The third episode of RTÉ Super Garden saw Suzie Khan transform the small Kimmage garden into a highly productive permaculture inspired garden for the young Martin family.
BEFORE: The garden was uninspired. The young couple had a beautiful home that unfortunately did not transcend into the garden. Their brief included a space to entertain and socialise as well as somewhere to learn how to grow vegetables and herbs. Suzie’s garden did both very well, as well as introducing the family to permaculture and all it entails.
AFTER: Suzie has surpassed the homeowners expectations and has created a space bursting with planting, clever permaculture ideas, education and stunning design details. Suzie has a lot of experience with educational gardens and she has managed to fuse this experience with a stunningly designed garden to create a real contender for bloom. It is an organic, rustic design that gives the sense of a woodland adventure with places to sit and play throughout.
The Martin family loved the idea of growing their own vegetables and taking care of the garden and Suzie has provided them with the opportunity. She has cleverly labelled all of the herbs and vegetables as well as the other planting using hand painted spoons (a really lovely detail!) so that as they grow, everything can be recognised.
Some of the key design elements that struck me within the space were the upcycling and re-purposing, the appreciation of everyday items and the change in levels within the space. See my video below explaining these in more detail.
Upcycling is one of my current obsessions and it is also something close to Suzie’s heart. Part of the message of Permaculture is not to waste things, to re-use and re-purpose as much as possible. Suzie created some very interesting pieces of furniture in her garden, all handmade and custom designed for the garden. The table and bench seats were all carved to shape. The table top was cut from a large Sequoia tree and makes a striking feature within the space.
The great thing about Suzie’s organic furniture is that it is extremely well finished. If attempting this at home, make sure to sand timber enough so that there are no sharp edges or rough faces. This will ensure that the pieces are comfortable to sit on and will not snag clothes. To ensure they stand the test of time, make sure to coat timber in a cuprinol protection layer.
2. Look at everyday things with fresh eyes!
Another element of upcycling and re-purposing in Suzie’s garden that appealed to me were her decorative bicycle screens. Suzie saw old bicycle wheels as a source of inspiration and created some decorative elements out of them. By painting the old wheels in varying Hammerite colours, Suzie added pops of bright colours into the garden. She also added glass details to reflect light.
In your own garden, use your imagination and add decorative touches to brighten up the space and add colour. Think of your walls as you do in your home and incorporate art and decoration throughout your garden.
3. Changing levels
Changing levels add interest and excitement to any space, whether indoor or outdoor. This garden had a slight gradient towards the back of the garden space to begin with. Rather than wasting any material within the space, Suzie maximised this slope and added to it to create a raised seating and play area at the back of the garden. Raised areas are a great way to add to the journey and experience. The raised area provides a great sun trap and viewing spot to enjoy the rest of the garden.
Try to incorporate different levels in your own garden. Even just adding raised planters gives some vertical interest and prevents the garden from looking flat and 2 dimensional.
Construction in our London restaurant design – Tootoomoo is coming along well. Opening date is the 19th of May so busy weekends ahead for the contractors on site! We have been over and back on site visits quite a bit recently to check on everything and we are delighted with the progress.
A lot of inspiration was taken from the Singapore shop house style with reference to the panelling and shutter details that they are known for. We especially noted this style with the design of the shop front. Whetstone is a busy area and we wanted to entice people into the restaurant as much as possible with a clean view in from the street.
A lot of the joinery, caging and banquet seating was constructed in our Irish workshop and shipped over in the last week so the whole restaurant space is now taking shape!
As Tootoomoo is an existing restaurant brand, our main design challenge has been to refine the existing branding and overall brand message and create a restaurant design that still reflects their existing style but also brings something new and provides an enjoyable restaurant to their new and growing client base. Tootoomoo is a lighthearted, colourful and playful brand with a strong emphasis on authentic Pan Asian street food. We took this on board with our colour palette, choice of materials and finishes and overall design style. Authentic ethnicity was a key concept of ours; we wanted to reference Asia and the Pan Asian culture but also take on board the London location. The main thing was to merge the two ideas well. Tootoomoo was first conceptualised and created by Jennings Design Studio, who went on to design the first restaurant in Crouch End.
Our Ballsbridge Residence interior architecture construction has been coming along really well over the last few weeks. The large windows and doors at the rear of the property have finally been fit so overall the space is now well defined. The main objective with this spatial design was to create a good flow between all of the ground floor rooms.
Having previously been two separate properties, it was our intention to merge them well together so as to appear that they had always been one house. We have opted to retain the character of the original house at the front of the property with reference to the cornicing, ceiling roses and panelling. The rear however is much more contemporary, airy and modern.
Natural light floods the space and furniture, flooring and lighting help to define the different areas in the open plan space. The living room, reading nook, dining area and kitchen are all located within the rear open plan space.
Joinery is a huge part of this project, with bespoke joinery in almost every room of the house. This is now underway, beginning in the walk in wardrobe and the library room. We are very excited to see this underway… along with tiling and finishes, joinery plays the most visual part in the finished design. More updates coming soon!
We were thrilled to stumble upon Roisin Lafferty in the current issue of the RTÉ Guide with the other RTÉ Super Garden judges. Pick up a copy to read interviews with Gary Graham from Bord Bia, representing Bloom, Paddy Gleeson, Horticulturist representing Woodies and Roisin representing Cuprinol.
Read Roisin’s interview to find out what makes a winning Super Garden to her. Find out her top tips for creating your own garden design and how to make the most of up-cycling in your own garden.