RTÉ Super Garden judges interviewed in the RTÉ Guide!

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.

RTE Supergarden judges
The three RTÉ Super Garden judges in the Dublin Botanic gardens
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Dig supplement in the current issue of RTÉ Guide

RTE Supergarden judges


Supergarden judge Roisin Lafferty gives an interview for the RTE guide
Interview with RTE Supergarden judge Roisin Lafferty
Super Garden 2014 – Episode 2

The Second episode of RTÉ Super Garden series saw Brian creating both a beautiful and highly functional garden design in Monasterevin for the Brett family. The biggest design challenge for Brian was to create a fully accessible garden space that would facilitate all of the family’s growing needs. The Brett’s youngest son Eddie has spinabifida and is currently in a mobility chair. Up until recently Eddie was not able to play with his brother and sister in the garden. Brian’s brief was to create an accessible garden that allowed all children to play and have fun together in a safe and accessible environment. Brian’s biggest challenge was combining this difficult brief while also creating a show garden. What was most impressive to me was how Brian focused so keenly on providing the home-owners with the requirements that they so eagerly looked for.

BEFORE: This garden was oversized and at different levels to the home which made access difficult. It was very bare and unfinished with no real design qualities.

Brian's garden before
Brian’s garden before

AFTER: Brian has created a stunning playful garden space that meets the home-owners needs and is equally beautiful in its own right. His construction experience shines through in this design with a strong emphasis on hard landscaping, which dominates the space from the ramp entering the garden to the pavilion space and rear gantry area. Brian sought recommendations for suitable materials for pathways for use with wheelchairs which he incorporated into the design.

Brian's garden after
Brian’s garden after

There were some key aspects that stood out for me in terms of design in this garden. These include his brave and generous use of colour, the journey and pathways in the garden and the space within the space; in this case the pavilion space in the garden. See below for video, explanations and tips on each area.

1. Colour

Brian used a whopping 100 litres of cuprinol paint in this garden! Every visible surface showcased more tones and colours. What could have been a lot of timber and garden materials, has been transformed into a bright and colourful exterior space. Brian used a wide colour palette based mainly on soft blue and lavender tones. The main boundaries were painted in silver birch, the decking area and ramp in a rich lavender and the gantry and horizontal cladding were painted in a beautiful Beaumont blue. These colours all compliment each other well and break up the space. By mixing similar complimentary tones, the garden has more depth and interest. By using the Beaumont blue near the top and the end of the garden, Brian has provided a visual link between the two areas.

The most prominent fixture in the garden is the pavilion and Brian opted to highlight this by painting it a popping Beach blue colour with a playful Sweet Sundae pink up-cycled door. A persons eye will always be drawn to the brightest, strongest colour so this was a great way to add a feature to the garden. Use strong colour in your garden on items or areas that you want to stand out.

Cuprinol Beach blue and Sweet Sundae
Cuprinol Beach blue and Sweet Sundae

Brian also used Black ash in the garden which is an unusual choice. He used it in a well considered way to highlight pathways and low level items including the low lying rill, creature feature and herb garden. He also used black on the inside of the tunnel passageway behind the pavilion which provided a striking contrast to the beach blue.

RTE Supergarden garden 2 - The Brett family

2. Create a journey

Good design should provide a good experience to the user and take them on a journey through the space. Brian has created many different pathways throughout the garden so that the children can play and wander around. There are many different journeys, one of which includes a tunnel passageway beside the pavilion. Rather than creating a straight and obvious pathway, consider creating curved, or cornered pathways to lead the way throughout the whole garden and add interest and excitement.


3. A Space within a space

I love the idea of a space within a space. As seen on last weeks RTÉ Super Garden episode, this can take many different shapes and styles. Brian has created quite a permanent pavilion structure in the central view line of the garden. What is great about this structure is that it is adaptable to changing functions, it is future proofed. Brian built the pavilion well so it is sealed and fully weather proof which means it will stand the test of time. Brian also incorporated lighting also into the design so it can be used in dark and dreary times. The Bretts are a young and growing family so their needs are going to change considerably over the next few years. Now it is the ideal play space, but I can see it adapting to a homework room and then a hang out spot for friends.

Interior of pavillion
Interior of pavillion

You can create a similar outdoor room simply by upgrading an existing garden shed or garage. The things worth investing in are adding electricity to it and ensuring that it is weather tight. Having both of those will offer a lot of flexibility for the user. Colour will transform it from a standard garden shed to a space you want to spend time in!

RTÉ Super Garden – Garden 2

Super Garden 2014 – Episode 1

It was fantastic to see the first episode of RTÉ Super Garden this week. The show kicked off with the Bettystown garden belonging to the Coyle family which was designed by Grace. It was a great start to the series and we are excited to see the next episodes! In this blog we are looking at the before and after pics, and Roisin Lafferty’s tips from Graces Serendipity garden.  


Before the Bettystown garden was lacking in design inspiration. The Coyle family are a young, busy family that were looking for the opportunity to have a beautiful garden and Grace was given a blank canvas to work with.

Bettystown garden - Before
Bettystown garden – Before



Grace has transformed this garden into a feminine, pretty coastal inspired haven bursting with wildlife and planting. Her use of colour has created a subtle, calming backdrop to showcase the planting.

Bettystown garden - After
Bettystown garden – After



See Roisin Lafferty’s cuprinol video from episode 1 with her top design tips to take home from Grace’s garden.



A great way to add depth to any space is to layer colours and textures. Grace has created a soft, calming backdrop to her garden using cuprinol fresh rosemary on the boundaries. The light colour tone makes the garden feel bigger and helps to define it as an exterior room.

Inky stone on the purgola
Inky stone on the purgola

She then used silver birch on the curved pathway and inky stone on the pergola to build up the coastal inspired tones. These colours, although different, complement each other well and create a layered depth to the garden. Her planting adds to this with the different subtle greens, lavenders and pinks. The combination creates a canvas of complimentary layered tones.

Silver birch painted pathway
Silver birch painted pathway


Use different complimentary colours to create the depth. Using a lot of the same colours or trying to match things too precisely can have a result of the space looking flat.



We spend a lot of time decorating and styling ourselves and our homes without much consideration for our gardens.

Grace has cleverly added pretty details and styled touches to finish off her garden to show garden standard. These include her moss chair, painted birdcages, serendipity book and sign and her upcycled watering can planter.

Garden styling with shelves, watering can planter and serendipity book
Garden styling with shelves, watering can planter and serendipity book


Think of your garden as an extension of your home. It can be the fifth room of your house. Finish it to the same level you would your home; think garden furniture, display items like mirrors, cushions, planters etc. Grace has upcycled the watering can, turning it into a decorative planter which is a quirky detail in the garden. Upcycling and repurposing old items is a great way to inject fun and creativity to your garden. Teapots, jugs and tins can work as pretty planters, especially if creating an outdoor dining space.

She has added pops of colour with the vibrantly painted birdhouses that reflect the bloom colours. If you are nervous about introducing strong colours into your garden in a big way, painting small details, like Grace has done, can be very effective. Your eye will always be drawn to strong colours so it is a good way to draw your eye through the garden.

Painted birdcages in Beach Blue, sweet sundae, emerald stone and rich berry
Painted birdcages in Beach Blue, sweet sundae, emerald stone and rich berry



Grace has created a playful twigwam in her garden that acts as the main feature. What I love about this is that it is a space within the garden space, a small room within the garden. It is a great idea to create some sort of space within a space in your own garden. Grace’s twigwam is quite detailed, but even upgrading an existing shed into an outdoor room can have a strong effect.

Twigwam - A space within a space
Twigwam – A space within a space


As we live in Ireland, where we are not always blessed with sunny weather, it is a good idea to have a roof on the chosen area, so that it can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Incorporate some lighting too to make it suitable for night time use. Paint your shed in colours that will tie in with your interior colour palette. Get inspiration from the cuprinol website www.cuprinol.ie or from our Kingston Lafferty Design Pinterest boards at https://www.pinterest.com/kingstonlaf0316/

Serious Super Garden Judging

We have been really busy traveling the country, judging some of the amazing design talent on this year’s RTÉ Super Garden. I was delighted to get home and see our serious judging faces staring back at me from Saturday’s Irish Times! This year’s Super Garden is brimming with design talent and it is certainly one to watch.

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The new Super Garden series is starting on RTÉ one on Tuesday at 8.30pm. Make sure to check it out. Each week tells a very different story with every home-owner having a very different set of requirements for the designers to fulfill, before the winning garden design goes to bloom!

Super Garden is back!

Getting in the mood for some serious garden design, as well as some good weather hopefully! Here is a reminder of some of the talent from last year’s Super Garden on RTÉ

Follow Kingston Lafferty Design’s board RTÉ Super Garden on Pinterest.