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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Winter garden flowers

New Year, same values

If we consider the definition of the word “resolution” it implies a determined commitment, something resolute. I will go to the gym this year, I will read more, I will redo my garden… In terms of garden design, structural elements can be added to your outdoor spaces be they paving, water features or new planting. However, as we ring in the new year, it is important to recognize the regenerative value of nature within our gardens during the catatonic, rattling off resolutions, atmosphere that is the “New Year”. A bird feeder set...

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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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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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European gardens, garden, tours, Italian, villas, houses

Taking your Garden to new heights!

Dealing with Levels in Garden Design In a board or card game, sometimes it can feel like you have been dealt the worst possible hand and yet sometimes starting from a seeming position of disadvantage can actually see the game play into your hands; as it unfolds new opportunities arise that you did not think were possible, you get creative, you exploit and then you come out on top.  In garden design, we are sometimes dealt these difficult hands, none perhaps more so than the steeply sloping site.  Yet, with a...

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concept garden design tim austen irish designer ireland

Plan your garden design

So, you’ve watched the garden makeover programmes on TV, read the garden magazines, you’ve Googled garden designers and famous gardens in Ireland and across the world, you’ve used Facebook and Instagram to find those wow garden images and you’ve put them all together on your Pinterest account.  You know what you want and you’re ready to get the garden designed.  You deserve congratulations at this stage, as you will have put concerted effort and significant time into getting to this point.  What’s next? The next big step will be for you...

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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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Fine-tuning your garden design plans

The early days of the New Year give us a chance to reflect on the past year's activity and to plan anew for the coming year.  We tend to be full of fresh ideas, we want to make a difference for the better in the coming months and, in a sort of mental-vacuum, are often devoid of self-doubt.  Anything and everything seems possible.   However, in my view, there is a certain need to put a frame, call it structure if you will, around this somewhat dreamy state, essentially to see if...

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