How Moroccan style gardens can inspire our outdoor spaces

Amber Armitage arrived home from her recent trip to Marrakech full of inspiration on how Kiwis can inject a little Moroccan mystery into their outdoor living spaces


How Moroccan style gardens can inspire our outdoor spaces

On a recent trip to Marrakech in western Morocco, I had the true pleasure of staying in a boutique riad called El-Fenn. Marrakech is full of riads – large houses built around interior courtyards – many of which have been converted into hotels and private accommodation for visitors, making it a city of hidden oases. Stunningly renovated by Vanessa Branson (Sir Richard Branson’s sister) and her partner, El-Fenn is something special. During a two-year renovation all 28 rooms, courtyards, gardens and rooftop terraces were reimagined and redesigned.

The result is breathtaking. Vivid colours, earthy textures and lush planting create a beautifully relaxed environment. Pots have been left to age, plants grow all over the walls, and polished lime plaster in every hue speaks of the building’s long history.

El-Fenn was a feast for the senses, from the rich shades of the walls, tiles and textiles (which deepened as the light drained from the evening sky), to the bubbling fountains, the muezzin’s call to prayer and the delicious cooking smells floating from a neighbour’s rooftop. By appealing to all five senses and paying attention to the details, we can import a little Marrakech magic into our interiors right here at home.

Words and photography by: Amber Armitage.

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