After an outdoor space that feels like a holiday home? One Dubai resident shares how she created just that

Want to make the most of your garden? Just apply the same rules that you use inside your home advises one Dubai resident who did just that

Garden plants
Landscape a garden that truly feels yours by matching your approach to your indoor decoration

“We chose this house because of its view, overlooking the lake,” reveals Heather Drake, who moved into her Meadows 7 villa with her husband and two children 13 years ago (two rescue cats have since joined the family home).

On arrival, bright orange and yellow interlock bricks and dead grass covered the ground. “It looked awful,” says Heather. The garden’s only redeeming features were the bougainvillea and a large Washingtonia palm tree.

Heather’s starting point was planning different zones. “We wanted a convenient sitting area, a dining spot that is close to the kitchen and a lawn located where we could put a pool in at a later date.” She called up the help of Bin Ghanim (050 351 4044) to build her dream garden.

The existing palm tree remained where it was and became part of a desert planting area, while the borders were planted with tropical and Mediterranean plants and trees. 

Outdoor pool dining and lounge areas
The outdoor space is multifunctional, with an outdoor pool, dining and lounge space

A holiday feel was enhanced with raised platforms for certain areas, while sandstone tiles, divided with pebbles set in concrete create interest.

Elsewhere, sandstone gravel, river stones and desert rocks are used, while bark, added in the planted beds, keeps moisture in the ground and the weeds at bay. 

  • Crested Euphorbia
  • Sansevieria bacularis mikado
  • Agave Plants
  • Prickly pear cacti

Comfort is a major focus in the garden furnishings. Indoor IKEA sofas, for example, have been reupholstered in materials more suited to the outdoor climate, while accessories are updated as seasonal trends change.

“A couple of years ago, I had turquoise Marimeko cushions, but now I’m following the popular palm print style.”

Heather’s interiors-oriented approach to her garden ensures she and her family make the most of it. “I like to sit, relax and enjoy the space with friends and family,” she enthuses. “Our latest addition is our Sonos speakers that was our little Christmas present to ourselves.”

Heather Drake’s tips for gardening in the UAE

Outdoor resting area with sofas and table
Made from no-maintenance composite wood, the durable platforms are from Floorworld
  • Work out where the sun and shade falls in your garden and plant accordingly.
  • Grow what works well in the area. Look to the municipality and what your neighbours are growing for inspiration.
  • Treat outdoor lighting like indoor lighting. Layer lighting and use spotlights to light up trees, mood lighting for sitting areas and put a dimmer switch on the pendant over the dining table. Solar-powered fairy lights look pretty and come on automatically.

Gain more insight into how you can transform your garden and outdoor space here.

Photographs by Muthu Kumar and Hiral Kapadia

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