RTE Supergarden – The 5th room

RTE Supergarden 2016

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!

RTE Supergarden Judges

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.

Roisin Lafferty Garden

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.

Roisin Garden

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.

Roisin Lafferty

Floral Inspiration: Thistle

Floral Inspiration is something we often turn to for our design projects at KLD. Whether its a client who’s business has a direct relevance to flowers or a client who has a love of all things floral, flowers seem to be a constant source of inspiration to both us and the lovely people we work with.

Thistles happen to be a team favourite and although they are available in a range of stunning colours, we particularly love blue thistle. The marriage of musty blues and earthy greens is a winning combination – the type of pairing that creates soft, beautiful interiors schemes with a feeling of serenity and calm.

Here we’ve gathered some interiors inspiration based on the wild and beautiful thistle.


Cuprinol Colour Recommendantions: 1. Clouded Dawn 2. Inky Stone 3. Fresh Rosemary 4. Emerald Slate

Shop The Look:

Green Cushion, H&M

Chair, Roche Bobois

Linen Bed Set, Zara Home









If you have any favourite flowers that you’d love to see incorporated into one of our posts just let us know in the comments below.


RTÉ Super Garden – Garden 4

RTÉ Super Garden – Episode 3

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.

RTE Supergarden - Garden 3
Suzie’s garden was bare and empty before

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.

RTE Supergarden - Garden 3
Suzie’s rustic permaculture inspired garden

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.

Supergarden - Garden 3
Raised vegetable and herb garden


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.

1. Upcycling

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.

RTE Supergarden - Garden 3
Custom made hand crafted garden furniture

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.

RTE Supergarden - Garden 3
Upcycled bicycle wheels create a stunning decorative feature

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.

RTÉ Super Garden – Garden 3