Residential & Commercial Landscaping Services in Cape Town
05 Feb 2020

Top water wise award for Peninsula Landscaping

Peninsula Landscaping received the 2019 Rand Water Trophy for the Best Water Wise Entry, presented at the 2019 South African Landscape Institute (SALI) Awards of Excellence, held recently.

The Award was presented for landscape construction at Steenberg Green, an upmarket housing estate, located on the urban edge of Zwaanswyk in Tokai and bordering Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town.

 Rand Water’s Leslie Hoy and Meagan Donnelly presented the 2019 SALI National Water Wise Trophy to Norah de Wet of Peninsula Landscaping for their work at Steenberg Green, Cape Town.

The project – Steenberg Green – initially received a prestigious SALI Double Gold Award in the Best Landscape Construction with Design by Others category.​

“It is a great honour for Peninsula Landscaping to receive recognition for being part of the team responsible for the installation of this beautiful water wise garden,” said Norah de Wet of Peninsula Landscaping. “The Rand Water Trophy is particularly relevant considering environmental issues which need to be addressed with urgency. There is a need for greater awareness around water wise landscaping practices and for this reason we are particularly proud to have received this highly prestigious trophy.” 

Prior to development, the property – Steenberg Green – was a combination of barren, low nutrient sandy soil with little water retentive properties and deep bands of clay with little drainage. The land was also used as a recreational area for horse-riding and some areas were deeply compacted.

“Preparation of the landscaped areas started in November 2016 and phased planting started in December during a time when the Western Cape was experiencing a severe drought with unprecedented water restrictions,” explains de Wet. “It was difficult keeping plants alive especially as 60% of the shrubs and groundcovers for the site were specified as plugs and dried out very quickly.”

A number of important water wise principals were used for this project.

* Invasive species such as Port Jackson (Acacia saligna), Patterson’s curse (Echium plantagineum) and syringa trees (Melia azedarach) were removed from site.
* Indigenous plants, some endemic and endangered, were carefully selected and correctly zoned according to their water requirements, with swales capturing and retaining rainwater on the site.
* Plants were mulched to ensure deeper penetration of water and less evaporation.
* The borehole is connected to an automatic irrigation system with a rain sensor and is set to accommodate watering of the different plant zones.

Once plants established, the irrigation was operated manually – only when needed.

For information, contact Peninsula Landscaping  at +27 21 715 7046/7 or

05 Feb 2020

Water wise concepts crucial in landscape design

Projects entered into five of the six categories for the annual South African Landscape Institute (SALI) Awards of Excellence are now automatically reviewed against the principles of water wise best practice.

Cape Town’s, Peninsula Landscaping was awarded a Double Gold for water wise landscaping excellence in the 2019 SALI Awards of Excellence.

* The first SALI Gold Award was for the ‘Best Landscape Construction with Design by Others’ category for landscape construction at Steenberg Green, an upmarket housing estate in Cape Town;

* A second SALI Gold Award for the same project – Steenberg Green​ – in the water wise category.

Most importantly, the Steenberg Green landscaping project in Cape Town received the Rand Water Trophy for the Best Water Wise Entry at the 2019 National SALI Awards of Excellence.

This prestigious annual national award aims to highlight the important use of water principles in the design, construction and maintenance of landscapes across the country. With a greater awareness for water wise best practice in landscapes, a number of aspects had to be addressed during the design stages of the Steenberg Green project, executed by OvP Associates (Pty) Ltd, who were appointed landscape architects on the site.

In addition to the installation of a borehole with an automatic irrigation system and a rain sensor, what other important aspects of water wise landscaping practices were considered for this award-winning project

Norah de Wet of Peninsula Landscaping explained that a water meter was installed to measure and monitor water usage in the landscaped areas.

Plants were carefully selected, zoned and mulched and the site was rainscaped. These are cost-effective for suburban gardeners to implement in their own gardens.

The Steenberg Green project reflects the very best of professional water wise landscaping in South Africa.

What tips can you take from this project … for your garden? Consider your plant choices, zone plants, add lots of mulch and focus on rainscaping your landscape.

  • Plant choices

Choose plants endemic to your area. These are plants that are best suited to local conditions and rainfall.  An interesting palette of plants was supplied for Steenberg Green, from a variety of bulbs to groundcovers, restios, sedges, shrubs and trees.

Some of the plants used included: the thread-leaf klaas (Athanasia crithmifolia), panic veldt grass (Ehrharta erecta), white carpet (Falkia repens), common thatching grass (Hyparrhenia hirta), Selago ‘Richard’, African flax (Linum africanum), vygie (Ruschia macowanii), red hot pokers (Kniphofia praecox) and K. uvaria and the cobweb bush (Plectostachyus serpyllifolia).

  • Zoning of plants

Plan planting zones for your garden, where plants with similar water requirements are grouped together.

At Steenberg Green, plants were zoned in thicket plantings, comprising of bushy small trees which provides privacy and screening; wetland planting along channels and detention ponds; groundcover on a higher area with good drainage and mixed grasses and cynodon lawn areas.

Thicket planting screens parts of the property to provide privacy for future homeowners. Small shrubby trees used in these areas include coastal silver oak (Brachylaena discolour), bladder-nut (Diospyros whyteana), wild olive (Olea europaea subsp. Africana) and camphor bush (Tarchonanthus camphoratus).

  • Mulch

Mulch beds to ensure deep penetration of water and to limited evaporation. Grass cuttings and pruned material are now retained on the site and converted to compost mulch. Start a compost heap for your garden.

  • Rainscaping 

The landscape at Steenberg Green was designed to capture rainwater with berms and swales, directing the water thought a detention pond and wetland area, which overflows to another detention pond in the central area.

Should flooding occur once the second pond fills, the water runs down a channel planted up with indigenous grasses (Cynodon species) into a deeper detention pond close to the entrance of the site.

A water culvert also directs water to a detention pond on site, thus preventing loss of storm water. Any excessive water can be directed into storm water channels.

Following the lead of professional landscapers such as Peninsula Landscaping, local gardeners can use berms and swales to direct rainwater into a pond or mini wetland that recharges ground water and provides a habitat for small animals and attracts birds to the garden.

For information, contact Peninsula Landscaping  at +27 21 715 7046/7 or

23 Jan 2020

Tips for terraces and retaining walls

While slope gardening does have its challenges, it provides the home gardener with the opportunity to create something unique in the garden.

Retaining walls and terracing provide a solution for steeper slopes. Before embarking on any project on a slope, especially steep slopes, enlist the services of a professional landscaper.

The site needs for be assessed for gradient, soil structure and water run-off. Any structure that needs to be constructed above the slope or retaining wall must also be taken into

account. Incorrect project execution may result in soil erosion or sliding and injury or damage to people or property.

Tackling a terrace

“Terraces can be cut into an embankment and stabilised with a number of materials, creating a variety of level areas and interest within the garden,” explained Colin de Wet of Peninsula Landscaping in Cape Town.

Terracing is a good choice for a steep slope. Walls may be constructed from brick, railway sleepers, stone, concrete or gabions. Traditionally, grass was planted between the lifts but gardeners are getting creative with their plantings. Plantings may be ornamental or spaces can be used for food gardening.

Raising a retaining wall

“Property owners on steep slopes are able to extend their usable land by erecting a retaining wall and backfilling with imported fill material,” said de Wet. “Engineers’ specifications need to be followed and external loading factors such as building foundations and traffic use needs consideration.”

Interlocking concrete blocks, wooden poles or gabions, wire cages filled with stone or rocks, are popular material choices for retaining walls.

De Wet said that currently, retaining walls above one metre should be signed off by an engineer and fill material stacked on a property must not exceed two metres in height. A structural engineer should always be consulted if the slope is very steep. Plans for retaining walls may need to be drawn up and approved at your municipality’s building office before any work commences.

Terracing retaining walls

“Retaining walls, using interlocking concrete blocks or gabions, can be also terraced by intermittently stepping back the concrete interlocking blocks or gabions,” explained de Wet. “This enables one to plant on each terraced l

evel. All walls need to have structurally sound foundations and adequate drainage installed to ensure there is no pressure build up against the wall.”

Depending on the gradient and according to an engineer’s specification, the lower levels of concrete blocks are filled with concrete to secure the foundations. Blocks higher up in the wall can be filled with a growing medium and planted. “The pockets in these blocks are small and can dry out quickly, so it is advisable to plant in your rainfall season to encourage establishment of plants,” advised de Wet.

Plants suitable for retaining walls: succulents, trailing arctotis (Arctotis stoechadifolia), portulaca spp., creeping fig (Ficus pumila), ivy-leaf geranium (Pelargonium peltatum), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), and Osteospermum spp.

For more information, contact Peninsula Landscaping on +27 21 715 7046/7 or visit their website: For engineering advice for retaining walls and bank stabilisation, contact Brennan Rutherford on 086 117 2774.