31 July 2008


Submitted by Kirsten
{pp}Southern Africa’s leading active over 50’s residential development, Le Domaine, has been commended with a Silver Award in the South African Landscaping Institute Gala Awards Ceremony that was held at the Emperor’s Palace last month.

Le Domaine consists of a series of inter linked villages named after French towns in accordance with the French / Mediterranean architecture. The villages are linked through landscaping and a 2.8km wonderland of water features, public green spaces and natural wetlands. John Bezuidenhout, Managing Director of Le Domain, originally issued a design brief that called for landscaping that would enhance the appearance of the development. On receipt of the award, Bezuidenhout commented that “Receiving this SALI award is a wonderful recognition of the hard work that we put have put into Le Domaine to ensure that the development impacts as sensitively as possible on its environment.”

The cane fields that the development is now built on have provided rich topsoil that was carefully collected during construction and then reintroduced to the site for the planting of the surrounds. The water features that are dotted throughout the development were based on the existing natural 4000m²wetland and the reed bed has been sensitively rehabilitated to act as a filtering mechanism for the ponds in the development.

In an innovative environmental process, the first privately owned sewerage plant situated at the Cotswold Downs Golf Estate provides recycled water for the water features and ensures that the water level is kept at its optimum. Original landscaper Lucas Uys reintroduced a variety of indigenous flora and fauna to the area with the intention of creating “a dramatic visual experience” and ensuring that the site was restored to its natural state.

The use of the monocultures of indigenous plants have created a continuous theme throughout the development and also act as boundary markers and screening between the homes. Each pond in the development has been given a unique personality through the use of a specific planting philosophy that has created individual themes for each area. Among the designs are the feather pond where carefully selected plants species were chosen to create a bird haven, an Acacia pond with its variety of Acacia species, an Agapanthus pond and an indigenous African palm pond.

These ponds have been designed to attract bird and insect life and to form a self sustaining habitat. Real Landscapes undertook the installation and as site based landscaper, Claudia Bezuidenhout, says “There has been good growth! There is a delicate balance that needs to be achieved between the residents’ requirements and the landscape architect’s vision”. The maintenance of this lovingly and socially responsible creation is intensive, involving a pruning and clipping schedule that does not interfere with the natural inclination of the flora.

The aesthetic appeal of the landscape at Le Domaine has been achieved through the combined vision and teamwork of the developer, the management, the landscape architects and the contractors. The indigenous and environmentally sensitive landscape has provided an example of what responsible, yet beautiful landscaping can achieve. The South African Landscaping Institute is a national organisation and was founded in 1984 by a group of progressive landscapers with the intention of improving the reputation and standing of the industry as a whole.

With a footprint spanning the Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal, the institute encourages training, the establishment of higher standards, professionalism and ethical conduct and one of the ways in which they recognise industry excellence is through the presentation of the SALI awards every 2 years. As principal judge of the competition, Mr. Piet Vosloo, said, “I believe that over the last 20 years of the competition, the general quality of landscape design, construction and maintenance in the country has been raised immeasurably.”

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