Garden of Progression


Up on one of Amman’s elegant hills, lies a private villa welcoming the visitor in every sense. The gate greeted me while slowly unveiling the greenery hugging the rigid white columns. Garden of progression it is. A garden built with time, a garden that is leisurely being renovated.

Renovation noun: the act of improving by renewing and restoring.

This garden was not renovated to its earlier condition, it was not repaired. This garden has imparted a new vigor; it was revived again by architect Ayman Zuaiter. He used his sense of lines and directions to create diverse terraces along the house. Each terrace followed the contour of the home granting character to each space. Architect Zuaiter added his touch to each terrace by adding structures that framed the garden which left us with special paintings along our walk.

Rocks, stone, pavement, and tiles are various events introduced to the garden by Architect Ayman. Two terraces where paved harmoniously with the façade of the villa. The choice of material enriched the garden with texture and color. He formed three free standing walls oblique to the scene they are placed with, and couldn’t overlook the possibility of making them functional, by allowing guest cars to park between them. On the parallel side, they were a modern touch to look at. They were built with irregular natural stones following the culture of grandfathers and villages. Stepping stones were sprinkled along the lower- more natural part of the garden. The wonderful slope stated that it is a transition and a continuity of the house, terrace, and the lower part of the garden. The slope was cut with artistic stairs. It was amusing just following the curves of the stairs and allowing our sight to climb around the rounded stones placed upon them.   


Aesthetic and functional use of stone enhances vegetation as well as the value of the garden. Natural stone colors complement the diverse colors of blooming flowers throughout the seasons. This shows with the purple petunia (patio pot) and the violet-blue Jacaranda tree boasting some of the most electric intense colors that nature has to offer.

The abundance of plants were very interesting specially the vegetation cascading along the slope. Engaging natural cracks on the slope gave oxygen to the creeping plant to grow. Begnonia madam sherer is evergreen, fast-growing vine, brilliantly colored, and is one of the first trumpet shaped flowers to greet returning hummingbirds in early spring. Other vines were given a place along the terraces to reach for the front elevation of the house. It was whispering to each other since one planted vine, Parthenocissus tricuspidata, left her leaves to fall and regenerate again and another climber stood up for her leaves during fall and winter.  Parthenocissus, is a fast growing, high climbing vine that attaches itself with tips cementing themselves to surfaces. It is favored for its brilliant fall foliage and as a maintenance-free vine. The owner of the house didn’t leave the graceful columns alone; she planted climbers along every column to integrate the whole setting together. The plant chosen for the columns was the blue Plumbago capensis which is the blue jasmine. What makes this plant unique is its volumetric foliage and the year round bloom of its extraordinary flowers.     

What was inspiring in the garden was how they invited few olive trees from the orchard bordering their front fence. Along the ornamental garden; some olive trees were standing proud of their age and offering a view of their picturesque trunk. Olive trees (Olea europaea) have played a huge role in the civilization of the Mediterranean countries, especially given that its origin comes from the Mediterranean basin. Since uncollected olives can generally create a mess. The family is processing the olives to extract oil or make them  edible fruits, which makes its collection a wonderful engaging activity for the whole family!

The owner of the house had a special knowledge of her plants; she had no problem naming all of the plants she chose for her garden. Her own taste contributed remarkably throughout the garden. She made sure that “shades of green” filled her planters. The red color is her friend in completing the canvas in which she is working on. The red would be small berries on the evergreen plant; scarlet red showed in the bottlebrush shrub, an evergreen shrub with narrow green leaves and spikes of flowers. The stamens protrude to resemble the filament of a bottle brush.

She searches for what she likes in a garden and brings it in. As a result, the garden became filled with a very nice contrast of deciduous and evergreen vegetation that danced along the consecutive seasons. Although the owner couldn’t decide which spot she likes best, the elm tree (Ulmus spp.) was her favorite element in the garden. She had three elm trees and made them as the three main elements of the place. Elm trees have the most beautiful bark (green, gray, orange and brown) mottled in small thin plates. Its trunk forks and produces a vase shape and carry the foliage which turn red and purple in autumn. The owner assures that it is a fast growing tree and enjoys it even in winter.

The visit ended by pointing to me their functional nicely built Barbeque where they call it their own “pizza oven”.



Published on Home Magazine January/February 2007 by Eng. Zeena AL Jaajaa

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