On the hunt for garden inspiration? Well look no further! We recently had the honour of exploring Home Club ME’s Interior Décor Expert, Ash Young of Adore Décor DXB breathtaking garden makeover.
These beautiful images of Ash’s villa garden were taken by the talented Enchante Studios. We are absolutely in love with this slice of heaven in Damac Hills and we are swooning over her oh so cool accessories.
Read on as we speak to Ash about the process of her dream garden makeover and her top tips for aspiring garden designers. Enjoy!
Ash Young @adoredecordxb
We bought our villa in Damac Hills two years ago and we knew from the very beginning that we wanted to do something special with the garden. However, replacing the kitchen became a priority, so the garden had to wait! We were finally ready to begin the makeover this year though, and we spent a few months meeting with various different landscaping companies to get quotes and finalise the design, before the actual work started in June.
Talk us through how the garden looked before you took the makeover plunge?
Our garden is U shaped with 3 long, skinny sides that wrap around the house. It was just a patch of sand when we bought the house so we did a cheap and cheerful combination of artificial grass and tiling to cover the floor. We had an IKEA pergola over a seating area, a dining area that wasn’t covered, a second hand BBQ and trampoline for the kids. It was fine, but fairly basic!
Let’s talk inspiration. Where did you find/seek inspiration for the makeover?
I find inspiration everywhere, but I was particularly inspired by some of the boutique hotel pool areas we saw on holiday in Bali last year, and also by the type of planting we saw in the South of France this year. I knew I wanted to do something interesting with different levels, and that I also wanted dark walls and pool tiles. I found lots of images on Pinterest that helped me crystallize my vision.
What were the most challenging parts of the garden makeover?
I think the greatest challenge was getting the finish done to my (admittedly exacting!) standard. We even cancelled a holiday in the Summer to make sure we could be here checking the work every single day! If you are undertaking a large project, then I can’t overstate the importance of having someone on site acting as a ‘Project Manager’. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself, then hiring someone will reduce stress and costs in the long run, trust me!
And the most enjoyable?
For me it was the selecting of finishes throughout the process, buying accessories and styling at the end! My top tip to achieve a really cohesive result is to insist on seeing real samples of EVERY material you use and cross checking them against each other. For example, I had small pieces of aluminium sprayed various shades of grey to show the colour options for our pergolas. I never choose paint colours from a catalogue, or worse, a website, as they just don’t reflect what you will get in real life.
Even the type of material you paint on can change the colour, so ideally samples should be made from or tested on the material that will be used. When I tested exterior paint colours I actually did it on the boundary wall so I could see them in the position and light they would be in. I also tested various stain options for the meranti wood trellis on small pieces of that particular wood. And when I went shopping for furniture and accessories, I took all my samples with me so I could see whether the items I was choosing would work with everything else in terms of colour, style, texture, etc.
Was environmental impact factored into your design considerations? I.E. – Water usage, etc?
Absolutely. We deliberately went for a low water planting scheme because we wanted the plants we used to be able to survive the climate, and also to reflect the environment we live in. My husband Chris and I both prefer the look of spiky desert plants and cacti anyway so we were happy to have them. The fact that they don’t require an irrigation system is a bonus both financially and environmentally!
What is your favourite part of your new garden?
It’s hard to choose just one, but I really do love the sunken seating area and especially the patterned tiles on the floor of it. If I’m allowed another few, then I’d add the pot clusters, the cactus bed, the view from the sun deck looking down the pool and the pendant lights above the dining table!
You have a great eye for detail. Talk us through the finishing touches and decorative elements.
This is where I felt most comfortable as I really just worked on the same basis as I do when I’m decorating an interior space. My preference is for a restrained colour palette, so we went with various shades of grey warmed up with mustard accents. Even the plants we chose were selected because of the complementary colour of their leaves!
I like to use a few statements pieces in any space and one of my favourites in the garden is the large brass pendant in the sunken seating area which came from Dubai Garden Center. Who says gardens can’t be glamorous?! Outdoor rugs are brilliant for softening exterior spaces making them look that bit more pulled together. I’ve also tried to add interest with patterned tiles and cushions, and by using materials with contrasting textures such as wicker and concrete.
If you choose your materials and fabrics carefully, then you can ensure durability as well as style even, in this climate. Powder coated aluminium, concrete, treated hard woods, composite, good quality tiles and proper UV/moisture resistant fabric should all last well.
Any tips for homeowners looking to makeover their gardens?
Speak to several companies before you start and pick the one that you feel you can have a good working relationship with. It’s so important that you feel able to communicate with your contractors as no project is without its hitches! Also be realistic about your budget going in. I would rather adjust my design to match my budget, rather than trying to get more done on the cheap! You really do get what you pay for.
Your garden is too pretty not to entertain in. Any parties planned over the festive season?
Yes! We will be having a garden party to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in a few weeks time. Our 3 long skinny sides are coming in to play here as one of them will have caterers with live cooking stations, another will have a bar and seating and the third will have a dance floor!
Lastly – Share the love! Any suppliers or service providers you used, who you would recommend to our readers?
– Our contractor for the pool and landscaping was Pools By Design.
– I know nothing about plants, so we had a planting plan done by Tanja from Gardens By Design. She’s a freelance landscape designer who can also help with whole garden design.
– The patterned cement tiles are from Mosaico Tiles and are handmade at their factory in Ras Al Khaimah.
– The exterior paint on the boundary wall is Benjamin Moore’s ‘Ashwood Moss’. The Arborcoat stain on the wooden trellis and pump room is also from Benjamin Moore. It comes in different colours (we used ‘Black’) and will help protect the wood from the elements.
– The matching pots (all 28 of them!) came from Acacia Garden Center at Warsan.
– The pendant lights above the dining table came from Dragon Mart.
– The outdoor cushions in the seating area were made by the team at Black Shutters Curtains.