Rooftop gardens in urban environments have become ever more popular in South Africa. We’re finding this phenomenon to be true as a number of our greening projects, particularly in the V&A Waterfront and the Cape Town CBD, involve landscaping the rooftops of office buildings. Apart from the obvious decorative benefits, rooftop plants can enhance temperature control and provide recreational facilities for office workers, amongst others.
If you require professional advice regarding your rooftop garden, or any other forms of landscaping, do get in touch with us on 021 418 4000 or email@example.com.
Our cleaning manager has managed to secure an expo stand for AfriServ at the Facilities’ Management (FM) Expo which was held in Cape Town on 18 October. We managed to establish and re-establish a few good industry connections at this event, and look forward to FM Expo 2018! Thank you to our partners, Caturra Coffee, who collaborated with us on the day by providing great coffee to people who visited our space.
Afri-Landscapes, a division of Afri-Serv SA, was awarded the landscaping contract to develop and implement a world class greening plan that would complement the built environment of the prestigious Grain Silo Precinct at the internationally-renowned Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town.
The historic Grain Silo, as it was formerly known, now houses the world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from across Africa and its diaspora. Called the Zeitz MOCAA, the museum opened its doors to the public in September this year.
According to Landscaping Manager, Julian Bartels, this was an exciting project to head up, both from a design and execution perspective. All plant materials have had to be hoisted to Level 7 using a tower crane to create what is essentially a giant rooftop garden. “We used a variety of measures to create a sustainable planted landscape solution that would accommodate instant indigenous shrubs and climbers to compliment the character and feel of the Precinct.
“The Landscape Architects, Planning Partners, specified lightweight soil mixtures and designed a specialised drip irrigation and drainage system which would ensure the plants’ best growing conditions.”
In order to create this elevated landscape, estimated at 30 metres above ground, the architects designed suspended planters, placed on stilts, which have been water-proofed and which compare to an oversized swimming pool. The biome is supplied with water by means of an automated drip irrigation system, and excess water is collected and returned via the drainage system at the floors of these basins.
Specialist indigenous creepers were planted which were grown 12 months in advance of plantation. They will be shaped to grow downwards and into a courtyard on Level 6.
On the ground floor at the foot of the Grain Silo, the development of the landscaping plan has had to take the severe water restrictions into account, and for this reason the Landscape Architects have advised on drought-tolerant, grassy-type landscapes, interspersed with a combination of succulent Aloes, Cycads, and yellow-stemmed Acacias. These provide a contemporary feel and presents a ‘creative’ approach to respond to the stringent water restrictions which are currently in place.
In order to cut down on watering periods, and release water slowly back to the roots, water-retaining polymers have also been applied.
As a further means of conserving the scarce water resources, only the core of the precinct has been landscaped. The periphery will be considered once alternative water supplies have been adopted.
Stylish stainless trellising has been integrated on the residential balconies of Silos 3 and 4 which face the Zeitz MOCAA Museum. Says Bartels, “Here we imbedded succulent and indigenous creepers, with a combination of lush indigenous ground covers such as Pelargonium, which have been planted into grey chunky rectangular pots, manufactured by local suppliers.
A prominent element of the precinct is a natural water feature, which has been installed 40 metres above the ground on Level 10, and is a natural pool which utilises a bio-filtration unit consisting of plants and stone.
“At Afri-Landscapes we are extremely proud of the greening programme in the Waterfront’s Silo District; this is a magnificent addition to the V&A, which celebrates the rich cultural heritage of South Africa, and in fact Africa as a whole. We are also able to boast a world class Silo District, much like Germany, with its Hamburg Silo District.
Our landscaping division was recently awarded a Silver and a Bronze South African Landscapers Institute (SALI) Award for our water-wise landscaping projects. The Silver Award was for the design of a water-wise residential garden, while the Bronze Award was for the implementation of a water-wise garden for a commercial development.
The shortage of rain in the Western Cape over the last few months has had wide ranging effects on all areas of our lives. Needless to say, it has also taken its toll on our gardens! Well done if you have managed to make the transition to a drought-tolerant garden! Drought-tolerant gardens, however, require a different approach to maintenance and upkeep, and we have provided a few key tips for you below:
There’s no better way to commemorate the great sacrifices that the late Nelson Mandela has made for our country and our people. Our 67 minutes (well more like the entire day, but we don’t mind at all!) is dedicated to assisting the community of Blikkiesdorp in Delft with the re-building and rejuvenation of their food garden.