Nature garden designs

  • The Birdy Botanist

We all need to give back to nature without delay because habitats and species are disappearing at an alarming rate. Humankind is causing the collapse of ecosystems worldwide, not to mention wild weather and pandemics as the planet warms. Creating a natural, waterwise garden with local flora that grows and evolves into an ecological garden for birds and other wildlife is one way of making a difference.  A lot of thought, planning and some experimenting is necessary to achieve a sustainable eco garden. So consulting a garden designer with knowledge on creating nature gardens is worthwhile.

Planting local flora, which are adapted to the local climate and soils, ensures a healthy, harmonious, and water-thrifty garden. My garden designs and plantings mimic the way plants are spaced and grouped together in nature, the patterns they form and services they provide to other plants and creatures. They try recreate the natural web of life. Your nature garden will reward you with joy, inspiration and a sense of achievement knowing that you’ve created a small universe for some creatures that will spend their entire lives there.  It will also inspire others to do the same, and slowly nature gardens scattered throughout the urban landscape will connect to form larger, continuous natural areas and biodiversity linkages.

Contact me for an eco-garden design or landscaping. You’ll achieve the best results for people, wildlife and the environment.

Isdell House garden

top wetland

An award-winning indigenous, waterwise garden developed for birds and to showcase the diversity of habitats that can be created with local plants in a garden. This garden won a South African Landscapers Institute (SALI) gold award in 2017 in the environmental landscape work category.

House Miller

This garden at House Miller features locally indigenous plants mimicking a natural grassland with a backdrop of dense trees and shrubs.  Rainscaping is used here to distribute water into the garden and prevent flooding as water passes under the house on a slope.

Living wall of local biodiversity


This indigenous vertical garden is entirely south facing and the plants were chosen to suit the shady aspect and attract insects and birds. The client chose some of the plant species to include some of her favourite veld plants.

Keeping common birds common

Businesses can encourage other businesses to give back to nature through developing nature gardens with local flora and maintaining them according to ecological principles to support biodiversity. Or they can support organisations such as BirdLife South Africa which has a programme called Keeping common birds common that encourages the establishment of nature gardens.

Waterwise gardening

Learn more about how to make your garden waterwise and why it is becoming critical to save water when gardening.

Invasive alien plants

Get rid of them!  Why?  They are highly adaptable, vigorous growers that spread from urban gardens and easily invade a wide range of natural habitats. They have already taken over 10 million hectares of land and use 7% of the water resources in South Africa. This is roughly the same amount of water needed by South Africa’s human population. Invasive plants threaten our rich biodiversity by replacing indigenous vegetation. This results in a loss of insect species that are dependent on indigenous plants, and the knock-on effect is the loss of birds, reptiles and mammals that feed on these insects. They invade land that would otherwise be used for crops and livestock grazing, and are often toxic to man or animals.

On garden birds. “How little they need from the world! Trees for nesting; good soil and bushes for hunting insects, grubs, and seeds; a puddle to bathe in. Surely, we can grant them this much space–in return for the glimpses we get of other beings so like and unlike us; beings who, like us, laugh and love, and think and feel and experience the world; beings who we know now are our kin.” —Virginia Morell.

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