Landscaping on Schonenberg Estate


In the operational development phase of the Schonenberg Estate, Landscape Architects, Megan Anderson & Tarna Klitzner, laid out the grounds in keeping with the design philosophy of the estate. The layout reflects the characteristics of the surrounding historical agricultural landscape and the main design elements relate to the subdivision of farmland through tree lines and werf walls and defined boundaries between public and private spaces.

This regional landscaping concept responds to the climate, topography, human scale and street plan, and creates a unique character that promotes a physically and socially-positive living environment.

The desired effect is a sense of unity between the buildings and the green spaces, hence the different parts of the estate work together to form a pleasing whole.


The landscape architects developed guidelines for the Schonenberg Estate and it is the responsibility of the Home Owners’ Association (HOA) to ensure that the landscaping of the Common Property is implemented as per the original Landscaping Plan and maintained.

It is also the responsibility of individual homeowners to ensure that their private properties are appropriately landscaped and responsibly maintained. The Operational Environmental Management Plan (OEMP) for Schonenberg Estate incorporates the management requirements as a series of nine ‘programmes’, e.g. Programme 4: Landscaping.

For more information, refer to the Operational Environmental Management Plan Rev.2, October 2018 and the Environmental Compliance Audit Report 2015


Since 2009, Schonenberg HOA has contracted Crown Landscaping to maintain the Common Property, which amounts to ca 60 hectares of landscaped areas meaning the entrances, parks, street gardens and 5 km of walking paths around the perimeter. Crown deploys a full-time site manager with a team of trained gardeners and a part-time horticulturist who gives botanical input for the planting plan and supervises the vegetation rehabilitation of Schonenberg’s conservation area – “The Seep”.

An on-site nursery supports the upkeep of the Common Property with the propagation and cultivation of indigenous and endemic species and the preparation of compost. The plants and compost are used exclusively in the gardens and parks within the estate.


In 2002, before the start of construction of the Schonenberg Estate, an aquatic impact assessment report by FCG (Ratcliffe & Ewart-Smith) identified “The Seep” as the focal feature of the wetland conservation area and mapped out approximately three hectares extending from the northeast to the southwest.

The Seep was awarded conservation status in 2005 and declared a ‘no-go’ area within the estate. Since 2012, Crown’s horticulturist has been assigned to manage the site, assisted by two full-time workers, who have been trained in the identification of indigenous vegetation and the control methods of undesirable problem species, i.e., alien invasive vegetation.


A complex system irrigates the Common Property of Schonenberg Estate, that is all areas that are not private gardens but excluding the Seep. The system includes boreholes supplemented by a riparian flow of water from Helderview; municipal water; and two holding dams at the bottom of the site and an extensive network of pumps and controlled irrigation systems.

In 2014 – 2015, the eight-year-old irrigation system underwent a significant overhaul by an external team and is now fully functional. A specially-trained, full-time Schonenberg employee maintains the surface level irrigation on the estate. The upgrade of the irrigation system has resulted in improved water circulation, which has assisted in curbing the growth of algae in the two holding dams.


Water is scarce, and the effects of climate change are tangible. Schonenberg’s HOA environmental management and individual homeowners have to respond to the changing conditions, meaning landscaping concepts have to adapt to water scarcity and the use of water-wise plants requiring minimal maintenance.

Water-wise landscaping is in place in most areas. Although the Schonenberg landscaping guidelines promote the use of indigenous plants that are appropriate to the Helderberg region, there has been a small-scale introduction of exotic succulents, (e.g. Agave from the Americas) for aesthetic and water conservation purposes.

For more information, refer to Schonenberg’s Approved Plant List


Invasive species are controlled by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act no. 10 of 2004) – Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) Regulations which became law on 1 October 2014. Schonenberg’s landscaped areas have to be kept free of alien invasive species as they are thirsty plants that deplete the soil of water and nutrients. It is the responsibility of Schonenberg’s HOA to ensure that all exotic and other undesirable invasive vegetation is cleared as far as possible from all wetland areas on the estate, i.e. in the Seep, stream areas and the dams.

It is also the responsibility of individual homeowners to ensure that such problem plants are removed, and that non-invasive and preferably indigenous plants are grown in their gardens.

For more information, download the Declaration of Invasive Species form from or


Schonenberg’s HOA is committed to enhance and sustain the landscaped areas and natural ecosystems on the estate and to work on practical solutions to manage, protect and control them safely. The aim is environmental sustainability, meaning maintaining the environment responsibly to keep it healthy for future generations.