Elaleni Coastal Forest Estate is leading the way in estates which combine aesthetics and an eco-conscious approach. With a strong sustainability ethos underpinning the estate, Elaleni has taken this a step further to bring considered, thoughtful landscape design into the development.
Developer of Elaleni, Wesley Bench-Capon expands on this, “Elaleni is committed to sustainability and eco-conscious living, and this is why many of our Homeowners have chosen to live at Elaleni specifically. All Homeowners are required to submit a landscape design to our review panel in order to get the go-ahead for their build; this is how we can ensure the sustainability ethos is upheld while at the same time guiding Homeowners on how best they can do this in their own home gardens. Over and above this, the forest sites within the estate are individually owned and each includes a section of the forest in their stand which is retained as part of the estate green belt. The 17.5ha Elaleni Swamp Fig Forest sits in a wetland and is protected- no cars, smoke or machinery are allowed in there and access is only granted to golf carts, bicycles and pedestrians.”
In order to bring the Elaleni vision to life and create an estate designed to enhance its natural beauty while upholding the sustainability ethos, a professional team of landscapers, led by mastermind landscape designer, Lucas Uys, were appointed to manage this.
Bench-Capon continues, “The swamp fig forest in Elaleni is 120 years old, and is an extremely important asset to conservation. Our commitment to conservation and sustainability does not stop there- we wanted this to guide the landscape design of the estate while still being a tasteful ode to the indigenous flora and coastal vegetation within Elaleni. We got Lucas on board as he has a real passion for conservation, and we knew he would be able to bring our vision to life and weave this thread through the estate. “
This design is being led by a small and unassuming indigenous succulent plant, the Spekboom. Also referred to as Pork Bush, or by its Latin name Portlucaria affra, it has been thrust into the arena as it is one of the best Carbon conversion plants on the planet and can convert vast amounts of Carbon to Oxygen- a vital weapon in the fight against climate change and the warming of our planet. As a self-sustaining plant, it requires very little water, can grow in extremely harsh conditions and can even propagate itself without putting down roots- plants which are under duress due to limited resources will simply grow more branches and leaves rather than flowering in order to survive while conserving precious energy.
Throughout Elaleni there is barely a single planting area where Spekboom isn’t present and several hundred square metres have been planted and more than 1200 specimens introduced to Elaleni. With his passion for Elaleni and bringing an aesthetically tasteful yet considered landscape design to life, Lucas has brought a unique and finer touch to the estate with the inclusion of several 50-year old Spekboom Bonsai trees placed at the entrance of the estate, which he cultivated from small specimens himself.
Lucas explains further, “Spekboom plays a major part in the landscape philosophy of Elaleni-we wanted no nonsense plants that are hardy and self-sustaining with minimal maintenance and which are evergreen. What was especially important is that we wanted something that can reduce the carbon footprint of the estate as a whole and Spekboom was the answer! The Bonsai trees at the entrance of the estate add a stylistic and serene touch and the supine twists of the trees mimic the soft ebbs of the water below- it is a very peaceful and welcoming sight.”