Imagine stepping inside a luxurious garden in your home, with cratered sidewalks dotted with bougainvillea blooms, enviably green trees and grass, and plants so luscious it seems as though they’ve leapt out of a storybook. Emirati landscape architect Kamelia Zaal, the lead designer at KLD Playscapes and a landscape architect known for greening several developments in the UAE, knows just what it takes to sustain greenery in the country’s hot climate. With projects such as the new Nasab by KOA Canvas, Al Barari, and the Chelsea Flower Show to her credit, Kamelia reveals to Villa 88 her top five secrets to creating a plush summer garden in your space.
Always check your irrigation systems before it starts getting too hot. Make sure irrigation is set for three times rather than twice a day, which is the default requirement for the winter months. To be most effective, your irrigation system should be set to be on at cooler times of the day, such as early morning, late evening and night time, to prevent scorching.
When you’re planting your garden in the winter months (don’t ever plant in the summer), make sure you’ve positioned them correctly. Each plant likes different amounts of sun and shade. If a plant that likes semi-shade is in a spot filled with sunlight, it’ll suffer and potentially die. You can never over-read a label, so please read the labels before you purchase plants that you like aesthetically or functionally, and follow the suggested instructions as closely as you can.
The grass will scorch if you try cutting it too short in the summer months. Keep it longer through the season to allow it to handle the heat more gently.
Don’t cut any of your plants during the summer months, as this may impede the growth of flowers that are about to bloom.
Most importantly, I’d encourage sustainable gardening. We live in an arid climate, so desert plants are the perfect choice for your garden. It can still be a green haven and look beautiful. Firstly, you’d be using species that are native to the country’s hot climate, and secondly, you’d be saving one of the plants’ scarcest resources, water. Thirdly, the cost of water will be low as you’ll be implementing this sustainable cycle of life.
Photography by Aasiya Jagadeesh; Images courtesy of Kamelia Zaal