‘How to build your design’ Specifications, Bill of Quantities Costings Scheduling & Project Management

Hi, I am giving this workshop with Colm Doyle on Saturday the 2nd March, 2013 if you would like to attend, please book via the GLDA website:  Payable to the GLDA (Book here)"Two experienced designers and project managers show how to draw up a contract document including contract conditions, specifications and schedules of quantity to allow for tendering and project managing the construction of all aspects of a design including hard and soft landscape work.They will show how to manage the construction of garden...

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Spring bulbs! early markers of the garden design year ahead

[caption id="attachment_2975" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Russborough House, Co. Wicklow. Spring bulbs creating a beautiful and colourful floral carpet beneath mature Lime trees[/caption] I was captivated by this colourful display on a weekend break to West Wicklow last week (a garden designers busman's holiday or what?). These beautiful bulbs including snowdrop, winter aconite (yellow) and cyclamen (pink) have been planted in drifts alongside the Lime walkway leading to the walled garden at Russborough House  - a fine Palladian pad, itself worth a visit when it opens from late March. But what a wonderful marker these...

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Sculptural and striking garden seat!

[caption id="attachment_2925" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Really cool and purty garden seat in my Bloom 2011 show garden - clothes from Arnotts, flowers from Austen flowers if you are wondering[/caption] When I first saw the images of these steel garden seats on Alex Moore's website: www.mooredesigns.co.uk, I just had to have one in my show garden at Bloom 2011!  With such an impressive catalogue of designs and some of them having already featured at the Chelsea flower show, I knew it was time to bring one of these hot benches to Ireland.  After all,...

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Tree stakes and ties

[caption id="attachment_2898" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Small tree with adjustable tie[/caption] We are all feeling a bit battered by the recent strong winds here in Ireland.  Spare a thought then for your garden trees, some of which will have felt the worst effects of the wind with branches lost or, worse still, their central leaders (main stems) having snapped. Others may have had their roots torn out of the ground. Good staking of young trees will help to avoid such unfortunate outcomes and will assist a tree through its early establishment years. Although I have...

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Garden hedges using native, wildlife-friendly plants

The weather is a bit windy, wet and wintry here at the moment and maybe the very last thing you are thinking about is the state of your garden.  But if you had been considering a revamp of the garden perimeter with a bit of new planting during the course of last year then you need to know that now is the perfect time of year for planting a new hedge. It’s time to take action because we are currently in the dormant season for deciduous trees and shrubs and this...

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Coppicing trees in the garden and coppice woodlands

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Mature coppice in Herefordshire[/caption] Whilst I was working with the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) a number of years ago (quite a number actually!), I completed a super training course in woodland crafts at the Greenwood Trust in Ironbridge, Shropshire.  Since then, I am in the habit of advocating coppicing not only as a useful and productive way of managing woodlands (of all sizes) but also as a method for controlling the size of trees  in small gardens, especially where space is at a premium but the...

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Give the gift of a garden this Christmas!

I know I have said this before, but I have to remind you that if you are thinking of getting your garden re-designed then now is a great time of year to set the wheels in motion. This is often a garden designer’s down-time: when the weather is poor, it’s time to be at the desk putting together plans for next year’s new gardens.  So take this opportunity to get your designer working for you. They too want to get the plans agreed with you, as early as possible, so that...

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‘Tis great to be a garden designer, so it is!

On a beautiful sunny winter's day in Wicklow, it is hard not to be appreciative of the fact that I am a garden designer.  And, it is the variety in my job that I find most fulfilling.  Today, I zipped over to get some paving samples from Ken (from whom I also bought a bag of coal for home), then headed up the road to show these to my client, whose garden we shall be constructing in January. [caption id="attachment_2539" align="aligncenter" width="447"] Plants to be salvaged growing along fence line![/caption] Part of...

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Using perennial flowers in your garden

Autumn is a good time for stocking your garden with new plants.  And when it comes to planting, perennials are the proverbial “box of chocolates” – the choice is almost limitless and they are all so tasty! [caption id="attachment_2451" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Perennial flowers in a client's garden (only one year from planting!)[/caption] There is huge variety in foliage, flowering time and they come back year after year with limited maintenance.  Just cutting back, dead-heading and division.   Perennials can be planted in many different styles – formal contained by box hedging, sweeps and...

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How to decide what sort of garden design you want

Would you like to overhaul your garden but don’t know where to start? Well, if you are at this point, you will have already recognised that redesigning your garden is going to bring you benefits, such as an improved quality of life and perhaps an increase to the value of your property but how do you sort out the mixed tangle of emotions and ideas that you have attached to the project in to a coherent design plan? Luckily, when you employ a professional garden designer this is exactly what they do...

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