Garden Makeover: Ruins of a Colonial House Become a Garden Bar in Mexico


Ruins become a stylish outdoor bar garden and lounge in the Yucatan.

There are so many ideas to steal from this interesting hospitality project in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. The building that received a garden makeover is a historical monument. Because of this designation, the renovation to make it into a bar disallowed changes that would drastically alter the structure and site.


Before Garden Makeover - Colonial House in Yucatan Mexico.The site was over grown, filled with litter and the original architecture was compromised. 


After Garden Makeover - Colonial House in Yucatan Mexico.Clean-up, container gardens,pea gravel and pruning go along way towards creating an inviting place to have a drink. 
After Garden Makeover - Colonial House in Yucatan Mexico.

I find that some of the best design work usually comes when the brief is narrow and the options are limited. This seems to prove my point.

Notice how chain link fencing can be chic?  Chain link fencing is one of those things that somehow got some bad political associations attached to it and therefore it is rarely used.  It is such an obvious choice for a garden with its built-in trellis functionality.  I think it is especially good with a nice black frame around it.

After Garden Makeover - Colonial House in Yucatan Mexico.

After Garden Makeover - Colonial House in Yucatan Mexico.


After Garden Makeover - Colonial House in Yucatan Mexico.The strict regulations around this project meant that there wasn’t an opportunity to build in certain things that a bar/restaurant really needs.  Like an office, wine storage and bathrooms.  So the design team had to add them to the back of the property with new construction.  It is always a challenge when working with old structures to blend the existing with the new.  Interestingly, exposed concrete works really well as a complimentary material for an old building.  I hardly notice the changes do you?

See more of this project here.

Location – Merida, Yucatan, Mexico – Designed By:  Nauzet Rodriguez

images: Pim Schalkwijk , Juan Sanchez Cano , Courtesy of Nauzet Rodriguez

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About Rochelle Greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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