make use of a landscaping plan that needs approval from a committee or the local city department.   
  4. You want your yard to speak the same language as your house/building in terms of visual style.  
  5. Your site has specific environmental, site or building factors (like protected trees, roof gardens, etc.) that need sensitive design and experienced installation.   
  6. You are a property developer who needs to implement a large-scale landscape on a small budget.

2. Landscaping ideas: Exterior entertainment

But those of us who don’t dabble in property development and just want to enjoy a beautifully designed yard and garden can still make use of an expert to achieve that dream look. And if there’s one thing that South Africans are known for it’s our socialising skills, especially when it comes to exterior spaces and activities, like al fresco dining and braaing. 

Whether you want to host an elegant dinner party or informal braai in your yard and garden, you need to decide on the proper space and layout. Will a simple mobile braai do it? Do you need one professionally built? A landscape designer can help you with these questions, plus achieve a dream design that makes your existing yard/garden complement the dining / braai section.

Read more: 14 easy-to-copy DIY ideas for the garden

3. Landscaping ideas: Play areas for the kids

You can do so much more than putting in a simple swing for the little ones. With an experienced landscape designer- and architect in charge, your kids can be treated to amazing sand pits, artificial lawns, rocking horses, and jungle gyms that look like something out of a sci-fi film or fairytale! 

But always keep safety in mind. Use playpen sand beneath the playground objects and leave a space of about 1.5m between the objects and hard landscape elements like pots and pathways.

Read more: 8 easy ways to improve your patio

4. Landscaping ideas: A swimming spot




Thanks to ingenious designs, there are so many more options these days when it comes to swimming pools! Infinity pools, swimming ponds with a rustic look, eco-friendly designs that serve as a combination between a pool and natural water feature, etc. 

Bear in mind that swimming pools form part of a separate service for landscaping. Thus, know who your pool supplier will be (and where you want it located) before proceeding with your garden’s design. And always ask your pool installer where the piping is to avoid rupturing any pool pipes when working on the garden. 

After the pool has been installed, that expert landscape designer can begin work on making your pool and garden complement one another.

Read more: Home improvement: the real cost of building a pool

5. Landscaping ideas: Reading and relaxation

There’s nothing wrong with using your garden for a little “me” time, like taking a nap or relaxing with a good book (or glass of wine). For these activities, you’ll likely want to add some benches and comfy seating areas. 

Although your landscape architect will definitely have a list of ideas, it couldn’t hurt scoping out local suppliers and outdoor furniture stores for your own suggestions. 

homify hint: If you are going for a garden with a relaxing quality, how about including a water feature? The sound of flowing water immediately ensures a tranquil ambience, plus can drown out noise from the surrounding neighbourhood.

6. Landscaping ideas: Attracting wildlife

South Africa is truly a haven for birds, animals and insects. But you don’t need to be living near a reserve or park to attract some quirky creatures into your garden. 

Speak to your landscape architect about attracting wildlife by planting lots of indigenous plants (to the area, not only the country). Plants that stimulate your surrounding environment will help to attract indigenous insects, which will result in natural predators like other insects and birds following. Thus, you’ll be creating a haven for these species, plus extending the natural ‘green-belt’ of your area.

Of course you can also enhance on the wildlife theme with bird baths, garden ponds, bird feeders, bug hotels, etc. 

Speaking of outdoor beauty, have a look at 9 DIY back garden ideas you have to copy (no home improvement skills necessary)!

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