A well presented and attractive garden brands and labels a property with direct implications on buyer demand and property values, not to mention quality of life in the building.
This is the view of Keith Kirsten, South Africa’s well known gardening authority, speaking in Knysna at a client hospitality event hosted by Trafalgar, the national property group.
He believes that the gardening budget is very often overlooked in most complexes and should attract up to 10% of the allocated expense budget, together with a full trustee or director portfolio to achieve sufficient priority and results. Very often there will be a gardening enthusiast resident in the building who would be pleased and willing to make a contribution equipped with the necessary mandate and budget.
Kirsten highlights the importance of considering gardens as the shop front display of a building or complex, similarly, it’s important to utilise plants that typically flourish in the local environment concerned, to achieve a low maintenance garden with best results. Consulting a professional for garden design advice can save time, avoid costly mistakes and help identify plants best suited to the area. Small areas of lawn should be avoided due to high maintenance and rather replaced with ground cover or gravel. Walls should be softened with appropriate shrubs and large paving areas strategically planted for improved aesthetics. A few trees considering the built surrounds, the growth expectations of the tree and any overhead wires should be planted to give a garden height, structure and depth. Shrubs should not be relentlessly ‘lollipopped’ and an appropriate garden maintenance program including watering should be implemented to ensure a garden develops and flourishes. Very often an irrigation system with weather station can assist with saving water compared with hand watering with may water wise plants currently available. Colour can be best introduced by grouping batches of flowering shrubs ideally trying to achieve progressive flowering from spring to the end of summer.
In Kirsten’s fourth book, entitled Gardens to Inspire, he introduces 25 notable South African gardens, chosen for the ‘wow’ factor that sets them apart. The book will be launched this month (October).