Landscaping

Dubai Miracle Garden ... set to don a new look for the next season.

Dubai Miracle Garden ... set to don a new look for the next season.

Miracle in the Dubai desert

A UAE-based landscaping specialist has been achieving record after record, all while creating stunning botanical gardens and parks that would rival some of the best in the world – within the harsh desert environment of the emirates.

August 2019

Creating lush green, colourful and thematic gardens in the middle of a barren desert has been a challenge that the UAE-based Akar Landscaping Services and Agriculture has risen to time and again and year after year – and Guinness World Records holder Dubai Miracle Garden is ample proof of this.

Dubai Miracle Garden, holder of several Guinness World Records titles, will reopen for its eighth season this November, and Akar Landscaping indicates that it will be different from the last season with new themes and amazing structures.

Akar Landscaping, through its Dubai-based affiliate Miracle Garden Landscaping, is also creating the Central Park, a key attraction that sits at the heart of Dubai’s Cityland Mall, the world’s first nature-inspired retail and entertainment destination. The garden, being built as part of the second phase of the mall is expected to open in the last quarter of this year.

 

Dubai Miracle Garden ... showcasing familiar objects and animals.

Dubai Miracle Garden ... showcasing familiar objects and animals.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden first opened to the public in February 2013, the design of which is the brainchild of Engineer Abdel Naser Rahhal, managing director of Akar Landscaping Services and Agriculture, and vice chairman and founder of Cityland Group, the developer of the botanical project and parent company of Akar Landscaping and Miracle Garden Landscaping. It attracts visitors from around the world.

The garden is open to visitors from November to May each year and is currently closed for the renovation period, which is from June to September. A date for its reopening this year will be announced on the garden’s website and social media accounts.

Located in Al Barsha South 3, the Dubai landmark – which covers an area of 72,000 sq m – houses the world’s largest natural flower garden, with 50 million blooming flowers of 150 varieties, and 2D designs and 3D design elements.

Speaking to Gulf Construction, Rahhal says the main design concept of Dubai Miracle Garden is to be able to showcase familiar objects like cars, planes, trains and others, and to replicate them in something with life, something natural.

“We are a theme park and the main criterion is to have a unique design, which is environment and visitor friendly, safe and healthy. At the same time, it is huge in scale and uses designs that are easily understood by all ages, genders and nationalities living in the country,” he adds.

Commenting on the various highlights of the garden, Rahhal says: “The different designs we create have different signature themes. Some are natural shapes, some are artificial like planes and cars, animal characters, and cartoon characters. So each and every zone has its own characteristics.”

Since it opened in 2013, an array of original designs as well as record-breaking attractions have been unveiled every year. The first Guinness World Records title it held was for the ‘Largest Vertical Garden in the World’ in 2013.

In the 2016 season, a replica of an Emirates A380 aircraft bedecked with an assortment of flowers and plants earned Dubai Miracle Garden a Guinness World Records title for featuring ‘the world’s largest floral structure’.

In 2018, the garden marked the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse, the ‘True Original’, with the unveiling of an 18-m floral structure of the iconic Disney character, clinching the garden’s third Guinness World Records title.

Dubai Miracle Garden features an interactive Children’s Play Zone designed to appeal to the little ones and includes different trampolines and other exciting activities, adorned with giant flowers.

Apart from its soft aesthetic features, the garden has food and beverage (F&B), retail and recreational areas, prayer rooms, toilets, a clinic, parking facilities over 60,000 sq m to accommodate 2,000 cars, as well as facilities such as club cars, wheelchairs, and an advanced security system.

Both Akar Landscaping Services and Agriculture and Miracle Garden Landscaping are landscaping contractors on the project, with engineers experienced in landscaping and irrigation, supervisors, foremen and almost 200 skilled gardeners playing a key role in shaping up the garden.

Creating a garden of such a massive scale in the desert of Dubai comes with numerous challenges including site conditions, such as the weather and the extremes of temperature; procuring the right variety of flowers and the sensitivity of plants to different conditions; and water, soil and fertilisation requirements since the garden is located in a dry and barren area.

“But miraculously, the Dubai Miracle Garden exists in its full glory in the midst of such extreme conditions,” Rahhal remarks.

The garden is environment-friendly and uses recycled water and recycled materials. The design elements used in the garden can be modified and reused for the next season, and the green waste is converted to fertilisers and all the old soil is reused, he adds.

 

Butterfly Garden ... record holder.

Butterfly Garden ... record holder.

Butterfly Garden

Meanwhile, next to the Dubai Miracle Garden is another of Akar’s striking projects, Dubai Butterfly Garden, claimed to be the ‘World’s Largest Covered Butterfly Garden’.

The year-long attraction consists of 10 custom-built domes covering a 6,673-sq-m area and a butterfly museum, attracting visitors from around the world.

The 10 domes are divided into four sections, filled with 15,000 butterflies of 50 varieties in different sizes and colours, flying around the visitors. The domes are climate-controlled, giving the butterflies a comfortable environment and allowing the facility to be open year-round.

One of the domes also has birds in cages while another has a fish pond with water features.

The garden also has many nectar plants to feed the butterflies. Most of them are from South America and South East Asia.

Butterfly Garden ... featuring 10 climate-controlled domes.

Butterfly Garden ... featuring 10 climate-controlled domes.

Visitors to Dubai Butterfly Garden can also experience what is believed to be the world’s first butterfly and insects museum, in addition to educational areas, where they can witness and gain an insight into a butterfly’s lifecycle.

Cityland Group was founded in 2005. It started its journey in Al Ain as Akar Landscaping Services and Agriculture, which has been involved in creating large-scale landscapes in the city’s public spaces.

The group is committed to creating nature-inspired spaces for communities across the UAE as seen from the Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Butterfly Garden projects.

The company created Al Ain Paradise Garden, a floral space created from local resources. The attraction earned two Guinness World Records for its vertical landscape, and for exhibiting the largest number of hanging baskets. The group’s portfolio expanded through its acquisition of the US franchise for Orkin, the world’s largest pest control company.

 

Cityland Mall

Cityland Group’s latest project is the Cityland Mall, the first phase of which opened in May 2019 next to the Global Village in Dubai. Covering 2.2 million sq ft, Cityland Mall is the world’s first nature-inspired retail and entertainment destination. Its key attraction will be the Central Park, an open-air, 200,000-sq-ft uniquely conceptualised garden that sits at the heart of the mall. The garden, access to which will be free, will open in the fourth quarter of this year.

The landscaped garden will have different elevations, rising from the ground level up to 30 m height. It is reminiscent of Dubai Miracle Garden, and will provide a glimpse of nature’s rich biodiversity through an array of exciting activities and green units such as: a 3,000-seat amphitheatre, a 360-degree rooftop garden, a Japanese garden, an ancient tree garden, a mini water park, and a miniature version of Miracle Garden, amongst others.  It will also feature a light show at night.

Central Park at Cityland Mall ... set to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

Central Park at Cityland Mall ... set to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

A walking track is also planned in this space, in line with the group’s focus on building properties that promote overall wellness. Al fresco cafés and restaurants will be opened at vantage points that overlook the garden’s scenic beauty. State-of-the-art engineering and Cityland Group’s rich expertise in maintaining green spaces in Dubai is expected to make the garden a favourite family attraction across all seasons. Miracle Garden Landscaping is the landscaping designer and contractor for the project.

The Central Park will have different types and varieties of flowers and plants.  The garden will be an environment-friendly using recycled water and the green waste will be converted to fertiliser.

“At Cityland, we believe that a mall experience should be as much about entertainment, fun and variety as it is about shopping. It must be a place that offers something active, something fresh, something for everyone, each and every time they visit.

“The lush botanical garden is designed to interact with the retail and F&B venues, creating a one-of-its-kind environment for shoppers. It also opens up new opportunities for entertainment. We are very excited to bring this addition to Dubai’s world-class offering,” says Rahhal.

The circular-shaped Cityland Mall will be segregated into six culturally themed pavilions that provide an immersive shopping experience for shoppers.

The mall will also host more than 350 international and local retail options, including home furnishing stores, electronic outlets, cosmetic shops, fashion, and personal and banking services. A hypermarket will cover 100,000 sq ft of space, the largest in the Dubailand area.

“Cityland Mall will redefine family entertainment by blending superior retail experience with ecological preservation,” Rahhal concludes. 




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