We visited a beautiful paved garden recently. The warm and gracious Shahida Khan, one of Pakistan’s pioneers in interior design, invited us to tea in her no-grass but plant-filled patio/garden.
The garden wraps around two sides of this low-slung single storey residence. A large mango tree gives shade towards the back while a profusion of pretty flowering trees and shrubs are planted in the front area.
Who landscaped the garden?
We decided to do away with the grass which is impossible to maintain with the scarcity of water. But I have worked very hard to landscape this garden myself. Right now my main challenge is to stop the gardener from over-pruning the plants and changing the shape.
Your front door and the tiled entrance to one side of the garden is particularly striking.
I not only designed the door itself but back when it was made, the masons did not know how to do the mouldings. I have actually done them myself with my own hands.
You have some beautiful old tiles in the garden. Where are they from?
The tiles in the entrance were made on order but the small, plain tiles in the garden patio area are from an old Parsi home which was being demolished.
The white shutter windows also lend to the ambience.
Yes. They are practical and pretty.
This is the ideal place to entertain.
Yes, although I don’t entertain much, especially nowadays. But its lovely to sit here and have tea.
How else do you use this space?
I walk here every day, the exercise is essential for my knees, and I enjoy the breeze and the greenery.
Paved gardens are fast becoming the trend in cities with meagre water resources.
Photos by Naeema Kapadia