I won this contract by word & mouth as we had previously created a garden for a colleague of the clients. He was also impressed with past work/reviews displayed on Landscaping.ie. The property was in Booterstown, Co Dublin. I met with the client a week after contact was made through the contact portal on my website.
On the initial site survey the garden was located on a large site, with both front and back in need of design and construction. The house had just been done up and there were lots of scaffolding and building materials on site. The project involved a complete overhaul. The front of the house faced due South. The site sloped away from the house to the main road, this was all concrete. The top area was level, where a lawn used to be. An electric gate had already been installed at the entrance. The garden included raised beds to the West, low curving wall to the East. All walls apart from the curved were in need of attention. The surrounding walls were 2M high, again in need of plastering. The front door had a Portico with two 200x200mm beams either side and concrete step. Either side of the house had no side gates. The planting was minimal with nothing worth saving. The existing Grisellinia hedge was removed and transplanted up to my property. The front had great potential. The slope up from the entrance was quite steep but with the use of core gravel matting would not be a problem. The house looked beautiful, so a good design here would look fantastic from the road below.
On entering the back garden, on the West side, you were met with an old shed wall 3M in length. There was the customary 1M path surrounding the house. A beautiful new extension had been added by the builders to the back of the house. The extension was surrounded by glass and was designed for enjoying the garden. From the large glass sliding doors, there were concrete steps and again 1M path. The tiles within the rooms were 600x600mm, with 5mm grouting lines. The surrounds were 2M high walls, as in the front. Again in need of plastering/painting. As I have previously mentioned in other blogs, everything stems from the surroundings of a garden. I really liked these walls with pillars every 2M. The old wall to the West especially. This wall had caps that looked connected to the pillars, giving great definition. The back and East walls were newer, didn’t have caps and fewer pillars. Once worked on and finished they would make a great backdrop to plants and lighting. The surroundings would hold the eye in the space. There were plants growing in from the neighbours. A few mature shrubs existed, none worth keeping. The rest of the back garden was made up of an unlevel lawn with dints and hollows.
After spending time in the space, taking measurements and photos, I sat down with the client to draw up a wish list. The following is what we created:
- Removal of existing concrete driveway
- Removal of lawn
- Level upper area with space for two cars
- Create instant privacy from main road with use of mature hedging
- Remove old unsightly brick capping from top of walls entering driveway
- Plaster walls and paint white in keeping with house
- Extend low curving wall to East side of entrance by 1M, enhancing this feature
- Cap walls with silver granite
- Use silver granite paving and cobbles throughout the garden to tie in with white render on the house
- Use 14mm Ballylusk gravel for driveway, with Ballylusk dust sub-base
- Pave over existing concrete step at main door using silver granite
- Paint existing pillars same colour as door
- Remove all existing plants
- Plaster surrounding walls
- Install 2 custom made side gates either side of house same colour as door
- Low maintenance a must
- Remove existing plants and cut back neighbours to boundary
- Remove old shed wall
- Child friendly
- Low maintenance within beds achieved using geo-textile matting covered with 50mm bark mulch
- Supply and install new Custom built Baumanns Garden shed
- Synthetic golf green by shed
- Low voltage garden lighting throughout
- Seating areas to pick up sun
- Area for hammock
- Dedicated area outside laundry room to include clothes line within paving
- Raised bed area to include stainless steel rill with backlight and seat
- Face concrete steps from new extension with silver granite paving
- Pick up internal grout lines to connect external silver granite paving
- Stick with old lawn to make savings, fill in hollows, topdress and re-seed
- Install 4 fake pillars on new walls at back and to Eastern boundary to balance with old wall
- Use 200x100x50mm granite cobbles to create beds and mowing edges in keeping with low maintenance theme.
First, we started on the front garden. Plants were removed. Concrete was broken out and the lawn removed to a depth of 100mm. Ballylusk dust was then spread to a depth of 75mm and compacted, creating sub-base. Apron was then installed at entrance using 200x100x50mm cobbles and 600x300x30mm slabs.The 200x100x100mm tumbled cobbles were also used to create upper beds. The semi circular wall at West side of entrance was extended by 1M. The old red brick capping was removed from wall and raised bed, replaced with 600x300mm granite slabs. The raised bed and surrounding walls were then plastered with waterproof cement render. The concrete step under the portico was paved and faced with granite A path was installed leading to Western entrance into back garden. Instant privacy was created from the main road by planting a mature Portuguese Laurel hedge. The rest of the planting included 70% shrubs to 30% perennials. Thuja ‘Smargards’ & Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire’ were used as specimens throughout.
Moving to the back two custom built gates were installed either side of house. The old shed wall was demolished and removed. SWA 4 core cable was installed around the garden for future garden lighting, water feature and extra outdoor sockets. The custom built 8×6’ Baumanns garden shed was installed & painted in Ronseal ‘Slate’ with white door & surrounds. We then created 4 fake pillars in newer walls to match in with older ones. The raised beds were created using 4×4” concrete blocks laid on the flat & plastered. A stainless steel water rill was included with Led backlight. The raised bed was then capped with 600x300mm slabs to a height of 500mm to double up as seating.
All the surrounding walls front & back were plastered with waterproof cement render. All preparations were then installed for patios using 75mm deep compacted quarry screenings. The granite steps were paved and faced to pick up internal grout lines. The rest of the paving was then installed using 600x600mm slabs following the internal grout lines. The paving layout was square on the square. Beds and mowing edge were installed using 200x100x50mm cobbles. The hammock was created simply using 2 pressure treated railway sleepers capped white and painted in ‘Slate’ in keeping with the shed. The plants were then planted again with 70% shrub to 30% perennial ratio.
Specimen plants were strategically placed to give height and interest. All beds were covered with geo-textile matting and mulched with 50mm deep grade 1 bark mulch to disguise. This method suppresses 90% of weeds going forward. The clothesline was installed outside the utility area. The synthetic grass putting green was installed next to the shed and included 8 putting holes and apron. The client wanted gradients on the putting surface for added difficulty.
The existing lawn was cut tight and 25mm layer of fine-screened topsoil was brushed in, seeded, and well watered. The lighting system was then installed using high quality ‘Hunza’ brass lights which would go green in time. The lighting system looked fantastic at night. The original budget was exceeded by approximately 20% due to extras & a bigger more impactful planting scheme.
The client was very happy with the result and kindly posted the following review on Google:
“Hugely impressed with the garden that Kevin and team created for our family. Kevin combines vision and a broad range of ideas, with a sharp attention to detail and top-quality finish. He is easy to work with and we are delighted with the outcome. We would have no hesitation in recommending him”