We first worked for this client at the end 2017. The brief called for a complete re-design of the front garden. The contract involved extending entrance, removing lawn and creating gravel driveway.
The garden design/work, included raised silver granite patio/greeting area, path leading to house, apron at extended entrance to create foil between gravel and public path, raised edging using tumbled silver granite cobbles to give definition to the space and create beds, new pressure treated Scandinavian spruce fence, low maintenance planting giving all year round interest.
The completed driveway/garden was a complete success with the client creating the following review:
‘When I asked Kevin to re-design my front garden/driveway I had no idea how he would completely transform it with the added bonus of enhancing the appearance of my house. He has made the whole area look bigger and brighter and it will be easy to maintain into the future. Kevin came up with the original design but what I really appreciated about working with him is that he was not rigid with his ideas. He was always willing to listen to suggestions and tweaks from my end and incorporate them as the work progressed.
It is clear Kevin takes great pride in his work and is hands on every step of the way. Despite some horrible wet and cold conditions, Kevin and his assistant Ian continued to work doggedly from early morning until it was dark. When the job was complete the whole area was left in immaculate condition.
I would not describe myself as any sort of gardener but I know what plants I don’t like. Kevin took the time with me at the garden centre to explain how different plants would enhance the garden while at the same time taking on board my personal likes and dislikes. Because of this level of collaboration, it is Kevin’s design but it is very much my garden’.
A year later we were called back to re-design the back garden. While doing the front the client had asked for ideas on the back. The space was difficult to visualise and it took a while for me to come up with ideas about the space. So before the site visit for the back garden I knew the area well. The existing features included a concrete path/patio with two high steps down from the house.
This area sloped away from the house sharply connecting to a sloping lawn. The lawn had an unbalanced look to it and would need to be levelled to one side. The surrounding Grisellinia hedges were overgrown both in height and width. A stepping timber deck path lead down to an old 10×8 shed which was in disrepair.
The shed was in line with the back Grisellinia hedge. Behind the shed and hedge existed an old path which was no longer used with surrounding houses already making use of the space. The area was completely overgrown but had great potential as a utility area behind the shed.
After surveying the garden and taking pictures, notes etc. I sat down with the client and together we wrote up the following brief:
- Entertainment area
- Cut back hedges
- Kill Ivy
- New Baumanns custom built 10×8 shed
- Reduce amount of lawn, so reducing maintenance
- Low maintenance
- Clear old path behind property and incorporate it into design
- All yearround interest
- Egyptian limestone
- Tumbled granite cobbles/Ballylusk gravel connecting front with back
- Low voltage garden lighting
- New lawn, balance using topsoil
- 2nd seating area with seating
- Screen for 3 wheelie bins
- Kota brown limestone
- Extend steps
- Disguise man-holes
- Armoured cable from boiler house to garden
Armed with above brief I went away and created a design which was based loosely on circles. The design and finished garden could be described as follows.
Stepping out from house onto two wider and shallower steps you enter the raised Egyptian limestone patio which wraps around the house much like the original concrete patio and path. The path leads to the bin hide easily accessible from the kitchen with central steps and raised bed on both sides. We laid directly on the existing patio and path so reducing costs and labour.
The central steps lead down onto semi circular Kota brown limestone path bordered by raised tumbled silver cobbles, retaining soil in raised bed on the left and circular lawn to the right. Path leads first to a gravel circle with miniature semi circular path mirroring the main one. Stepping up onto circle there is a new 10×8 Baumanns garden shed with two doors the back leading to the cleared un-used path, now utility/storage area. Stepping down onto the main path again you are lead to the second seating area. This is a circular Kota brown limestone patio which eats into the circular lawn emphasising the circular theme.
Two thirds of the patio is taken up by a semi-circular seat capped with granite which gives a sculptural look. Leading from there there is a double line of cobbles, one making the mowing edge the other retaining soil completing the edge to the circular lawn. The planting consisted mostly of shrubs which would create low maintenance. The plants used were: standard Lonicera delavium, Carex ‘Cream ice’, Nandine domestica, Diosma ‘Sunset’, Helleborus foetidus, Pittosporum variegatum, Sarcococca humilis, Skimmia ‘Rubella’, Myrtus ‘Tangerine’, Pittosporum ‘Tom thumb’, Betula jacquemontii, Acer ‘Sangu Kaku’, Buxus balls, Cordyline ‘Torbay Dazzler’, Erica carnea spp., Grisellinia littoralis, Helianthemum spp, Skimmia japonica, Aucuba japonica, Heuchera ‘Purple Palace and Rosmarinus prostrates.
The whole garden turned out great with the client posting the following review:
‘Kevin did a great job redesigning and landscaping my front garden and totally transforming the front of my house for the better. So when I wanted to redesign my back garden Kevin was the obvious choice. He had a tough job since all he had to work with was a patch of grass surrounded by a very tall Griselinia hedge and a concrete pathway leading from the house. My brief was to transform the view from the inside of the house create a patio area and cut down on maintenance, the rest required Kevin to come up with all the ideas. The plan he came back with had the potential to transform how we use and enjoy the garden in a radical way.
Kevin and Ian his assistant then proceeded with the transformation in the tough weather conditions of Nov/Dec. At times the garden looked like the trenches in the battle of Somme but Kevin and Ian worked every day irrespective of the weather. Kevin not only has great ideas but excellent attention to detail he combines both hard landscaping skills with excellent horticultural expertise which ensures the right plants are located in the correct areas for them to thrive. Kevin is also open to listening to client ideas and suggestions and either explaining why they wouldn’t work or taking them on board.
The most enjoyable part of the project was to accompany Kevin around the nursery to choose the plants for the garden. Here he combines his knowledge about plants and planting with listening to the clients preferences for plants. This experience ensures that amateur gardeners like myself don’t choose plants that just won’t work with the type of soil and aspect of the garden and we can benefit from Kevin’s expertise.
The garden Kevin has created combines both his own vision with a few contributions from ourselves so it became a collaborative effort which has transformed our house not just our garden. We feel we have added another couple of rooms to the house thanks to the different areas Kevin has added to the garden. The first person to see our new garden said he would describe the transformation with one word ‘Wow’. That is exactly how we feel and look forward to enjoying it for many years to come.
Finally if you are looking for a hardworking, creative Landscaper with great attention to detail you need look no further than Kevin Baumann’.