Design using the elements

As South Africans we are outdoor people and with summer on our doorstep we take a look at how you can add value to your property and outdoor spaces by using the four elements, namely water, earth, air and fire.


Trends show that more and more people are foregoing the traditional pool and moving towards a more eco-friendly variety. This is brought to life by using lower- energy  pumps, local and recycled lightweight materials and completely indigenous planting which reflects and enhances regional eco systems.

Natural approach

Natural swimming pools and ponds are the next big thing in residential landscape design. As people become more conscious of the environment and the impact of toxic chemicals, the natural pool or pond will provide the answer. Water is cleaned by means of its own ecosystem of water plants. The result is a lush aquatic garden that flows under the house to form a reflective pond that benefits the indigenous flora and fauna that thrive on the resulting wetlands.

Around the block

Nothing makes a statement in landscape design as effectively as an attractive water feature. Oversized, raised rectangular ponds by are designed to create a sense of drama for guests drawing their eyes to a focal point. Raising up the water feature closer to eye level and adding elements such as cast iron urns, enhances the effect.

Surrounded by nature

In the warmer months there is nothing more luxurious than taking a shower outside. Showers can be installed with any design feel from natural to the more modern, from a fixed shower to a more portable one. The end product is up to you and how comfortable you are with showering under the stars.


A well designed garden is one that enhances the home’s architecture and also showcases the owner’s own taste and lifestyle. Using a landscaper will help you make right choices regarding indigenous plants which will help preserve water, attract wildlife and add to the green movement.
Going up

A big trend in gardening is the rise of the vertical garden. With irrigation technology becoming more advanced, vertical gardens are not only attractive features for outdoor and indoor spaces, but also easy to maintain, because they take care of themselves.

Under foot

When you're selecting tiles for outdoor areas, particularly those near pools or water features, make sure they have a non-slip rating. Porcelain tiles are good because they are grippy and low maintenance.

Creating indoor space outdoors

Nothing represents outdoor living more than a pergola – a place where you can do all the things you enjoy doing indoors, but where, technically, you're outdoors. Look for structures which are weather proofed, like a structure made of anodised or thermo-lacquered aluminium. If the structure has flooring, look for something that is made from material called 'technical wood', this material uses plant and plastic fibres, which require little or no maintenance.

Well wooded

When it comes to outdoor enclaves, timber is, and always will be, a popular choice, because it makes people feel even closer to nature. Added to this is the decor and design trend towards using organic shapes and textures.


We are surrounded by noise from all over and here the trick is to create a space that is tranquil and open.

Floating flora

Use planters which creates the illusion of being suspended in the air, this will not only create a sense of space but will also add to a modern design theme in the garden.

Shutter chic

The wind can wreck any outdoor cocktail or dinner party, which is why many homes today have an outdoor space that is protected or has a sense of being enclosed. Adjustable timber shutters will protect against summer breezes, control light, provide privacy and insulate against cold and noise.

Hanging out

Add interesting seating arrangements with hanging chairs or pods. Retro and funky these types of chairs will add to a tranquil feel by inviting people to ‘hang around’ while enjoying the sun and garden.


Bio-ethanol fireplaces create ambience and focal points for any area, even the outdoors. These fires are mobile, which makes them perfect mood-setters for any environment.

Mexican glow

Add a Mexican flair to your outdoor space with handcrafted brass lanterns. Bohemian and arty, these lanterns will add character to a space with a soft glow. Perfect for romantic summer nights in the garden.

Braai time

What would a South African summer be without a braai? You can go for the dependable portable braaier or even add more to a space with a built-in braai or even fully functional outdoor kitchens. It all depends on how you entertain.

Hot design

Bio-ethanol fires are taking the top spot on eco-fundis' and design aficionados' most-wanted lists. It's quite obvious why, really: not only are they beautiful, but they're also easy on the environment, thanks to the use of biofuels, which are derived from plant mass and are non-toxic.

Designer heat

On those fresh summer evenings there is no reason to go indoors if you have a beautifully designed outdoor heater. The best design is one that is sleek, stainless and portable while ensuring that optimal heat is spread efficiently and, even in windy conditions, it is guaranteed to light up and continue burning.

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