All Posts Gardens by Peter Donegan Garden Design

Hardwood Decking

This image is not the complete picture of the finished hardwood deck. It was almost there at this point… the video below tells a better story why and this posting may just help you to a better finish of your decking.

My tips pre starting:

  • only use a pressure treated and treated timber for your base
  • get your levels 110% spot on – this takes time and take your time.
  • remember the measure twice cut once rule
  • timber is a natural product. It’s not plastic and therfore will change colour and maybe even shape. This is allowed and should happen. It is wood.

pre drill hardwood timber v port hardwood deck screws

There are a couple of things to note when working with a hardwood deck timber.

  • Pre drilling ensures the timber doesn’t split
  • Also the deck screws won’t rust and with its own drill bit, chances are it won’t slip off and scratch the timber

That may well be a little more time and money, but well, well worth it.

hardwood deck hardwood decking oil

The deck oils are really something else in bringing up the woods natural colours. Again, a little more time and money but well worth it. The video, pardon the cliché’d pun, paints a better picture. Do note this was recorded and pictures taken just after painting.

The paint is applied with a paint brush and goes on pretty much like water. Please, please, please make sure it is sparkling clean before applying and that the days saw dust is well away just in case in gets windy. Also it needs [one pound or a thousand] about 6 hours to dry. I say stay off it for 12 hours.

Important: this is not a varnish and there are oils to match the various woods. I used the Osmo bangkiri oil. Of the manufacturer’s notes I found the following relevant:

They produce a smooth satin-matt surface, which is very water-resistant, dirt repellent and easy to maintain and re-finish. Osmo Wood Oils have a very high coverage and are very easy to apply (thixotropic). The micro-porous finishes – based on natural vegetable oils will allow the wood to breathe and helps to regulate the moisture content reducing swelling and shrinkage, the finish will not crack, flake, peel or blister. To maintain simply apply a further coat (no sanding required).

The surface is easy to maintain, conforms to the German standard DIN 68861-1C and is resistant against cleaning materials, wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, tea, fruit juices, milk and water etc.

Osmo Wood Oils are based on natural vegetable oils. Natural oils penetrate deeply into the wood, keeping it elastic and healthy and preventing it from drying and becoming brittle. The wood is allowed to breathe, this allows moisture to escape and helps reduce shrinking and swelling.

Osmo Wood Oils contain neither biocides nor preservatives. They are safe for man, animal and plant when dry and comply with German DIN 53160 (fast to perspiration and saliva) and Euro Norm EN 71 (suitable for children’s toys.)

decking drain covers

Making a trap door for access to drains really couldn’t be simpler. Again it may take a little time but two battons at the back and taking the time after the deck has been laid to lift up all of the necessary boards will be worth it in the long run. The only thing out of sinc that you may notice en mass may simply be the screws.

All in all, decks can look really something else and there is a major difference in finish between that of the hardwood and the softwood [which I have seen ripped out to mant times after just a few years]. My two cents…. buy once, buy right, treat it well and it will be there for life.

I don’t think I’ve left anything out…. if I have just leave a comment below.

yellow balau

All Posts Gardens by Peter Donegan Garden Design

Gardening Demonstrations & Talks

Although I did teach horticulture some years ago now, my first public gardening demonstration took place about five years ago in Dublin City Centre at an event was hosted by dublin City Council.

With a little encouragement from yours truly to brighten up their little space, unusual objects were planted up by the attending public with some information on their plant of choice and all some tips on the aftercare of their creation.

Since then I have worked with Fingal Libraries, DTE Events and the OPW to name but a few.

One off talks, a series of informative garden on a specific subject and public demonstrations to varying groups and ages have all taken place. From those younger than and including primary school age  to those a little taller, all have genres it seems have been covered.

peter donegan

Gardening For Your Event…

  • public demonstrations and talks for events/ public or other can be done. Probably best you phone me on this one or drop by for that mug of coffee.
  • got a suggestion or query – just give me a call
  • some inquiries have been made recently as to sponsoring products and/ or a course/ class. You’ll probably want to have a mug of coffee or call me first – but I’m open to suggestions.
  • Anything else just ask

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Recent Examples of Garden Talks and Gardening Demonstartions

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Contact Peter Donegan

  • email
  • use the contact form
  • call 087-6594688 or 01-8078712 – if you don’t get an answer please do leave a message and I will call you back as soon as is possible. I am possibly up a tree and it may be dangerous to take your call at that time.

also you can find Peter Donegan:

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All Posts Gardens by Peter Donegan Garden Design

This Gardeners New Year 2011, Starts Today…


10 years making gardens under my own name or not…… 2010 has gone and past and today I return to work to begin another year in the great outdoors. As you are most probably well aware I am, in short and to choose one of many descriptions, a gardener. The homepage of my website explains more about me if you wish to read more.

If you would like for me to make your garden to make you smile this 2011…. you can contact me in the following ways.

My garden gates for 2011 officially re-open for business at 7.27 am today Tuesday 4th January. The snow winter now past or not, I know this gardener is really looking forward to getting back to gardening.

Have a happy new year and a happy garden,


All Posts Gardens by Peter Donegan Garden Design

Display Gardens & Garden Exhibits

Does your garden attract the right attention for you and your business… ?


Requests vary from real and permanent gardens created to fit a particular shop face or business premise for a little extra added or just the right attention – to themes of a more temporary and variant nature.

Client sometimes wish to add a slightly different route to achieve and attract that greater amount of PR and media for their product, clients theme or business launch.

Whilst some choose to install their uniquely themed garden permanently, for others the benefits of display and exhibition gardens are that they can be created largely off site and slotted together within the time frame allowed on site and to suit you and/or your clients budget and theme as it changes. The ‘garden installation’ can also be easily dismantled, should you wish and removed after your event or launch.

There are many other means in which I have used gardens to promote a Client or sponsors product or service. The weblog and podcast makes it easier now to catalogue and are used to great advantage, but here are three examples a little more recent and that little bit different that may just allow your mind to wander.

1. The Green Up Smithfield Garden:


Designed and built for the Smithfield Festival in Dublin. This garden installation took just one day to put together on site. Smithfield itself is an entirely cobbled area of Dublin City and the garden did not require any lifting of any street stone. It used and reused the following ingredients very wisely:

  • domestic appliances that came from a Dublin civic recycling centre – they returned there after to continue their journey.
  • The plants after the display time were donated to and reused by community garden groups
  • The furniture came from a group that recycles furniture and returned there also
  • The satellite came from my garden and was used in the PR photos [see below]

*pictured above with the red satellite are [l-r] Peter Donegan, Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello and Liam Reilly of Bagatelle

2. Repak Recycle Week Garden 2009:

Put together for repak recycle week 2009 it was built in the front window of Dunnes Stores Shop on Exchequer Street in Dublin City Centre.


Once again the build time on site was just one day. But this did not pose any issue.


Essentially it simply means that a lot more time is put into the behind the scenes to ensure that everything fits together just perfectly in its timeline.

Possibly more unusual than that the space allocated measured just 6′ x 4′ and the garden was not allowed to use any products that were live or living.

Taking place in October each year this meant that weather didn’t hamper any of the planning.

It was named the greenhouse effect and used a greenhouse frame which contained products that are used by Repak Recycle members.

Once again all objects used within the garden were returned, reused and recycled including the greenhouse frame.

*photograph with model Pippa O’Connor and used for launching the annual event.

3. The Pink Boat Garden:

This show garden was built in the Phoenix Park and had a build time of 3 weeks. The story is very different to the two above  but shows just how differently things can be done.


In the end all plants were [re] planted in various gardens in Dublin, the sculpt returned to its original home, the timber was re-used and the 1957 pleasure cruise boat that I prevented from being scrapped was given a home for life at The Irish rock festival Electric Picnic.


*Pictured above at the garden are [l-r] Peter Donegan, Dr Martin and President of Ireland Mary McAleese.

There are others but these three have always stood out as those that may be better known and also a little more variant from the norm.

If you would find out more you can as always contact me in the following ways:

  • send an email to
  • telephone me direct on 087-6594688
  • or enquire via the contact page on

*The garden at the top of the page was called No Rubber Soul

All Posts Gardens by Peter Donegan Garden Design

Garden Gift Ideas This Season

Bit too early you for this you say….? In the garden calender, you have less than 9 weeks to the years end.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me….


Christmas gift buying can be a tedious affair particularly when buying for…. well, just about anyone. I don’t know about you but, I know as sure as Willy Wonka will be on tv this Christmas, I have never bought myself aftershave, shirts or socks, in the last 10 years. That is by no means a complaint. Far from it. What I’m really looking forward to however is my first ever Christmas knitted wooly jumper…. you know the one with the reindeer on it… the Daddy ‘rocking around the Christmas tree’ ones…. 😉

On that note I have 10 real green garden gifts that will make your life that little bit easier.

  • Give It The Garden Once-Over:

A makeover, a facelift… you may simply require that little extra professional touch to brighten up the front or back garden for the festive season. Weeding the beds, some bark and some berried plants or simply some additional instant planting. Planted exactly to your liking or positioned to brighten up that apartment, existing garden or balcony.

  • Instant Colour Planters:

For the office or home, for inside or out. One for the entire office or one just for Mary. Culinary or colour or simply pretty and inviting. A living gift that will last that little bit longer and will spice up that Christmas dinner.

  • A Tree Is For Life – Not Just For Christmas:

Email or call. Your trees or tall shrubs can be fruiting and small and – or native and tall. Planted on your date of choice or simply delivered to your recipients door.

  • Especially For You:

Maybe you have an existing garden but you’d like something that little bit more unique and one off. You’ve searched the stores and you’ve had no luck there. How about a garden feature made just for you ?

  • In Need of some Sound Advice:

Reckon you may like to do the job yourself but simply don’t know where to start…? Book a day with yours truly to get the best from your garden whilst in your garden. Your very own garden class, a consultation, plant shopping or a garden layout. As you wish…

  • The Ultimate Garden Design:

Scheduled, time-lines, products and plants. All drawn and planned – all in order, organised and tailor made to suit your budget and space in your great outdoors.

  • The Seasonal Hair Cut:

The hedge, the trees the lawn. It may not be the Phoenix Park but sometimes the arms of others are better used, letting you get on with the things that matter more.

  • A Class Apart:

Fancy your very garden class just for you and your group of friends. A day out in your garden or at your place of work, one with your very own group of budding gardeners should be just the ticket. Green by grow your your own or specific to the more amenity side of the garden, maybe you’d like to mix them both… The choice is yours. All materials can be supplied and the time-lines and times to suit yourself. All you have to do is turnip turn up. Simply send me and email or drop me a line.

  • Everything You Need For The DIY:

If you fancy giving it all a try yourself…. all of the pieces to complete the puzzle hand picked, delivered and wrapped if you wish. All of the garden products you could ever need to complete the tasks at hand or to put that final addition to that great outdoors.

  • Still Stuck….

Depending on the person you have in mind, that may not be such a surprise 😉 Pop me an email or pick up the phone. There’s something out there for everyone….

You can as always contact me via the following options.

  • by email
  • via this website: click the contact page
  • call mobile – o876594688