For Everything Else There’s Mastercard…

not bad...

free and easy..

garden furniture, all shapes and sizes all costs and types. I’ve seen them all. But if you are landscaping on a budget… or not and you want that seat that will fit right in to the ‘au natural’ look then I’ve got 2 that will save you a few shillings…

I have built these before in gardens – although this one is in my office – and if they are going into moisture ie. soil or grass/ not on a hard surface you will need to concrete the legs in so allow a little more leg length [these measure 15″ long]. Total cost = [inc. 2 sleepers that i got second hand. ie free] FREE

You will need:

  • two railway sleepers [new – smooth bottoms etc versus splinters]
  • some black paint
  • some 6″ nails
  • a strong arm and saw [or a very kind neighbour]
a little more rustic...

a little more rustic...

The second bench is a little more rustic… but I like it. I wont give a list of what you need for this because… well this was made with 2 tree stumps and a lump of timber that a friend of mine wanted to give me to burn in my fire.

Once the stumps are made stable ie they don’t rock back and forth and are ‘spirit level’ level – then you are good to go. Do do this on soil. Do leave the more rustic side out and do paint it very badly. Looks great with a back drop of crataegus [hawthorn]. Cost of bench = Free

Save a tree and make you’re own bench… For everything else there’s mastercard… 😆

* got something funky you’ve done in the garden…. why not let me know here or email me a pic to info [at] doneganlandscaping [dot] com

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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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Landscaping Costs How much?

In conversation with some members of the ALCI, I decided to do a brief survey on landscaping costs, generally speaking.

All my staff are qualified in horticulture. We are members of the ALCI. I am a member of The Institute of Horticulture. Full Insurances. Quality Approved System and enough design and landscaping awards et cetera.

I think I was just having an ‘alright’ day here rather than my usual [i think I needed coffee…!] but, I must reiterate the point being made here is transparancy to the point where choice can be made and we know the cost based on the service we will get. After that, when you get that service, its just a matter of getting paid… the reason possibly for my [allowed] bad day.

UPDATE: I have decided that the entire bill of the contract mentioned that was ‘not paid – in full’ should go to Niall Mellon Township/ Garden of Hope Charity.  A trip I will make to South Africa this November. The amount is €2,750. Like a pink boat with a nice ending – that has cheered me up!

consultations are over[heads]?!



Some time ago i wrote about call out & consultation charges. [There is a difference.] A consultation is by definition ‘2 a meeting or discussion for seeking advice’. It requires professional advice based on education and experience. A call out, to differ, generally requires pricing for specific tasks as decided already by the client. [In this day and age this can almost somewhat be done by email]

The point I make is that in business time does equal money, not all of the time, but where one may spend a half day in transit and advising, whereafter a quotation and sketch/ design layout is delivered – the cost must be covered somehow by a[any business] The question I pose now is if one does not cover this cost then surely the next client is paying for it? Is this fair?

Some say it is deducted from your bill if the go ahead is given – a hidden cost still within the final invoice? Some don’t charge at all – they say – so who pays for the overheads of the business? Some simply say free advice is sometimes more costly in the end. Maybe it’s a price not advice/ consultation one needs?

The question that seems to arise is should one charge for a consultation? Any company providing professional services would say yes.

proud of ‘your’ garden?



garden show preparation are in full swing; The trees are in bud, almost trying into leaf; the daffs have sprouted and almost all in flower. The season is literally almost urging itself to burst into full bloom.

Such varied enquiries come into my office. But, even with our website [thanks Patrick] usually it’s what type of work do we do? Landscaping… slightly vague one may say… What type of gardens do ‘we’ take on? potentially, mildly pompous I could say…



The truth is I only employ qualified horticulturists. And in my opinion intelligence in horticultural understanding and planning is everything. For the great people I work with I refer to Freud’s comment of Da Vinci ‘that like most man of genius he needed constantly to occupy his mind’. My point? As long as I can be proud, stand tall and with my hand on my heart say The Donegan Landscaping and Design team created each and every of these gardens, to the highest standard… then we’ve taken on the right project. Is that wrong, pompous, arrogant or suggestive of a noticeable mass increase of circumfrance/ radius of ones cranium? Not at all. The ethos is that I am very proud of the gardens we build, the standards achieved and the clients we work with.

Because we build great gardens does that mean we are expensive? That depends I suppose. Like building a house extension versus a hotel and whether from straw or gold bullion, the choices and cost for a garden build and design also reflect time and materials. Naturally. If the requirements, made of time and materials, do not equal ones budget, then possibly ammendments to choice and the amount of need to be made.

peter donegan


That it may be a costly sum rather than do I want too much is logic. But in saying that some choose to ask what I can get for my budget whilst having their own ideas. Others choose to decide what they want and put a price after each item like a shopping list and decide what they can have based on what they can afford. Either or like anything in life it is all relative.

The question is will you be proud of your garden when it is complete? We always are. Maybe the cliché ‘quality rather than quantity has relevance here’.

All that aside, [as the favourite of Uncles!] I promised my niece Lilly that I put a pic of her in one of my posts. So here she is….. I’ll make a gardener out of you yet!

Slán go foill