The introduction of colour, structure and water gave this entrance garden in Bryanston, Jo’burg charm and warmth.

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They say first impressions last, so when it came to updating their garden, Mary and Ian Jones resolved to give their entrance some extra TLC. “Totally neglected, this part of the front garden looked very uninviting,” explains Mary.


To transform it, the Joneses enlisted the help of landscaper Rose Vermeulen of Indigo Landscapes. “We were inspired by a picture Rose showed us of an informal English garden with an alpine feel, a path and a water feature,” says Mary. “But then the drought struck, so we adjusted the planting to be more water wise. We chose sedums, which are more appealing than other succulents, and tried to keep the garden as indigenous as possible.”

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“We started by removing plants and shrubs that we didn’t want, and some were relocated to other sections of the garden. Then we trimmed and thinned out the trees,” recalls Rose.

The first challenge came when they started levelling the slope from the street towards the house. “We discovered building rubble under the soil, which had to be removed and replaced with a landscaping mix,” explains Rose.

Once the soil was rejuvenated, Rose laid out the hard landscaping. The design features a circle with a pond in the middle surrounded by a sedum garden interspersed with rocks. “At first the water feature was going to be raised, but then we changed it to a sunken pond so our huskies can cool off in it,” says Mary.


From here, stepping stones lead to a second, larger circle, perfect for Mary’s veggies and herbs, while a path of sleepers provides access to the gardening shed. A retaining wall dealt with the slope and also serves as a raised flower box. Hardy shrubs, red trellising and a large pineapple-shaped pot complete the design and cloak the boundary wall.


“To supplement the large trees and a bougainvillea on the boundary, we planted olive trees, as well as lemon and lime trees,” says Rose.

To introduce foliage colour, she added a Prunus cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’ and used Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’, Buddleja auriculata and Mackaya bella for the shady spots. For security reasons, spiky num-nums (Carissa macrocarpa) and bromeliads, given to Mary by her mother, were planted along the wall.

The water feature is surrounded by sedums and succulents in different shades of yellow, grey and green, as well as some annuals that Mary replaces when necessary, so the area’s always a riot of colour. “The intention was to make this garden colourful, water wise and bird friendly, so we chose mostly indigenous plants such as Sedum and Crassula species, Buddleia auriculata, Euphorbia tirucalli, Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyersii’ and Salvia species.”

The planter box is filled with various species of geraniums, scabiosa and convolvulus, which spills prettily over the sides. “The go-away birds love the cabbages and succulents, and I’m sure they’ll discover the num-nums when they fruit,” says Rose.

“Many people have commented that my front garden looks like one big flower bed,” says Mary. “Rose planted an array of plants, so there’s always something flowering. My dogs love to run along the paths and cool off in the water feature, and I enjoy seeing the birds and butterflies that the indigenous plants attract.

“This wasn’t an easy project as Ian and I have completely different views on gardening and the expected outcome, so Rose also had to be an expert negotiator.”


Mary and Ian Jones, and three huskies and a Jack Russell.


A revamped entrance garden in Bryanston, Jo’burg, filled with sedums, veggies and a water feature.