This beautiful site nestled inside a nature conservancy, created the backdrop for the entire design ethos.
This unique business park was set on the border between an industrial park and a nature conservancy. As part of the development guidelines a full vegetation survey was done.
Having been previously developed and then left abandoned, nature had returned to the site, with a river and its accompanying riverine vegetation bordering one side, as well as a tributary that disected the site. The rest of the steeply sloped site was beautiful grassland.
The Design Concept was built from the Environmental Guidelines which were clear that the Business Park must make the most of its setting and enhance the existing vegetation.
We divided the site up into 3 vegetation areas: Riverine Forest; Aristida grassland; and Coastal Forest. The idea was to maintain the connection between the riverine vegetation and nature conservancy with 'green corridors' through which birds and wildlife could move.
The plant choices for each area of the site would be in keeping with the natural divisions within the site.
The individual offices would in a sense be surrounded by nature.
Working hand in hand with the developer and the architect, the site was cleared of vegetation. We stockpiled topsoil and rocks which would be needed to dress the site once landscape construction began.
The subsoil on site was predominantly clay which would complicate issues further into the process.
The common areas were focused on first. Due to the nature of the development process, we began with the bones of the concept, shaping and moving soil.
Particular attention was paid to the movement of water through the site, as well as the potential for erosion. In some areas, geo-solutions were used to maintain the natural feel of the landscaping.
In order to optimise the use of the site, and
create large platforms, a series of banks were created resulting in a particularly significant bank towards the back of the site.
After exploring several engineered options to stabilise the bank, a natural approach was eventually taken. Vetiver grass a natural soil stabiliser was planted in rows along the bank. Unfortunately, heavy rains did wash some portions of the bank before the vetiver had time to establish itself.
The bank was then replanted and to this day, all the areas with vetiver have held up well.
The planting is a pleasing combination of low maintenance, xerophytic planting, and yet is still aesthetically appealing.
The architecture, particularly around the striking main gate is very contemporary, and the planting palette needed to reflect that.
Each individual site within Romead Business Park is an extension of its surroundings, with either Aristida grassland predominating, or Riverine vegetation extending through the property.
Attention was paid to reintroduce flowering perennials back, that were present on the site prior to the development.
After winding through the Millettia & Acacia entrance road, Aloe vanbalenii and Strelitzia juncea greet you at the award winning front gate.
The geofabric retaining wall was planted up with succulents and ferns to soften the immediate impression as you arrive at the gatehouse.
Dietes and Carissa were planted alongside the roadways for their year-round flowers.
Winter flowering plants such as Leonotus and Aloes brighten up the landscape during the colder months, while flowering perennials like Dissotis, Aristea, Plectranthus, Helichrysum, Agapanthus provide splashes of colour in amongst the Aristida grassland.
Watsonia were re-introduced, partly for their beautiful flowers, but also to counteract the raiding of their bulbs in the neighbouring conservancy.