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Designing “Proudly South African” Bio-Diverse Indigenous Landscapes that bring nature back into your Garden

A short video showing some of the plants and creatures found in my own "Proudly South African Garden"

Basic Principles of Good Landscape Design

Before you start on your project you must consider that  the garden being designed must be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. To achieve these goals the basic principles of landscape planning and design must be known and adhered to at all times if you are going to produce a functional refuge for wildlife that is also a pleasing design that will make others want to follow your example.

Assess your garden site carefully and decide on what you want to achieve before you start.  Design your garden to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible as your garden will make a difference to the biodiversity of your immediate environment and by producing a good pleasing design you may, if you do it correctly encourage your neighbours and the wider community to follow your good example.

I will not go into any depth on the basic principles of landscape design in this article other that to briefly mention them.

The main principles are colour, line, form, texture and scale, design principles also include unity, balance, transition, focalisation, proportion, rhythm, repetition and simplicity. All these principles interact to yield the intended design.

When deciding on the major plant elements to be used in the landscape in particular trees, consideration of their mature size must be taken into account to avoid major problems later.

Assess family and other needs
Apart for providing a refuge for wildlife and something pleasing to look at a landscape should also be an outdoor extension of the indoor living areas, it should be functional and provide space for family and other activities.

Below I have listed some basic design principles for bringing wildlife in particular birds and butterflies into your garden

    * Plant for vertical and horizontal structure: Simplified garden structure and design may seem convenient but reduces the volume and variety of food and shelter for birds and other wildlife. A garden is a place to plant plants so do not be afraid to do so.

    * Plant for shelter: Several shrubs planted close together will form dense, protective thickets, this provides habitat for birds and other creatures.

    * Plant suitable food plants: Birds and other wildlife will be attracted to your garden primarily to find food in the form of  fruit, nectar and seed as well as insects. These can be supplied by planting suitable shrubs, native grasses and ground covers.

    * Plant local plants: That is plants that grow naturally in your area which are most suited to your local conditions. They will provide the right food and shelter for local native birds and wildlife and are unable to become unwanted plants in adjacent natural areas.

    * Create diversity:  Birds butterflies and other creatures use ground covers, grasses, small, medium and large shrubs for both food and cover.

    * Plant below trees: This maintains the natural recycling balance of organic products in the garden. A dense under storey is natural and provides habitat for the creatures you are intending to attract into your garden.

    * Reduce the area of lawn: Replace lawn areas with garden beds as far as is possible. Only plant native grasses, many of which produce valuable food for certain seed eating birds

    * Provide water:  By incorporating an aquatic habitat into the garden design a vastly increased variety of creatures can be attracted into the garden, in addition birds need fresh water. This can be provided in the form of a pond or bird drinking station. The installation of a misting device to spray onto a section of the vegetation midmorning will bring a large number of birds into your garden to bathe on the wet leaves, in particular species such as white eyes and sunbirds.

    * Attach suitable nest boxes onto you trees for hole nesting birds.

Maintenance Considerations.
Maintenance is an important part of landscape management and cannot be avoided. Even the most perfectly designed and installed landscape garden will fail if not managed correctly, this means regular appropriate maintenance. However, many maintenance problems are designed into landscapes which can be avoided by good planning. Complex designs usually require far more maintenance.

Major invasive maintenance must be planned so as not to interfere with the breeding of birds or other creatures in the garden the best time usually being at the end of winter just before the spring growth begins

Landscapes and Gardens that are Nature Friendly

Designing and creating “Proudly South African” Bio-Diverse Indigenous Landscaping

I design “Proudly South African” landscapes and gardens of distinction that are Bio-Diverse as well as being pleasing to the eye.

I use my many years of landscape planning and design as well as landscape construction experience coupled to my vast knowledge of the requirements of nature to create habitat suitable for birds, butterflies and other creatures to live and breed in.

I always apply the basic principles of good landscape design to create an aesthetically pleasing garden that at the same time satisfies the living requirements of the target creatures that I would like to attract. My speciality is to attract birds, butterflies and solitary bees. I design and build Bio-Diverse Roof Gardens

So let Ecoman design and create a garden for you right now that will be a haven for wildlife such as birds, butterflies, frogs and lizards in the number of species comparable to Kruger National Park.