As we struggle through the summer months, entertaining in the garden seems like a distant memory, but it will not be too long before those long balmy evenings are upon us once again and one family in Jumeirah Islands probably cannot wait!
At the home of Saadiya Shaikh, husband Rehan and their delightful three children entertaining is the main purpose of their garden. The family, who moved to their home two years ago and had their garden meticulously designed by Green Desert Landscaping, knew from the outset what they wanted for their spacious garden and that this would include all the facilities needed for entertaining.
Saadiya explains, "We made a lot of structural changes inside our home, so the next year we did the same outside. Basically we wanted a place where we could have pool parties for the children and we could also dine and entertain. We often have big dinners for 60-plus people so we thought we would use the garden as an extension of our house. We always like to bring the indoors outside."
When the family relocated to their Jumeirah Islands home there was already landscaping in place, but Saadiya wanted a more practical area to enjoy. "When we moved in the swimming pool was there and some basic grass along with a few plants," she admits. "We had a lot of grass before but, because that took a lot of maintenance, I wanted the garden to be more practical and have a nice pool area. We also wanted areas where we could sit and enjoy a barbecue and we put in palm trees, a fountain in the front garden, changed the grass and added gazebos and pergolas."
When you look at the garden now, you can see that this decision worked well. It is all neatly laid out with areas for relaxing, swimming, barbecuing or for the children to play and have fun.
But one of the areas that is particularly special to Saadiya is her majlis. "The arabian majlis is my favourite area," claims Saadiya. "Although the house has more of a Spanish influence, we tried to make the garden have an Arab/Moroccan feel. I saw the majlis at Bab Al Shams and I said ‘I have to incorporate this in our house'! I really wanted it and in Dubai it is very appropriate. It is also a nice area to sit and has space for plenty of people."
With the family keen to entertain in the garden, a barbecue area was another mandatory part of their landscaping and is neatly tucked to one side.
Elsewhere in the garden is a pretty pebble pathway along with a barrage of flower pots in the front garden which greet visitors. "I have lots of pot plants!" says Saadiya. "I got them from various nurseries and different places. I have a lot of pots that I leave for seasonal planting. I like flowers in the garden as I like a lot of colour."
While her vinca continues to last through the summer, Saadiya enjoys her seasonal planting, which includes flora such as delicate petunias. However there is year-round splendour too with the permanent landscaping boasting palm trees, hibiscus, bouganvillea and gardenia which all add a delightful hint of colour to the garden and the delicate aroma which the gardenia provides. Although in the day the garden is alive with the different plants and flowers it takes on a completely different look in the night. Saadiya says, "The garden looks really pretty in the night when the lighting is dim and diffused. The lighting enhances everything as there are no harsh floodlights." In addition, a garden music system, belonging to husband Rehan, means that the family or any friends who come over can relax in the softly lit garden with the sounds of music in the background.
With the arabian majlis to sit around, pretty flowers to observe and lighting to complement the theme, this garden certainly provides visitors with a lovely warm welcome.