Blog : tropical garden

Tropical Garden Ideas for Big Family

Tropical Garden Ideas for Big Family

Big families deserve spacious backyards. This large tropical garden is a treasure trove of design choices that celebrate nature. There is plenty to learn from it.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Panchat /// Photography: Sungwan Phratep /// Design: Surin Kamolsiriwat of Bannsuantaweekoon

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The compound has plenty of room for three houses with carports and a building used for accommodating guests. The built environments that provide the setting for human activity exist together in one big nature-filled space. For a humid climate, the homeowners put a mix of Tropical plants in between buildings. It’s not an easy task because each green space has to suit the specific needs of ones who live there.

For the father’s house, the designer puts in a flat concrete paver passageway that is easy to walk on. It is lined with only a few low-maintenance trees. He also spruces up the corridor with an assortment of potted plants turning it into colorful works of art.

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Nearby two other houses belonging to his sons stand a good distance from guest accommodations. They boast beautiful tropical gardens that look much greener than that of the father. Shaded by big trees, the buildings are spaced to allow winds to reach ventilation openings.

At ground level, dependable native species of shrubs and groundcover plants in rich tones go to work protecting the soil. They include red gingers, ferns, firebrands and zebra plants. Where there is direct sunlight, the designer puts in flowering plants filling every nook and cranny with colorful blossoms.

“The key to garden design lies in a good knowledge of plants and the ability select and incorporate them,” explained the designer. “Large trees love strong sunlight. So we plant them along the edges. They provide welcoming shade and give the property value and character. Meantime the species that don’t need much sunlight look their best at the center of the garden.”

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For a large backyard, water features are a must. They fill the tropical garden with soothing sounds of running water and give it natural forest appeal. Here the beautiful backyard does what it says it will do – provide a setting for family activity. Together different generations enjoy the great outdoors without leaving the comfort of their extended compound.

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Stunning Authentic Tropical Garden

Stunning Authentic Tropical Garden

For an escape from the chaos of the concrete jungle, nothing compares to this garden with an authentic tropical look. The salubrious backyard has got them all – the rainforest canopy, bird sounds, and the mellifluous music of rustling leaves and waterfalls.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Isara Sonsart /// Photos: Sitthisak Namkahm /// Garden Decorator: Suansuay Landscape Co., Ltd.

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Even as he lives in the city, the owner of this house considers himself a nature lover. Without hesitation, he sets aside more than half of his property for forest gardening incorporating trees, shrubs, perennial vegetation and water features.

When he told the garden designer what he wanted, the designer not only set up a Tropical garden, but also made the house an inextricable part of the lush oasis. Beautiful black palms were planted to shade the house against the sun. Australian rose apples were put in along the perimeter wall to camouflage the house from the outside. And a backyard waterfall was built near a sundeck designed for family activities.

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The heart of this little forest is a pavilion overlooking a really beautiful garden with a fishpond. Visitors can gaze in admiration at brightly colored carps swimming in it. One has to cross a small wood bridge to get there. Mimicking real forests of the Tropics, it’s a health giving place and a perfect sight to see.

“I feel relaxed physically and mentally every time I come into this garden,” said the owner. “After a hard day at work, I need this delightful ambience to make me feel rejuvenated and better prepared for the future.”

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The Tropical garden setting has charmed small animals. The owner said that birds and squirrels always visited here, giving him the opportunity to study their behaviors closely, which didn’t occur often in the urban area.

A perfect retreat from city life, it’s where you can feel the breeze blowing in your hair and leaves rustling in the wind. The sounds of moving water make it feel like an escape to another world – one embraced by Mother Nature.

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Picture-Perfect Home in a Rainforest Garden

Picture-Perfect Home in a Rainforest Garden

With incredibly lush gardens on the property, this house brings to mind an ideal tropical jungle, but with even more bright colors of flowering and leafy plants than in the real thing.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Warapsor  /// Photos: Sitthisak Namkham /// Landscaping: Pergola by Panat Sumalroj

Gardens all around the house create a relaxing green atmosphere.
Gardens all around the house create a relaxing green atmosphere.
The water pond comes in two parts -- a small still-water pool for goldfish, and a bigger pond that holds Amazon arapaima with strong currents running through it.
The water pond comes in two parts — a small still-water pool for goldfish, and a bigger pond that holds Amazon arapaima with strong currents running through it.
From the inside looking out, colorful varieties of plants abound. At the far end a beautiful waterfall fills the garden ambience with soothing sounds. In the foreground are two separate fishponds.
From the inside looking out, colorful varieties of plants abound. At the far end a beautiful waterfall fills the garden ambience with soothing sounds. In the foreground are two separate fishponds.

The owner got what he wanted — a permanently blooming tropical rainforest garden with beautiful trees in almost every corner. Most of them are native species with beautiful leaves and flowers.  The owner had gone to Chiang Mai to pick them out himself. His favorites include cigar flower, fan palm, and a lot of fern varieties.

A previous architect had designed and built the hardscape at the same time as the house. Only later on was the garden design and landscaping taken on by Panat.

Panat said that all remaining landscaping was dependent on the big trees the owner had planted before any designing went on, and on the hardscape which had already been set up.

Oak-leaf ferns thrive at the water’s edge while red rhipsalis ramulosa hangs down from treetops as if growing naturally.
Oak-leaf ferns thrive at the water’s edge while red rhipsalis ramulosa hangs down from treetops as if growing naturally.
A bridge made of old railway ties crosses a small pool at the center of the garden. ///The main yard connects the front of the house to the tropical forest garden near the fence. Here plants with different leaf textures create a natural-looking atmosphere.
A bridge made of old railway ties crosses a small pool at the center of the garden. /// The main yard connects the front of the house to the tropical forest garden near the fence. Here plants with different leaf textures create a natural-looking atmosphere.
The house opens onto a grass lawn. Across the pond a relaxing deck and lounge leads to the inside garden.
The house opens onto a grass lawn. Across the pond a relaxing deck and lounge leads to the inside garden.

The designer responded by using ground cover to highlight groups of mixed plant varieties, playing with various flower and leaf colors, helping keep the large garden from an overly formal or harsh appearance.

Everywhere around the house are ponds and the sound of running water. The owner takes pleasure in coming out to admire his garden every day.  It’s the best possible reflection of his love for lovely, peaceful gardens in a perfect natural setting.

Wooden decking affords plenty of space for deck furniture made for socializing and admiring the scenery. Parts of the wood deck juts out over the carp pond.
Wooden decking affords plenty of space for deck furniture made for socializing and admiring the scenery. Parts of the wood deck juts out over the carp pond.
The owner came across a bird sculpture at a community mall and commissioned an artist to design one like it for his own use. He wanted it to give the impression of birds in flight while functioning as fountain and waterfall ornaments. ///The walkway connecting the house to the carport runs past a spirit house set on a beautiful garden spot.
The owner came across a bird sculpture at a community mall and commissioned an artist to design one like it for his own use. He wanted it to give the impression of birds in flight while functioning as fountain and waterfall ornaments. ///The walkway connecting the house to the carport runs past a spirit house set on a beautiful garden spot.
The swimming pool is at the center of the house. For privacy, tall plants block outside view. A passageway conveniently connects this spot to the gym. /// Chaise lounges by the swimming pool are the owner’s favorite hangout, where you can find him almost any day.
The swimming pool is at the center of the house. For privacy, tall plants block outside view. A passageway conveniently connects this spot to the gym. /// Chaise lounges by the swimming pool are the owner’s favorite hangout, where you can find him almost any day.

 

Link: http://livingasean.com/garden/the-house-of-rainforest-garden/

 

 

 

 

The House in the Rainforest Garden

The House in the Rainforest Garden

A place to relax among nature among beautiful plants that grow quickly and don’t take a lot of maintenance. These are the main components of this tropical garden.

/// Thailand ///

Story : Apasri Meemana /// English Version : Peter Montalbano /// Photos : Sitthisak Namkham

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Garden gazebo for work and relaxation surrounded by the joys of nature
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The large staghorn fern on the freshwater mangrove gets minerals from decaying leaves and helps preserve moisture
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The slender leaves of a regal-looking dragon tree blow gracefully in the wind

Hapsoh, Surachai and Tassanai, the owners of this house are self-taught, but starting with a rough plan she created real beauty with a natural stone garden path, a small wooden bridge, imaginative use of railroad ties and old wood to create a relaxing spot, a stone table and bench set, and a brook that cascades merrily down a waterfall. The family hired craftsmen to build the hardscape, move a portable gazebo to the front of the house, and plant large trees among heavy natural boulders.

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Porous (volcanic) rock around the base of a tree is a boundary for plants so they won’t grow out and overrun the walkway.

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They decided to install some of their favorite species: tree fern, spike moss, staghorn fern, maidenhair fern, birds-nest fern, brake fern, etc. along with evergreen shade trees such as mangos from the old garden, areca palm, and freshwater mango, using soft, easy-to-maintain moss for ground cover. Asked about the difficulty of maintenance, the owner’s son adds,

“We have an older gardener who comes in to trim plants, dispose of old leaves, and do pest control. There’s a sprinkler system on an automatic schedule to make sure the plants get enough water. Sometimes we go with Mom to Bang Yai to buy plants and ornaments. Big plants and special orders we get from Khlong 15, which provides a lot of services.”

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Large natural stones placed decoratively on top of each other in garden spots, with plants growing among them for a natural look.
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Plants climbing a tree fern trunk fill out the natural forest setting
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Pink rain lily blossoms emerge from crevices in volcanic rocks
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Long cement banks create a small brook flowing over rocks and river stones and past a decaying log

Hapsoh leaves us with some thoughts:

“I love living with plants and the sound of water. Looking out from the bedroom or kitchen the garden view is beautiful. This all started long ago as I was relaxing at the Lo Su waterfall in Umphang District, Tak Province, and felt overcome with happiness and peace. I loved the sound of the flowing water. Nature spoke to me, and I decided then and there to go back and build a small waterfall for our own house. And since then, this garden has become indispensable to our family.”

 

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link: http://www.baanlaesuan.com/category/garden/

The Artificial Grass Garden with Tropical Touch

The Artificial Grass Garden with Tropical Touch

How do you blend artificial grass within a tropical design gardening? This garden will help you the imagine new ideas on how to use this low maintenance material to your garden.

/// Thailand /// 

Story : Warapsorn Akkhaneeyut /// English Version : Peter Montalbano /// Photos : Chaiyapruk Podang, Sitthisak Namkham /// Landscape : Pergolar

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Open space between the two houses for garden parties and socializing
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Ground cover plants with softening textures and lines: screwpine, spider plant, oyster lily, Spanish shawl, and Malabar chestnut
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The unique form of ajambolan plum near the wooden deck leans out to the path
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A trellised pavilion behind the house matches the front. Railroad ties converted into a stair, typical for a tropical garden, but fitting the modern style, too
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The beautiful calabash tree in a prominent spot with a play of river stones and the artificial grass

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The Khlong Bang Ramat area in Thonburi is still full of plantations, and people get around by water: farmers paddle boats with crops to sell, tourist boats regularly ply the canals. This is one reason Chaiyote Yanyongwayrote moved back here to create a beautiful home and garden.

The owner bought this property many years ago. He tells us, “The old house was on Ratchada-Tha Phra Road. At one time that was all gardens, too, but eventually, we were surrounded by buildings and had no privacy, and so we built here, where it still has that garden feeling. Travel is convenient, too. Not far behind this relaxing canal is an expressway interchange.”

It took 6 years to build the garden and two contemporary-style houses (one for his daughter, the other for Chaiyote and his wife), but the long wait allowed trees and plants to grow to maturity. Each room in the houses – designed by Sathan Wijitsanguan–opens on three sides for panoramic garden views.

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Matching trelliswork encloses deck and waterfall pond.
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Wooden deck in front boards set in an interesting pattern

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Beautifully shaped evergreens and perennials fill the garden, with a gravel pathway and brightly colored plant beds neatly interspersed. The more formal area between the houses is used for receptions and social events. Behind, near the canal, the garden is lush with shade trees and plants with varied colors and shapes. The landscaper here is Panat Sumalroj, of Pergolar. Chaiyote says,

“I like an open look. The garden gives a beautiful vitality: without it the house looks too austere. The designer had already created some of the outdoor spaces, like the pavilion, wooden deck, and pond. The landscaper followed up with connecting and surrounding areas and positioned the big trees. There are many unusual plants, but the grasses in some areas are artificial. The landscaper explains, “The owner didn’t want to cut grass often, so I steered him this way. It reduces maintenance a lot . . . .”

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The garden behind the house has a natural stone walkway through it and has a lot of shady trees
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A courtyard between houses with contemporary-style granite benches
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Path from the rear of the house opens into a small courtyard

The house is modern contemporary with some Asian flavor, sothe garden keeps a proportionally orderly look.

“The owner likes trimmed plants like Siamese rough bush and bonsai,” says Panat.“I start with the traditional Thai garden,trying to keep a tropical flavor. The water banyan and white merantitrees are sculptures unto themselves. If there’s no animation then it’s just an ordinary garden. I put a gravel path connecting the 2 houses, going by the grass in a playful curve, makes the square house look softer.”

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This orderly garden is wide and open. The hardscape and the artificial grass fits in well and has practical benefits, trimmed plants tucked away in appropriate spots. All in all, this is a highly pleasing mixture of the tropical and modern garden.

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link: http://www.pergolar.com

Under the Canopy of a Tropical Garden

Under the Canopy of a Tropical Garden

Relax under the crisp canopy of tall trees; inhale the smell of the earth after the rain, or just let cool breezes blow your hair all day. That’s exactly the atmosphere inside this beautiful tropical garden.

/// Thailand ///

Landscape Architect: Warawut Kaewsuk, Supong Haewpet /// Photo: Tanakitt Khum-on

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Water cascading down the faces of rock formations fills the garden atmosphere with sweet, soothing sounds. The cliff faces are bedecked with a rich array of green vegetation such as fern and moss and reclining trees.

Step in, follow the trail, and we soon come before a handsome abode nestled in the midst of what resembles a park filled water vapors and lush green scenery. The homeowner, Asst. Prof. Alisara Charuenvanich said:

“I really love this style of garden. One day after reading the works of Warawut Kaewsuk, it soon became apparent that this was it. This was the direction of the design.”

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Walkways are built close to the exterior walls for ease of maintenance.
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Small streams meander past various attractions on the “forest” floor.

“So I gave freedom to create for the landscape architects to the fullest of their capabilities. All I said was that I wanted a waterfall, a pond, and a gazebo. I let them know about my hobbies; reading, painting and that I wanted an easy-to-keep garden. And Warawut Kaewsuk, the architect did exactly that. And another architect, Supong Haewpet says:

“I want this to be an arboretum where many different trees and shrubs thrive in a salubrious environment, and where organisms big and small live together in symbiosis. And easy to maintenance.”

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Tributaries at the very top of the fall are designed to mimic those found in natural forests. From here small streams meander through rock formations, rapids, and tree trunks to form a big waterfall. /// A sitting area on the reception hall terrace is the favorite spot where the owner stays in touch with natural environs.

“Firstly, we started out with the hardscape. We sought the owner’s consent to turn a gazebo into a reception hall with more functions. Then we laid out passageways connecting all areas including the poolside, and all details as natural feeling.

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A reception hall is nestled in the mid of lush green scenery. It is a relaxing, wholesome destination on the property.
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The reception hall, as seen from another perspective, is bedecked with artificial free-form rock formations that line the water’s edge.

“The waterfall is the highlight of this garden. It starts with small tributaries cascading from the top. They soon come together to form a confluence before tumbling down into a receiving pond below. By design, the main fall is seen from the reception hall. All the while, the salubrious atmosphere is filled with mellifluous sounds of water hitting the misty pond. And we plant the big trees first followed by mid-sized ones. Different heights evoke images of natural forests that coexist in perfect harmony with water features.

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A lush green, refreshing atmosphere typical of a Tropical forest.

“Three kinds of plants are grown here – small, mid-sized, and tall. They mix and thrive the way nature intended. Some of them do not even straight but leaning sideway as if in real forests. Mid-sized trees are good along the fence line, where they serve as privacy screens. Fern is more suitable on the waterfall, where it thrives in symbiosis with other plants in the wild. For safety, we avoid using chemicals, be it insecticide or herbicide.

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A mix of different trees, shrubs, and moss replicates the ecological system that is typical of a Tropical forest.
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Fern adds a touch of nature and a vibrant atmosphere to the entire garden landscape. /// Siam tulip (cercuma alismatifolia) thrives alongside spike moss as if in the wild.

“I want people to be happy with their work, regardless of what they do for a living. Specifically, I am pleased that our works of art make the property owner very happy.”

 

link: http://www.baanlaesuan.com/category/garden/

Rooftop Oasis in the Heart of Bangkok

Rooftop Oasis in the Heart of Bangkok

Welcome to another side of Phetchaburi Road. Leave traffic jam behind and step into the rooftop oasis garden of Vikrom Kromadit, the famous Thai author as well as creator and CEO of Amata Corporation.

/// Thailand /// 

Story : Panchat Changchan /// Photos : Sitthisak Namkham

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Surrounded by groups of office and residential buildings, an oasis in the cramped confusion of the metropolis

The concrete and river-pebble pathway winds around under native Thai trees such as gold apple, white sandalwood, and bauhinia standing among taller ones, with sweet fragrances of lignum vitae and gardenia wafting from dazzling blossoms on elegantly formed branches. Nearer to the ground were ferns, arrowroot, konjac, elephant ear, ground orchid, bromeliads, and moss displayed verdant greens. It’s unbelievable that this garden exists high on the rooftop of a big building in the heart of Bangkok. The soil is only about 15cm thick, so what secret techniques did they use to get this perfection?

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First view out outside theKromadit Building elevator: an arboreal tunnel arched with cape jasmine and climbing ylang-ylang
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Vikrom Kromadit, the businessman and famous author, enjoying the garden atmosphere he created

Vikrom tells us, “A garden isn’t something you create and are suddenly finished with. A garden is a living thing. This all happened in stages over 8 – 9 years. At first, we experimented. After we got moss and ferns growing well, we added a lot of improvements. By the time we had it looking good, we’d perfected our knowledge of cultivation and maintenance. The last stage has been the most enjoyable, but it’s all about constant change and adaptation.

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Garden entrance gate, engraved with ancient symbols and set in an arbor of crepe gardenia and other gorgeous plants
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Cape jasmine gardenias amid perennials and other tall shrubs, growing on rocky mounds with moss for slow growth similar to bonsai
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Besides shade-givers such as gardenias, tall bushes such as the climbing ylang-ylang refresh the garden with beautiful forms and fragrant flowers

“There’s nothing temporary here, so maintenance is the most important factor, ensuring plants grow strong and adapt to the environment. The trees are hardy, slow-growing domestic species. They’re planted at intervals on mounds of earth in line with primary building columns and beams, as the roof was not designed to hold a garden’s weight. We worked on a look as natural as possible, even using cement tree supports formed into natural root and vine shapes. Nature is nature. Some things we think of as natural are actually not. In the real forest there’s nothing artificial, but here we have to use certain techniques to make it look like the real thing.”

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Behind the beautiful garden and green lawn is Vikrom’s residence, its Thai architecture a perfect fit for the selected Thai vegetation
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Trees planted on rocky mounds with wooden supports overgrown with climbing vines – clinging to roots are small plants such as button orchid and moss

I walked around in admiration. This space of less than half an acre contains a waterfall, grass lawn, and a wooden deck that can hold 400 people and is used for various events.

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Trees planted all along the curving garden path, each with differently shaped supports, offering contrasting garden views
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Below two guayacan trees are large, well-cared-for golden chicken ferns, plus tree ferns, davallia, Royal Project fern, birds-nest fern, and arrowroot
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Sun and shade are important factors for a forest garden, requiring both long-lived shade trees and shade-tolerant plants. In front, savanna grass, bromeliads, and arrowroot; further in, golden chicken fern, Royal Project fern, and Teysmannia palm
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In front of the main door grow Cape jessamine and guayacan, showing flowers and spreading sweet fragrances to passers by

Birds and other creatures roam freely, a unique sight in the heart of the city. Saying this is heavenly is really not an exaggeration: it has the look of one of nature perfect jungle gardens. Clearly, the owner and creator here loves and understands nature and has created his own heaven, where all things live together in happiness.

link: http://www.baanlaesuan.com/category/garden

Tropical Rainforest with Zen Accent

Tropical Rainforest with Zen Accent

Relaxing shades of green dotted with colorful flowers amid the misty coolness of the tropical rainforest in a Zen-inspired garden. Such is the dreamy garden of Chokchai Ratanaparadorn.

/// Thailand /// 

Story : Apasri Meemana /// Photos : Rithirong Chanthongsuk /// Landscape : Warawut Kaewsuk

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Artificial tree roots and boulders mix with plants to give a realistic impression of a jungle environment.

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          “We lived in a condo for decades and missed being close to nature. Meeting Warawut Kaewsuk I got to see the kind of tropical garden design I loved, with a forest, waterfall and stream. After buying the house, he even helped to organize it according to feng shui principles. The property we bought already had nearly an acre of the garden already, but the framework needed a lot of adaptation. My wife liked it as it was, but agreed we could make the changes we wanted.”

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Warawut described his design concept for the front area as “a peaceful, open modern Zen garden, coordinating shade and cool water to create a tropical jungle, and continued, “we dropped support pilings to create a framework above. We avoided having a lot of weight to support by using artificial rocks and tree roots. The filtration system was efficiently hidden under the wood deck. The concepts came from my experience with natural ecology.

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Designer hid the pond filtration system under the deck: a space-saver.
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Placing the pond in the shade on the north side of the house keeps the water cool enough for the plants and fish.

“Choosing the right plants was very important. Types, colors, forms, and leaf shapes create the moods. We used varietals with simple forms, detailed surfaces, and peaceful colors. Lichens, monkey grass, whites of crepe gardenia. For the tropical zone, we used varieties with glossy leaves: mango pine and brush cherry. Glochidion and water croton gave a lush damp look. Free form lines added elegance. Around the carport, we used plants of different heights. Plant selection and placement take a lot of expertise. A lot of care is needed, including weeding and raking. There’s a sprinkler system for moisturization.”

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Bare cement and simple indoor furnishings add to the modern Zen feeling of the surrounding watery garden.
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Work inside the house with a pleasing waterfall view.

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The nighttime lighting design creates intriguing dimensions and moods. Before we leave, Chohkchai tells us how pleased he is with the end result:

“This is just what the whole family wanted. Here we can read, work, have parties, or just relax, feed the fish, relax and enjoy nature. This fulfills a ten-year happy dream.”

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Lamps shining both from above and below at night create dimension and a sense of motion as they highlight plants and tree limbs.

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link: http://www.baanlaesuan.com/category/garden

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