Nurturing nature

Tropical plants As you would expect in such a verdant country, plants play a leading role in landscaped areas in Thailand. In the UAE, try framing your garden with palm trees and tall grasses for a more natural, carefree vibe, while Frangipani, Heliconias and the Rangoon Creeper are common flowers in The Land of Smiles and grow well in desert climes.

Elephant statues are an easy way to bring a touch of Thailand home.

Lucky charms Bamboo is a customary material used for structuring walls and steps, and for making garden furniture, water features, light shades and decorations. When planted it grows quickly, creating high walls that provide privacy - be careful to keep it at bay otherwise it can take over. Bamboo is also a symbol of good fortune in Asian culture; keep a potted Lucky Bamboo plant indoors to link the spaces and to aid Feng Shui.

The colourful Naga is a symbol of faith and luck, seen here on a garden fountain.

Made of stone This material features prominently in Thailand’s gardens, especially rough-hewn stone to reflect a more natural aesthetic. Place round stones over grass to make a garden path; use stacked brick-style tiles to create a feature wall - especially effective as a backdrop to a water feature; decorate with stone elephants and Buddhas set within flowerbeds or paths; bring pebbles inside, too, for an indoor-outdoor touch.

Woven Thai hats and baskets create a simple yet effective wall feature.

Watered down

Earth, wind and fire Nature and the elements are very important factors to consider when landscaping a Thai-inspired garden. Water, in particular, is a prominent feature in ancient and modern Thai gardens as it provides a strong link between these factors, as well as helping to create a relaxing ambience.

A baked clay jar with a traditional Thai “dipper” ladle made from a coconut shell. Be inspired by this pool deck in Phuket with a backdrop of stacked stones and bamboo, linking nature with water and earth elements.

Cultural focus When designing or buying a fountain feature, a lotus-shaped bowl is an appropriate motif as it’s a sacred flower in Thai culture. Buddhas, elephants and serpent heads are also intrinsically linked to Thai culture and are used architecturally to decorate temples and public buildings. Use such features as a water spout, or simply as an ornamental flourish.

Left and right: In this lush botanical garden, water pours from a statue hidden amidst the greenery. The water pouring over stones from this bamboo pipe creates a tranquil scene for the Buddha statue sitting nearby

Bowled over Clay bowls and pots are traditional drinking vessels and can be used as a decorative element in the garden; add a coconut-shell ladle to complete the look. Clay or ceramic bowls are an easy and pretty decoration; simply fill with water and sprinkle a few colourful petals on the surface.

Be inspired by this pool deck in Phuket with a backdrop of stacked stones and bamboo, linking nature with water and earth elements. The cement circles in the water represent lily pads, common in Thailand’s pools and streams.

Authentic accents

Fashionable furniture There’s a wide variety of furniture to choose from, but try to focus on neutral colours (use Naga-head ornaments and prints to bring in colour) and rounded designs for an organic, natural aesthetic. Contemporary styles include pots cast in rough concrete, tables made from salvaged wood, striking yet simple hairpin legs, and bamboo benches.

Bamboo features again in this bench and table, complemented by a batik-style rug dyed in earthy shades.

Small spaces For terraces or balconies, try a simple café-style foldable chair and table set with a bamboo screen or trellis and a living wall of foliage. A carpet of faux grass with round stepping stones would bring the floor to life, or cover with a patterned batik rug. Use a Buddha or elephant statue as a focal accessory to ground the look - paint them to match your scheme. 

Create an interesting wall hanging made from woven pieces of natural materials, such as bamboo, rattan and jute.

Welcome shade The Thai sala is slightly more exotic than the regular garden gazebo. With open sides and a high roof this kind of structure - traditionally used as a meeting place - provides a cool, shaded spot and allows the wind to breeze in.

With its rounded design, this style of chair and table is native to Northern Thailand. This garden in Phuket features several salas positioned over walkways guiding people to the main pavilion; take inspiration from the structure’s open sides and two-tiered roof.

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