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...

Read More

Roots in to the garden!

I was lucky to have the opportunity to deliver a talk about the use of paths in creating interesting garden designs at Garden Show Ireland yesterday and I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me and other Garden and Landscape Design Association (GLDA) members to attend the show to both give talks and also run a popular garden design clinic where visitors could get free 15-minute design advice for their gardens. [caption id="attachment_3881" align="aligncenter" width="620"] The central gravel and Travertine path in my show garden at Bloom 2013[/caption] My talk...

Read More

Construction story at Bloom in the park – Giardino della mostra

Ok, so things just got way too busy at Bloom to give you the rest of the updates on construction.  Apologies!  We obviously finished on time, thanks to huge efforts and ridiculously long hours over many days from all the team involved - I think we broke my previous record for length of time on site at Bloom on any one day with a cracking 17 hours of work put in by 12 people on the Thursday - but it was all worth it as we had a great show with...

Read More

‘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...

Read More

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. ...

Read More

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...

Read More

Garden design live (3): finishing touches

I bet you are wondering did we ever finish our garden project outlined in my posts: garden design live 1 and garden design live 2?  Well, I am pleased to report that we did finish the garden and that it looks great!  "It is totally amazing, we did an awesome job!" as Jedward might say.  In all seriousness, we have had great feedback from our client so now all that reamains is for the Irish weather to be a little bit kinder so that the plants can grow away more...

Read More

Building a show garden at Bloom in the Park, Dublin

This day, three years ago, I finished my second large show garden at Bloom in the Park at precisely 8am in the morning when all garden designers are firmly ejected from the build area by exhibition staff. Show gardens are huge undertakings involving serious personal commitment by the garden designer and also by the close team of people that they have around them during the build stage and also during the show.  It’s a mammoth task for all involved and I know that I am eternally grateful to all those people...

Read More

Garden design live (1)

Have you ever wanted to overhaul your garden but with minimum intervention for maximum benefit?  That is actually the brief to which we have worked on our current garden project (under construction as I type). The garden design plan involves the renovation of an existing suburban garden.  It is of a traditional style with a good-sized lawn and generous planting beds along the sides with an existing (but weedy) natural stone pathway providing access down through the garden.  However, these elements had not been reconciled with a recent house extension and...

Read More

Garden design tip 4: paving, part B

When it comes to picking stone for your garden personal choice and taste is important but you should also consider how the stone will fit in with what you already have. [caption id="attachment_1907" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Front garden design (by Tim Austen) featuring granite setts and kerbs to tie-in with the granite windowsills of the house.  Colour of gravel also complements the red-brick of the house.[/caption] A good starting point is your house: the colour and finishes on your house should be used as a guide for materials selection for the garden.  For...

Read More