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A Thai-style double-level garden in Al Barari

A luxury double-level garden in Al Barari fuses the best of contemporary and casual design

  • The garden's main attractions are the two massive pools connected by a three-metre granite wall with runniImage Credit: Grace Paras/ANM
  • While the plant life may differ throughoutthe garden, the materials are the same and include travertine, blackImage Credit: Grace Paras/ANM

Our client, who often travels to the Far East, wanted to create a Thai-inspired ambience in his Al Barari garden," says Kamelia Bin Zaal, Second Nature's creative landscape director. Built from scratch over four months, the impressive garden boasts two levels of tropical luxury, with a swimming pool on each, outdoor showers, an impressive staircase and layers of lush vegetation.

The garden's main attractions are the two massive pools connected by a three-metre granite wall with running water, creating a sleek and contemporary water feature. "It marks a clear division between the upper and lower levels of the garden and also gives the space a tropical-hotel feel as one can hear the constant sound of water," Kamelia says. "Regardless of their connection, the upper and lower levels have a deliberate and distinct division in terms of style and function," she adds.

Kamelia says her client entertains outdoors regularly and "played a major role in the design of the garden. He wanted us to create a more formal space at the top that could be used on a daily basis, as well as a more relaxed outdoor area at the bottom in which he, his friends and his family could enjoy time together."

Sticking to the brief, the upper level gives a formal impression with strict, straight lines defining the shape of the immense pool. Two fire features placed on either side of it create a feeling of opulence and grandeur. The curvier more informal lower-level area has a relaxed atmosphere, with several types of vegetation. "The main attraction in the lower level area is the ten-metre Washingtonia palm placed at the pool's centre," Kamelia says, adding, "Coconut palms around the pool also add to the Thai-resort feel."

Plants were used to differentiate the upper and lower levels, with the upper area featuring more structured varieties of vegetation. The few trees and shrubs that were chosen were also used in a more defined planting position to create the more formal feel. "Palms such as Roystonea Regia, also known as royal palms, are used for grandeur and shade. We also used a number of other tree species on either side of the property to give privacy from the neighbours," Kamelia says. "The upper level boasts plants such as Ficus Amstel, Plumeria Obtusa, Albizia Lebbeck, Zamia Furfuracea, Veitchia Merrillii, Cycas Revoluta and Livistona Chinensis." The lower level, on the other hand, is intentionally greener, lusher and slightly wilder than the upper. "We used mounding in the planting beds to emphasise the natural feel and filled it with palms, trees and shrubs," Kamelia says.

While the plant life may differ throughout the garden, the materials are the same and include travertine, black granite, decking and pebbles. "There is a dining area in the upper level of the garden with a deck, a wooden pergola and a sunken seating area made of white travertine. Just behind it is a beautifully simple overflow water feature that adds elegance. Covered in white quartz and silver-grey glass mosaic, it plays with the light and is absolutely beautiful," Kamelia says.

The garden's lavish aspects make it the perfect resort-like fantasy. "I'm happy to say our client loves this space and spends as much of his spare time here as he can," Kamelia says.