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Landscaping: Front Garden Driveway. Knocklyon, Dublin

peter donegan gardens

note: this was garden was done last week as part of an overall back and front landscaping project. Due to my hands being covered in compost the last days I’m only getting around to posting it now.

As front of home garden driveways go, there are two immediate options that may come to mind when we think of a final landscaped or now in this case existing finish:

  1. like a teepee with a chandelier, it just doesn’t sit right and stands out for all of the wrong reasons. You gain extra double points here if it jumps out like a sore thumb when contrasted alongside its fellow home fronts.
  2. It’s final finish is that it fits in with its neighbours and maybe is a little of the usual lemon shirt and tie set at Christmas time, complete with pink jumper for Dad. A sort of sure that’ll do him, if you please.
  3. Or and finally, in the brand spanking new garden department, it should have a certain je ne sais quoi. And by default really it should also stand out ~ but for all of the right and very tasty reasons.

Fair enough, that’s 3 options, but you get where I’m coming from, right ? Right. Also tasty. That word in my head is double underlined. I’ll get back to that in a little bit.

Intro the before Peter got his hands on it pictures ?

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Dublin Landscaping: Cobble to Pebble Drive

I love the metamorphosis that is taking a space outside, removing it in its entirety and replacing it with something totally different. I like that I can see the end result before it starts and to this day that evolution still makes my heart beat just that little bit softer.

More than that there is something considerably greener and soothing about turning a totally covered in surface to free draining, with a side salad of by far better looking now, that I love about this type of landscaping ~ in this case, from cobble to pebble and planting.

Machine the preferred option in this case, cobble up and away the next step was to ensure that the below ground specifications were to absolute perfection. Of note and quite visible here were the excesses of sand, where it should have been hardcore. This rectified, the base layer was brought in and a whacker plate used to harden.

A retaining plinth of sandstone cobbles were laid to separate the pathways and the start of the driveway and the same batch of stones also used as the base to the front step. Some may query why I chose not to use a brush in type expanding sand here. Answer, the pathway edge was jagged and the yellow would have shown up its unevenness and taken away from what is [in short] a pretty sexy looking stone.

Albeit ever so minor, it should be noted that this type of softer, hard landscaping can and does come with its teething problems. Double underlined, minor. In short, horse powered cars have an ability to make stones move or shift and with a little time these undulating compressed aggregates will settle as they should.

From the aesthetically pleasing department, the planting on the far side is by choice extremes of height and seperated ~ as versus one big clump of a screen. Do bear in mind none existed there before hand, that and it’s also winter. It’s also the first time these phtosynthetic fellows have sat ’round the table’ together, so to speak and planted at the right side of the hibernating season, collectively they’re are gonna look absolutely glorious come the middle of spring sat right in front of their new home.

Personally, I like the little touches. I like the fact that the divide between the neighbouring driveway were wooden hand-made planters, planted with slightly more mature Vinca minor and Escallonia ‘red dreams’. Quite friendly really when you think about it. On the far side, the bed [not done any justice due to my terrible photography skills] is planted with a mix of semi mature: Mahonia, Hammamelis molis and an absolute stunner of an Acer palmatum Sagokaku. Down a level in height but high in colour are a mix of Rudbeckia, Daphne mexereum ‘Rubra’, vinca minor, Astilbe, Coreopsis grand ‘Rising Sun’ and some Heleborus niger.

From an overall complete picture perspective, I like the fact that the varying facets of the rugged sandstone cobbles, the pebble, the planting, the planters and the home in which they are now arranged in front of look like they have been together for some time – just never aged. More than that [?] honestly, what makes this garden really [really, really] great is it’s owners.

I love that I can make gardens more beautiful but that journey by a long shot is so much sweeter when the people you create it for are genuine lovely. And isn’t that nice. It is. Very. 😉

Contact Peter Donegan:

The Sodcast – Episode 29

sodshow, garden podcast

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, www.sodshow.com all good podcast stores.

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Listen to The Sodcast in MP3 – or subscribe/ listen to the podcast in iTunes. Alternatively, subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed Episode 28 of the garden podcast

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Atfar Construction

This Weeks Oddities:

The Early Days of the Dublin – Drogheda Railway Our speaker, Rev. Dr. Norman Gamble, a rail enthusiast, has studied the minute books of the railway company. His talk will cover the planning, construction and first four years operation of the railway.  Wednesday 9th March in the Presbyterian Church Hall, Dublin Road at 8 pm. All welcome. Parking available.

The 19th Century Celtic revival and Celtic cross tombstones in Glasnevin Cemetry by Dr. Peter Harbison in Fingal Local Studies & Archives, Clonmel House, Forster Way, Swords, on Wednesday 2nd March at 7.30 pm. Admission free. Tel. 8704486

If Maps Could Talk by Richard Kirwan former Director of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland. The talk is taking place on Wed 30th March at 7pm in Rush Library. The event is free to all, but it is important to book a place. You can do so by calling 01-8708414

And Finally:

Recorded at the Fingal Folk Club, what a nice way to end the podcast…. this will be playing over the weekend whilst I sit on the lawn on Sunday and have a cup of tea with my daughter 😉

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Hard Landscaping & Small Spaces

pebble and paving...

The key to landscaping small spaces is that the final result, when complete, gives the feel of a brighter, airy & open space. It is to give the eye more than a ‘oh that’s nice’ and a walk on effect. It is to give, even in the smallest of spaces, a visual journey.

The second key is that it is contains the functional aspects and also with that in mind that aesthetically the finished garden style suits. In the case above a front garden with an allowance for an extra car parking space was to be given, without making the garden stand out for the wrong reason. It may not win awards – but it doesn’t look out of place for the wrong reason and also [very important] it fitted the clients budget.

We could have hard surfaced the entire front garden… but there are considerations however with regard to being a little greener; specifically with regard to paving and moreso with regard to front gardens. [This has recently been written about by Ros Drinkwater in the Sunday Business Post.] But, consideration to this really should be given anyway. The answer is possibly to do a mix of the the two and/ or to just go without the hardened surface. That aside – a concrete jungle, simply put, would have looked wrong.

Of course the alternate is a mix of the two. This allows for the drainage of water within that area, assuming that the preparations beneath allow for the dissipation of water through it. In the case above it also allowed that the dark pavings were given a little something to brighten up what could have become a very dark space. For that reason a bright gold pebble was used.

This does not mean of course that no one hardened surface can be given. it is simply a solution to low maintenance gardens and gardening; to small garden designs; to poor draining gardens and at the same time considering the environment. It is a possible alternate solution to hardened surfaces.