It may seem rather incredible nowadays to think back to a number of years ago when Dubai had only a handful of garden shops. These humble shops were small and, while cheap and cheerful, were the only places where you could find that bushy bougainvillea or perhaps some pot plants for a hanging basket. Fast forward to today and, while these shops still thrive, for garden enthusiasts there are ubiquitous shops available for everything you could possibly need for that perfect garden.
Indeed Royal Gardenscape, in Al Barsha, was one of the first of a new generation of stores to arrive in Dubai. While you won't find plants here, you will find a stunning collection of items that can make any garden, large or small, look magnificent. Whether your desire is for a plush water feature in the corner of the garden or impressive garden furniture for entertaining, Royal Gardenscape have brought to Dubai some of the best brands available.
The company was founded in 2003 by Sunil Sawlani who explains how the idea for Royal Gardenscape was conceived. "To start with, I love nature. And I found that in Dubai there wasn't really much of a selection for the garden. When I travelled abroad I would see many beautiful things that were not available here, so I started the distribution for Bradstone paving, which comes from the UK. I started buying more things and experimented from there." Bradstone is one of the UK's leading paving manufacturers and its latest range at Royal Gardenscape is designed by TV gardening personality, David Domoney.
While Bradstone is on the way up, other popular trends seem to be on their way down. "I think that the zen trend has come down a little bit and people are going for more classic pieces," says Sawlani. "They are choosing ornaments and items such as water features, accessories and bird baths nowadays."
Of course, the freehold market has also brought about significant changes and, having been in the business during the last few years, Sawlani has witnessed many developments. "A lot of people were not investing in their gardens because they were renting," says Sawlani. "People spent a lot of money on their homes' interior and ignored their gardens. But with the freehold property boom, homeowners began to notice the value of their garden more and considered incorporating decorative landscaping features to beautify the outdoors. People are now realising there is more to the garden than greenery.
"It is not only about plants and shrubs, but also the features that make the garden different from the one next door. Buy a few features to suit your garden. Whether it is a classical natural stone fountain, or a small feature, it will add beauty and value to the garden."
Sawlani has five top tips for the perfect garden and these include adding a small water feature, having good planters, investing in some rock lights and possibly rock speakers for some music in your garden. Additionally, he recommends a good barbecue set made from stone along with nice furniture which allows you to sit and admire your surroundings. But, for most of us whose inexpensive wooden furniture set doesn't survive the sizzling summer months, then it is worth choosing a garden furniture set that will last. "There is a whole selection of furniture available. However, it is a very personal choice and I believe that it should be what you personally enjoy," says Sawlani. However, for those of us who despair at buying yet another garden set, Sawlani says, "We have natural stone tables and chairs which are zero maintenance and last for a very long time."
If that sounds too good to be true then why not head to Royal Gardenscape before they all sell out - after all it may be the last furniture set you have to buy in an extremely long time!