Walking up this garden’s black galaxy granite entrance stairs, past majestic Washingtonia palms, a meticulously pruned bonsai-inspired tree in full bloom, trickling water features and grand fire pots on granite pedestals, it’s clear that the space offers a feast of landscape design.
“The owner of this 1,270-square-metre landscaped garden in Emirates Hills was involved in adding the finishing touches to the garden, from choosing the bonsai tree at the entrance to the red man lamp on the back patio, so we were able to tailor the garden for him and his family specifically” says Nehme Moujaess, Managing Director of Terraverde. “We’d worked with this client on a previous landscaping project so he knew what we could achieve. For this garden he was looking for something elegant and grand.”
To achieve the sophisticated feel the homeowner was after, Nehme and his team recreated the entire landscape, starting with the entrance and parking areas. “First impressions last, so we wanted to totally transform the spaces that guests first see upon arrival and make sure that these areas really complemented the villa’s architecture.” Nehme admits that these renovations were probably the most challenging. “The original entrance had a small slope and a lot of steps leading up to the house, so we pulled those down and started again. We added travertine and limestone accents to the black galaxy granite to polish off the look.”
Walking around to the back of the house, a massive area with covetable views of the Emirates Golf Club’s greens, the core function of the space becomes clear – entertaining. “The owners and his family wanted an alfresco entertainment area that was something of an extension of their home. They wanted a large, covered thatched room with a barbecue, bar and seating area from which to enjoy the expansive golf course views.”
Alongside the gazebo is the swimming pool, the only original element in the garden. “We replaced its old coping [tiled edges] to give it a fresh, modern look but the shape is the same as it’s always been,” Nehme explains. “We also added a few planters along the edges of the pool to give a lush, tropical feel.” Surrounding the pool, entertainment areas and walkways are slabs of beige honed travertine laid in a French pattern and accentuated with Noche travertine, warming up and accentuating the cooler blue and green hues of the swimming pool and foliage. “Detail, detail, detail. That was our mantra when working on this garden,” Nehme says. “To create a polished landscape that exudes elegance, it’s important not to overlook anything.”
Nehme says that the garden’s softscape – landscaper’s lingo meaning a garden’s live, horticultural elements – needed to be modern and simple. “Our client wanted low planting – nothing too busy – so we added ornamental shrubs, coconut palms, Washingtonias, Cycas and ground covers. The main focus here was the golf course view, so we got permission from the developer to lower the boundary wall to create a feeling of endless space. The garden is grassed using natural carpet grass. It really complements the emerald hills of the golf course beyond.”
Despite the stunning daytime views, Nehme says he thinks the garden is at its most charming at night. “We put a huge amount of effort in to the landscape’s lighting design. Lighting can totally transform a space, creating romantic shadows in certain areas and casting golden pools of light in others. Here it allows the family to make the most of their garden. For this landscape we used a combination of lighting, from spike lights to spotlights that accent individual plants, delicate coloured lights for walkways and fibre optics that add a twinkling star effect on the entrance and in the driveway.”