This Tropical Garden Completes a Gorgeous Family Home
“I enjoy working on this project because the owners were really supportive,” recalls Rading Decepida. “They entrusted me with everything. It was always, ‘Bahala ka na, basta maganda!”
These are indeed words that every designer wants to hear—to be trusted completely by their clients when it comes to building their home and garden—and it gave Rading the push to do what was necessary in order to turn a plain backyard into the lush garden it is today.
The house was half done when Rading was called in to design the outdoor areas. The owners knew him from a recommendation made by another homeowner. “I had to bring in heavy equipment inside the structure because there was no way around it. The basement parking was already done and the shell of the house was almost complete. Dinaan ko lahat ng boulders sa loob ng bahay. Pinasok ko sila lahat sa front door,” he recalls laughing. In any case, the house designed by architect Gelo Mañosa bears no scars from Rading’s handiwork. The owners, a couple with young children, wanted tropical landscaping to go with the look of their new home, and that’s exactly what they got.
Verdant planting frames the sides of the house as seen from the entry. Up the stairs, from the main door, and across the living area, one can already see the garden and pool just beyond. Glass sliding doors open out to a large lanai—the perfect spot for enjoying the outdoors. “Even with the limited space, the owners wanted a pool, so i designed it, and coordinated with them for the decking and tile selection. On the right side is one of their favorite spots in the house,” he says, pointing to the sunken seating situated on one end of the pool.
Rading’s initial plan for the garden featured more shrubbery, but his clients’ love for plants quickly changed all that. “I brought them to different suppliers and they chose some plants. Some of what they wanted didn’t go with my original plan, so I had to change a lot of things. I told them, ‘This will be a completely different planting scheme already!'” The owners, however, agreed to all of Rading’s suggestions. Among the plants selected are those that don’t require trimming, such as ornamental gabi, alocasia, Peruvian ferns, and cycads.
“They also love trees, so I used an imported coral tree on the side of the pool. As fillers, we have Rhapis, spatiphyllum, and golden miagos. I also used a lot of boulders to raise the garden,” he says. The pool, which stands out from the dark green lawn, is surrounded by a profusion of plants positioned at different levels. A fiberglass sculpture of leaves becomes the focal point in the area, its earthy colors providing a sharp contrast to the greenery.
On the side opposite the pool, the thick, lush planting wraps around the perimeter of the property, petering out just behind the lanai. As houses in the village are right next to each other, Rading opted to cover the view of the neighbors with synthetic bamboo. Calatheas and bromeliads dot the landscape, while morning glory was used as groundcover. A trio of large ferns accentuates one corner, fronted by a grouping of boulders in different sizes. Piedra china pavers smoothen the transition between the lanai, garden, and pool. Connecting the three is an arrangement that features a small boulder, a kawa—a large wok—filled with aquatic plants, and some vibrant bromeliads sitting on a kalachuchi tree.
“It took almost a year and four months to complete the garden, but only because they were finishing the construction of the house. Of course, we had to work around certain things, but we would’ve finished much sooner if dire-diretso yung trabaho,” he recounts. As with any home construction, there will always be inevitable delays, but Rading considers them par for the course.
While there are still many things that need to be done in the house—furniture to be delivered, accessories to acquire, finishing touches here and there—it is slowly becoming the perfect space for the young family that resides in it. With plenty of room to play and entertain in, all exuding the tropical vibe the owners wanted, it is truly something they can grow with and be proud of. They say that your home should tell the story of who you are and what you love. In this home, both designers and dwellers are the true storytellers.
“You get a sense of fulfillment from seeing your work come together from start to finish. It’s good when your clients appreciate what you do, and even better when it makes them happy,” Rading finishes.