House Keller


The SALI Shield of Excellence in Landscaping Winner 2022

The South African Landscapers Institute was formed in 1984. The SALI Shield of Excellence has been awarded as SALI’s premier annual landscaping award since 1986. This year, the prestigious SALI Shield of Excellence in Landscaping is awarded to GvH Landscapes for House Keller. 

House Keller

Size: 1 200 m²

Completed: 2021

Location: Eastford Country Estate, Knysna, Western Cape

Site information and history for context

The existing house and garden were completely destroyed by the Knysna fires in 2017. Due to extensive excavations on the new build, the site had minimal topsoil and bad drainage problems. This was overcome by creating natural gradients in the subsoil clay, as well as the installation of subsoil drains and tons of ‘black gold’ topsoil.

Detailed brief from the client

The client wanted colour, colour, and more colour throughout the year, but also gave complete free reign and artistic freedom to create the garden. She had seen some of our gardens before and liked our style of landscaping. The emphasis was on 70% indigenous and 30% old fashioned favourites such as Hydrangeas, Impatiens, Fuschia and Gardenia. Emphasis was placed on flowering plants to attract bees, birds, insects and other wildlife. However, fruiting plants were avoided due to the baboon problem in the area. 

Natural flowing lines were created to blend into the surrounding landscape and a natural feel with regard to planting and plant selection.  

How the brief was realised

With regard to earthworks and the shaping of subsoil, embankments, and the installation of subsurface drains – the entire site is pot clay. The moving and spreading of topsoil had to be done mostly by hand. Irrigation installation took place once all topsoil was in place. Soil preparation was done by spreading and digging in compost and fertilisers.

Sourcing materials and other relevant information

GvH Landscapes made use of heavy clay subsoil, minimal imported topsoil, steep slopes, installed agri-drains, and embankments were stabilised with sandbags and sown with indigenous grass seed.  All materials were all locally sourced from George, Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay.  Plants were sourced from Cape Town, George, Plettenberg Bay and Gqeberha.

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