1. Cut it too short

    If you cut your lawn too short, or cut it unevenly, it will cause sections of the grass to die off, resulting in brown patches. Check that your lawn mower is on the appropriate setting for your lawn – if it’s not, and parts of your lawn is dying, carefully fertilise and water, it should recover in a matter of weeks depending on the severity of the cut and the time of year.

    2. Fertilise incorrectly
    If you use chemical fertilizer, spread it carefully and evenly across the lawn, don’t over fertilise and don’t allow clumping – this will kill your lawn and if it’s bad enough, it may never recover. A safer option is to use organic fertilizer, it’s more expensive but worth it because it’s idiot proof. If you do use a chemical fertilizer, it’s essential to water immediately after spreading. If your fertilizer has caused damage, you’ll probably have to cut out the affected sections and lay roll on grass. Another solution is to fill in the holes with lawn dressing to encourage surrounding grass to grow in, watering and nurturing carefully but this can take 2 to 3 months before recovery is complete.

3. Spray the wrong weed killer

    A common mistake that people make is to spray the weeds in general areas with an all purpose weed killer, then using the same spray bottle for selective weed killer on their lawns. You need to clean the bottle thoroughly, at least 3 times or more, to ensure that there is no residue from the all purpose weed killer left in the bottle before spraying the lawn – even the smallest amount can result in your lawn dying back. If you suspect that this is the cause of brown patches on your lawn, cutting and filling is the only solution.
    4. Lay the wrong grass
    Choose the right grass for your plot. If you have lots of shade in your garden choose only berea or buffalo grass. If there’s very little shade then you’re free to plant any of the popular grass types available in South Africa. If your grass isn’t growing in the shade, it might be the wrong type. Ask an expert to have a look.
    5. Cut it too often
    If you cut your grass too often in winter, it may be too cold for the grass to flourish. Cut too often in summer and without sufficient water, the heat will burn the grass and your lawn will die, depending on the grass type. If you have buffalo lawn, it may not survive such harsh treatment, while kikuyu can be brought back to life with careful nurturing.

If you’re feeling a bit blue, get into your garden and start working.  Getting involved in a gardening project is good for the soul, research reveals.  A study by a UK university and a gardening charity, Thrive, reveals that not only does gardening have a positive effect on people’s physical and mental health and well-being, it’s also good for people’s social skills.

The UK has more than 900 ongoing therapeutic gardening projects, and the three year study looked at the benefits of programmes like these for vulnerable people.

For many people who are disabled, depressed or who find it hard to cope with everyday life, getting involved in a horticulture project presents an opportunity to focus on what they can achieve instead of what they can’t.

Participants are involved in planting, cultivating, growing and nurturing, even digging and construction. If they want they can also to contribute to production through marketing and selling produce.

The study found that working outdoors in the fresh air, the physical aspect to the work, the demands of nurturing and growing plants all help in improving participants’ health and feeling of well-being.  People were given an opportunity to feel better about themselves and develop their social skills.

It would be great if we could start up similar gardening projects in the Western Cape.  I know there are lots of sustainable gardening projects but these tend to be food security projects aimed at disadvantaged communities. Therapeutic gardening projects are for everyone and provide an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to work together on a common goal.

Read more about the study and about the great work that Thrive is doing.

Most properties are protected by burglar bars and alarm systems, but have you ever thought of using your garden as a defense against intruders? The right choice of plants carefully placed, lights put in strategic places and careful pruning of bushes all help to increase your personal security. 

  • Plant a thorny, hardy creeper along boundary fences, especially in vulnerable areas, where your fence faces onto a street for example. This will make it uncomfortable for someone to jump over.   A climbing rose is a good choice, and the flower can be quite pretty. 


  • Don’t allow trees to grow near any boundary fences.  Trees allow for easy access into your garden.  Trim back branches so that they can’t be easily reached.


  • Trim back lower branches of trees and cut back bushes to prevent any convenient hiding spots for intruders.  When you enter your property you want to have a clear vision of your grounds, especially at night. If you do have any dark corners in your garden, illuminate with garden lights.  Shining lights onto walls, bushes or tree trunks will also help to create an attractive ambiance.


  • Keep the entrance to your property clear of any bushes or trees. 


  • Lock any garden tools safely away in a garden shed or in the house, don’t leave them lying around the garden.  Garden tools can be used by the opportunist intruder to break open locks and doors.


Think about how you would access your property if you locked yourself out – if you can get in, so can someone else.

Welcome to the Proscapes blog.

We love gardens of all sizes, shapes and challenges and love the satisfaction of a job well done.

We’ve been working in the Cape Town area since 1997 and over the years we’ve been asked all sorts of questions, some of them over and over again (!). Hand on heart, we’re able to answer the majority of questions that we get asked, and what we don’t know we find the answer to pretty quickly.

Want more information about gardening? We plan to fill this blog with lots of information about lawns, flowerbeds, trees, types of retaining walls and anything else to do with gardening in the Western Cape.

Follow us for practical advice and true garden tales.


The Proscapes Team

Garden improvement and landscaping services for Cape Town’s southern suburbs, including Hout Bay, Constantia, Llandudno, Bishops Court, the City Bowl, Camps Bay, Seapoint, Rondebosch, Tokai, Claremont, Newlands, Kenilworth, Wynberg and Plumstead

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