This clean-lined, contemporary outdoor space is the product of perfect synergy between the owners of the property, me as landscape designer and the builders who constructed it," says Paul Toscana, managing director of Toscana Landscaping. "To create a garden on this level - meaning one that combines aesthetics and functionality so perfectly - fluid communication and understanding between everyone involved is essential, not to mention being totally aware of the potential of the plot in order to maximise it."
Starting with what Paul calls "a blank page," it took the Toscana team four months to complete this garden that sits alongside The Els Club Dubai golf course in Victory Heights. While the emphasis is kept on the main pool, the garden is skilfully stretched beyond boundaries, merging into the surrounding greens. "We tried our best to maximise the phenomenal golf course views," Paul says. "The brief was to centralise all the elements of the garden around the swimming pool, creating a living space outdoors, but at the same time ensuring that it blended into the greens. The owners specified that they wanted a smooth transition from the indoors to the outdoors so that when they walked from the house into the garden it felt seamless. The minimalist design gave the desired effect where indoor spaces were enlivened by expansive views of the reflective swimming pool and the golf course. We wanted to create the sensation that the garden is boundless, yet grounded at the same time."
Replete with a Lynx Professional barbecue, dining area, swimming pool, bar, shower, sunken seating area and fire feature, the modern landscape is any entertainer's dream. "The whole concept revolved around family and friends enjoying the outdoors together," Paul says. "The homeowner needed a space that catered to various needs, from entertaining and social gatherings to contemplative, intimate spaces for quiet family time. Every element of the garden is expertly thought out, from the strategically positioned seats that provide an open view of the pool and golf course, to the tiles and marble used to complement the minimalist feel of the space. The mood is peaceful and relaxed, but sleek and modern."
In terms of materials, Paul selected antique-finish Travertine marbles of differing shades and contrasts to create defining lines and borders. The bar was also finished in marble to add a resort-style feel to the place while the pool features crackled glass ceramic mosaics that reflect the sun's rays and create a beautiful shimmer across the water. The most challenging part of the project, Paul says, was "designing a landscape that maximised all available space but took into account that every element used needed to be able to withstand hot summers".
Similarly, when it came to choosing flora, the climate was a key consideration. "We selected full-sun plants," Paul says. "These included four to five different types of palms like date, washingtonia, carpentiera, robellini and cycas to create a layered effect, as well as a variety of scented plants including jasmine and plumeria."
Paul says that in the cooler weather the sound of gently rushing water is not uncommon in the outdoor space thanks to water features placed throughout. "There are two modern water features in the front garden that offer a minimalist visual effect, while the main water feature at the back is the pool's sleek blade element designed to complement the overflow effect of the pool, creating ripples and movement on the water's surface, as well as a relaxing sound."
Of all the elements in the garden, Paul says his favourite has to be the striking fire feature that's housed in an eye-catching architectural frame near the pool. "This is definitely the main focal point and looks down the pool from the seating area. The flickering light it casts at night creates amazing plant shadows that act like backdrops to the framed arch feature. It's absolutely stunning."