I won this contract, recommended by the builder, to renovate and extend this property. The contract was located in Dalkey, Co Dublin. It was up from Culla Gaelic grounds, down one of the cul de sacs beyond, a beautiful area of Dublin.
On the initial site survey, the building was still in progress. The garden was a medium to large size, with front and back in need of expertise. The front of the house faced South. Due to the works in progress, it was tough to get a feel for the space and lacked ideas on possible design options. What added to this confusion were all the workmen, a 30’ high mound of builders’ rubble, portaloos , stacks of scaff planks and various building equipment.
I liked the fact the house was juxtaposed, meaning the driveway entrance was on the West side. This meant the front door was really the side door. The South side (front of the house) included a large area with good mature planting in front of the 1.2M high boundary wall. The plants were mature, with some plants reaching 5M. The plants were all mixed, and consisted of Cotoneaster, Holly, Pittosporum, Viburnum tinus, Laurel, Crataegus, Acer etc. Most plants were in excellent condition with maybe a couple requiring TLC. Luckily there wasn’t an Ivy problem underneath, which is generally the case, and a disaster to deal with. There was however lots of rubbish, branches etc. A beautiful weeping birch occupied the centre of the area. This specimen was the best I had ever seen. There were trestles and timber leaning against the trunk, which I instructed to be removed immediately. The whole area was compacted and muddy from ongoing works, which was a bit of a worry. The boundary on West side was just 1.2M high wall with no planting and clear views into adjacent properties. So the front of the house was basically a long wide area. The beautiful mature planting along the boundary to the main gate, gave a real traditional feel to the space.
The next area was the back garden accessed through a 1M gap between house and South boundary. This area housed the beautiful new extension which the builder had installed. The extension looked choice, finished to the highest standards. It was obviously designed with the garden in mind and was surrounded by windows and large sliding doors. From the door there was a step down onto hardcore. The new fencing continued from the front and ended 4M into the back garden. It finished at the gable end of the neighbouring house. After the gable original fencing continued down to the existing concrete outhouse. This was all on the West boundary.
On the East boundary there was an old fence overgrown with Boston Ivy coming from the neighbours. This looked excellent and couldn’t be improved on.
Finally sat down with client and builder and we thrashed out the following brief between us. I should mention the builder here (Build Pol) because he is excellent. They are a Polish setup, and their work is always to the highest standards. The following is the brief/wish list:
• Low maintenance garden design
• Installation of large apron to pick up square of house, include services for electric gate
• Installation of sliding electric gate
• Wall extension along length of roller bar for privacy
• Instant screening of Western boundary using fencing panels
• Compartmentalisation of the area
• Child friendly
• Save the weeping birch
• Improve planting around the perimeter, repairing damaged plants
• Gravel driveway and paths
• Room for two cars without obstructing paths
• New lawns front and back
• Extensive garden lighting scheme
• Paving to be the same level as interior, use ACO drains
• Fire pit and semi-circular seat
• Large seating area on South side
• Custom built Baumann’s Garden shed with log store placed within bed on East side
• Use of Jaj Green Indian sandstone and oatmeal coggle
• Ballylusk driveway
• Disguise neighbours Gable with 500mm high raised bed/seat
• Disguise all man-holes
• Planting of beds with suitable plant specimens
Due to an upcoming wedding date, it was decided the builder and myself would share the workload in completing this contract. We split up tasks that suited us.
After getting scaled drawings with boundaries from the architect. Armed with the above information. I completed a design which fulfilled all of the above. In completing the design I worked closely with the builder as he would be helping me build it. His input was excellent and I really enjoyed the process. The Design was accepted and 25% deposit was received and the date set.
In total it took us 4 weeks to complete, in plenty of time for the big day. I’m sorry now I didn’t take the before pictures because the end product was excellent. Sorry, I didn’t take more photos in general but I did do a video which gives a great in sight.
The plants I used within this project were as follows: Hydrangea petiolaris, Skimmia japonica, Skimmia ‘Rubella’, Myrthus ‘Glanheim Gold’, Fatsia japonica, Photinia ‘Red Robin’, Aucuba japonica, Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’, Pittosporum agrophyllum, Portugeuse laurels, Prunus laurocerasus, Bay laurel hedging, Olea europaea, Magnolia grandiflora, Allium bulbs, Phyllostachys aurea, Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, Epimedium spp, Genista Lydia, Standard Photinia ‘Red Robin’, Lavandula Hidcote, Vivbrnum tinis, Taxus baccata, Ilex aquifolium.
The clients were really happy with the outcome, and kindly posted the following Google review online:
“Kevin has now completed work on our garden, front and back, and the results were outstanding. We now have an outdoor space that we can use properly with all the family. We have a super patio area for lounging and eating while the grass space was completely revamped and is now a proper play area for the kids. The fire pit was a nice addition which we use frequently. Kevin is a pleasure to work with and he is very flexible and adaptable during the entire process. He has also just completed work on my mum’s garden with similar results. I have no hesitation recommending Kevin and frequently do to people who comment on our garden”
Thanks Colin for such rewarding words. It was a pleasure dealing with. Thanks also for having the trust in me to landscape your Mums garden. She’s quite a lady 😊