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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Rain Garden

‘The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.’ – Eeyore –

The need to truly explore and integrate nature based solutions that combat issues with excess water and drainage. Unfortunately, Eeyore, the rain we have been experiencing in the last few months has been endless and providing quite a challenge for those in the garden and landscape design, horticultural and construction industry!  The below image, much closer to home, is all too familiar and the knock on disruptive effects we feel. Recent experiences with excess water In tandem, the most recent coverage of the unusual and extreme volume of rainfall seen in the Middle...

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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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garden design, garden designer, new patio, outdoor kitchen, canopy

Out with the old…. Out with the new: Embracing comfort in outdoor spaces

If there’s one thing that lockdown taught us; it was to embrace the outdoors during those trying times. Sunbathing in the garden, barbecues and an upsurge of greenfingers took centre stage during the summer months. However, we must ask ourselves, how do we streamline these comforts in our garden designs? Comfort is key and elevating our outdoor spaces does not necessarily mean placing emphasis on a large variety of plants (while this is encouraged). Timber canopy covering outdoor kitchen in a garden design project in Dalkey First, we must consider the...

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Fill the gaps: Block planting in garden design

In an ideal garden design, there would be every plant under the sun and zero limitations in terms of what we could plant, regardless of the climate we live in. This, however, is not sustainable, neither for the maintenance of our garden nor for our pockets. To remedy this planting problem, we would suggest repetition of planting or “block planting” in your garden design. And I don’t mean square planting beds here either! Here are a few reasons why this planting is effective: Uniformity in your garden design Block planting can add seamlessness...

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A well placed rock can create a focal point in a garden design, can act as a garden seat or simply complement garden planting

This Rocks!

The humble rock, stones, boulders; whatever you want to call them, we are surrounded by these features daily either as natural or constructed features. Be it the pebbles on the beach or a cobblestoned Temple Bar, rocks have an undeniable omnipresence. However, they are perhaps overlooked as a garden feature. Here are some of the elements that one could consider when planning to use stone in a garden design. Use of stone to create interest and contrast in one of my small garden designs in Dublin The above picture of a garden...

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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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wildlife, gardens, design, gardening, designer, wild, areas

Bring in the bugs!

In Ireland, the spring has been slow to start this year, as we have experienced unseasonably low temperatures throughout March.  Now, in early April it finally feels like it is underway: the sap is rising in the trees and the first leaves are breaking bud, daffodils are blooming and temperatures are rising. [caption id="attachment_5095" align="alignnone" width="1024"] View out to the garden (from my Inspiration from Mount Usher garden)[/caption] We hope, at this time of year, to be able to move from the house into the garden to enjoy the first warming rays...

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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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