Strawberries and Cream on the patio

Embrace bedless gardening and embark on a creative container adventure, right on your stoep!

Who said that beds make the garden? Well, no one, actually! And that’s great news for the balcony, stoep, and patio gardener. You can still enjoy all the glory of gardening by playing with pots, experimenting with the colour wheel, using vertical planters, and adding a few fabulous blooms.


Container gardening

Using different sized and shaped containers add height and variety to the space, while also giving you an opportunity to play with different styles. Incorporating hanging baskets is another simple way of adding greenery to areas with limited space. Using woven baskets (instead of plastic) with spikey foliage will bring in some lovely texture. Spend some time in the pots and basket section next time you’re at the nursery and see what jumps out at you!

*Play away: Try using cute teapots or gumboots as planters to add a little character and fun to your space.

*Go green: You could upcycle cans to use as pots and decorate as desired to suit your existing décor (this is a fun one for kids too).

*Top tip: Ensure your planting containers have good drainage to avoid root rot.


Get your patio blooming

A great way to bring in more life to your patio paradise is by planting gorgeous, blossoming blooms. Imagine a couple of flower pots neatly arranged along the lonely stoep wall or outdoor windowsill. Any available space is an opportunity for flowers to flourish. Get this lush look by using the Thriller, Filler, and Spiller (TFS) concept to create the ultimate flower pot.


*Try this - TFS: One upright focal point plant as your Thriller, a mounded plant as the Filler around it, and then something to trail over the edge as your splendid Spiller.

Poolside Gardens Back to Basics

When you’re a gardener, pool parties are all about the plants! Transform your backyard into a palm beach or rolling grassland, and how about a tropical paradise or trendy minimalistic look? Whatever your vibe is, Life is a Garden has got the perfect poolside gardening inspiration for your summer entertaining. Choose your theme, pick your plants, and head over to your GCA Garden Centre. Remember to check growing instructions and grab a bag of compost and fertiliser.


Poolside planting – the do’s and don’ts

The last thing you want is to be stressed out by maintenance or constantly needing to replace pool filters because of rotting leaves. Therefore, here are some plants to avoid and factors to consider when creating your poolside paradise.

  • Don’t: Plant annuals that shed during autumn, littering the pool and surrounding area.
    • Do: Plant evergreens that are always jolly and low maintenance.


  • Don’t: Grow soft fruit trees like plums and apricots that’ll drop and rot around the space.
    • Do: Go for hard-shelled, non-shedding edible trees such as lemons or lychee.


  • Don’t: Plant flowers too close to the pool as petals can become a nuisance.
    • Do: Choose evergreen ferns and ornamental grasses that don’t shed.


  • Don’t: Grow herbs or lavender that attract bees (if this is a concern for your family).
    • Do: Include a few rocks around for harmless and helpful dragonflies to bask on.


  • Don’t: Plant trees with large invasive root systems that may damage pool infrastructure.
    • Do: Rather plant trees in containers to ensure your paving and pool is safe.
Swimmingly elegant themes

Design your ideal backyard and display your expert landscaping skills with one of these gorgeous themes to flow through your space. Planting palms is one of the easiest ways to create a lush, island getaway feel, especially when paired with a boma, some beach sand, and wooden deck chairs.

How to plant a plant Back to Basics

How to plant a plant

Out the pot and into the ground, simple as that, right? If you would like your plants to thrive there are in fact several important aspects to consider in perfecting the art of transplanting. New additions to the garden can cost a couple of pennies too, so let’s make sure you get all the bloom for your buck. Here is Life is a Garden’s guide on how to properly plant a new plant.


Reading planting instructions  

The information provided on every pot or label at the nursery contains essential information that helps you make an informed decision on what to choose and where to plant. Each container and seed packet indicates:

  • Sowing/growing season (when to plant it)
  • Position (amount of sun/shade needed)
  • Spacing (how far apart they need to be from the next plant)
  • Watering guide (how often to water)
  • Germination and flowering (how long seeds take to germinate and when they plant flowers)


*Top tip: GCA Garden Centre attendants are both knowledgeable and friendly. They are available to help you choose the best plants for your environment. Ask them for help and they’ll show you which new lovelies are best suited to your needs.

How to plant a plant
How to plant a plant
Planting in pots

If you have chosen to grow in a container, here are some simple ways to give your new plant the best head start in life. Remember to ask your garden centre advisor to assist you in choosing the correct potting mix and fertiliser for your plant.

  1. Wash your homing pot before transplanting with a gentle disinfecting soap.
  2. Ensure there are sufficient drainage holes.
  3. Line your planter to keep it clean and help protect plants against mineral deposits and disease. Ask your garden centre advisor about which lining material would be best for your container and plant. Remember to also make drainage holes in the lining.

Toadly Green Waves Back to Basics: Water Gardening

Where a water garden grows, beauty and tranquillity flows! It’s easy to bring your beloved body of water back to life with stunning plants and flowers that add colour and texture to the environment. Transform your pond into a tropical oasis by planting these bold beauties available at GCA Garden Centres this October. Here’s Life is a Garden’s shortcut to a sure-win water garden.


Louisiana Irises

These easy-going, seductresses of the pond are simply a must for the backyard oasis. Louisiana irises can be grown in pots, raised beds, dug out beds, shallow water, and at the edge of ponds or streams. They produce bold, flamboyant flowers from September through October in all the glorious colours of the rainbow, ranging from pure white, yellow, orange, red, purple, violet, magenta, blue, lilac and pink. Louisiana bloom best in full sun, but will make do with part-time dappled shade. The price to pay for this beauty is a lot of feeding! Visit your nursery for their favourite food, which you can serve at least twice a year during autumn (when they should be replanted) and again about a month before they flower in spring.


Nymphaea – aka Waterlilies

Nymphaea are total water nymphs and have lured many a wary green thumb into a lifelong devoted relationship with water gardening. While individual blooms may only last 3 to 4 days, a well fertilised Nymphaea will flower profusely from September through April. Their exquisitely perfumed blooms come in shades of white, yellow, peach, salmon, pink, red and blue, which rest gracefully above their floating leaves. Waterlily leaves provide shade and cover for fish, while offering a handy perch place for bees, frogs and other friendly pond critters. They require full sun, all day, and prefer tranquil waters with a depth of 15 to 50 cm above the plant’s container.

Pond Maintenance & Tips for South Africans

Many homeowners dream of having a pond in their homes. It creates a beautiful environment where you can feel rested and relaxed as you enjoy the beautiful view. Although there is much to be enjoyed, maintaining your pond is a crucial element that can seem quite tedious.

Life is a Garden has the perfect pond tips that will make maintenance easier. You can find all your water gardening needs at your GCA Garden Centre.


Pond Pump

Choosing the right pump for your pond will set you up for a win. It will provide accurate oxygen and circulation which is essential for fish staying healthy and alive and an important aspect of your pond's ecosystem. If the water in your pond is not correctly circulating it will result in algae build-up and stagnation in your pond.

 Some of the things to consider when choosing the ideal pond pump are how high you are wanting to pump to push up and the volume of your pond.

 An easy tip for calculating the volume of your pond is: L x B x H = x 1000 which will equal the litres of water your pond holds.


Pond Leaf Skimmers

Adding in a product to minimize the leaf debris is your next step. For example, you could use a Pond Leaf Skimmer, this type of product is ideal for reducing your workload by removing leaves and other particles as they land in your water that may cause your pond to be waterlogged. It basically works as a net to accordingly collect all the particles before they sink to the bottom. It is easily accessible and should never be underestimated for the huge clarity it adds to your water for better viewing of your fish as they swim around.

 Although leaves are more likely to fall during the autumn season, we recommend that you use a pond skimmer with a floating basket that not only cleans your pond but enriches the water with vital oxygen and improves the water quality.