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the most amazing water feature…

This video[s] was taken about 5 years ago now, a good while ago now… but I’ve only gotten around to uploading recently.

It’s a natural piece of sand stone with a hole bore straight through. A light is then placed below water level. It contains a resevoir below the surface which recycles on that water. The resevoirs are a great idea because it means there’s no plumbing required to the water feature itself. It also means you can use the water from your rain water harvesting butts! More than that it means they are very child and pet friendly.

The videos explain it better than any words could. let me know what you think…Funny thing possibly, but, the amount of people who knocked on the door to tell me there was a fire in my garden was un-natural… 😆 what do you think?

organic, recycled gardens …?

...unless you own a truck that is

...unless you own a truck that is

Why is there a picture of a man sitting on a truck at the bottom of this post…? The man is my good friend Thomas. You may know him from his most unusual garden guest post here. But you may also know Thomas from the much famed Irish Allotments – something, unknowns to most, he does in his spare time. All told that makes him a pretty good guy. And he is. Genuinely.

Anyhow Thomas and Máire [another story, but, via genuinely the sincerest gesture of genorosity I’ve ever heard – yes niceness still exists 🙂 ] have just moved out of their apartment and into their first house home. Naturally, like all young couples – the extra dollars didn’t exist for their first garden to look like Southfork immediately… and Thomas being an eco-geek like myself wanted it to have a story anyway charachter.

Tommy, would you like a recycled garden… ?

...organic gardens

...organic gardens

To answer the original question… We had taken apart a garden recently and rather than dump the stone to landfill, I called Thomas. Client also agreed and felt it was very much the ‘thing to do’. A truck was hired for one hundred euro.

What had actually accumulated was

  • 45 metres squared paving
  • 2 tonne of decorative gravel
  • 20 metres squared steppings
  • 25 metres squared cobbles
  • and some chicken wire
  • …and a half sheet of trellice
thomas...

thomas...

I thought of some of my friends, years ago, when the starter home and mortgage deposits were being paid back to the sibblings they were borrowed from [funny thing, a story like that would probably make the news today 🙂 ]. A shed, a fence, a something to enhance the eyesore was required and we all chipped in. All of the friends. There were *no* complaints, it was the done thing. Feng Shui’s weren’t on the wish list. Thomas was starting were I started 🙂

As a by the way he lives in Cork and although I will be there whenever he needs help… I will not be responsible for the final outcome of the ‘design’. Note no.2 is that apart from the truck hire of €100 all materials were taken/ given free gratis. More important. There was a massive feel good factor for all parties concerned. Everyone felt good about this story. Thomas has also agreed to write a little story with pictures of the complete garden and its progress on his weblog:)

So from now, if I do a garden and the client decides/ agrees with the decision to do so – I will take the ‘whatever it is’ to my home rather than to landfill [where possible] and write a post on my blog to see if we can find a good home for it.

What do you think?

crimes against the garden…?

cowboys... ?

cowboys... ?

When I spoke to a colleague of mine about writing an article on robbings in the garden he told me he had seen some himself, but moreso around the winter period. In hindsight I realise this may not be the most amusing opening line for an article but whilst garden theft achieves little or no publicity in the United States, mainly due to the fact that the US has no national crime watch for this type of theft, in the UK there are on average eighteen thousand reports [that are reported] of garden theft every year with British insurance companies adding further that one in seven gardens is burglarised every summer and that twenty five per cent of UK residents have suffered some form of theft from their gardens or outbuildings. The most popular item on the grab and run list is the hanging basket. This doesn’t sound like a lot and possibly quite a frivolous matter but at thirty euro on average per hanging basket [or an average price per theft reported] this equates to a minimum half a million euro per annum.

they took what...?

they took what...?

In Ireland it seems, somewhat similar to the states ‘we don’t keep any statistics for specifically garden theft – it’s all simply reported as theft’ according to the Garda Public Relations Office.

I performed my own research to find a list of sorts to give me an insight into the criminal mind and the damage they leave behind. Although quiet amusing, possibly, I had assumed that the results would be your usual plants and the garden shed style theft. It seems these garden invaders have gone to another level. In no particular order are the ‘offences’ list.

  • gentlemen robbing tropical plants
  • solar lights and clothes including the washing line
  • three garden gnomes, a fake stone sheep and a cow
  • strawberries
  • tree stakes – but not the tree
  • parents throwing their child into the back garden to get the ball
  • cuttings/clippings and flowers that would look good at home
  • furniture
  • wheely bins set on fire
  • courting couples
necessary...?

necessary...?

The point is that nothing it seems is safe. So again through my own personal research I’ve come up with some top tips for the crime crackers.

  • Buy good locks for the garage or shed and even within the shed hide the more expensive pieces under the old junk. Bolt up at all times. Out of sight is out mind.
  • Wire the shed to the alarm or security system and fit sensor lights to both shed and home front and rear
  • Check your insurance details, listings and small print
  • Fit and secure gates where possible
  • Secure ornaments or sentimental valuables to the ground as best as possible. Make sure you want them to stay there first.
  • Gravel paths and driveways are a noise making deterent.
  • Thorny plants are great in selected areas
  • Ensure your privacy doesn’t leave a place for the green – fingered robbers to hide in.
bouganvilla

bougainvillea

Whatever your lifestyle or the area you live in the general rule for garden design is that the front of house is for the neighbours to walk by whilst the rear of grounds is for the family. Any concerns you might have about security should be discussed with your garden/ landscape designer at the inception of your design. This will allow for security features to not only fit gently into your design but also into your landscape design budget.

the country fair?

the rub of the green

the rub of the green...

A polite debacle arose recently were a landscape architect, a contractor and a sub contractor agreed to work together for the common benefit of a client. Not much new there and a normal sounding relationship prior to the start of any garden build. What resulted was a mild tarnish and financial loss on the name of the landscape contractor because the firm employed to be the intermediary – the landscape designer, employed not only to design but also to ensure that both client and main contractor were protected financially – did not.

a fair policy?The main contractor, of good standing and rapport, naturally oversaw all of the work, took on the responsibility of the extra costs and the potential risk of added costs should any tasks have gone even mildly askew in the clients or architects eyes. From a garden point of view one would be very impressed with the end result. In this case the end result was not all it seemed.
The couturier and the tertiary contractor became acquainted and the overall costs which allowed for clients extras and mishaps were paid directly to the subcontractor from the main contractors original costings. As advised to the client. Of course it’s not like I haven’t been here myself – but then, in business one learns very fast!

press me at any timeOn a larger scale this happens so regular within the construction industry where the middle man is deemed financially responsible and the contractor more often can do little but bite nails. ‘Sometimes’ it seems some of the finest garden builders in this country result in a negative financial situation through no fault of their own and are very much helpless when crossing the finish line as contract law becomes can you afford to wait and/ or can you afford to take ‘us’ on.

I really empathise and sympathise with my learned colleague and as explained to me the client can only take advice from his closest aide, the design guru. In this situation the client would have known no better than as advised to him and to pay monies down as he did. Should it have been ethically possible to approach this man and whisper in his ear then things may have been different, but it is not my position. However, the finest and most talented horticulturists and garden that was built aside I can only hope that this article allows the next garden contract run a little smoother [behind the scenes] as a result and that the honest contractors may take precedence in this changing world we live in.

a beautiful garden

yet still a beautiful garden...

budget + designer = hot air??

hot air balloons and the great oudoorsI written many times about low budget gardening or gardening on [what you may consider to be] a low budget.

Although not unusual, sometimes *it is* a case where the client cannot see what the end result will be. This is the first usual when one does not wish to employ a full design service.

A quick outline sketch? will not [usually] sell it to you. So what will? This is where it gets tough.. not for me I can see it in my head. But for you, the client.

Like a wedding planner, a web designer [eg.] or any other service, I firmly believe one must *trust* the person they [you] empower to spend *your money* wisely – and there lies the first principle.

You may never be able to visualise your garden – but do you trust in me. Do you believe that what I say will be. At some stage you will have to. No amount of pencil lines can describe a feeling and no tree is ever exactly the same.

ROUND TWO: I want a ferrari. I don’t personally – I also know I can’t afford one. You know this too.

Client: we want two ferrari’s, a porsche and and and…

Designer: that’ll be two euro please

Client: Gees, you’re very expensive!

Designer: hmmm….

peter donegan landscaping ltd dublin

Is it not better to say we’re thinking of getting a car. We have around [eg] 100 euros – what do you think? Is that not where experience will start to pay off? It is never the amount of money that you have that will make a garden great. it is what you do with it.

Two examples: First – The Rolling Stones [great band by the way] on CD double album or on vinyl 2nd hand. Which is cheaper & which is better? Secondly – My garden for Bloom 2007 with the morris minor. Could that be visualised by you? It was the ultimate in recycling, it was free and pretty cool! Would you have bought it – before you saw the garden complete?

Small gardens or large. All the money in the world or not. The best gardens are always built with passion, the amount of money is secondary tertiary. All relationships are built on trust. No matter how long a duration or the basis & reasoning they are founded. It may be a garden. It may be a marraige. But if trust exists between a client and the designer/ contractor from the very start… life for that duration and the final outcome of something that will be so personal [ie *your* garden] to you will shine through.

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