Family garden in Monkstown

Contemporary, Family

garden in Monkstown, Co. Dublin

The design for this garden in Monkstown, an attractive, leafy, suburb of south Dublin, includes a family back garden with a sunken patio area finished in natural limestone and a new layout for the front garden that had previously been simply under grass. Existing perimeter trees and hedgerow were selectively retained where they added to the design and, in the case of the front garden, this includes a fabulous specimen Ailanthus tree.

Garden designer’s brief

The owners had recently upgraded the property with a stylish architectural extension to the rear and this has beautiful floor to ceiling windows and sliding doors, which give fabulous views from the kitchen and lounge into the garden. The problem for them was that the existing garden layout really did not match in with the shape and finishes of the house; it was out-of-date and in poor condition. Furthermore, the owners wanted to provide a better connection between the inside and out with surfaces transitioning together at the same level. Furthermore, as the extension had gone straight back from the rear of the house, the garden had ended up being wider than it was deep, so presenting a need to reorientate the visual focus latterly across the garden, in as far as possible.

Garden design solution

The design for the back garden provides surfacing, new lawn space and planting in more or less equal proportions thus giving the owners a balance between formal and functional areas with the patio area being the main focus. I presented a journey around the garden by giving stepped access to the upper level at either end of the garden and the arrangement of the various features attempts to provide a focus across the garden, making it seem a little larger than it is.

Planting was important to the owners, they wanted to create a beautiful garden, that is not too hard to maintain (as they were both working), so easy care perennial plants were included. The sunken patio means that when seated the outdoor diners are immersed in flowers. To one side of the garden we placed stepping stones into an area of semi-natural planting designed to encourage insects, butterflies and wildlife into the garden. It was important to the owners that there be some engagement with wildlife for their children, something I think is a great idea, especially, since a hedgehog had decided to hibernate in the coal shed immediately before the build. There is plenty of interest for the kids and they also have a variety of surfaces on which to play and an opportunity to create games with the different routes around the garden.

To the far side of the garden, we included a small herb garden, which is easily accessible from the kitchen.

At the front of the garden, whilst significant areas of crisp, newly laid lawn were provided, the addition of substantial areas of soft, flowing floristic planting using herbaceous perennials has given a lift to the overall appearance and provided a better context for the existing planting.