It doesn't always take rich soil and sunlight to grow the most beautiful garden. Some cities across this innovative globe of ours have found new ways to generate tranquil green spaces in unexpected places.
Here are our eight favourite gardens in unexpected places around the world (some still to become reality ... maybe), from underground parks to airport roofs and vertical forest towers.
Billed as the ‘world’s first underground park’, the Lowline is an all-natural green space in New York that will breathe new life into a disused trolley terminal dating back to 1908. Using innovative solar technology designed by James Ramsey of the New York-based Raad Studio, sunlight will be transmitted throughout the park via a reflective surface underground.
Once completed, the Lowline aims to be a 'dynamic cultural space' for community events and activities, and highlight a hidden historic space that retains several original features, including vaulted ceilings, cobblestones and rail tracks. The finished underground park is expected to be opened by 2020.
The Rubens at the Palace's 350-square-metre wall made of nearly 10,000 plants and weighing 10 tonnes aims to create an urban wildlife habitat for bees, butterflies and birds, while helping to improve the air quality and aesthetic of the area. The wall features various species, from spring bulbs to winter geraniums, in a range of colours, including blues, pinks, purples, whites and yellows. The wall is also said to help keep the London hotel cooler in summer and warm in winter.
Named the world’s best airport for the third consecutive year at this year’s World Airport Awards, Singapore's Changi Airport features a series of gardens, including the Cactus Garden (currently closed for renovation). The roof garden offers more than 100 species of cactus and other plants from the arid regions of Asia, Africa and America, while the rooftop Sunflower Garden is illuminated by special lighting at night for better viewing. The airport's Orchid Garden has been arranged according to colour and shape to represent the four elements of nature (earth, water, fire and air).
Changi is currently developing a new terminal building – the Jewel Changi. The giant doughnut-shaped glass and steel dome complex will be home to one of the world's largest indoor plant collections, while its upper level will house Canopy Park, 13,000 square metres of gardens, walking trails, playgrounds and dining venues. Its centrepiece, the Rain Vortex (pictured), is set to become the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
The Sky Garden spans three floors in a glass dome on top of 20 Fenchurch Street (otherwise known at the Walkie-Talkie). The public space has landscaped gardens – London’s highest – with year-round plants and flowers, including species from the Mediterranean and South Africa.
There’s also an open-air terrace, bar, brasserie and seafood grill. Access to the gardens is free, though a restricted number of tickets are available daily and are limited to a period of one hour.
Ingenuity is on show in Milan, Italy, where the Stefan Boeri-designed Bosco Verticale skyscrapers have created a vertical forest, Telegraph Travel’s John O’Ceallaigh reported earlier this year. The reinforced balconies that extend from each of the two residential blocks can hold up to 900 trees and 2,000 plants. The plant life in each building is equivalent to what would be found in a 0.7-hectare forest.
In 2013, plans for London’s Garden Bridge, designed by Thomas Heatherwick who received global acclaim following the unveiling of the cauldron at the London 2012 Olympics, were revealed. He proposed a lush parkland, complete with woodland and wildflowers, over the Thames on the stretch of the river around Temple and east of the Southbank Centre.
Vincent Calleabut Architecture in Paris recently proposed growing vegetation to cover nearly every surface of Paris with greenery, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions by 75 per cent before 2050. A nice, if unlikely, idea.
The proposed Taiwan Tower could be an even more dramatic sight. Comprising a series of tree-trunk-inspired rods, the tower would feature a parkland at its peak and has been dubbed the Eiffel Tower of the East.
For the latest deals on travel, browse our great range of offers online, visit your local Escape Travel or call 1300 556 855.
This article was from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.