Where the Wild Things Are

In little over a year since completion, Lailak Street Park has become the wild place that the Emirates Hills Community asked for. There’s now no need for sailing to a faraway island inhabited by the Wild Things. The wild things are hiding in the jungle at the end of Lailak Street!

The community asked for a place where kids could explore, be challenged, learn how to assess risk through play, and let imagination run wild.   Continue Reading

New Project Announcement – 4 Ha Business Park

We are delighted to be the appointed landscape architects for a new business park in Dubai. The 4ha site is being developed by one of the Dubai’s leading developers who has established quality benchmarks in business park development in the UAE. Landscape spaces will include a large plaza with outdoor cafes, seating areas, and tree planting for shade. We’d like to thank the project client, and our client, the main consultants, for choosing Verdaus for this high quality project. Looking forward to working on another successful project with a great team of people.

New project announcement – affordable housing community

Verdaus are delighted to be the selected landscape architects for a new affordable housing project in Dubai. Part of the design task is to create cost effective landscape treatments for the public realm. We look forward to this exciting and rewarding design challenge.

Lailak Street Park – Growing Up

Andre recently visited Lailak Street Park for the final inspection and came back with some interesting photographs. This park was designed to encourage kids to explore, get lost, and have fun in the process. We are inspired by “free play” principles where kids make their own fun. We like the way the park has matured. Pathways now weave through fields of fluffy grasses (Pennisetum spp). The concept was to hide destinations around corners and over level changes. This strategy was to create a sense of mystery and challenge in the park. Confidence and a desire for adventure is all that’s needed to find the “Play Plateau”, elevated at the centre of the park. “Kids Councils” can occupy small spaces tucked amongst the planting, these are great places to take stock and plan the next move. Theres a large lawn where everyone can play ball, hold markets or other community events.

All-in-all we are a bit chuffed with the way it turned out. Waiting for the summer to end, and everyone returns to the outdoor world. Then we will come back to see how the kids are using this new park.

It pours, in a good way – another win!

It’s an ironic cliche to use in this arid region. But, we are going to anyway. It never rains but it pours! In a good way.

Verdaus have just been awarded a new project on a 1.5 ha site in the prestigious beachfront precinct of Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE. This is our second new project in as many weeks. We are delighted to be winning still more work with long term clients.

Enough of the trumpet blowing already? Perhaps, well – yes actually. With construction on site well underway, there is work to be done!

We can’t release any project specific information just yet. But as as soon as we can, we will.

Sustainable Urban Tree Planting

Structural soil is a construction technology developed by landscape architects. The system is designed to improve conditions for urban tree planting. It is a fairly simple method using a specially designed mix of aggregate and planting medium. The aggregates form a structural matrix to support the pavement around trees, and the planting medium provides space and nutrients to the tree roots. Verdaus first used this technology on the Majlis Oman project. The follow photo gallery shows the sequence of construction.

Lailak Street Park – Hoarding Down!

The hoarding is down at Lailak Street Park! The park is now open to the public. It is time to celebrate another successful project opening at Verdaus Landscape Architects. We are sure the celebrations in our studio won’t match the party in the park. The word is out and kids from the local community are discovering the park. The last time we visited there were a group of kids playing in the park. This is always an exciting moment for a designer, seeing the landscape being used for the first time. The kids were running along the narrow “discovery trails” that wind through the planting beds. The kind of games we imaged during design were being played out in real life. Exciting stuff! It has been a real pleasure to team up with EMAAR Community Management and the Residents Board in making Lailak Street Park a reality.

Thanks also to the Verdaus team who helped to make this park a success: Andre Saladaga, Pierre Smit, Miguelito Cemine Pegi, and Laith Wark.

Sharjah Maritime Museum

We just returned to the office from visiting the Sharjah Maritime Museum. This is one of our earlier projects and we were delighted with the way this space embraced a wide range of activities. There was a festival in full swing when we visited. This project is located on a culturally important site on the creek in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.


Scale is not only about the size of things, it’s also about the size of space. Scale has a surprisingly strong influence on the landscape design process and it’s outcomes. Getting scale right is sweet. Get it wrong, and no amount of fancy footwork will save you.

This blog post speaks about a challenging and uncommon scale – monumental.

The project was the new Parliament House of Oman.

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Lailak Street Park Closer!

Opening day edges closer and interest in Lailak Street Park keeps growing!

One resident living near by told us the unofficial-off-the-record-word is that it’s going to be the “best park in Dubai”. Well, we  certainly love that! We’re delighted that people are talking about it, and even visiting the site before opening day. It was the first time we’ve heard a non-landscape architect talk excitedly about paving patterns.

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Lailak Street Park Update

Construction on the Lailak Street Park is progressing well. Paving is currently being installed and it is exciting to see the patterns coming to life. This is the first project we designed a bespoke paving pattern for 100% of the project site. The intent is to stimulate delight, interest, and imagination. Each area is designed with a specific pattern. In some areas the pattern is intentionally random and complex. Other areas reveal recognisable shapes, intended to stimulate spontaneous invention of new games. In these cases, the regular patterns and shapes could be used to measure distance or boundaries. Other examples are areas of purely dark or light paving that could be drawn on by the kids.

While it is exciting to watch the park coming to life, we can’t wait for the day the kids will arrive!


Lailak Street Park – Construction Commences

We are delighted that the Lailak Street Park in Emirates Hills is now under construction. EMAAR Community Management appointed Verdaus to design the park in 2013. The design process involved extensive consultation with board members of the residents association. We enjoyed the engagement with direct stakeholders who actively influenced the final design. No doubt the residents are excited to see the existing site being transformed into a new recreational facility for the community.

The park will include a multi-function sports field, a ball games court, a play fountain, a climbing space net for larger kids, and a shaded play space for the smaller kids. The sports field will double as a function lawn for large events. A paved court at one end of the field will serve as a food and beverage serving area. The illustration below shows a view looking towards the space net.

The ground levels are designed to rise towards the centre of the park. Kids in the middle of the park will feel like kings and queens of the castle. When viewed from the adjacent streets, the park will appear like a thickly planted hillock. The tall climbing space net at the highest point in the park will accentuate the rise in ground levels.

The perspective illustration was produced in-house at the Verdaus Dubai Dry Docks Studio. To see examples of other illustrations, click here.

Dubai Parks unveils plans for Riverpark development

On November 25, 2014 at 07:13PM the internet published an article about one of our projects. Dubai Parks unveils plans for Riverpark development. Read the story here

The Oberoi Dubai

Reader’s of “Travel and Leisure – USA” voted the Oberoi Group as the world’s best hotel brand in 2013. See the list of Travel and Leisure’s top five, below.

Top five hotel brands in the world according to Leisure and Travel reader survey.

Top five hotel brands in the world according to Leisure and Travel reader survey.

Verdaus Landscape Architects was selected to design the external spaces of Oberoi’s new Dubai offering, “The Oberoi Dubai”.

A number of presentations were held in India, both Mumbai and Delhi. The Oberoi’s accommodated the entire consultant team in five star comfort. The experience of staying at an Oberoi hotel impressed me greatly. We couldn’t find fault with the style of service. People seemed genuinely warm and offered help when it was needed. Otherwise guests were allowed to go about their business without intrusion. They really got that mix right. The Oberoi run a training academy and we were told they mostly employ their own graduates.

One design presentation was held at the Oberoi “farmhouse” near Delhi. Laith Wark presented to the Executive Chairman, Mr P.R.S Oberoi, or “Biki” as he is popularly known. Mr Oberoi fired questions at the entire consultant team for a straight six hours! No break, sharp questions about all kinds of fine level details ranging from kitchens, to interior finishes, to structural engineering, to landscape architecture.

During the meeting Laith referred to the project simply as “Oberoi Dubai” to be quickly corrected by Mr Oberoi in front of the entire team, “THE Oberoi Dubai, and I’m very serious about that”. Laith sat back, “Mr Oberoi”, he said, “I have no doubt you’re serious about it”. Mr Oberoi smiled. Although he was very strict, he had a way with people.

After the meeting we felt committed to making the best possible landscape design for the Oberoi Dubai, because that’s clearly what Mr Oberoi wanted, and besides that, we felt that’s what he really deserved.

Verdaus Landscape Architects were appointed directly by the owner, Rani International.

The following photographs were made during a visit to The Oberoi Dubai shortly after the official opening.


The Change Initiative Landscape – a Splash of Green

Verdaus provided landscape design services for the Change Initiative Store in Dubai. The store aims to bring to Dubai a ‘one-stop’ marketplace for sustainable products and services such as advice on how to make the home and workplace more sustainable.

The Change Initiative Garden is a wonderful mix of planting that creates a small pocket of sustainable green in Al Barsha – an otherwise barren landscape.

This project offered the opportunity to develop a planting scheme using plant species that were either native to the local area or required less water – in keeping with the sustainable mission of the Change Initiative. Verdaus also offered advice on how to achieve the LEED rating in a cost effective way, reducing the landscape budget by over 100%.

Acacia arabica planted with an understorey of clumping grass and desert heath groundcovers.

The project is in Barsha and is visible from Sheikh Zayed road. Keep a lookout for the splash of green!

The splash of green in front of the store is a garden planted with species that are native to the local area or use less water.

Muscat Royal Opera House – Site Progress

Landscape works at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman, are in full swing. A large amount of the hard landscape is completed in the sunken maze garden. Site offices have been moved “off-site” to make room for the remainng landscape. The scale and proportion appears to be working very well. We are looking forward to opening day.

Also included one photo of stone carving architectural detail. This kind of workmanship is rarely seen in construction these days.

Muscat Opera House in Construction Week Online

Recently Construction Week Online recently posted an article about the Muscat Opera House. This is one of Verdaus’ projects, definately, but sadly our involvement was not mentioned in the article! Well, this won’t stop us from posting about it in our own blog.

When complete, the opera house will be only the second of its kind in the Middle East and occupy an area of 80,000 m2, half of which will be set aside for landscaped gardens.

Recently we published a post about construction progress for this project here.


Project update: Royal Opera House in Muscat

We visited the site for the Royal Opera House in Muscat last week and were impressed with progress. Almost all the concrete works were complete. The scale and proportion is now clear it looks right. We’re looking forward to seeing progress accelerate now.