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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. 😉

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An Alternate Hard Garden Surface ?

If you were thinking of putting a new surface into your garden that wasn’t decking, cobble paving or the usual, this one may just be for you.

It’s done very simply mainly using cross sections of felled trees.

Like a patch work quilt of sorts, the in between bits are covered with a semi permeable plastic membrane – which can take a little time to get right.

When that’s done it is then infilled with pebble. Depending on the how the tree sections are cut it can be a little tricky to get the surface entirely level.

Conditions weren’t exactly right from a photography perspective when I was digging, but the photograph below will give you a better idea of how deep these stumps go. I personally found that because the soil was wet it also moved a heck of a lot easier.

There’s not much too it really after that. The final image [below] isn’t the greatest quality – but the first image above does look pretty darned good as an end result.

The [Un]usual Planter

Here, you have that. You might be able to do something with it….

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That’s quite a regular statement I hear actually. Surprised ? I wasn’t. It’s not the most unusual object I’ve ever been handed. I like the odd challenge and this one was a doddle.

Yesterday I filled the container with some pebble. More to weight it down. It also looks really good. I also had a few hand fulls of pebble in my workshop, so it suited. It also saves on compost and in this case I didn’t have enough 😉

Helen had given me some spider plant babies a while ago that had come on really well…. and I had a spot inside where I felt it would look really good.

Total cost. €0.00

Personally, I’d be over the moon if someone gave me that as a gift.

Garden Gallery

There are many gardens I have created and designed over the last, more than 10 years now. These are just some of the images that may help in giving you an idea of just what kind of possibilities exist with your great outdoors.