Peter Donegan, landscaping dublin, garden design

small garden… any ideas?

Whether small or large, the size is irrelevant, your garden should still be given the same amount of thought, detail and attention as any other. If you are looking for ideas, you’ve had enough of the January blues and February is the month you really need to make life that little bit brighter… Then here are some ideas to get you in the groove [see the images below]. Believe me a little work now does pay dividends.

Why now – there’s no looking after it really and plants will take this opportunity to settle themselves in their new homes rather than trying to produce foliage/ flower and possibly having a stressful settling in period.

Some of the images naturally required a little more work than others, some you may need a little help to get you out of the starting blocks… others you may be able to do yourself. But if that little bit of inspiration is lacking at the moment and you need to brighten up your day… soon! Simply, step outside, close your eyes and imagine just for a little and smile 🙂

the poetry of plants [reviewed]

at trinity college

at trinity college

Saturday 15th November 2008, from 2-5pm saw four guest speakers take the stand for The Lewis Glucksman Memorial Symposium. What must have been a near full auditorium in the Edmund Burke Theatre in Trinity College [sponsored by Bloom and in association with Dublin City Library].

Chaired by Professor Moray McGowan; The first speaker was Dr Matthew Jebb. He started with what he titled as ‘a poem to Boatany’. An amazing speaker, he wowed the crowds with the question that ultimately was ‘are the plants taking advantage of us?’, based on a plants ability to survive. His thinking, that the apple tree for example that started in Kazakhstan with a pip that contained cyanide and yet has become one of the most successful trees ever. His facts wowed and entertained while his accompanying slides drove home how much 2 cubic kilometres of H2O that plants split apart through photosynthesis each day actually was and that 30 times the size of Ireland was actually grown as wheat.

my notes from the day...

my notes from the day...

Dr Shelly Siguaro as with all the other speakers politely kept within the very tight timing schedule. Her piece was entitled ‘The Poetics of a Paradox’. She queried whether gardens & politics are political. She noted that a plot was a plan but also a place to grow. Her most amazing analagy was that ‘changing garden norms was like cross dressing in front of the lawn’.

Andrew Wilson was speaker number three. His sermon was ‘Visual Poetry’ He started with a personal homage of sorts to his brother, a sports writer for the Guardian and how competitiveness played a part in his life. I liked that. He queried whether nice and ugly was not better than fab or “shoite” and commented that garden shows while intense and dazzling where then only ever a memory.

The final speaker was Ms Anna Pavord and ‘Search for Order’. She spoke of common names versus latin. She told the story of the herb women, whose job it was to collect the plant for the doctors for cures and rather than walking the 8 miles – they’d simply give the doctor the nearest thing to them. So the cures didn’t work and eventually the study of plants became necessary. She spoke of William Turner, the 1st UK botanist, who wrote a book of plants names – but they were all in english and so it was useless abroad.

All in all, this was a great day. It was brilliant in fact or as Andrew would encourage his students to say ‘it was fab’. I really, really loved it. I look so very much forward to the next one. Bulaidh bós, well done all – you really did yourself proud.

finding inspiration…

If garden making and the design of was only considered business, I’d never be inspired…. sometimes i think we simply need to stop [a little more…] and take a look around. Isn’t this a wonderfully beautiful country we live in….

This is Enniscorthy in Wexford.

picture perfect lawns…?

The grass title maybe misleading. Need advice? [click here]. I may have constructed unusual lawns, [topographically] but never seen anything like this. Thanks to Will who got it from brandflakesforbreakfast who got it from this guy.

lawns wimbledon different peter donegan

Lawn care enthusiasts take note — it’ll take more than a riding mower and a thrice-daily waterings (for shame) to outshine artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey this summer.

The pair have perfected their talent for manipulating the light sensitivity of ordinary grass. Black and white negatives are projected onto the grass, 12 hours per day, for over a week as the grass grows in a dark room. Different blades get different exposure and the results are photographs, like the recent Wimbledon portraits shown above.

Find more of their grassy experiments at this gallery at Arts Admin.

Small Gardens – good design

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The key to ‘good’ small garden design is to make the most of your small space or to make it look as big as possible.

The first step in this is to eliminate symmetry ‘that can tell me how big your garden is’ [by just looking at it from a window] and also to use the brightest colours possible to increase light movement and therefore enhance the feeling of space and movement around you.

Consider it a little like a bathroom [?!!] ie. a small space. The smaller the space the smaller the tile, the brighter the colour and also the brighter and airy it becomes!

The second step is to ensure that the distance between fixed features and/ or hard surfaces is that of a meandering nature ie. it takes ‘time’ to get there visually or they fade to the background so as not to take precedence over those things that give a sense of distance [ie. black/ dark].

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Be careful not to want to cram too much into that space. I know you might not like white; or you want a water feature or decking and ‘I want and I want….. and can we not?’ – the answer is always ‘but of course!’ But if the question is how do I best spend my budget to get the maximum return [both monetary and aesthetically] then you may feel it a good idea to take an experienced garden designers advice. That said client is king! I always suggest that for my free advice I can always give you a full refund!!

At the end of the day – gardens should be fun and the process for both me as a designer and also for the client should be one not of stress but of excitement. I know I have spoke about costs before but generally speaking [in conversation with a fellow garden designer yesterday] one should allow about €100 per square metre not inclusive of ‘fancy stuff’.

Consider it a little like buying a car. Can you buy one for a five hundred euro ? would you?

Other information on garden design:

If it’s not on this list. You can leave a comment and ask or take a browse through the categories list [over there on your right].

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