Super Garden 2014 – Episode 5

Episode 5

Top tips to re-create Cian’s garden:

1. Colour to expand space

Cian has used a green tone that links closely to the colour in the lawn and in the planting. This makes the garden seem even fuller and lush than it it. The colour tricks your eye into thinking the garden is bursting with plants! For those at home, continuing the colour on different surfaces and different levels in a space will give the impression of an extended space. It creates a ribboning type of effect where the walls merge with the floor, creating a seamless effect.

Ribboning can give a strong effect in the garden. Consider using a vibrant colour in the seating area. Paint the colour in a wide strip on the floor and continue it up the wall and onto the ceiling. It really gives a 3 dimensional quality to the space.

2. Strong Lines and Structures

Cian has used strong lines and prominent structures in his design, combined with a change of level. This has successfully distinguished the various areas in the garden. The strong lines work as effectively as soft curves and achieve a minimal and contemporary result. The strong lines clearly highlight the different garden zones.

Don’t be afraid to be brave with structure in your own garden. Different levels provide a more exciting space and make a small garden feel bigger. Raise planting beds or build structures that double as seating for maximum functionality.

3. Reclaimed Materials

Cian has successfully upcycled many reclaimed and old materials. This is a big trend at the moment both in interior and garden styling and design. It allows you to give new life to old and otherwise wasted objects. It also lets you bring

The main tips for upcycling in your garden are:

  1. Be creative
  2. Experiment – It is about looking at old items with new eyes
  3. Prepare – The most important thing is to prepare old items well so that they do not splinter or whether over time.
  4. Play with colour – use strong colours to create contrast and liven up the garden.



Super Garden 2014 – Episode 4

Episode 4

Key elements of Thomas’s design:

1. Murals: Strong with subtle colours

One of the key features in Thomas’ garden was his wall murals. Black murals are delicately painted onto stone clay walls so that the image stands out within the garden. Murals are a great way to add personality and individuality to your garden. It is also a good way to inject some pops of colour into the garden space. Thomas chose to use a neutral backdrop and a black graphic to ensure that the dandelions stood out quite a lot. This would also be as effective in the reverse. Use a strong colour to draw your eye into the space and have a lighter image on top. Use family names or phrases that are personal to you so that your personality shines through.

2. Organic Forms

Thomas incorporated a lot of curves and organic shapes in his design. His concept was based around the shape of the fiddle head fern. He has carried through this shape into his garden. The really impressive thing with this design is how much it contrasts with the original shape of the garden. The original garden is irregular with sharp angles. Thomas’s use of curves soften the space. The curves also provide the garden with a much more functional space. What would have been a wasted area at the back has been made into a large planting bed that surrounds the curved seating area. Be creative in your garden. The most important thing when choosing shapes to use is to be consistent. A garden full of curves will have more impact than a garden with a mixture of shapes.

Organic curves are pleasing to look at and provide a calming environment to relax in, which is what the client was looking for.

3. Journey

Good spatial design provides the user with a positive experience and takes them on a journey. The strong curve and change in levels in Thomas’s design creates an exciting layout and journey from the start of the garden right down to the back seating area. Create a journey within your own garden, regardless of size. Define different areas by adding a pathway through the space. Thomas has used his skill as a stone mason to define the spaces with beautifully crafted stone walls. Use different materials in your own space to define the pathway and the different areas. This will help to separate the different areas and will add to the visual journey.

Super Garden 2014 – Episode 3

episide 3

Here are some of my key tips for recreating Shirley’s garden at home

1. Colour Combinations

Shirley used a range of contrasting and complimentary colours in her garden to add excitement and fun to the space. Due to the space being small, she maintained a light, understated off white colour on the boundary walls. This is an effective way to maximise the feeling of space. Light colours make space seem bigger. Dark colours can make a space seem more enclosed. The light off white colour (Weathershield Gardenia) on the boundary walls also draws your eye to the plants in the garden and makes their beauty and colour stand out.

To add variety, Shirley painted the vertical pergola structures in a strong rich berry from the Garden Shades range. The strong colour draws your eye into this area. It works effectively in this particular garden. Rich colours work well on key items within the space. They stand out and create a feature. She combined the rich berry with glazed forest on the mid-level flower bed. Although very different colours, they still complement each other well and help to define the various areas.

2. Design is in the Detail

Shirley combined a lot of small elements within the overall garden. Each area was detailed in itself. It is important to pay attention to the detail in your own garden. Shirley’s vertical garden and bug hotel are both so detailed and really add originality to the garden.

They also work well with her concept of introducing biodiversity into the garden. Be creative with your own garden. Add something to enhance your garden and entice the wildlife in. Bird baths and bird feeders can be features in any garden regardless of size.



RTÉ Super Garden 2014

So I have not been updating the blog a lot recently as things have been very busy for me and for Kingston Lafferty Design. Lots of exciting things have been happening including being the new face on the judging panel for this year’s Super Garden on RTÉ.

It has been a fantastic experience to be part of the show. We are almost reaching the third episode in the series where we will encounter the third Designer in Limerick. So far we have ventured to the Dublin and Drogheda gardens and have seen a combination of design and build styles.

Posing for a Cuprinol photoshoot in my wellies!


RTÉ Super Garden 2014


I am representing the Cuprinol brand for the show. I have been working as a colour consultant for Cuprinol recently and have to say I am a huge fan of their garden shades collection of outdoor paints.

They have a great selection of colours so that you can add some fun and excitement to your garden. I am currently styling my garden with a combination of their paints and stains… see finished images next week! Click on the Youtube link to see my tips from the first garden in Dublin designed by Emma-Jane Rushworth:






Super Garden 2014 – Episode 2


Here are my key tips on Padraigs woodland themed garden…

1. Defining Space
Padraig made some very brave choices when it came to the layout of his garden. Although his space was very small to begin with, he chose to divide it in half by creating a large wall with a full height hedge. I was nervous when I saw this in his plan, but I was pleasantly surprised at its strong effect in when I walked into the space. His design divided the garden into essentially 3 different rooms. The proportions of the spaces felt like outdoor rooms and added to the cosy and enclosed feeling within the garden.
Creating a space within a space is an effective way of adding interest in a garden. Use timber fencing or a wall of hedging to create boundaries within your garden. Create rooms within your garden to carry on from your house. This adds an element of surprise and leaves people guessing where the next part of the garden will be. It reminds me of the secret garden. Archways, gates and doors can be incorporated into the design to create even more of an exterior room.

2. Natural Colour Palette
Padraig kept his colour palette very understated and in keeping with his woodland concept. The soft green/grey tone that he used on the boundary treatments gave the feeling of space and created the illusion of a bigger garden. It also linked very well with the wall colour in the kitchen of the house. This is a good tip if you want to extend your living space out into your garden. Choose wall colours that relate to your interior colours to really create an external room.
Padraig also chose a dark oak stain for his timber in the garden. The cuprinol country oak decking stain linked well with the bark and soil throughout his woodland garden. Be careful when painting large timber items. I would recommend using softer tones to avoid them dominating the space. The dark tone worked well in Padraig’s because he wanted to create a feeling of enclosure.

3. Clear, visible pathways
Clean, strong pathways help to navigate through any spaces – gardens or interiors. Make sure to create obvious pathways in your own garden. Try and think about the journey that the user will take and create a path for them to follow. To break up the space, use a combination of materials along the pathway. Padraig successfully did this in his garden. His stepping trees in the kids area are both playful and functional. Be creative with your material choices.
Take care to secure any paving stones well to avoid trip hazards within the space. Ensure that all pathways are level.