I won this contract through a referral received from the friend of a previous client. The contract was based on Trees Rd, Mount Merrion, Co Dublin. After being contacted, I organised to meet the client and survey the Garden.
On the initial site survey, the house had just been refurbished by a builder. The front of the house faces due North. The driveway was in place with a small Tegula Apron, a Ballylusk driveway with Egyptian limestone steps, at the front door. The edging to the beds was created using timber. To the West side, the dividing fence was in disrepair with clear views into the neighbours.
The back was completely overgrown, with various mature plants and lots of briars. There were two nice Eucalyptus trees and a lilac, apart from that I could see nothing worth keeping. The garden was of a large size. The builder had installed concrete steps at the south side of the building by the sliding doors into the garden. A small Grey Oldtown patio had also been installed. A meandering gravel path edged with timber led to the top of the garden. This path leads to a summerhouse/games room at the top North end of the garden. The garden was sloping towards the house. On both sides, the fencing was completely rotten and covered in Ivy. Numerous plants overhung the space from the neighbours. It was clear that a huge clearout would be needed before work could even commence.
After taking a lot of time in the space, taking measurements and photos, I sat down with the client to draw the initial brief/wishlist. The following is what we thrashed out:
- Clearance of site keeping 2 Eucalyptus trees and Lilac
- Removal of rotten fencing
- Construction of new pressure-treated fence, unpainted to reduce maintenance
- Low maintenance garden
- Child-friendly garden for 4 kids
- Adult friendly garden with plenty of area to entertain
- Fire pit
- Plenty of lawn area for kids
- Dedicated synthetic grass area for football
- Working with space to keep quotation as low as possible
- Facing of concrete steps leading up to sliding doors
- Sunken trampoline
- Baumanns garden shed with log store
- Replacement of existing gravel path
- Extension of Oldtown patio installed by builder
- Extensive garden lighting display
- Installation of 2 water butts for storage of rain water
- Blue limestone
- Area for compost bin
- Bike shed
- Extension of Tegula ‘Heather’apron installed by builder
- Edging of beds with silver granite cobble
- Planting bed in front of house, to soften
- New hedge for privacy from road
- New fence on West side for privacy with neighbours, painted black in keeping with colour theme of house
- Path leading to front door
- Budget to be as low as possible due to limited funds after renovation
Armed with the above brief I created a design which fulfilled most of the above. The design & estimate were accepted, a 25% deposit received and the start date was set.
Obviously, the first job here was the site clear-out. This entailed the removal of all large shrubs/trees including stumps. Cutting back all encroaching plants to the boundary. Dragging out to the road and employing ‘King Tree Services’ to chip and remove all green matter. This took a whole week to achieve such was the extent of the material.
Next, we removed the rotten fence. This was no mean feat with all the ivy entwined. Luckily most of the concrete posts to which the old fence was connected to were in re-usable condition. 4×3” posts were dropped into 400mm deep holed and filled with concrete to replace any of the unusable ones. 50x50mm Joists were then attached horizontally with express nails to receive the panelling. 150x25mm boards were then attached to the joists vertically using a nail gun and compressor. A 25mm gap was left between each board. The gap was then filled with a 50mm latt. The whole fence was capped to prevent water from rotting the newly sawn boards. Along the base of the fence we attached the SWA armoured cable for future garden lighting. Cable was also run to the base of the trees for future up lighting. The timber we used was rough pressure-treated Scandinavian Spruce. This style of fencing looked really well, and the client was delighted.
We then set about extending the grey old town Bradstone patio. This was done in keeping with the original, with falls away to existing drain.
We then faced the concrete steps at the back door. We extended the originals to allow for planters to frame sliding doors. The stone used was Blue limestone in 600x300mm slabs. The blue limestone complimented the grey of the oldtown paving.
Next we installed the meandering path. To save on cost we laid directly on the existing gravel path installed by builder. We started from the top of the garden using 300x300mm blue limestone slabs. The smaller slabs allowed for better curves. Then small slabs didn’t upset pointing gaps.
Closer to the house and connected to the path we installed a 5M circle using 600x600mm blue limestone slabs. A semi circular seat was then installed using plastered 4” soilds, to a height of 500mm. Then wall capped with 300x300mm silver brush hammerd granite to create seat. At the base of the wall we allowed for drainage gaps to let water away.
In the centre of the circle, we created the feature fire pit using Dunlavin natural stone. The fire pit could be used for both barbecuing and burning logs.
The whole path and circle were then bordered with 200x100x50mm tumbled silver granite cobbles.
Cobbles were also used on the West side where we created planting bed. On the East side just under the fence we installed a mowing edge in keeping with low maintenance theme.
At the top of the garden by the sunroom, we installed a dedicated grass for football practise.
Below the synthetic lawn we placed sunken 3.4M trampoline.
Extra soil was brought in to create undulations to add interest. We then finished the lawn areas with instant roll out turf.
Specialised garden lighting was then installed in strategic areas around the garden, including under mature trees and glazing up the new fencing.
A custom built 8×6’ Baumanns Garden shed complete with log store was then installed by the Sun room at the top of the garden. We left space behind the shed to create utility area for storing wheelbarrows, ladders etc.
Moving towards the front we installed bike shelter with new ground level concrete paving using 400x400mm slabs laid on a bed of paving sand.
For the front we installed new bed in front of house. Installed new fence to West boundary. Extended Tegula ‘Heather’ apron. Removed timber bed edging and replaced with 200x100x100mm tumbled silver granite cobbles. A mature Portugeuse Laurel hedge was planted at boundary creating privacy from passers by. A path made of cobble and stepping stones was then installed using silver granite. This was the first time I used this method. It was a mistake. The single paving stones turned out to be too weak for car tyres and started to move/crack. We replaced with Limestone path, which looked far better. That’s the great thing about landscaping, no matter how much experience you have, your always learning.
The clients were very happy with the results and kindly posted the following review:
“Kevin did our garden 3 years ago. We bought a house which was vacant for 11 years, and the garden was a jungle. There could have been dead bodies back there. We now have a garden that is just so pleasing to wake up to, that 4 kids can go nuts in, and that we can manage on busy schedules. He and his crew are professional, show up when they say, tidy neat and polite. Kevin has an eye for design and will bring out your ideas”
Thank you so much Dermot and Lara for having the confidence in me to carry out your Garden Design. May you have many happy times and memories within. Kevin Bauman