The landscape and pool designers gave this home in Cairo Festival City a bespoke outdoors design, with an aged olive tree, towering palm, and a glass pathway pouring light into an English court.
When Cairo’s A-Squared Landscape needed to cultivate an ideal outdoor setting for this home in New Cairo, they complemented its modern facade with trees and foliage that lend it an international edge. The selection gives off the impression that the homeowners have sampled from around the globe - putting together a diverse collection of diverse plant life that nevertheless share a palette of deep greens and brown that stand out so soothingly against the house’s stylishly monochromatic walls.
“The homeowner wanted the mood outside to be close to the interior, and a colour palette that matched the facades,” Ahmed Alaa, co-founder of A-Squared, tells SceneHome, describing the visual link that guided the floors, the chevron-cladded bar and the poolside pergola.
“Softscape selection included every plant with its clear placement, which the owners refined to their liking,” Alaa continues. “Landscaping must consider context, colour, size and formation. For example, we can’t have an edgy cactus in an area with heavy circulation or that is close to children.”
A-Squared didn’t want to overcrowd the entrance, which had plenty of visual elements. They allowed the many shades of beige on the floor to go uninterrupted until the Grey Orobico marble took over the doorstep with small Carissa trees and the Japanese bonsai on its steps. Sitting opposite to them are different families of cacti placed in white pots that blend with the walls.
“Houses are identified by the softscape at the entrance, that’s why we use high profile plants at the fence. Like the two Washingtonia and Foxtail palm trees we used here,” he says, pointing to the plants that have been aligned with water features to elevate the front yard.
The softscaping continued down to the English court, a space designed to make sure the homeowners don’t feel trapped indoors, with an abundance of daylight pouring in through the pathway. “The glass pathway links the outdoors and breathes life into the English court,” Alaa explains. “The old olive tree is the focal point down there, whether you’re looking through the glass or from the living room inside.”
The olive tree - aged somewhere between 60 to 80 years old - possesses a regal air that endears it to the designer. It’s accompanied by high profile Ficus Lyrata plants aligned with wooden cladding that covers the marble wall, while the floor features gravel and black granite.
Entering the backyard, the bar stands on the left, aligned with the kitchen and nestled between the outdoor seating area and the elevated poolside deck. “It has wooden cladding with an adapted chevron pattern that complements the travertine floor and its black accents,” Alaa says. Contemporary clay accessories are placed on and around the bar to add curvature to the edgy visuals.
According to Alaa, the amount of softscape layers needed depends on the level of privacy a homeowner wants, especially with hedges. It’s also important that its elements have contrasting colours to stand out while looking good together. “Selecting greenery is important, but lighting is what accentuates it and ensures seating areas have backgrounds that are well lit and feel welcoming.”
“The jacuzzi is behind the poolside deck, offering seclusion while being connected to the seating area,” Alaa adds. “The homeowner wanted an elevated pool, so we added glass sides and aligned its height with the seating area.” Similar to the pathway, the pool reflects on the transparency of A-Squared Landscape’s design - expressing the delicate touch that goes behind luxury landscaping.
Photography: Nour El Refai