About us

Reconnect your family and life with Mother Nature

Turn Your Home Into a Living, Breathing, Nutritious Thriving Space

PlantLife Artscapes was established in 2016 by two young men with a dream. Saul Abelson, martial artist, poet and horticultural fanatic and David Jaffe, expert yogi and permaculturist are both passionate about the natural world but have lived in the city for much of their lives.

After having travelled extensively to broaden their horizons they returned to Johannesburg, met over an organic, green smoothie and decided to collaborate and to create a team of Urban Greeners with the goal of bringing the natural environment together with a unique aesthetic into the modern home.

Using top international styling while focusing on indigenous and endemic South African plants our team of experts design and implement stunning landscapes that complement the individual architectural styles of the South African home, office space, business park or housing estate.

The team at PlantLife Artscapes are not just passionate about plants, they’re also absolutely wild about wildlife. This is why, whenever possible we use indigenous and endemic plants to populate your garden space. This encourages various insects, birds, mammals and reptiles to inhabit the landscape. This is good for South Africa and great for you.

Imagine coming home after a long day of computers, ringing phones and traffic and stepping into your own personal oasis of bird song and butterflies.

Whenever possible we encourage our clients to install a water feature, even if it’s just a small one. Not only has the sound of water been scientifically proven to help you relax, but you also create a watering and washing station for the birds and it also gives the thirsty bees a place to rest and drink before they get back to making delicious fruit and veg and their sweet, sweet honey. Each water feature is unique and we have a number of artists on call to help us create bespoke features in copper, natural stone or concrete to perfectly compliment your garden design and space.

In the last few years there has been a massive surge in growing fruit and vegetables sustainably, bring fresh, healthy organically grown produce from your garden to your table. It’s obvious that we love plants but we want you and your children to love them too. This is why we encourage every client to plant some fresh herbs, a few vegetable seeds or a couple of fruit trees in their garden. For the more experienced home food farmer we are able to offer everything from fully integrated shade/hot houses to beautiful, handmade vegetable boxes made from recycled materials.

In order to ensure the highest level of plant health as well as to sustain and support the natural garden biome we use the highest quality organic composts, teas and solid fertilizers to feed your garden.

To keep your new landscape growing green and verdant you need water. Our teams install fully automated, computer controlled, remotely accessible irrigation systems that are custom designed and fabricated to suit each individual project. Water is a valuable resource and many of our clients are electing to install water-wise systems. They may choose to harvest rainwater or to drill a borehole to complement their system but whether they require a simple system of gutters to redirect the rain or a complex computer controlled borehole fit for both garden or home use we have the solution.

Many South African gardens are maintained by gardeners. These men and women are often as passionate about plants as we are so we love using this opportunity to further their education. We share our knowledge on plant health, fertilisation techniques, disease and pest recognition and control and numerous other elements that are so important to maintaining a healthy, thriving garden.

We are so passionate about plants so no job is too small. Whether it’s plants for your patio, a bonsai for your office, vertical gardens growing up your walls, refreshing and upgrading an older garden or starting from scratch and designing and installing the garden of your dreams, PlantLife Artscapes are the Urban Greeners you need to be working with.

Why Us?

You might ask yourself why you would need a landscaper in a country full of gardeners?

While gardeners play an integral role in South African home keeping, bringing in a landscaper takes things to a whole new level. You are bringing experience, expertise and exciting design into your home space.

When you contact PlantLife Artscapes your experience begins with a meeting with our design team. Before we take a single measurement we take time to sit with our clients to figure out what it is they want. At that meeting we listen more than we do anything else. 

Once we get a feel for the project it’s time to take those measurements. We take a complete look at the site taking into account its geographical location, its position relative to the sun, analyse the local soil content and map out valid water points.

If necessary we communicate and collaborate with architects and interior decorators to create a seamless experience for the homeowner which merges their interior stylistic tastes with the architectural features of the property.

We have our own collaborations with top plant breeders and growers from around South Africa and can provide you with the latest cultivars which result in brighter colours and more compact, disease resistant plants for you home landscape.

As responsible landscapers we always encourage our clients to plant indigenous gardens. This is good for the Earth, good for South Africa and good for our clients. Indigenous plants create natural spaces for the fauna of South Africa to call home. This in turn creates relaxed, African spaces which harness the power of wild Africa in the form of its birds, bees and butterflies to help us forget the pressures brought on by city living.

We look to create a garden space that is multidimensional in experience. It’s not enough that it looks beautiful but it should smell and sound beautiful too. A feast for the eyes, a massage for the ears, gorgeous things to touch, smell and taste.

We encourage all our clients to plant edibles in their garden spaces. Whether it’s a fruit tree in a pot on a balcony, fresh herbs in a hand crafted, recycled wooden vegetable box or a fully integrated, irrigated fruit forest and vegetable garden we strive to pass on the experience of connecting with nature. Studies have shown that both adults and children benefit from spending time in the garden and there is no better way to do that than with sweet, home grown fruit and veg.

Once we have established a stylistic preference, we present design options to our client and begin a continuous feedback loop between our professional team of designers and the client until we have a package that perfectly suits the client and their space. Next up our team of skilled craftsmen arrive on site. We map out the garden again taking precise measurements to ensure that the reality matches up to the dream.

All structures and hard landscaping are built to the highest specifications to ensure a quality product. We are able to institute full paving solutions for pathways, driveways and external areas as well as decking using top of the range systems.

If specified we are also able to create stunning, bespoke water features. These are designed to spec and each piece is unique to the customer with the highest quality pumps and finishes.

We make sure that depleted soils are repaired and that every plant is placed to take advantage of the natural geometries. Every blade of grass, every giant tree brought in on a truck and every plant in between is selected by our team of experts and placed and planted to ensure fast, luscious growth and survival.

Our designs are fluid, functional and fabulous.

We also take special care to connect with your gardener. We are able to coach your staff and teach them exactly how to maintain their new, uplifted space. We discuss plant care, feeding and shaping as well as general maintenance and if necessary we put together a full programme entailing all the details necessary to keep your home or office garden at its peak.

Our People

David Jaffe: Founder/Director

Brief Bio: For as long as I can remember there has always been a deep connection with Mother Nature. Spending most of my free time on adventures lost in the mountains and deep in the oceans. My happy place is in an open space. With a background in business management and passion for nature I was destined to combine the two together by creating a business and nonprofit organization that focuses on both. With our Earths present situation and the challenges of global warming, climate change, wild fires, viral pandemics and deforestation I had no choice but to dedicate as much time, energy and resources to planting trees, educating the youth of our nations and making the world a more beautiful place one tree at a time!

Saul Abelson: Founder/Director

Brief Bio: I was introduced to growing plants by my granny Hilda when I was sixteen. She had a succulent garden way before it was popular. One day while walking in the garden I commented on the geometric patterns and shapes of some of her plants, she picked a few of the succulents and asked me if I wanted to grow them for myself. She told me how to dry them out and then put them on a damp piece of cardboard. I followed her advice and soon had some rooted cuttings. From that moment on I was hooked on plants. I grew many succulents and then landed up working at a nursery after school. A few years later I was hired as a manager for a well-known landscaping firm and four or five years after that I started my own company. In 2016 I joined up with David and we have been working together since then growing a successful business as well as an NPO as we beautify South Africa one garden at a time.

Ané Venter: Content Creator/Tree Warrior

Brief Bio: I grew up in Johannesburg, and after high school I went to study a Bachelor’s degree in Wood Science and Forestry at Stellenbosch University. During my scientific studies, I made sure to also cultivate my more creative hobbies and passions, namely: playing music on my guitar, singing and songwriting, taking photographs with my film camera, and writing a series of short stories and poetry. I enjoy life, and I believe we find an abundance of life in the outdoors-consequently, that’s where I prefer to spend most of my time. I now live in a little coastal town on the Western Cape Southern Peninsula where one has a choice of surfing, hiking in the beautiful mountains, going rock climbing, or just staying home to be in the garden. As the saying goes, with great joy comes great responsibility, and thus, I believe we-as inhabitants of this beautiful planet-have a responsibility to look after it, protect it and keep it green and blue.

Carla Hadfield: Architect/Construction Planner

Brief Bio: I grew up playing on farms in Zimbabwe and traded that for the urban hustle of Johannesburg. Following this trend, I graduated with a Masters in Architecture and started working in the hotel and leisure industry. It was a happy accident that landscape architecture came into my life through the work of Plant Life & David. After having spent so long focusing on the built elements of the urban fabric I have fast become an admirer of natural spaces and the role they play in shaping our experiences of space. If the devil is in the details, then God is in the garden.

Andries Sibanda (Ndie)

Gardener

Bornfast Mendulo (Bornwell)

Gardener

Fanisani Dube (Funwell)

Gardener

Fatsani Mendulo (Shelton)

Gardener

Mpumulelo Ndlovu (Prosper)

Gardener

Siyabonga Phakathia (Junior)

Gardener