Creating non-irrigated climate-adapted landscapes in the Middle East

In part one of this four-part series, I discussed the colonization of brownfield sites in the UAE’s cities with a range of trees and shrubs – almost all of them “exotic invasive” species.  I argued that these could be forming the basis of new, adapted ecologies.  To revise those arguments, please the link at the

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Brownfield site natural regeneration in the UAE

This is the first of a four-part article, links to the others are at the end. These articles are all a part of the same thought progress, which has been brewing for some time and started with an article I wrote two years ago, in March 2018.  I think this is an important subject, and

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Gravel Gardening

Gravel gardens have been around a long time yet with a few well-known exceptions (Denmans, Beth Chatto and more recently, Olivier Filippi), never really make it into the mainstream of garden design. I suspect that for some designers, there is insufficient structure to satisfy, yet that is actually one of the main benefits. This makes

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Why artificial grass is bad for us

If you work in the realm of landscapes, you cannot ignore the huge rise in the use of artificial plants, “green” walls and especially, grass. It’s a booming business and many companies are doing very well from it. But we should also be hearing warning bells ringing about how damaging these things are, both to

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Why we need treescapes, not just landscapes, in the Middle-East

Landscapes are all about creating micro-climate, or would be, if designed for that goal. Why is this important and what do I mean? Almost all life is contained in a thin crust of soil, a wedge of atmospheric gases, and water. Plants are the principal medium that interacts with and regulates all three. Absolutely nothing

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Planting Design in the Middle-East

The other side of work I undertake in the Middle-East region (other than tree consultancy) is planting design, for creating new landscapes always brings me a special joy.  When they are in public spaces, I love the chance it gives to interact (albeit remotely) with many people in place, over time and hopefully, enhance their

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A New Horticulture: Designing Landscapes for Climate Change

The world is finally, at the last minute, waking up to the impending effects and consequences of climate change. In the scramble to work out what we must do (apart from the obvious cessation of burning fossil fuels), one thing, one factor is looming large: we need to put carbon back into the soil, where

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Concrete and alternatives

Concrete is a wonderfully versatile material, which has been in use since Roman times and with it we can build amazing structures that would otherwise be impossible. Unfortunately it also carries a huge environmental cost, caused mostly in the cement binding used. Whilst gravel extraction is also an issue, for that there are some alternatives

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Rain gardens

Rain gardens are a relatively new approach on how to deal with water in the environment. In the last 10-15 years, there has been a big rise in the use of SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems), the practice of delaying the entry of rainwater into the drainage system by the use of swales, ditches and

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