Landscaping – Getting It Right

A fine piece of architecture can be spoiled at ground level if the landscaping is not quite up to standard. Don looked at a classic example of getting it right: a garden and building that worked together particularly well. The result was not only stylish, but it also had a great human quality which made you feel good just being there.

Front of the building

Many buildings need extensive softening. In this case, the hard, square front wall was toned down with trailing German ivy (Senecio macroglossus). German ivy, despite its common name, is a South African native. Its creamy yellow flowers and glossy green leaves blended particularly well with the pale yellow wall colour. Cascading ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) were included in the mix of plants, along with a prostrate, variegated Chinese lantern (Abutilon megapotamicum ‘Variegatum’).

The jumble of German ivy, ivy geraniums and Chinese lanterns spilling over the wall was cleverly balanced with a touch of geometry. A formal hedge of murrayas (Murraya paniculata) was planted along the top.

Sensational star jasmine 

As Don walked around the side of the building, he found more classic examples of effortless landscaping, with all the colours working together – pink ivy geraniums growing above a blue garage door, and mass plantings of mixed blue and white agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis). Don was particularly impressed with a ground cover planting of around 100 Chinese star jasmines (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Chinese star jasmine has beautiful white perfumed flowers and dark green leaves. It is normally used as a climber, but in this case it had no support and so was growing happily on the ground. Lines of the star jasmine had also been trained as dividers, which sectioned off a garden bed where shrubs and trees were planted. Out on the nature strip more star jasmines were planted along with some hardy dietes (Dietes bicolor).