Landscaping Guidelines – St John’s Village

The St John’s Village Lifestyle and Retirement Estate celebrates the much-loved fauna and flora of Natal and the rich gardening history of the Natal Midlands. A combination of indigenous and exotic plants makes up its rich and varied plant palette, with both indigenous plants that would be found occurring naturally in the immediate area and the tried and tested Midlands classics which have made the Midlands the gardening heaven that it is today.

We would encourage residence on the Estate to use this plant palette as a guide as they seek to establish their own gardens immediately around their units and should keep to the Midlands country theme. Please, no palm trees! The gardens around the 800 or so units, when complete and established, will make up a significant volume of the plant material on the Estate. We would therefore encourage you to use this as an opportunity to put as much as you can back into the Estates environment by rather selecting predominately indigenous trees and shrubs when planting the” bones” or “structure” of your garden as they make up the largest volume of plant material per plant planted. The much loved and celebrated exotics like Roses and Lavender should be used as fillers, borders and feature plants rather than dominating your garden. We advise you to aim at establishing at least 60% of your plant volume with indigenous planting.

We have outlined a list of the more common indigenous and exotic plants that will work well on the Estate and which will give you something to work from should you be new to gardening. You should not feel restricted by the list should you have other species that you wish to plant that are not on the list, but we believe that as much as palm trees would look out of place on the Estate, so would Baobabs. Interestingly though, to beginner gardeners, both these species are indigenous to South Africa, they are just not from our area.

We would also advise residence to avoid planting long hedges or screens of the same species, and to rather plant a variety of species even if, where space is limited, these have to be in a straight line. When planting, also remember things like aspect, shelter from wind and or frost, distance from buildings and roads, etc. For example, Ficus species are best kept a good distance from any buildings, roads and services while Dias cotonifolia or Euclea crispa can be planted relatively close to buildings as they have non-aggressive roots.

With many other things to consider when planning and planting even small gardens, we would advise, unless you have good gardening experience and knowledge of your own, to employ professional help with your garden from a landscape designer. We will require that, at the very least, a formal landscape plan be submitted for approval by the landscape committee before any work is carried out on site. There will be a fee of R1000 for this approval. A scale drawing showing the position and extent of the building and property, position of hard landscaping elements such as swimming pools, pathways, decks, driveways and water features and position of trees and shrubs within the property. Ground covers and perennials need not be shown on the plan, only listed. Once the garden plan is approved, you may use either professional help to plant the garden according to plan or you may plant it yourself.

It is important that all residents understand that their own garden will be working towards a larger environmental “whole” where there is movement of a variety of fauna throughout the Estate and where each garden should merge with the next to form a harmonious blend of living greenery across the Estate. We would therefore encourage you to take this valuable space of your own seriously and factor this garden work into your overall budget when building or purchasing your unit. From our experience we would advise that at least 5% of your building cost be set aside for garden work, excluding the price of the land, the garden design and plan for approval. We would also insist that at least 25% of this budget is given to establishing indigenous plants and habitat rather than to large areas of only lawn and paving for example.

Instant lawn should be used immediately around the house and around paved areas, particularly areas facing the access road while lawn runners can be used to save cost at the rear of the property.

For more information visit the St John’s Village Lifestyle and Retirement Village:

Still looking for your dream home. Feel free to give one of our developers a call today.

Tom Eastwick – The Gates, Hilton and Garlington, Hilton | 072 297 2699 |
Dave Rees – St John’s Village Lifestyle and Retirement Estate | 083 775 8288 |
Janet Channing – Waterford Residential Estate, Howick | 082 570 5834 |

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Author: St. John’s Village