Private Garden Landscaping, Dublin

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There are days when I can only but wish I had a doppelgänger. Just so he can pat me on the back for another fine job well done. Big headed much, you may say, maybe. But I really, really like this garden.

I will admit I did make more changes in my mind on this one more than any other space I have created over the last 3 years. But creative and good-looking as the end result, the mild edits in my head were proven wise in the end. Far, far more important, the client [I hate that word…] was happy.

To the garden: In the off centre middle of all this outdoors lies a lovely natural matt black natural stone patio of 16 metres squared, wrapped around and entirely softened with of instant height plants. To the harder surface, I like the way this stone goes from matt to almost a gloss black as the rain droplets make it dapple in appearance; something that never ceases to make me smile.

Behind the scenes, the stone runs spirit-level level against the terrain of the garden, yet from the outer it appears level because of how the planting wraps around it. More than that, I like the subtle understatement the stone makes and put simply, it is pretty darned tasty.

garden patio, dublin timber bin screen

If it be the simple things, I love that the bin screen was not shop bought. And silly as it sounds, if there were awards for hand made timber screens, yup you guessed it, I’d get my doppelgänger to present me with one of them too.

In case you might be wondering, the brief also included a note for not all in the main season flowering plants. You may think that not a good thing [?]. Au contraire and far from it says this plants person, in reality, it just makes it different and in a good way. For me, it quite simply makes the choosing of the plants for their new home that little extra interesting.

Below: The obligatory before Peter got his hands on it garden picture


At this point you’re maybe beginning to wonder if Donegan Pants-Gaping believes he has any flaws at all. And though my photography is sometimes rubbish, my including of the image below is more to give you an idea of the journey that one must take to actually get into the garden. Take a scroll back through the images…. because you’ll see that one has to go the full length of the new space outdoors to get into the new room outside, within a new room outside… if you get me. And in the not one acre sized gardens department, that, is one fine trait to behold.

It is only after completing a garden like this, that I wonder why I wondered why. And though the garden will need a little time to come into its own and the plants a little time to find their orientation; one should never forget that gardens without people in them are pretty darned meaningless spaces. That in mind, I’ve got a really nice feeling about one. 😉

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Q’s or thoughts [?] leave a comment below or drop me a line.

Peter Donegan:

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Dublin Landscaping: Domestic Back Garden

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This has to be without question, one of them gardens I put together where the photographs will do most of the talking. I know, it’s unusual. But then there is fine logic behind my choosing to study horticulture and not non moving cinematography.

That aside, you may have noticed that the gardens I make, put together, create, see in my head…. can differ, or vary a lot. I find it good to listen to my clients the people who will use their garden and the newest addition to their home most after it’s completion. It’s also that variance that is that bit of my work [?] that I love so much, that makes no week or day in my and your great outdoors ever the same.

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Peter Donegan:

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Donegan Landscaping, 2013 Garden Services Resume

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Thursday January 3rd 2013 sees the start of a very happy new year and a return to gardening and landscaping services for the current year. It is also the start of year 13 in business for Donegan Landscaping.

If you would like to get in touch or simply find out more about Peter or Donegan Landscaping, you can do so in the following ways:


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Peter Donegan’s qualifications:

  • Certificate in Commercial Horticulture (1996)
  • General Examination in Horticulture – Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
  • Advanced Diploma in Commercial Horticulture (1998)

What Can I Do For You ?


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The Neglected Garden Turnover

Throughout the glorious sunshine of last week, there was moved approximately 120 tonnes of top soil in, as 4 gardens spaces outside were turned into gardens within the space of 5 days. That may sound like a time trialled achievement, maybe. Not to be forgotten however is the mass amounts of overtime worked in the pre-planning department, pre the arrival of the extreme sunshine, which I should add was programmed only to last for that week.

On a slight-ish side note, as maybe you are aware and as any Irish farmer will tell you, the issue of getting potatoes harvested recently was not that the tuber had not fully developed, more that the fields were far too wet to get into, or out of.

Slightly similar, maybe, the biggest problems I had was getting good topsoil, graded of a good quality, not clodded and dry enough to work. On the other hand, was the factor of actually getting into [some of the] domestic gardens and to give it it’s overhaul without, creating a miniature music festival within the micro venue.

This below and above the state 4 of the gardens were found within the estate in Malahide.

My first task was to take overgrowth down to ground level so I could see where I was going, the gardens outline and potentially what lay beneath. And with weed growth at inches width of stem growth in parts, the strimmer blade was taken to task. Once clear-er, phase 2 saw the introduction of the mini digger.

In part the big problem was with the perennial weeds that had been born into pure sub soil and rubble. They tend to form this [in particular the docks] extremely stubborn mass of a clump that is quite simply a real goat to move, or one that in this case was by far more efficiently done by man and machine.

With the overgrowth, rubble, brutal soil, six giraffes and anything else you may believe possible to find in there removed, the next step was the introduction of the top soil. Good topsoil.

Reflecting slightly, the smart decisions were to organise the right truck with a grabs which meant in two of the gardens the soil was able to be placed over the walls ; the mini digger chosen was that it could fit down the side alleys, very much the smarter alternate than doing so by hand ; and finally paying a little more for a graded soil with [therefore] very little waste to come out of it. Picture if you will evenly spreading bowls of porridge as versus caster sugar.

With regards to the gardens that I could not get machine into, it was quite simply a case of many tins of spinach and a little bit of an upper body work out.

Some may query the grass seed germination, the timing and the timelines; but so long as there are temperatures above 14 celsius, a little water and sunlight then by providing all of the factors horticulturally required for the growth of any plant, in this case grass seed germination, I should be absolutely fine and dandy.

The trouble potentially for those who chose to hold off on this, the seeding, is that you will need the climatic conditions consistent for a period of about two weeks. The question is as we head towards October and as the average mean temperatures drop to approximate 6 celsius and falling, will you achieve that lawn by Christmas.

Next up, the prettier bits and the planting. Best done from September onwards, that assuming you’re into water conservation or quite simply prefer to only to have to admire your garden over the wintering period. And though the pictures here may not be the prettiest I have ever shown, the infrastructure and foundations have been laid well and the transformation begun. Either or, just like this one, all good gardens have to start somewhere. 😉

Donegan Gardens: A Dublin City Garden

Wider rather than longer, this garden may appear quite simplistic, maybe at first glance. For me however, it is one of the nicest small/ city gardens I have ever created.

Don’t get me wrong there are other gardens, more show off pieces so to speak that maybe and of course can come quicker to my mind. The one offs aside and to this case I will note that there is a big difference between the warm home and nice house feel outside and my ticket always, unless otherwise directed by you, is on your behalf to create your garden.

Here my first step was to clad the walls and piers with white-painted timber, allowing the join lines to show and running left to right [or right to left], something that really gave the impression of a far greater and brighter space as it moved out of the seating room to the lawned and planted areas. Vertical lines would have done very much the opposite in working with the existing layout.

Partly down to plant choice, I really like the dappled shade as it flickers against the walls on the bright sunny days. I like the fact that the seating area, a room within itself comes with a view of the entire garden; there is a lovely feel from within of separation from the rest of the garden.

In making the space look greater, timber clad aside, the idea was to stretch the eye to the furthest points; the lawn runs longest from the bottom right hand corner to the top left and the steppings walk from the bottom left to the room now created in the top right hand corner.

Over many other alternates the brighter and smaller in size sandstone cobbles were chosen, again the lean was to creating the feel of a greater space. Though I’m sometimes hesitant to recommend it, the built-in seating and table area was a smart move. I find it helped the finished garden look of existing for some time yet very well maintained.

The planting wasn’t over complexed and was kept to a quite short palette. The choice was to a quite natural flow of foliage and silhouette, allowing for some specifically chosen to have their day on the horticultural podium through the seasons. Outlandish only through the photosynthetic maybe. Of note the tall and thin [note: bright, airy feel of space] dwarfed fruit trees were used to the back wall and for want of a better description by category, the tall shrubs brought in semi mature also helped create that instant existing feel to the new space.

Whether it be the steppings that lead out from only one set of doors though both of course can be used, the seating to the side wall or the fact that there is via the plant choice colour for all seasons and intrigue when maybe there shouldn’t be, or very simply a decent sized lawn, this garden for me, works.

My personal test as to whether I like or love a garden always comes down to the question of whether I would happily sit within A specific space outdoors and allow time pass me by. This garden passes with flying colours.

Thoughts, comments or queries:

  • leave a comment below or
  • have a chat with/ contact Peter Donegan

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