The gardens of Brahman Hills, nestled in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal are alive with wild grasses and seasonal colour. This bucolic stage is set for celebration, merriment, and occasion.
With that being said, it is no wonder Brahman Hills has been awarded Overseas Regional Winner 2023 by the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society in the UK, in the category 'Partner Garden of the Year’. If you recall, House & Garden SA featured Brahman Hills in the July 2022 edition where our gardens editor Heidi Bertish walked us through the folly of Brahman Hills where masquerades, performances, and celebrations come together within the gardens.
The gardens at Brahman Hills is not a dissimilar experience. At any given time, the five-and-a-half hectare garden could be home to strolling hotel guests, restaurant patroons, wedding parties, or day-tripping garden enthusiasts. It was a tricky brief for landscaper and designer (now of an award-winning garden), Tim Steyn, which he responded to by visualising the garden as a series of 16 garden rooms of varying sizes and compositions. The thread linking them is a palette of moody hues and a sweeping combination of grasses and perennials that now line winding walkways and open lawn, envelope circular water features and fringe wide, low garden stairs.
Now more than ever, it is important for us as a storied publication continuously seek out and champion the world’s best landscapers, gardens, and homes through the pages of our beautiful print publication. It is discovering and showcasing local gems like the gardens at Brahman Hills a year before it was recognised an internationally award-winning garden in 2023 that keeps our team filling the pages of every issue with stunning homes, spaces, gardens, and designers.
When this story was published in 2022, we could not have imagined the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society would see the same vision we did: Drifts of wild grasses, flowering perennials, and evergreens in colours that mimic the Midlands sky and surrounding landscape are a haze of pinks, purples, blues, and whites. Pathways lead from the garden into the hillside, a transition zone planted with 500 flowering cherry trees and through which one can wander along the gently meandering, mown-grass paths.
Owners Iain and Carol Buchan travelled the globe in search of garden inspiration.
“They always wanted to create something special on their property, and I was lucky enough to be their conduit,” says Tim Steyn. “However, as we were about to break ground, the country found itself in a hard lockdown, and we put the project on hold indefinitely. Three months into the pandemic, the hospitality sector in particular mired uncertainty, Iain took a leap of faith in what became a truly inspirational story.”
Without guests to care for, food to prepare, and weddings to host, the 200-odd hotel staff picked up tools; and through a very harsh winter, implemented Tim Steyn’s designs. The team supported local suppliers and nurseries throughout the process, giving them much-needed business, and managed to complete the project ahead of time. Today, and back in July 2022, the gardens at Brahman Hills is a masterclass in carefully graded pathways, dry-packed stone walls, pergolas, and water features.