Acclaimed logistics node, Plumbago Business Park and Plumbago Logistics Park, which straddle the R21 in the new Riverfields precinct and located close to OR Tambo International Airport, have been recognised for a Gold Award in the SALI (South African Landscapers Institute) 2014 Awards.  Contractors, Life Landscapes, entered Plumbago into the competition in the category, Landscape and Turf Maintenance, and have been awarded for their achievements in all aspects of landscaping.

The South African Landscapers Institute (SALI) was formed in 1984 by a group of progressive landscapers who saw the potential of the landscape industry in South Africa. They believed that the true potential could only be realised if landscape contractors showed unity, produced excellent work and projected a professional image.

A comment from the 2014/2015 National Judge, Fourie Pieterse, on this year’s awards:

“Yet again we find ourselves at the concluding phase of another exciting round of the SALI Awards of Excellence. I want to thank everyone involved with the Awards – from the administration to members participation, time commitment from the regional judges down to meeting representatives on site, often at inopportune hours or on weekends. It gives me pleasure to report that 2014 saw the 2nd highest number of projects entered into the Awards since its inception in 1987. This record is a feather in SALI’s cap, corroborating the growth of the Awards as a result of the continuity in managing the process and the continued and positive participation by SALI Members.  It is once again evident that success comes as a by-product of hard work.

This season, a total of 121 projects were evaluated during the National Round of the Awards, an increase from 101 and 87 during the two prior seasons. Not only did the number of entries increase, but also the total number of SALI member companies represented in the national round. Projects from 33 different companies progressed to the national round, compared to 30 and 24 companies the years before. This increase points towards an improved service level benchmark, supported by an increased number of SALI members.

The greater number of projects evaluated during the national round were entered into the Landscape and Turf Maintenance Category with 45 entries. The number of projects entered in other categories were as follows; Landscape Construction (In-house) with 24 projects, Landscape Construction (Design by others) with 26 projects, Specialised Turf Construction with 3 and Specialised Landscape Construction with 16 projects. In spite of SALI’s attempts to grow the Environmental and Water Wise Categories, the numbers are still low at 2 and 6 projects respectively. 57% of the total number of projects entered, received gold awards, 27% Silver, 10% Bronze and 6% Merit.

An emerging trend worthy of mention is the redevelopment of existing landscapes towards a more sustainable approach. It is more than a mere rejuvenation of the garden, it demands a radical change where the landscape style, character and associated inputs are “recycled” into a more sustainable environment with an ecological aesthetic. This can be achieved through a once-off, high impact redevelopment, or a gradual, phased restoration supplementary to the maintenance contract.  It is encouraging to see that this trend is often contractor-driven, and not prescribed by a client brief. It is an indication of an evolving industry, one that is willing to revisit past practices in order to improve.

In a similar way, the SALI Awards of Excellence process will evolve, in order to stay current with new trends, improve the viability of some categories and to deal with the increased number of entries in an appropriate way. I hope that the Awards will inspire us all to explore, experiment, evolve, and exceed expectations!”