I was recommended for this contract in Gallops, Leopardstown, Dublin by Darragh Connolly another landscaper that concentrates on the maintenance side of landscaping. Darragh is excellent in this area and maintains many of my past contracts.
The first site visit took place in October 2019. It was the back garden that was in need of my expertise. The back of the house faced North. The surrounds of the garden were all different. The West side consisted of rotten post and rail fencing looking into the neighbours. The North boundary was an angled wall, the angle was closest on the East, farthest on the West. The Eastern boundary was a concrete post and timber fence. The house had a new extension extending out on the East side. Entering the garden from the extension there was step down onto unlevel ground with concrete path and services to the back face of the house. Beyond this area there was an upward sloping lawn, which was overgrown and in bad condition. The west side being particularly bad, with overgrown cat mint, branches and rubbish mixed in. In the west corner stood a 10×8’ garden shed in major disrepair. In front of the shed, a phygelis had taken hold and would have to be removed. Behind the shed holly and leylandii grew over from neighbours.
After taking a bit of time to get a feel for the space. I surveyed the garden and took photographs.
I then sat down with the client and prepared the following wish list:
- Low maintenance
- Raised beds
- New fencing surround
- Dog friendly
- Garden lighting
- Make extension part of the garden
- Remove need for big step from extension into garden
- Strong contrasting colours
- Raised beds to be plastered side and top
- Contemporary look
- New garden shed
- Synthetic grass lawn
- Must be finished before planned wedding
- Set budget, no room for extras
- Plenty of room for entertaining
- Inclusion of 5 core SWA to garden shed, for electrician
- New fencing to be built in front of existing, so as not to disturb neighbours
Armed with the above information I created a scaled garden design which covered all of the areas above. The clients were delighted with the design.
On receipt of the quotation, the clients decided to move forward even though I was slightly over budget. I received a 25% deposit with the proviso that the job must be finished before the planned wedding in March 2020.
Then Coronavirus hit in late 2019, early 2020. This threw everything into the air. I only take one contract at a time so there’s always a queue I have to work through. The wedding was called off and a new start date was set. Due to lockdowns another start date was again set. All the while the clients were very understanding. I was really thankful for this and the fact they were willing to wait for me.
During this time I received a phone call from the client pondering the inclusion of a bespoke garden room with shed attached. They saw some nice ideas online. The client also sent on a sketch of what they were thinking.
This obviously changed proposed garden layout, so I re-did the design. The inclusion of the garden room really excited me. The fact the back wall was angled, this idea would really make good use of the space. In my minds eye this was going to look really well. I was put out I hadn’t thought of it myself.
The wedding date was re-set for late September 2021.
I finally got on site mid-August 2021 a year and half after the first planned start date. Like everyone, I was having trouble finding good staff. I managed to employ a labourer which was a great help on the project.
The shed was emptied, rubbish removed and then demolished. The overhanging plants were cut back to the perimeter and the phygelis removed. All the rubbish and remaining plants were also removed.
Next we worked out our levels. Made suitable changes with mini digger. Then spread and compacted 75mm layer of sub base over whole area.
The posts for the fencing/garden room and shed were then installed. I used 4×3” pressure treated Scandinavian Spruce posts dropped into 400mm deep holes filled with 5:1 concrete mix. Posts were not required for the Eastern boundary. For this I would simply attach my joists directly to the concrete posts with express nails. Gravel boards were used to protect the posts where the raised beds were to be located.
5 core armoured SWA was installed adjacent to the fuse box in the house to the back of the proposed garden room. The cabling would provide power for planned U.V heaters, lighting, fridge and sockets. Cabling for the low voltage garden lighting system was also installed.
The paving was next. We used mixed sized Portuguese silver granite. The paving would dictate the positioning and width of ground level bed, raised beds, front of garden room and shed.
The 8×8” posts for the garden room were then installed into 400mm deep holes filled with concrete.
The raised beds were then created using 4” solids on the edge. The beds were then plastered front and top. Visquine was used on the internal face of the beds to deal with moisture. The beds were then filled with topsoil.
The fencing was then installed using 2×2” joists with 6×1” boards laid vertically. The fence was capped with 2×1” latts. The timber used was planed pressure treated Scandinavian Spruce. The fencing was installed the entire way round the garden and within proposed garden room, creating boundary for shed.
The roof for the garden room and shed was completed using 6×3” beams and 6×2” joists. Next the roof was covered in with 8×4’ sheets of three quarter inch SWA. The top of the roof was finished with a protective layer of unrippable Polyester felt.
35mm synthetic grass lawn was then installed in keeping with the low maintenance theme.
The fencing, gardenroom/shed and beds were then painted with contrasting colours. Just two colours, grey and a beautiful deep blue almost black colour. The colours were chosen by the clients. I was conservative about the colours, but the clients went for a striking combination which really worked. Again I was put out because the combination was fantastic.
Bespoke horizontal latt sections were installed above the beds to catch the lighting and break up the fence/add character.
The planting was carried out and consisted of mostly flowering perennials that would all be in flower for the big day.
The electrician installed the U.V heaters, lights and sockets within the garden room/shed.
Finally, the low voltage garden lighting system was installed, which looked fantastic when the sun went down.
I worked flat out for 5 weeks to finish on time. This would not have been possible without the clients help. They both pushed me and helped me. We ended up friends and making a great team. I had one day left so I loaned them furniture, seating to make the garden look special. This truly was a team effort. Thanks Danny for all the painting. Thanks Aishling for the decision making and all the club orange which I’m now addicted to. 😊