KILDARE GARDENING COLUMN: Make an impact in your own garden

I promised you design this week and have we got a lot going on with regards to designing gardens.

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned we had several European gardens that we were designing, one in the Savoie region of France, one in the German speaking area of Switzerland, and one more in Grimaud in the French Riviera.

It is just fantastic to be able to design gardens and in such beautiful places, not that the gardens here in Ireland aren’t beautiful, but its the difference in light and the lots of other differences that makes you really have to think outside the box a little.

We are well used to designing for the Irish climates at this stage, having designed and then built gardens throughout the country, from Donegal and the Northern Irish coastline to the Burren with its dramatic landscape, to the challenges of the city gardens in our more built up areas of the country.

These new locations make us really thing about how we are going to take on the challenges of the climates, especially thinking about the winters at altitude being covered in snow in the French Alps to the hot summers of the Riviera and we have put two of those designs together. We are currently working on the last one and have another couple in the line up too.

It’s amazing how we have been happily designing gardens here in Ireland for the last twenty years, and suddenly we get asked by a client to look at the first of our European designs and then along comes a handful of them, a bit like buses!

What I actually wanted to talk to you about today leads on from that, it’s thinking about how to move your garden on, and adapt exactly as you would with your interiors, both for the time and the season.

Thinking about my interior over the last two years, I have added a good deal of colour, sometimes in splashes and others slightly more bolder. If I consider my interior five years ago, the main colours were greys and neutrals with some shades of greens and blues, but always more on the grey scale.

Looking at it now, the greens have got deeper, i’ve added oranges and golden yellows and much more mid to dark woods and lots and lots of texture.

Now think about your garden and take on the same challenge, if you haven’t done so already, add some colours, add more texture and be a little bolder with what you do.

You can see this in lots of the trends for 2023, which I am currently putting together in our annual design portfolio for the year to come. You can do this in a small or larger way, and here are some easy ideas to add colours and texture to your garden straight away.

Ian came in earlier today with two large terracotta pots that he had moved and wanted to plant them up. He’d initially thought structure to go in front of a stone wall we had, but I had other ideas, “how about we pack them full of a high colour bulb lasagna for the spring?”, I suggested.

When everything else is looking dull, that would give a splash of colour. So with the bulbs arriving just in time in this week’s pots, we are planting with a top layer of deep purple and gold crocus, layer two a dark blue hyacinth and the last layer a deep orange parrot tulip to keep colour coming through to late May, early June.

We are also changing a few of our pots in the garden to add a more textured pot. We have three pots in the garden which I love but when I show them in my garden they became our biggest seller and so we now are almost out of that particular pot, so I will show one of our newer options, but its a lot more textured from our Atlantis range and include something to add colour and texture.

I’m thinking a dark Phormium or even a vibrant canna — I’ll keep you updated on that one. Our Corten steel collection of pots, troughs, water features, firebowls and heating options are also ideal for adding that richer colour and texture. Talking corten steel, the fires including the Enok, Gap and bowls are all ideal ways to add a heat source at this time of year bringing another dimension to the garden in the Autumn and into winter. This is what we are having to think about in our mountain garden with the chalet being used all winter, but at this stage the garden is usually just a layer of snow, so its abut lifting the terrace and adding areas that can be easily cleared adding a heat source to sit around and seating that can be added into the garden easily but not be damaged by the weight of snow.

We are going to add a large firebowl with six chairs. Think marshmallows and hot chocolates after a day on the slopes. Adding sheepskin throws and blankets to bring out to keep the textured feel. The client has also requested a kitchen area that can be used just as much in the winter as in the summer, so corten steel big heavy grill and teppanyaki is the order of the day alongside a big green egg all built into a stone kitchen surface.

Adding chairs to the balcony of the chalet with the obligatory sheepskin throws and blankets creates an extra outdoor space to sit and take in the view with a coffee or a Vin Chaud.

Nowhere better than in our outdoor furniture range can you see the move to bolder colours and a more textured look. The 2023 collection is coming out over the coming weeks and will be available to pre-order.

So at this stage, its back to the drawing board for me as I crack on with a couple of designs here in Ireland, while Ian is finishing some details for one of the European gardens and putting the build stages of some of our current projects together, coordinating the hard landscapers and stone masons with the carpenters for the timber stages and the planting teams to add the glam and bring the whole garden together.

If you would like to see our trends for 2023 publication I will feature some snippets of it next week, but will also give you the link to download it – until then happy gardening, Jo x

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