Give the gift of a garden this Christmas!

I know I have said this before, but I have to remind you that if you are thinking of getting your garden re-designed then now is a great time of year to set the wheels in motion. This is often a garden designer’s down-time: when the weather is poor, it’s time to be at the desk putting together plans for next year’s new gardens.  So take this opportunity to get your designer working for you. They too want to get the plans agreed with you, as early as possible, so that...

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‘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...

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Using perennial flowers in your garden

Autumn is a good time for stocking your garden with new plants.  And when it comes to planting, perennials are the proverbial “box of chocolates” – the choice is almost limitless and they are all so tasty! [caption id="attachment_2451" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Perennial flowers in a client's garden (only one year from planting!)[/caption] There is huge variety in foliage, flowering time and they come back year after year with limited maintenance.  Just cutting back, dead-heading and division.   Perennials can be planted in many different styles – formal contained by box hedging, sweeps and...

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How to decide what sort of garden design you want

Would you like to overhaul your garden but don’t know where to start? Well, if you are at this point, you will have already recognised that redesigning your garden is going to bring you benefits, such as an improved quality of life and perhaps an increase to the value of your property but how do you sort out the mixed tangle of emotions and ideas that you have attached to the project in to a coherent design plan? Luckily, when you employ a professional garden designer this is exactly what they do...

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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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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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‘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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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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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...

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