A lifelong admiration for Oriental gardens and a love for succulents and unusual plant combinations inspired landscaper Sonita Young to create a contemporary outdoor space with different zones of serenity in her garden in South Africa.

As half of the site receives full sun all day, while the other is mostly in shade, Sonita divided the garden 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 plant dividers. The dry garden on the other side features a variety of succulents from the Crassulaceae family including stonecrops (sedum) and houseleeks (sempervivum) and specifically echeverias, Sonita’s favourite plant.

‘I’ve fallen in love with echeverias; there are so many different varieties and hybrids available and they’re so easy to propagate and care for – I couldn’t resist using them,’ she reveals. 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 area, Sonita planted lush, soft foliage plants with more focus on texture. In this section, there is a collection of bamboo, ornamental grasses and ferns with a dash of colour provided by arum lilies and clivias. ‘I used a combination of different groundcovers around the stepping stones to create a soft carpet, inviting you to kick your shoes off and relax,’ she says.

At the back and front of this section, she has placed raised planter boxes filled with water-loving plants like irises, arum lilies, watsonias and nutsedges (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. The sight of the slowly moving fish also adds to the soothing atmosphere of this outdoor “room”.

The inclusion of perennials, succulents and grasses means that this garden never has an “off” season, ensuring it is the perfect spot for relaxation, entertaining, meditation and even yoga, all year round.

Images courtesy of living4media.

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