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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.