We won this contract through the client contacting us through the website. The client was impressed with the number of positive reviews. The address was in Castleknock, Dublin Ireland.
On first site survey, the door width for the digger was too small, but with the removal of the frame we could gain access. We discussed bringing the digger through the house, but further inquiries uncovered insurance would not cover this.
The garden was of medium size, aspect North facing. The surrounds included a 3M high back wall with a concrete post and panel fencing on each side. The fencing on each side looked terrible, with different levels all the way along and views into neighbouring gardens. The site was sloping upwards, going away from the house with levels all over the place. There were two large unsightly man-holes. There was a 10×8” steel garden shed on the West side beside the house. The house itself was newly built with white Acrylic render. A beautiful two storey house with two doors leading into the garden. A small patio was outside one door and the house was surrounded with customary concrete path.
After surveying the site, taking photos etc. I sat down with the clients and came up with the following wishlist:
- Low maintenance
- Plaster or clad back wall
- Re-do fencing on both sides
- Sort out slope
- Child friendly
- Trampolene area
- Entertainment/barbecue area
- Disguise two large man-holes
- Cut back all overhanging branches to the boundary
- Garden lighting
- Synthetic golf green
- Synthetic lawn
- Budget not to exceed 40K
The first design I created was too simple, with split levels and central steps.
The second design was a success. The Garden design again had two levels only this time the retaining wall on the West side was brought forward to allow for steps parallel to the house. The steps could not be seen when looking directly at the garden, making the design a lot less obvious.
The garden design had two levels divided by retaining walls built with plastered 4” solid walls, capped with 600x300x20mm flamed silver granite slabs to a height of 45cm. 45cm is an ideal seating height so they had a duel effect.
The surrounds spoke for themselves. Either side would be clad with 150x25mm planed pressure treated Scandinavian Spruce boards, capped with 50x25mm latts. Scandinavian Spruce is the best imported softwood on the market. It comes from a sustainable source and has no connection with ongoing, deforestation. We no longer use hardwoods in our gardens. The back wall had a beautiful double block detail which I didn’t appreciate on the first site visit. At this stage, I thought we should paint it. We discussed colours and it was decided to get 5 testers, paint on 1M square patches, to make the decision easier.
The lower level housed a large dining area created using 600x600x20mm flamed silver granite slabs which matched in perfectly with the white Acrylic render on the house. The falls led to a mole drain at the base of the retaining wall/seat to remove excess water runoff. A synthetic grass golf green with an apron completed the area. The first Man-hole was lowered and hid below this green. White up-lighters glazed the retainer/seat with downlighters glazing the fence both sides. A side gate was installed making a utility area along the entire East side passage of the house capable of housing the 3 wheelie bins.
3 steps lead to the upper area. This area consisted of a path and a small patio with a wash basket bench and retractable Barbantia clothesline. A large 30mm synthetic grass lawn surrounded by 200x100x50mm Portuguese silver cobble mowing edge, defining the area. In the East corner, we installed a paved area using 900x600x30mm brush hammered silver granite slabs to house a hardwood seat. The trampoline was placed to the West side.
The following is the work carried out to complete the project:
- Excavate soil in lower level 50mm below concrete path, create levels, move topsoil to upper level
- Supply, spread and compact 50mm layer of quarry screenings to create sub-base for paving, upper paving and path
- Supply and install cabling for low voltage garden lighting system
- Raise Manhole and replace with recessed one, lose other under golf green
- Supply and install patio using 600x600x20mm flamed silver granite slabs, including soakaway for run off (55msq)
- Supply and install golf green with an apron (15Msq)
- Supply and install raised bed/seat with steps using 4” solids plastered with waterproofed cement render & capped with 600x300x20mm silver granite slabs (20Lm)
- Supply and install retractible Barbantia clothesline connected to vertical pressure-treated sleeper
- Upper path and paving using silver granite (7Msq)
- Supply and install seat/clothes bench, using cement rendered 4” solids capped with 600x300x30mm
- Clad fence both sides using pressure treated Scandinavian Spruce 6” boards capped with 2×1 latt (35Lm)
- Supply and install mowing edge around upper area/either side of path using 200x100x50mm silver granite cobbles (40.5 Lm)
- Fill beds with topsoil (7 Tonne)
- Supply and lay synthetic grass lawn (78Msq)
- Meet client at nursery to advise and choose plants
- Plant chosen plants (Labour only)
- Supply and install low voltage garden lighting system to include 6 Arigo stainless steel spot lights, 6 Astrum uplighters, 2 Diemos downlighters, 150 Watt transformer and dusk till dawn sensor, connect to best positioned socket, include granite strip to house lights by golf green
- Supply and install side gate creating wheelie bin area
- Remove overhanging branches
- Re-do area by clothesline seat, supply and lay paving
- Supply and install paving for seat in right corner
- Paint lower wall with two coats of paint
- Treat and clean paint off back wall
- Remove all rubbish and cart to dump
The back bone of the planting included Thuja ‘Smargards, Bay Laurel lollipops, Buxus cones and Buxus hedging. The rest included good hardy plants which would give all year-round interest.
It was at this stage I realised the wall was perfect as it was. It took a lot of effort and environmentally friendly paint remover to get rid of the tester patches.
The client was happy with the project, as we came in under budget and finished 1 day before the first lockdown. After 6 weeks of lockdown, he commented: “It was the best money he ever spent”, as it created a safe space for himself and his family to enjoy”
The client kindly posted the following review on Google:
“We would highly recommend Kevin for design and transformation of your garden. From the first meeting with Kevin he captured our requirements and showed a willingness to adapt initial designs to cater for a slightly extended wish list.
Kevin demonstrates extensive knowledge in garden design and plant selection. Partnered with that knowledge is an ability to implement his design concepts to the highest levels of finish with great attention to detail.
Kevin managed the project from start to finish and dealt with all aspects of its implementation. Each evening Kevin & Ian left the work areas spotless, with the project impact on the rest of the house and neighbours minimal as a result.
We love our new garden. It is exactly what we wanted from the project. We are very grateful for Kevin’s professionalism and ability to deliver as promised. Our family will hopefully have many years of enjoyment from his and Ian’s significant efforts.”