RTE Supergarden 2016
I am delighted to be back on the RTE Supergarden judging panel this year for the third year representing Cuprinol.
Things have been changed up and now I am side by side with the incredibly talented and lovely Leonie Cornelius, award winning garden designer representing Woodies and Gary Graham, Founder and Manager of Bloom. Filming has been great fun meeting back up with the crew and getting to know this year’s designers. I am looking forward to seeing it on air this week, so much talent and design inspiration to unfold!
What I am looking for?
Supergarden is a fantastic opportunity for emerging design talent, providing amateur and new designers a platform to show off their design skills, deal with clients and deliver finished results. It’s the ideal place to learn and gain hands on skills in the real world.
The design world can be competitive and challenging as well as thrilling and fun. For me, I am looking for designers with the right balance of creativity, determination and passion. Being on site is very far removed from the luxury of the drawing board. Rarely do things go according to plan so it is really a test of crisis management, thinking on your feet and team work.
You are only as good as the people you are working with so hopefully they all get a lot of support throughout the job.
I am also looking for people who want to push and blur boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. Gardens are more and more an extension of your living environment. With more people getting glass extensions and maximising natural light, it is crucial to extend the feeling of space and the feeling of home. Let’s face it, Ireland is a beauty but we are not blessed with the weather. A well designed garden should lend itself to being looked at and appreciated from inside!
Lighting is a key element to enhance this and to further extend the feeling of space at night. Rather than looking out at a black box, lighting allows the garden to be appreciated at any hour.
The designers need to design and create Bloom worthy show gardens but also remember that these gardens are part of people’s homes. It is important that they deliver to the homeowner’s brief, giving them a beautiful and well-designed garden to enjoy.
In design, there is nothing more thrilling and exciting than getting to see your vision brought to life, so I hope they also get to have fun and enjoy the process. I am hoping to see something new and inventive this year, with a strong use of colour and materials. This is the 10 year anniversary of Bloom so the bar is set high. I am looking forward to the competition unfolding!
How Interiors meet Exteriors
I am an interior architect by trade, so I often get asked how that relates to judging gardens on Supergarden. For me a well-designed layout is the most important consideration in any space, inside or out, commercial or residential. There is not a huge difference in designing either space. Designing spaces is about providing a positive experience for the user and taking them on a journey from start to finish. The same rules apply when designing a garden as designing a house or restaurant.
Like with interiors, it is easy to get side-tracked in the garden with finishes and decoration. But ultimately it is best to focus on the spatial layout and the landscape architecture. The layout is the foundation and that is going to dictate how you feel in the space, the journey and the experience that you have in the space. Materials and colour palette then follow once you are happy with the space itself.
I myself am very inspired by places I visit and spaces I spend time in. I am more and more influenced by restaurant and hotel design and love how creative these spaces can be. I particularly like how much the outside spaces are a continuation of the interior. Materials have come a long way and now are a lot more versatile and adaptable to exterior spaces. I love being able to use tiling and wall coverings in the garden, as well as continuing lighting effects into the outside space.
It is now a well-known fact that the garden is the fifth room in the house. I encourage clients to enhance their garden space so that it becomes an extension of their home. Cuprinol’s huge range of outdoor paint further emphasises this. Gone are the dark brown fences and stained decks. Now people have the same level of choice in colour outside as they do inside.
Keep an eye on the blog for weekly updates on my favourite aspects of each RTE Supergarden design, simple tips and tricks to improve your own space and some behind the scenes pics.
Pics by Andres Paveda, Al Higgins and Donal Murphy.