We ask which of these verdant communities is greener
Area: 543 acres.
Average rent on a one-bedroom apartment: Dhs40-45,000 per year.
Amenities: Community swimming pools and kids’ playgrounds dot the sprawling Gardens development, along with separate tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. Those living on the edge of the community are within walking distance of themed shopping haven Ibn Battuta Mall, which boasts plenty of restaurants and stores plus an Imax cinema.
How leafy is it? Mango trees, palms, the ubiquitous pink and white bougainvillea… The Gardens isn’t short of plants. In fact, many of the buildings’ facades are obscured and framed by towering foliage. The haphazard nature of the landscaping is by no means detrimental to the area, but instead serves to give it a more natural feel. Nothing is overly manicured, and with trees creating a canopy over the winding roads, you could almost be in a different city.
Green living: At the entrance to each apartment block, next to the main rubbish disposal, are individual boxes for recycling household waste – it’s almost unbeatable in terms of convenience. There’s also plenty of pedestrian-only space for ditching the car and walking, although those who live farthest from the mall (the community is huge) may find it too far to stroll for the weekly shop.
What the residents say Anjum Khan, Indian, resident of The Gardens for five years The best thing about living here? ‘It’s extremely peaceful and quiet – that’s what I love about it.’
The worst thing? ‘Lately I’ve noticed that maintenance has gone downhill following some management changes. There hasn’t been much regular maintenance of the buildings either, like changing the vents in the bathrooms. They only replace things when something has really broken.’
How green do you think it is? ‘I think it’s amazingly green, wherever you lay your eyes. We have an apartment that isn’t overlooked by another building, so the view is great. Winter is particularly good because the greenery makes the temperature even cooler.’
Area: 65 acres.
Average rent on a one-bedroom apartment: Dhs60-65,000 per year.
Amenities: Each complex within the low-rise Greens community houses a shared swimming pool, gym, barbecue area and community hall. Casual restaurants such as Nandos, Bert’s Café, Wagamama and Mashawi are located within walking distance, alongside a book shop, supermarkets such as Choithrams, a pharmacy and a number of coffee shops.
How leafy is it? There’s a ready abundance of greenery here, and the careful landscaping mimics the surroundings into which the foliage has been planted – buildings are set out in a grid system, similar to the style preferred in Abu Dhabi and New York. There’s barely a branch out of line, with hedgerows carefully shaped, flowerbeds symmetrically arranged and lawns neatly mown. Colour is everywhere, and it’s not just green – think shocking pink desert rose to white and yellow frangipani flowers.
Green living: It’s a pedestrian-friendly area with wide footpaths along the main roads and around the lakes, so it’s little wonder The Greens has become home to so many pet owners. Close proximity to shops and the relatively small size of the community (not to mention a limited amount of parking spaces) means walking is the most efficient mode of transport between the shops, cafés and home. At the main Greens Village, there are easily accessible recycling points for separating out your rubbish.
What the residents say Noura El-Imam, Egyptian, resident of The Greens for two years The best thing about living here? ‘I feel very safe thanks to the number of security guards on patrol any time of the day and night. I love strolling around and enjoying the lakes, greenery and friendly, tame cats, and the scents of different flowers.’
The worst thing? ‘I’m saddened to see one of the larger green areas taken over by construction of a new building. It’s a shame, and defeats the purpose of the community’s name. It would be great to see more free, open spaces for residents to use.’
How green do you think it is? ‘Very, compared to other places I’ve lived. They do an exceptional job of planting, trimming and looking after all the greenery. As you stroll by the three lakes, you notice different flora, and the scents change along the way.’