Planting plan for a low-maintenance, oriental garden

This novel show garden proves that an oriental garden can be both low maintenance and lovely to look at

A lifelong admiration for oriental gardens, as well as a passion for succulents and unusual plant combinations, inspired landscaper Sonita Young to create a contemporary oriental garden for SA Garden and Home at the 2013 Spring Festival at Garden World in Jo’burg.

Garden with ornamental grasses

As half of the site receives full sun all day, while the other is mostly in shade, Sonita divided the space into two ‘rooms’ – a lush teahouse and a dry garden.


Trellising serves as ‘room’ dividers while an oriental-style pergola encloses the teahouse section creating an intimate space with seating areas and green plantings. The dry garden on the other side features a variety of succulents including sedum and sempervivum and specifically echeverias.Seating area

Beyond using succulents, Sonita also kept the garden water wise by grouping plants with similar light and water requirements together and positioning them in appropriate areas. In the teahouse section she planted lush, soft foliage plants. Here, there’s a selection of bamboo, ornamental grasses and ferns with a dash of colour provided by arums and clivias.

Garden display

At the back and front of this section are raised planter boxes planted with water-loving plants like irises, arums, watsonias and cyperus. An interesting feature is the aquaponics system which feeds these plants by circulating excess food and waste from the fish in the tanks below.

Outdoor seating area

The inclusion of perennials, succulents and grasses means that this garden never has an ‘off’ season.succulents


Download the plan for this garden, plus the lists of plants and hard landscaping materials you’ll need to implement it.