We all take pride in our homes and often spend large sums of money on the interiors, but many of us then fall short when it comes to garden design.
Investing money in the garden is not only a lifestyle investment but a financial one too, in a place where most developments consist of similar buildings it's often the garden that sets them apart. And a well designed one is more appealing to a prospective tenant or buyer.
My philosophy for gardens is that they should be an extension of the home; there should be a natural fluid progression from the internal space of the home to the external, a seamless transition between inside and out.
There are many elements to consider when designing a garden but the most important are aspect, orientation and location. These three factors, combined with your own requirements for what you want in the garden, will determine the layout and form of the external space. The aspect, or the view from your garden will determine where you will want to place seating: If you have great views you will want to face them, if you have no views you will want to create your own points of focus. The orientation of your home will determine the path the sun travels across your garden and thus determine which areas will have sun and which will have shade. This will affect the zoning. For example if you are going to have a swimming pool you will want it to be in a spot that gets the most sun and seating areas would naturally be placed in shady spots. Planting is also an important aspect to consider. Lastly, location will affect the style and practicality of the garden. A rural garden should reflect the landscape around it, beach fronts will need to be wind and salt tolerant, urban garden settings should reflect the local architecture and be in keeping with the feel of the area. Though the garden should reflect the environment around it, it doesn't mean to say you cannot introduce a new influence; fusing styles is a very common practice in design today.
Here in Dubai we see a lot of contemporary work woven together with traditional Islamic design. The key, I think, to successful style fusion is to find a stereotypical aspect of each style and interlace it in a way that creates a new unique look.
- Ben Haberfield has been in the garden design business for 10 years in Australia, Indonesia, Europe and now the UAE. To find out more log on to www.growgardens.ae