It was important for the owners of this Palm Jumeirah property that the shape of their garden complemented the architecture of their villa, a curvaceous sea-facing structure with a distinctly Malibu feel.
“The landscaping of this garden was definitely inspired by the individualistic architectural layout of the house,” says Nehme Moujaess, managing director of Terraverde and the principle designer of this project. The landscape incorporates curves and soft, flowing lines that fit in seamlessly with its exclusive position along the beach.
The 400-square-metre garden was landscaped from scratch, with the only original element being the swimming pool. “Even though the pool was original, we renovated it entirely, adding a seating space, swim-up bar and an infinity edge that flows into the bar area,” Nehme says. “The infinity edge’s positioning was intentional. When you sit at the bar, you can hear the soft, gentle flow of water, which is an apt sound when you consider the view.”
The property owners, who have lived here since May 2010, were very clear about the aesthetic feel and functionality of their garden, saying, “The landscape had to have certain features, including a swimming pool and swim-up bar, so we started off with those and designed the rest of the garden around them.” But Nehme admits that it was challenging getting the design exactly right. “We started by taking the pool back to its concrete shell.
We then remodelled and extended it to accommodate the seating area, swim-up bar, stools and infinity edge. The pool was waterproofed and then mosaic tiles, which the owners chose themselves, were added to it, along with soft lighting that gives the garden a magical feel in the evening.”
Illumination in the remainder of the garden is very specific to each area. “The façade of the house features stainless-steel lights that give off a warm, white light, while the inside of the pool features LED, multi-coloured lights. We also placed small blue strip lights around the pool bar’s counter tops and blue spike bulbs to illuminate the royal palms. Small spotlights built into steps at the bottom of the garden lead the way to the beach.”
Additional design elements scattered throughout the garden add to the stunning look of the landscape while maximising functionality at the same time. “We added three fire pots on pedestals around the dining area,” Nehme says. “This not only frames the casual seating area, but draws the eye out to the sea view beyond.”
Another clever design trio is the poolside cluster of custom-made pebble pot water features. Teak decking and brushed travertine, which is less slippery than normal travertine, surround the pool. Planters are made of stacked quartz, and table tops and the bar and barbecue counter are crafted from lustrous granite.
Describing the garden’s greenery, Nehme says the owners were looking for “a tropical but distinctly Middle Eastern feel”. He achieved this look by layering luscious plants and trees, including sturdy royal palms, veitchia merrillii and robellini, sprays of zamia, coconut palms, cycas and clumps of plumeria and bamboo alongside each other throughout the garden.
While the villa’s floor-to-ceiling windows allow for views of the landscape from every room, the property owners admit that they prefer being out in the garden rather than in the house during the cooler months, enjoying the calming seaside views and taking in the abundant greenery.