Using trees to create an interesting garden

In my last post I said that I would explain some of the ways in which landscape gardeners use trees in their garden designs.  I have realised that (surprise, surprise) I have got quite a lot to say on this topic! So, I may spread my explanation out over a few posts if that's ok with you? Anyway, let's start with the idea that the reasons for selecting trees for a garden can be broadly attributable to both visual and functional design choices that a designer makes when composing their plan.  The first...

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Planting trees in your garden

[caption id="attachment_2358" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Fabulouos oak tree avenue in Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow[/caption] Yesterday's 'tree day' for schools, organised by the Tree Council of Ireland, got me thinking about how important trees are to the Irish landscape in both a physical and a cultural sense.  Many of our most special trees are part of property boundaries and/or are contained in gardens.  And I feel that it is incumbent on both gardeners and garden designers that we make a worthy contribution to Ireland' stock of trees, whether we are using native or exotic...

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What sizes of paving slab to use in your garden design?

So you have picked out your paving stone but what size of slab do you go for? The size of your paving slabs will obviously be determined by the look that you are trying to achieve.  I find that as a general rule-of-thumb, smaller sizes will work best for more intricate designs. I also feel that it is best to use a single type of paving but to avoid monotony another material can be added to frame or subtly divide up an area or to provide a contrast with the main material. ...

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My visit to the Chelsea flower show 2012 | Tim Austen garden designs

This year I visited the Chelsea flower show and, although I found some of the main show gardens a little “samey” e.g. variants of the same colour paving (beige Yorkstone) were repeated over the first five main showgardens, there was still plenty there to provide food for thought, particularly from the new fresh gardens category. [caption id="attachment_2281" align="alignleft" width="600"] Joe Sift's water feature[/caption] My favourites from the main show gardens were, in no particular order, Joe Swift’s ‘Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden’ - I loved the bold cedar wood frames and large...

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Thoughts on planting design

When it comes to planting design, I respect the view of the nurseryman and horticulturalist.  They know what plants need to grow and be healthy and how they should be handled to best effect.  I do have knowledge in those areas - I have a masters degree in landscape management and a background in landscape contracting and I have done my fair share of garden maintenance (including €0.70p per hour summer jobs in my youth) – and I keep this knowledge in the back of my mind when I am...

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‘Planting Design’ A Garden Designer’s Perspective 15th September, Powerscourt Garden Pavilion Wicklow

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="442"] Image from powerscourt.ie[/caption] In support of Bord Bia’s ‘Autumn Time is Garden Time’ campaign, I will be giving a complimentary talk at the Powerscourt Garden Pavilion on planting design and what plants to choose for your garden this autumn. Did you know that trees, shrubs, roses, heathers, spring bulbs and most flowering plants are best planted in the autumn? I will be sharing my experience of garden design and offer advice on the type and size of plants to use and how to space them to create a...

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Big Pigging! or how to get maximum benefit from your kitchen waste

I have been composting with my "pig" for a number of years now and whilst it is somewhat more expensive, at initial outlay, than other traditional composters, I do find it is far more effective. Thus your initial investment is recouped over the medium to long term. My pig is a sealed unit, which means that literally all your kitchen waste including raw meat can be added to it without encouraging vermin, so, you save on waste charges and it produces large volumes of compost rapidly (I find in an average...

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Design inspiration, on an Olympic scale!

Garden designers are always looking for design inspiration for their next project.  Most design ideas are stimulated by something a designer will have seen or experienced whether directly related to garden design or not. Another thing that garden designers ought to be doing is keeping on top of developments in the overall profession of garden design.  This can be done by reading garden design books and journals or spending time browsing relevant websites.  Otherwise, visiting constructed garden projects, whether public spaces, private gardens or indeed showgardens, is always a great way of...

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Crazy about currants, using fruit and vegetables in the garden.

[caption id="attachment_2182" align="aligncenter" width="553"] Red currants - an easy to grow garden fruit[/caption] I have just harvested my annual crop of red currants from my garden's solitary red currant bush.  This tough, easy-to-grow,  garden shrub does so well each year and satiates my need for breakfast berries - the rest of my family are not big fans so one bush provides us with all we (or I) need for my bowl of muesli in the morning (for  a week or two each summer). I am also excited by the productive side of...

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Latest garden design trends? Tim is grilled by Joanne Sweeney-Burke!

A video of my interview with media guru and former The Apprentice finalist 2011 Joanne Sweeney-Burke of Mediabox at the Northwest Garden Show, Donegal May 27th 2012. I am interviewed by Joanne about trends in garden design, investing in your garden, growing your own vegetables, hiring a garden design consultant,  and of course what is good about the Northwest garden show!  As ever, I would be interested to get your comments and feedback on any of the items discussed or mentioned in the video. Thank you Mediabox for posting the video to...

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