As father and son team, we pride ourselves on our strong work ethic. We believe in craftsmanship, attention to detail, and that sweet spot between concept and execution.
It was mid-2016 when I finally decided to take the leap and pursue my own endeavour.
I’d been involved in the tourism industry for over 7 years, from hospitality, tour operations in the Western Cape and events at the stadium, to eventually taking a senior position as tourism development officer in the small town of Riversdale. While my job had introduced me to the world, I felt like something essential was missing: I craved the simplicity of soil and getting my hands dirty as part of a good, honest day’s work. The kind that knocks you out as soon as your head hits the pillow. The kind that my grandfather did, farming in Jonkershoek, and the ones before him in other parts of the Cape Winelands. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I wanted to return to the rhythm of the land that they seemed to know so well and reconnect with nature.
Simultaneously, my dad found himself newly retired after 41 years of service as a horticulturist for the City of Cape Town and not nearly ready to embrace the life of leisure his younger colleagues so envied.
It posed the perfect opportunity: his ongoing love for hard work, plants and gardening, combined with my yearning for more grit and eagerness to learn would be channelled into our brand new family business.
But maybe – as Paulo Coelho says in The Alchemist – it had always been written. For as far back as I can remember (okay maybe not as far back as the photo on the right, but you get the idea), working in the garden with dad was as much part of my being as going to school or getting up to mischief with the neighbourhood kids. Initially, my duties entailed anything I could get done (or, in retrospect, more likely, which of my dad’s careful work I wouldn’t be able to wreck too badly) with my little plastic rake and shovel. As time went by, it evolved into more intensive chores like cutting up a neverending stream of branches as dad cleaned the garden and stuffing them into bags or filling up the trailer – chores often performed under duress, as skateboarding loomed large on my list of priorities.
However, even in the midst of my most rebellious teenage years, I always held dad’s strong work ethic in high regard and have since aimed to emulate it in every aspect of my life. Along with our shared love for greening, we’ve brought the art of doing things thoroughly into our work, giving equal attention to the big picture and the small details that go into the preparation of a garden.
And so, Marais Landscaping has sprung forth out of our combined desire to add value through a committed and mindful approach to the work we love best.
What we do
Marais Landscaping provides a complete range of horticultural and design services to create and maintain your garden.
The inception of a new project starts with an initial on-site consultation (approximately 1 hour) to discuss your ideas. During this time, we will be able to advise on possible design outcomes or solutions for overcoming areas of concern. The consultation helps to clarify the nature of the project, assess your space, and establishes the design brief.
Our consultations are also very popular for general horticultural advice to help you understand your garden better, for example how to care for certain plants or which forms of pest control to employ.
We charge a fee of R450 for consultations within a 20km radius of our studio in Welgelegen, Cape Town.
If you live further afield, we can agree on a reasonable, personalised consultation fee.
Garden and Planting Design
As no two gardens are alike, the design phase is crucial in coming to understand a site. Through research and analysis, we are able to explore and propose creative ideas and solutions. Planting design in the age of climate change demands more from a design point of view than ever before to achieve a resilient landscape and spaces that pleasurably echo nature.
Following the consultation you will receive a design fee proposal, which will outline the costs for producing your garden concept, including the masterplan and other required drawings. This does not include any construction costs.
The design fee is based on your individual requirements and will vary depending on the size, complexity and scope of the project. We work on a variety of projects from small balconies or courtyards to updating existing gardens.
Brief outline of the design process:
- On-site consultation
- Plotting and measurements on site (either during consultation or separate meeting), owner to provide property/site plan where applicable
- Produce design fee proposal
- Concept plan to provide an overview of the design intent and spatial relationships between the various site uses and design functions
- Second meeting to discuss the design proposal with client feedback and revisions
- Final master plan development along with planting palettes, 3D renders or construction drawings, as required
- The master plan then informs the quote for the implementation of the design i.e. quantities, dimensions, materials and program spaces
Following the completion of your design, a quote for construction and implementation will be handed over for your consideration.
Specialised Garden Management
As gardeners, we know that design is not a one-time gesture but rather a series of decisions made throughout the life of the planting. Through management, we aim to preserve the integrity of the plant community by working with their complex and adaptive systems, shaped by their interaction with a site and other plants.
We don’t just do repetitive maintenance tasks for the sake of doing them, but rather specific (small scale) interventions to preserve the character of a planting and steer towards the design intent. Visits are structured according to the specific needs of your garden and could be every 2 months, seasonally or annually.
Services include formative and specialist pruning; soil improvements; weed control; pest and disease control, seasonal planting, transplanting and new additions.