Long meadow grass in the garden

“To mow, or not to mow:  that is the question.”

Should the month of May be the only time that we leave our garden spaces to grow long? I may have embellished Hamlet’s infamous opening line in his soliloquy; however, I find some relevance to the current discussions and or pressures of undertaking: ‘No Mow May’. There is truth and so many benefits to leaving areas of your lawns and grassy areas grow long for May. By hitting the pause button, we are allowing our grassy spaces to mature to their full untapped potential. You’d be surprised how many hidden gems in the...

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great, gardens, Catalonia, Guell, Parc, steep, slopes, landscape design, garden design history

Taking a Step into the New Year… and the Garden

As we step into the new year, the topic of steps is in our mind; not the British pop band from the late 90’s but actual steps! Why have them, where and what are they for? Steps perform a functional necessity as a means of addressing any level changes but also provides a design opportunity introducing a bespoke and unique approach that links the overall aesthetic,  atmosphere and elements of the garden together. Steps can be grand, bold and striking, drawing the eye and physical self immediately to them with a clear...

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Outdoor Space in the Sun: Mediterranean Inspired Garden Design

When you are contemplating your garden design, it is important to consider aspects that will have a transformative effect on your day-to-day life. There are many places from which you can get garden design inspiration: other gardens, parks, natural landscapes. However, it is important to make your garden design personal to you and your own life experiences. Perhaps a place to start is your favourite holiday destination – this allows you to make a link between a place where you feel at peace and your back-garden haven. Examining wild plants...

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formal rose gardens, roses, box hedging, pots, paths, stonework

Visit to Ballintubbert gardens

[caption id="attachment_5169" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The grand canal water feature at Ballintubbert[/caption] In the summer, our design studio took a study tour to visit some gardens across the southwest of Ireland.  En route to Cork, we stopped to have a look at a fascinating, complex, garden that has recently been reinvigorated near Stradbally in Co. Laois. Ballintubbert House, is a garden of around 14 acres, consisting of multiple garden ’rooms’ of various sizes, surrounding a Georgian manor house.  It is documented that pilgrimages were made to Ballintubbert (the name comes from the Irish...

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garden, design, colour, splash, big, blue, pot, feature

Crazy about colour!

It may sound obvious but colour in the garden can come from both the plants themselves but also the materials that we construct the garden from.  The colours that we choose to use in our gardens can have both personal significance related to our experiences, whether obvious or subconscious memories, but may reflect deeper meanings related to the societies in which we live.  There are also historical associations with certain colours and some have political and religious connotations e.g. red for Labour Day or green for St. Patrick’s Day.  Human...

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planting, gardening, gardens, plants, planting, design, special shrubs

Good garden design can be as simple as getting the right plant in the right place

Whilst last week, we looked at some of the graceful floral forerunners of the spring, such as Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis and Winter Aconite Eranthis hyemalis, if we design our gardens carefully there are other specialist plants that occur naturally at other levels and locations, which can provide us with charming sights and scents. [caption id="attachment_5054" align="alignnone" width="903"] White Helleborus orientalis in bloom in February[/caption] A plant that has been “on-the-go” for quite some time in milder gardens, but which is about to enter its key bloom period, is the Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis...

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Seminar Promotion: The Designed Garden – An unfinished canvas

As a full Member of the GLDA,  Tim Austen garden designs are proud to promote the upcoming 22nd International Garden Design Seminar to be held on Saturday 17th February 2018 at Crowne Plaza Dublin, Northwood Park, Santry, Dublin 9.  Synopsis As designers and gardeners, we are very aware that our gardens are only as good as their subsequent maintenance. Every time we prune and clip and cultivate in an effort to maintain control, we are forcibly reminded of the dynamic and unpredictability of Mother Nature. Much focus is given to show gardens and instant makeovers, but...

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house extension, garden design, gardens, makeover, home improvements, gardening, home, extension

Garden extension

In the current Irish housing market, many people are adding extensions to their homes rather than moving to add value to their properties, add more space etc.  I'm in that bracket myself with my kids becoming teenagers, suddenly the house seems much smaller than it did a few years ago.  But retired couples may also want to make space for visitors and give themselves the nice large, sitting room that they have always dreamed about. The architects design concepts often involve nice views to the garden with floor to ceiling windows,...

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Repeat or unique?

Are there some things that are common between different garden designs; can a garden style be repeated between different gardens?  "What if I want a particular design style that I have seen in an Instagram photo collection or repeated through the beautiful pictures on someone's Pinterest board?" Legitimate questions to ask when you are researching the myriad options available for your garden design. [caption id="attachment_4634" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Make your garden design your own[/caption] Personally, I approach each garden commission as a new and different project with very little reference to other projects...

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