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05 June 2023

Gardening designing Arabic gardens

By Ben Haberfield

The current trend in design is fusion, allowing us to choose between many different garden styles and periods – from Arabic to Zen, from water to zeroscape or from Renaissance to futuristic.

The fusion of two or more contrasting or complimentary styles woven together creates a new identity that feels fresh, yet familiar.

Here in the UAE we see a lot of traditional Arabic design fused with the contemporary, mostly in luxury hotels.

But fusion can also be applied to gardens. A pleasant and logical modern solution to this confusing choice of styles is to simply incorporate both the formal, and informal into your available green space.

There is a long and very strong tradition of the concept of Islamic garden design throughout the Arab world. From the hanging gardens of Babylon and the Alhambra gardens in Granada to the humble courtyard garden of Arabic townhouses, the garden is seen as a reflection of paradise.

The Persian word for paradise, pairidaeeza, is a combination of two words that mean surrounding wall, thus the concept of paradise is a garden surrounded by a wall.

The two most important aspects of an Arabic-style garden are geometry and water. Water, life giving and reflecting and geometry, providing harmony of elements.

Sacred geometry which is used in decorative patterns in many applications such as floor design, wall claddings and lattice screens, is believed to derive from or describe the basic laws of the universe and that the study and contemplation of these geometries would lead to an understanding of the origins of everything. The basic layout of the garden was also based on geometry and symmetry, typically the courtyard garden.

Situated in the centre of the building complex, it was divided into four quadrants by four water channels, these water channels represented the four rivers of paradise.

Alternatively a shallow reflection pool situated in the centre of the courtyard reflects the sky and architecture of the building, creating a harmony that unifies the whole landscape. 

- Ben Haberfield has been in the business for 10 years, creating gardens in Australia, Indonesia, the UK, France, Italy and now the UAE. To find out more log on to www.growgardens.ae