With their beautiful garden, complete with a swimming pool and palm trees, Donna Dempsey and her husband, Wayne Dooley, who own a home on the Palm Jumeirah, have an intimate haven to come home to, so perhaps it's not surprising that at the weekends they want to make the most of it.
"The problem is that we don't want to leave our home on a Friday. Instead, friends come over with their children and we have a barbecue, kayak or walk on the beach," admits Donna.
The couple moved into the villa four years ago and were, in fact, only the sixth family to move onto the Palm. Having previously rented in Dubai, having a garden in their new home exactly as they wanted it was something that was important to them.
"Because this is our home and we lived in a rented villa before, we wanted to have the garden landscaped professionally," says Donna. "It also adds value to the property and it is almost like adding square footage to your home."
Although the landscaping was a consideration right from the beginning, the couple wisely chose not to get the garden landscaped straight away.
"When we moved in, we decided not to do the garden immediately. We wanted to get a feel for it and wanted to get to know the garden and which areas got the sun and the shade and where we would sit out," suggests Donna.
Armed with all the information, they eventually hired TerraVerde following a recommendation. "The garden took about five weeks. We love it! TerraVerde were absolutely brilliant. They did extra things like using armoured cable for the garden lighting," says Donna. She adds, "I learnt a lot from when I had my first kitchen installed; I would now never have any work done in my home without personal recommendation and TerraVerde were recommended to us."
Part of the initial brief to TerraVerde was to avoid lots of grass and, as you approach the front garden, you can see that this was an astute idea. "We didn't want too much grass - you tend to just look at it," comments Donna. "As we didn't want a lot of grass TerraVerde came up with the idea of the gravel at the front of the garden and they suggested the Ying and Yang design that they had previously done for a property in Emirates hills. We put that in along with some frangipani." The Ying and Yang design works particularly well and creates a more unique approach to the home.
With this Palm Jumeirah villa and its garden a delight to look at from the minute you arrive at the home, what makes it more quintessential is its eclectic mix of foliage. "My favourite flowers are the gardenias," says Donna. "We have lots of jasmine too - they are quite delicate and I love them. At night the scent is beautiful and they cover great areas of wall making the home look lived in. We also have umbrella plants and pandanus, which are great for filling areas."
While cleverly placed garden lighting highlights many of these plants, another of Donna's favourites in the garden are the palm trees. She remarks, "I love the palm trees. When the wind is going through the fronds it makes you feel like you are on holiday." With beautiful plants and flowers to look after both Donna and Wayne enjoy pottering around the garden during their spare time. Donna says, "The gardeners only water and keep cutting the plants so on Fridays we potter around and we both love it."
Another important part of looking after the garden is ensuring that pests don't ruin anything and Donna has a novel way of ensuring this. She says, "The garden is prone to aphids and mealy bugs (which can attack the roots of plants), but because we have some quite delicate plants we can't use pesticide. So I spray soapy water on the whole plant - soapy water is much more environmentally friendly."
While the couple were involved in the planning of the garden with their landscapers, maintaining a keen interest and looking after the greenery is something that many people often forget once they have landscaped their garden. However, this garden on the Palm Jumeirah proves that keeping a watchful eye on your plants and flowers is essential if you want to keep your landscape looking beautiful throughout its lifetime.