We turn lawns and urban landscapes into tiny ecosystems teeming with life, food and biodiversity.

Edible & ecological landscaping has the objective of NOT  ONLY creating functional, productive and beautiful spaces for humans but also for the ecology all around us.

Our Main Objectives

  • Make the landscape productive. (Food, medicine, tea, mulch, timber etc.)
  • Create rich ecosystems that will foster a deep nature connection for those living in it
  • Provide habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
  • Spread, sink & store rainfall
  • Improve soil and increase biodiversity (thereby minimizing water runoff)
  • Minimize inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, labour)
  • Sequester carbon. Don’t release it.

We favour a food forest solution (explained below) as it is the best at achieving all these outcomes but ultimately the solution depends on the clients needs and context.  A client might want more open space for kids to play in, or simply prefer a more formal garden design. Humans and their needs are part of the ecosystem and in this instance one might favour container beds for veggies, a lawn for kids and still have the same approach in mind with the rest of the garden such as sinking all rain water run-off, integrating beneficial plants, using a “no-dig” approach and composting, to name a few.

It is misconception that food-producing gardens have to be scruffy farmyards. Designs can range from quite aesthetically formal to rambling jungle’s.

Food Forests (Forestscaping)

Yes, you can grow a forest in your backyard that produces huge amounts of food, is wild and self-maintaining and totally sustainable. No weeding, mowing, spraying, fertilising. You don’t fight nature, you harness it!

The food forest concept flourishes on the idea that natural forests do just fine with little outside interference. Forests are the ultimate manifestation of ecology, they are teeming with life and biodiversity. In a forest structure, nature finds a way to fill every space. Every plant, insect and animal finds it’s niche. Well, these same principles can be used to grow food and also to create incredible green spaces for family and community.

In a food forest, planting does occur intentionally at the start, but after that it is allowed to grow on its own, with each layer interacting synergistically with the other to enhance growth, ensure health, reduce pests, and more.

They require quite specific expertise, planning, design and implementation initially to ensure the soil, water requirements and plant species are all in place but once they are established they grow exponentially with very little input.

In nature, forests are the ultimate manifestation of a mature ecosystem.*

We provide turnkey service for converting an urban garden or barren piece of land into a lush green forest within a period of 3 years. Create a natural landscape that beautifies your property whilst achieving ecological conservation objectives at the same time.

One can create such a garden with as little as 15sqm. Seasonal planting and constant weeding are things of the past. With a food forest, you can feed your family with homegrown vegetables without all the fuss. The land can also simply be restored to native forest, managed as a bird habitat or turned into a meditative wilderness space and private nature preserve.

Interested in learning more and working as an intern with us? Apply here.

Food Forest Cape town
This shows just 1 year of growth where the starting point was bare, sandy soil.

Veggies, berries, flowers & herbs can grow in an amongst canopies of fruit trees. Perennial edibles are favoured and annuals start to self seed in this system. Over time the yield, vigour and biodiversity increase exponentially. 

Illustration from Retro Suburbia by David Holmgren. An excellent book for anyone interested in Urban Permaculture.
Illustration from Retro Suburbia by David Holmgren. An excellent book for anyone interested in Urban Permaculture.

But What About Water?

Initially, Food Forests do require a lot of water but this needs to be understood in context. Over time, as it matures, you are improving the soil and making it into a sponge that can hold water on its own. Passive water harvesting will also be part of the design meaning that all storm-water run-off is captured into the soil as well as further minimizing irrigation needs.

It is also worth remembering that the food produced from such a system will be using significantly less water than food bought in the supermarket.

Btw. Planting forests is widely considered to be the best solution to climate change. See Article.

Vegetable Gardens

There are many contexts where it is great to have a more "traditional" vegetable garden. Some people love the regular maintenance and upkeep that goes with growing annual vegetables and ultimately, the yield is always greater for churning out your staple veggies.

Having both perennial based food-forest systems alongside raised vegetable beds is also a fantastic compromise. We design and install raised vegetable beds that still feature many aspects of ecological and organic gardening as well.