Winning with Water wise Gardening

t’s the new buzz word! It’s what wars will be fought over! Our most precious resource water, and the security thereof. So how can the average garden enthusiast assist? Perhaps they are one of the most crucial in the whole water security chain.

Firstly, plant plants which are suitable to the area and will be able to survive periods without additional water. You don’t necessarily have to plant all succulents, but rather see which species are endemic to the local landscape.

Secondly ensure that the soil has sufficient water holding capacity for the plants you have selected. Organics can be added to supplement the retention process. Look at the landscape around to see what is flourishing, and see if those plants cannot be incorporated into your landscape.

If the landscape is big enough, trees will obviously reduce the water usage of the landscape as a whole, however shade loving plants are generally more thirsty than their sun loving counterparts.

We are spoilt for choice in which plants to use in our water wise landscape. The cool thing is that, if correctly selected, they will also reduce maintenance costs.

Let the friendly, professional team at Catscapes Landscapes create the water wise garden of your dreams

Fathers Day

Its Fathers Day, and the soap on a rope and ties have passed their sell by date. What better gift for dad than something for the garden?

A bird feeder is the ideal gift. No handy man skills needed, and will enhance any garden with the plethora of birds which are sure to follow.

If you don’t already have one, a bird bath is a welcome focal point to any landscape.

Why not upgrade the entire landscape and let the friendly professional team at Catscapes Landscapes renovate your garden?

A vegetable garden is also a really awesome Father’s Day present! Raise it slightly, use weed free compost, plant up, and enjoy!

What better time to install that water feature or irrigation system that you have dreamed about for so long! They will not only enhance the property but will increase the value of your investment.

There are so many landscape choices to spoil your man on Fathers Day, which will not only be permanent, but have a relaxing effect after a hard day at work.

Trees in the landscape

Probably the biggest feature in any landscape, and probably the one that is given the least thought to when planted. They are almost fundamental in any landscape design, as they provide the feature, the shade, the backdrop and the drama.

Careful consideration should be given when choosing which tree to plant, and where. Ideally it should be water wise and indigenous. Do you require color, or is it more functional for shade and screening.

As gardens get smaller, smaller breeds are becoming increasingly popular, and some larger trees are becoming more difficult to come by.

The root structure should be an important consideration too. Obviously roots that can damage structures or drainage should be avoided or the roots contained, however consideration should be given to the environmental factors too, as to whether they will support the tree in strong winds, etc.

If a clever choice is made the reward will be life long! The benefits of a well thought out placed tree can never be over emphasized. Happy planting!!!

Water features

There is nothing better in the garden than a well placed water feature. It provides a focal point, while either being dramatic, or relaxing and soothing.

We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing one. Firstly check what would fit in with the overall theme of the garden. Would a natural stream and pond fit, or a more classic look suit the landscape? If space is limited, a bubbling pot is always a winner in any landscape, and is also relatively water wise.

Check that there is a power point in the vicinity, and check what other requirements may be needed e,g, lighting, automatic top up, etc.

Size does matter when it comes to pump selection. Rather err on over catering, as it can ways be throttled down. Be warned that if the plug is removed from the cable of the pump, then most warranties are void.

Check other requirements such as filtration, depth of pond, etc. Please note that most water features will loose water through splashing and evaporation. Dams which are clay based must be expected to loose some water.

Water features should be a part of most landscapes, from a simple bird bath to a garden of Italy extravaganza. Let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams with the perfect fitting water feature in your landscape.

Using the colour wheel to create the garden of your dreams!

When designing your dream flower garden, bear in mind that the colours you select will create a mood, and you can even change the perspective your garden by using certain colours; so think about how you want to use colour, not only for the way you think it will look, but also for the mood you want to create in your garden.

Colour is what most gardeners are drawn to in a garden and should be artfully incorporated into your garden design. Good garden design involves knowing how to combine colours so that the final product will be one we like. Only practice and experimentation will develop your eye for colour and allow you to see the differences between hues, but a good way to start is by studying the colour wheel used in art.

A basic colour wheel is based on three primary colours, three secondary colours, and the six tertiary colours. They appear in the same order as they do in the colour spectrum of the rainbow and are arranged by their relationships to each other; progressing from violet-red to red, orange-red to orange, yellow-orange to yellow and so on. Most modern colour wheels only contain 12 colours, but in nature there are many more hues. Using a basic colour wheel will help to train your eye to see the relationships between colours and how they transform and play off against one another.

To make practical use of the colour wheel all you need is a picture of it. Alternatively you could download specialized software from the internet which shows you multiple colour combinations.

The three primary colours are red, yellow and blue. In traditional colour theory, these are the 3 pigment colours that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colours. All other colours are derived from these 3 hues.

The three secondary colours are green, orange and purple, created by mixing the primary colours.
Tertiary colours are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green. These are the colours formed by mixing a primary and a secondary colour. That’s why the hue is a two-word name, such as blue-green, red-violet, and yellow-orange.

Analogous colours are any three colours which are side by side on a 12 part colour wheel like yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange. Usually one of the three colours predominates.

Complementary colours are any two colours which are directly opposite each other, such as blue and orange or red-violet and yellow-green. These opposing colours create maximum contrast and stability.

Warm colours are the warm colours of the spectrum from red through orange to yellow. You can use a small amount of these colours to warm the temperature of a cool colour and vice versa. The warm colours tend to come towards you, or feel closer to you, and come forward in a garden. You can use warm and cool colours side by side to contrast with each other.

Cool Colours of the colour wheel tend to go away from you, or feel distant to you and recede in a garden. As with the warm colours, you can use a cool colour to change the temperature of a warm colour, just use it’s opposite on the colour wheel. You can use warm and cool colours side by side to contrast with each other.

Combining and playing with colours in the garden

Basically you have two choices; to use harmonious colours that are next to one another on the colour wheel or contrasting colours that are opposite each other on the wheel.

Harmonious combinations can be monochromatic or analogous.

Monochromatic is when only one colour is used in its various shades, tints and tones. This scheme looks clean and elegant, producing a soothing effect. This is often a good choice for beginners as it avoids the chaos of using too many colours and trains the eye to see the differences within a single colour. In this type of garden ‘less is more’ and plants need to be repeated throughout the garden for their texture as well as their hue.

Analogous involves working with two or three colours that are next to one another on the wheel like red, orange and yellow. This is achieves a pleasing transition for the eye from one shade to the next. Remember that green is good to use as a transition between colours.

Contrasting Combinations can be complimentary or polychromatic

Complimentary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel, like red and green, orange and blue, yellow and purple. Using only two colours like this will give maximum contrast in the garden but must be used carefully or the effect could be jarring to the eye. Try to favour one colour and use the second choice only as an accent. Once again ‘less is more’ and this type of colour scheme relies on the repetition and the texture and form of the shrubs selected, rather than too much colour. You could also work with one colour combined with two complimentary colours next to one another; like violet with yellow-orange and yellow-green.

Polychromatic uses every colour but requires much thought and planning to create a successful riot of colour, rather than a gaudy look. Neighbouring plants also need careful consideration in such a garden.

Triadic colour schemes make use of three colours that are an equal distance apart on the colour wheel, such as the primary colours red, yellow and blue or secondary colours like yellow-green, blue-violet, and red-orange.

Some tried and tested tips for using colour in your garden

Yellow is a beautiful, vibrant colour that seems to be full of life and happiness. If you apply the well-known rules of colour harmony and contrast, a yellow garden can be perfectly delightful. When planning a yellow garden include all shades of yellow, including pale yellow, golden yellow and lime-green. Yellows look good against green foliage but if it is not blended into the landscape can stick out like a sore thumb. To marry the green and yellow plant evergreen trees and shrubs that produce leaves in shades of cream, soft yellows, grey, silver and blue. Splashes of white, cream and grey harmonise well with yellow and will add sparkle to the landscape. On the colour wheel; purple and mauve are opposite to yellow and introducing small amounts of these colours as well as some blue, will make an all yellow garden more visually pleasing, adding dimension and depth.

Blue is the colour we perceive as being cool and calm. Planting lots of the lighter shades of blue will create a feeling of coolness, even in the full sun. Dark blue is a very strong colour and should be used with care, for if too much is used the planting will look brash and if too little is used it will be ineffectual. Blue tones can help widen or lengthen the look of a garden because blue falls back visually. Planting lots of blue flowers along the sides of a long, narrow garden bed will make it appear wider. Blue is the first colour to fade from sight as night falls, so if you use your garden a lot in the evenings incorporate a lot of lighter colours and white, which show up better at night. Blue and yellow are a very popular flower garden colour combination, with yellow providing a vibrant contrast.

Purple in the garden is calm, peaceful and serene. All shades of mauve, violet, lavender and purple can be used to create a cool restful look. However, if these shades are not broken they can look a bit gloomy, so pink is often used to brighten up the planting.

Pastel Colours are always calming, and a pastel flower garden can blend a wide range of shades ranging from pink, peach, pale yellow, to lavender and pale blue to create a harmonious, peaceful result.

White is the last colour to fade as night falls and shows up well in the moonlight and under artificial lighting, so if evening is the only time you have to enjoy your garden, white is a good choice. White, cream and silver will always lighten the effect if planted with other colours. White, if planted entirely on its own it has a sharp, crisp effect that can be put to spectacular effect in certain areas. However, masses of white can also be hard on the eyes, so you may want to incorporate other colours as well.

Cream does not have the sharpness of white, but a warm quality of its own, which blends beautifully with gold. It is wonderful to tone down hot colours.

Silver will sparkle in the moonlight and will always lighten the ‘effect’ if planted with other colours.

Green is a good compliment to white because it helps your eyes recover from the brightness, so include leafy green plants in your colour scheme.

Red, Orange & Yellow are hot colours that command attention and create an exciting, visually stimulating flower garden. Our eyes are drawn to warm colours, so plant reds, yellows and oranges in key areas that you want people to see. Try mixing lemon yellow, purple and strong pinks with hot colours, as this will help to soften and dilute them. White has the same effect and will add sharpness to the overall effect. Used carefully, hot colours can be extremely effective but be careful not to overdo them. Hot colours planted at the end of the garden will make the garden appear shorter because they bring forward visually, and if planted along the sides of a long, narrow garden bed, the garden will appear even narrower.

Have fun designing your flower garden, and if you bear in mind these tried and tested colour theories, you can let your imagination run wild. Perhaps you are very creative and like to bend or break the rules occasionally to make your own statement, and you can certainly do this if your eye is well-trained to the myriad of hues out there in nature. So experiment but most of all, have fun!

Colour needs to flow around a permanent structure, or backbone of shrubs, trees, and of course, flowering perennial plants.

Some text courtesy of gardening in SA

Chris Williams’ Top Hanging Basket Tips

Let us explore an often forgotten aspect of the landscape which can add interest, and a different dimension to the garden. A summer garden is often enhanced by the sight of beautiful hanging baskets providing colour at different heights in the garden.

Hanging baskets, assist you to utilise all your available space. With hanging baskets you can brighten up a sunny wall, or with the right choice of plants, even add colour to those tricky shady areas. And remember that when choosing which hanging baskets to buy, size IS everything! The bigger the basket, the bigger the spread and height of the display
Always use a good quality weed free compost as plants grown in a small area need the best possible start.
Choose the right plants for baskets; not all plants are suitable. Make sure that you select long flowering varieties and plants with scent.

Plant up your baskets in Sring and early Summer to allow the plants to establish before putting your baskets outside
Use non ionic wetting agents to assist with lowering the water requirements.

Side planting is essential to grow an avalanche of colour. Any basket under 38cm makes this difficult. Dont be tempted by cheaper, smaller baskets – they’ll dry out a lot quicker

Use coir matting or moss to seal the basket and to give it a natural look.

To have interesting baskets all year round, it’s essential to have two sets so that you dont have to wait for your summer baskets to finish flowering before planting up your winter

The removal of all the first flowers, as well as pinching shoot tips, will enable the plant to put all of its efforts into growing stronger roots and in turn, will lead to a lot of flowers throughout the long season.

Water regularly throughout the season, being particularly vigilant in hot weather.

Regular maintenance is essential to grow a stunning basket to last the season. Deadheading and trimming when the plants start to look straggly will encourage healthy growth and new flowers.

Use indigenous succulents for a more maintenance friendly dramatic display

Sit back on the patio and enjoy!

Managing water and drainage

Predicting how water moves around and how it can be directed out of harms way or for storage is the basis for drainage design according to Garden Encyclopedia.  It is imperative that in all landscaped surfaces drainage be taken into account.

Surface drainage is normally by far the most effective and cheapest method of diverting water. It is imperative that water off hard surfaces be channelled onto surfaces on soil so the water can be absorbed. 

Collection of water is first prize and can either be stored in containers or dams. This can then be recycled onto the landscape and take pressure off the municipal system. Dams and wetlands can beautify the environment and provide beautiful eco systems in your garden.

As water becomes increasingly scarce; recycling both water in the garden and domestic waste sources becomes imperative. Domestic waste water should not be used on vegetables 

Let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams 

Drought Gardening 

The fun about gardening is the continual changes that occur in the garden….some more challenging than others! Gardening with limited water can be very challenging, but can also be a worthwhile opportunity to plan ahead and not end up with the same challenges again next year.



Limit cutting of your lawn unless really necessary. Do not remove more than 30% of the total leaf blade in any one cut. Make sure your mower is sharp so that the plant does not loose additional moisture through “chewed” edges. If you are able to water give deep soaking rather than frequent short waterings. 

General garden care

Mulch mulch mulch. The more mulch the more moisture retention. Don’t be tempted to prune back.  Nature has a way of dealing with the drought in the most effective way possible. Once there is sufficient water then prune the dead stuff off. Remember that pruning encourages new growth which is not what you need. The exception to this is if you have transplanted some existing plants then prune back excessively to prevent excess moisture loss through the wilting leaves.

Now is a great time to plant water wise plants to replace those that are too high maintenance or requiring too much water. Plan new features and repair any irrigation leaks so that you are prepared for when  things normalize. 

We have a special stress spray for plants to help them cope during these times and assist them to look their best.  For this and any other gardening requirements please don’t hesitate to contact Catscapes landscapes to create the garden of your dreams. 

Work With Weather

There is no better time than now to start planting your garden with beautiful, low maintenance water wise plants. Don’t fight the weather, but work with it to let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams. From water wise planting to rain harvesting we have the solutions to meet your specific requirements.


Lawn is always a thirsty component of any garden. Some grass types are more drought tolerant however all require large quantities of water to look attractive. Try and keep the size of lawn as small as positive and think of eliminating it in small yards in exchange for beautiful ground covers.

Mulch, mulch, mulch. The value of mulch in these conditions cannot be overemphasized during this period. It retains water,maintains the weed population and can be aesthetically pleasing.

Use water wise plants. There are beautiful species available which will enhance and compliment your garden. Let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams.

Rose Pruning Time

As July draws to an end, excitement in the garden starts to build! The shortest days and longest night of winter are gone and slowly we start to creep toward warmer weather again. Roses pruned now will provide a beautiful show in early summer when colours and perfumes are richest.


Where to begin? With thick sticks and thin ones, old ones and new ones, what to cut and what to leave? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! If you have a very big bush bushy plant first cut off the tops to about hip height so that it is easier to see what is going on. (remember that the same rules apply for rose pruning of standards but the bush only starts at the top of the main stem). Next it’s time to take a closer look at the stems you have left – here is a quick checklist on what to remove (right down at the base)

  • Anything dead or diseased
  • Anything thinner than a pencil
  • Anything crossing another healthier stem.

By now you should be left with probably no more than five stems at the most, even one is fine. These remaining stems no need to be cut to the same height with a nice neat cut – each stem about 30cm long. Remove all leaves and little side shoots and clean away any dead leaves lying around the base that could be harbouring diseases.

Once everything is clean and neat you can spray with lime sulphur to kill off any pathogens. Give each plant a handful of rose fertilizer, mulch well with fresh mulch around the base and begin to water your roses regularly. Then it is time to sit back with a well deserved hot cup of tea and start dreaming of those prize-winning blooms that will be coming out of your garden in the not too distant future!
For all your garden renovations, clean-ups or new designs please call Chris on 083 225 7451 or visit our website – Catscapes Landscapes