Waterscaping transforms Ballito

The presence of water transforms a shopping centre, a residential estate or even a home.

Across KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), talented South African Landscapers Institute (SALI) members are transforming business prospects and the landscapes with water.

On the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal in seaside Ballito, SALI landscaper, Harry Dickinson is showcasing a waterscaping success story.

Ballito Lifestyle Centre

Established 15 years ago, Ballito’s Lifestyle Centre was a successful regional shopping centre with a growing residential area that was attracting upmarket retirees and holiday-makers.

In April 2017, Ballito Lifestyle Centre faced their biggest business challenge to date.

A brand new 70 000m2 regional shopping mall opened their doors directly across the road. 30% of the tenants in the Ballito Lifestyle Centre, including all the fashion outlets, moved across the road to the new mall at the end of 2017, resulting in a 12 000m2 loss of previously tenanted floor space.

Complex redevelopment

Facing a retail challenge, the Ballito Lifestyle Centre embarked on a redevelopment and repositioning project that aimed to ‘differentiate’ themselves from their newly opened ‘mall’ neighbour.
Three major areas of redevelopment were identified:

i) Waterscaping. Create an enchanting network of water features that act as a spectacular and welcoming waterscape. The ponds cool the complex, are an eco-focal point for visitors and provide a barrier zone between a busy main road and the Lifestyle Ballito Centre.

ii) The Market. Develop an open plan setting for an array of locally created artisanal food offerings, in a market setting across 1 600m2

iii) Eat Street. Develop a carefully chosen range of niche restaurants in a cosmopolitan open air environment beside the waterscapes.

Waterscaping redevelopment

Green Earth Landscapes was given the contract to develop the multi-layered waterscapes that are so much a part of the recent Ballito Lifestyle Centre redevelopment.

The three month waterscaping project began in November 2017 and finished in early 2018.

“The waterscapes are 60m long x 4m wide in most places, but do get wider”, says Harry Dickinson from Green Earth Landscapes.

“We introduced layers into the water feature and oxygen into the system through stone cavities in the root area of plants”, he adds.

“The entire pond system is run on natural biofilter technology, is planted up with aquatic and marsh plants and is surrounded with timber decking”.


The ponds have become a mecca of wildlife and include fish and frogs.

“Large geometric concrete islands in the ponds act as ‘lily pads’ and offer interaction spaces for the children to connect with nature.

The ponds have become a mecca of wildlife and include fish and frogs”, says Dickinson.