Garden inspiration: Franschhoek family retreat


DIY and how-to

Woman in hat holding wicker basket full of vegetables.

In the picturesque town of Franschhoek, landscape designer Josephine Noyce and her family transformed a neglected plot of land into a sophisticated, well-proportioned garden. 

Containers filled with herbs, vegetables and fruit trees anchor the garden in its Boland setting – an area well known for its fresh produce and world-class wine – while an inviting dark turquoise pool and generous outdoor terrace add a touch of glamour. 

Neatly clipped rosemary hedges and a manicured lawn stand in contrast to rows of lush olive trees, while the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve in the background, and the magnificent mountain range that forms part of it, serves as a constant reminder of the plot’s enviable location.

Clean slate

When the Noyce family took ownership of the property three years ago, they had to plan and create an entirely new garden and home. Apart from an old tin shed and a few pear trees, there was very little else. “We demolished the tin shed and built the house from scratch,” Josephine recalls. “We also levelled out the lawn and created a raised platform by the new pool area to direct one’s gaze to the mountains.”

Over 30 olive trees were planted along the boundary to soften the walls, and old fruit crates were used to create a vegetable garden. The plant palette consists of grey, white and evergreen to mirror the gardens of the Mediterranean.

Room with a view

Putting every corner of the large garden to good use was a priority for the landscape designer and her family. As such, different sections were created to allow for privacy and to make a variety of outdoor activities possible. “Our goal was to create a garden with many ‘rooms’, all aimed at bringing the indoors out. We wanted to create lots of places in which to sit and enjoy a new view at different times of the day.”

One example of such a “room” is a simple bench under a willow tree overlooking the river that runs past the property. It makes for a quiet corner in which to read or enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the view. In turn, the large lawn can be used for functions under the stars or to play croquet or boules on a warm summer’s day. 

Fresh produce for the family
As environmentally conscious consumers who understand the value of growing their own produce, creating a vegetable garden was another important addition for the Noyce family. “It’s incredibly satisfying to cook from the garden,” Josephine says. “My favourite part is giving delicious pesto or a basket with fresh organic vegetables as a gift to friends.”

Josephine and her family also derive much pleasure from the citrus, mint and rosemary in the garden – all of which are perfect ingredients for delicious G & Ts. The fresh produce is also an added luxury for guests who use the property when the Noyce family is away, giving them a chance to connect with nature and spend time outdoors.

“Overall, the garden is a huge part of our living experience and the main focus of the home,” Josephine adds. “The garden softens the contemporary architecture of the house and creates a sense of calm that compliments the surrounding beauty of Franschhoek.”

Inspired by this beautiful garden? Shop online for herbs & vegetables, and read our article on how to grow your own veggies from seeds.

For more information or to get in touch with Josephine Noyce Landscape Design, visit, contact Josephine on +27 (0)82 303 5742 or follow @josephines_gardens on Instagram. Visit if you are interested in spending your next getaway at the house.

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