With power cuts and load shedding along with dwindling water supplies a harsh reality in South Africa, being more self-sufficient on the home front is becoming an increasingly attractive option. Jane Troughton is someone who has never looked back since opting to go this way. “You know globally we have a water crisis and South Africans need to be thinking very carefully about water usage. So we decided to go large. We’ve got a 20 000 liter tank under the grass here and it’s a fantastic system that’s built with interlocking plastic blocks so that the water aerates and then we pump everything back into the house and then we recycle the water again and they go through greywater units for us to water the gardens, so we’re actually using our water twice.”
Jane also gives advice on designing an Eco-friendly house, attracting birds, butterflies and wildlife with an indigenous garden, whirlybirds, creating your own veggie garden, recycling with a compost heap, beehives, and a natural swimming pool free of chemicals: “My research has shown me that there are really just a few things that you need to bear in mind in creating a natural pool. The first thing is that you need your planting surface area to be minimum of 50% the size of your swimming area. Now, this can be integrated next to, alongside your swimming area like I’ve done if you want, it doesn’t have to be it could be right around the corner. The planted area is simply your filtration system, so that’s number one, make sure you obviously plant locally indigenous plants because they are going to thrive the best. Second of all you need aeration so you can do it any way you want to, I’ve chosen to do these little cascading waterfalls which are brilliant because what we didn’t know was that the birds use them as bird baths, so the manikins are in here in their dozens every day having lots of fun and we enjoy them. Your plants are really important; there are three types of plants you need to be looking at. We have what we call your floaters, so you need things that are under the water that float in amongst and then you need your surface floaters like water lilies and then you lots of these reed type things, and they are all providing different types of cleaning and filtration to your pool, bear in mind also all these plants need sun so don’t stick your reed bed in the shade. So it’s really not rocket science otherwise it’s a normal filter system and we have a creepy crawly that cleans the bottom of the swimming area, it’s separate. We haven’t been in the house in summer yet and the kids have already had swims.” Please subscribe to the Tekweni Channel. Subscribe Now!