Front and Back Garden Design in Leopardstown Dublin

After Landscaping
After Landscaping

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I won this landscaping project through a recommendation from a previous small gardening contract
in the Killiney area. This particular client had researched my previous work and presented me with a
collage of photos from other jobs I had completed. This was handy, as it made me understand what
was expected from us. I would recommend this approach to any person undertaking a garden
renovation. Pictures from Pinterest for example speak a thousand words. Pictures help a
garden designer understand a client’s wishes. 

All landscaping.ie’s works are custom-built. Nothing in our gardens is supplied or built by others. All
our projects are bespoke giving our gardens an original feel. Many landscapers now landscape by
numbers. There’s nothing wrong with this, but we love a challenge and a chance to hone our skills,
learning new things as we go.

The client made contact through the website portal and filled in the questionnaire. On reading the
filled-in questionnaire I knew it was a front and back garden project of medium scale. Access was
available by an extremely important side entrance. The client explained they were in the
process of renovation and wanted me booked in as soon as possible. Wanting me on site once the
builders were finished.

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On the first site survey, the front was south-facing and not very large. The entrance between the pillars
measured 2.8M. There was an unsightly electricity box built into the pillar on the east side. The boundaries consisted of a rotten horizontal rail fence adjacent to the road with both side walls 1.2M in height. The East side had good screening from planting within the neighbours. The West side had some planting on the client side but not enough for screening. The existing driveway was standard Tegula cobblelock which curved around to the side access/garden gate on the West side. There was a fine alcove over the door with decorative pillars. A step using bullnose silver granite had been installed within. The step looked out of proportion and unbalanced. The other half of the front was made up of a sloping lawn area. The slope running away from the house. 

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The side gate to the back garden was tight. We need at least 29” to get our mini-digger through. This
was giving 27”, but by removing the door frame, access, could be achieved. Without the mini digger,
we could not take on this job, a lot of earth removal was required to bring down levels. The back of
the house was north-facing. The new extension was almost completed and consisted of double
doors and lots of windows on either side. It was contemporary in style and had a grey 7016 RAL-coloured finish. The existing patio was crazy paving leading to a raised lawn area. There were two
beautiful finished yellow-bricked outhouses to the East side. The surroundings were good, especially
the feature granite wall to the West side. The back wall was a very imposing tall unplastered block
wall which would need softening. The area was rectangular and instantly spoke to me. The design came to me instantly. The area already had great character even though it was strewn with builders’ materials and equipment.

After surveying both front and back, taking photos, and absorbing the space, I sat down with the client to
draw up the following wishlist:

Front Garden

  • Removal of hedging by road and to the West side
  • Remove, rotten fencing.
  • ove West side pillar, extending the width of the entrance
  • Cap existing red brick pillars with 60mm silver granite caps
  • Disguise the electrical box embedded within the East pillar
  • Supply and install new 4” solid wall, cap with silver granite, replacing rotten fence
  • Cut back neighbours’ overhanging plants on the East side, remove all plants on the West boundary
  • Remove the existing driveway and lawn creating a larger space
  • Supply and install a new driveway using Ballylusk gravel and silver granite cobbles
  • Use gravel core matting system to achieve good surface stability, limiting rilling by tyres due to sharp turn
  • Supply and install new fencing along the West side boundary
  • Supply and install custom-built bicycle shed
  • Supply and install custom-built wheelie bin screen
  • Low maintenance
  • All paintings in Ronseal ‘Slate’
  • Soften the front of the house with raised kerb beds and planting
  • Re-do step using silver granite and silver granite kerbs
  • Create enough room to accommodate 2 cars
  • Installation of the path to the front door
  • Planting of semi-mature Portuguese Laurel hedge for privacy
  • Installation of services for possible future electric gate

Back Garden

  • Removal of existing crazy paved patio
  • Removal of granite retainer
  • Removal of central raised lawn area
  • Removal of all unwanted plants, retain what I thought worth keeping
  • Removal of existing Rockery
  • Garden lighting
  • Plenty of paving for entertaining
  • Yellow limestone to tie in with existing yellow-bricked outhouses.
  • Low maintenance
  • Repair roofs on outhouses, installation of a new roof over middle outhouse
  • Raised beds to double up as seating
  • Installation of drainage channels to link up with new outlets created by builder
  • Soften tall, imposing, unplastered back wall
  • WoW factor
  • Mix traditional with contemporary, in keeping with the new extension

Armed with the above information, I returned a fortnight later with a scaled garden design. As
mentioned, this contract was one of the easier to design. 

After Landscaping
After Landscaping

 


We started the job 4 months later as planned, just as the builder was finishing (Doesn’t happen very
often). The driveway was created using 200x100x50mm silver granite cobble as the border to
everything. The cobble was the most important feature as it created the apron, beds, borders to
paths and defined the whole area. The custom-built bicycle shed and wheelie bin screens were one
structure and fitted into the bed on the West side. Gravel core matting was laid 50mm below all
levels and filled with 14mm Ballylusk gravel. The front and side boundaries were redone. The front
boundary was planted with a semi-mature Portuguese Laurel hedge for screening. The step within the
alcove was completely re-done using kerbs as the outer edge, the kerbs were continued to create
raised beds in front of the house, connecting the whole area. The beds were planted with Buxus
hedging and lollipops giving height and interest. Planting on driveways is so important as it
softens the house. Driveways are often industrial-looking and softening with planting is 
important.

The shifting of the raised lawn in the back took longer than expected. I always seem to
underestimate the amount of excavations that can arise from what appears to be a small area. I use
my Cubic meter calculations, but they always turn out wrong. Soil once disturbed seems to bulk
up/fill with air, adding to the total amount. Raised beds were then installed using 1000x200x100mm
silver granite kerbs. Raised beds were also created by new extensions along the back boundary. The
raised bed along the back boundary was customised to double up as seating. The large patio was
created using mixed-sized tumbled yellow limestone slabs. An ACO drain was installed to deal with
water run-off. The back wall was clad with 125x25mm planed pressure-treated Scandinavian Spruce.
The cladding was painted in 2 coats of Ronseal ’Slate’ (Same as the front). The cladding was softened
with strips of trellis rectangles painted in 7016 Antracite, connecting with windows, down pipes &
fascia on the house. The trellis would soften the cladding and act as a foil for garden lighting. Planting
consisted of 3 mature Evergreen Magnolia and various low-maintenance shrubs and perennials to
provide all year-round interest. Graden lights were also used to glaze the walls of the raised beds 7
uplight the plants

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Before Landscaping

 

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After Landscaping

The work carried out to complete the garden could be summarised as follows:

  • Remove existing cobbles, cart to dump
  • Remove hedge/all plants & roots, cart to dump
  • Supply, spread & compact 50mm quarry screenings, creating sub-base (5 Tonne)
  • Supply and install raised kerb bed and new step
  • Supply and install apron using 200x100x60mm tumbled silver cobbles
  • Supply and install path using 600x300mm brush-hammered silver granite slabs, bordered with 200x100x60mm cobbles
  • Supply and install edge, using 600x150mm slabs, creating beds/definition (33Lm)
  • Supply and install paving by house to side gate (4Msq)
  • Supply & install 6×4’ bike shed
  • Supply and install wheelie bin screen
  • Supply and install fencing, left side, 1.2m high (8Lm)
  • Supply and lay gravel core matting system (50Msq)
  • Fill gravel core matting with 14mm Ballylusk chippings (5 Tonne)
  • Meet clients at Gardenworld Nurseries, advice & choose plants for front and back
  • Plant chosen plants (Labour only)
  • Finish all planted beds with Screened topsoil (2 Tonne)
  • Supply and install plastered wall between pillars, Cap wall & pillars with silver granite, clean red brick, paint white
  • Cap pillar with electric box
  • Plaster small wall to right and cap with granite, paint white
  • Remove existing soil/granite, cart to dump (25 Tonne)
  • Supply and install cable for garden lighting
  • Supply and install steps and granite planters (20 Kerbs)
  • Step-by-side door
  • Supply and install raised bed/seat capped with 600x300mm granite slabs (26 Kerbs)
  • Supply and install patio using tumbled yellow Limestone, mixed sizes (67.5)
  • Supply and install ACO drain at the base of raised bed & step (10Lm)
  • Replace the roof on both sheds
  • Remove plants and cart to dump
  • Clad existing back wall (11Lm)
  • Place three 6×2’ painted trellis sections on cladding, paint in 7016 ‘Anthracite’
  • Supply and install side gate
  • Plant chosen plants (Labour only)
  • Supply and install low voltage garden lighting system, including 7 spike lights, 1 downlighter in shed, 6 up lighters to glaze wall of raised bed
  • Plaster & paint chimney
  • Remove all rubbish and cart to dump

The garden turned out great and the clients were very happy. They kindly posted the following
Google review:

Our brief for Kevin was for a low/no maintenance garden with more usable outdoor
space in a contemporary style to fit in with our newly remodelled house. Kevin 
exceeded our expectations and created a space that we are beyond delighted with. In
the front, we have replaced lawn, hedges and bins with a gravel driveway that stays
where we put it and practical sheds to hide away bins and bikes. In the back, we
replaced he  lawn, the broken patio and a mish-mash of vegetation with a very practical and
attractive space which is a joybe beh by and day night (the pictures tell the story
best). Kevin expertly guided our choice of evergreen, low-maintenance decorative
planting. The plan evolved as we went along, and in retrospect, I think that’s a good
approach for a garden. Very happy to recommend Kevin. Brian Keenan

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