Long Garden, Dublin

This long garden is only metres from the sea. It is almost below sea level and the soil is sandy - there's a good reason Sandymount is called what it is! This is in fact reclaimed land from the sea. The entire garden was dug up to a depth of approximately one metre for geothermal heating pipes, so what we inherited was a disturbed, waterlogged, sandy mess. What we created was a series of interlocking spaces, each with its own character. There are some 'long' views down the garden and some places where it is constrained. The fabulous modern house is by architects Fitzpatrick and Mays. As well as designing the garden we also carried out all the planting.


Before work begins the garden is very overgrown. Although possessing some character, there are no 'special' plants: the middle of the garden is dominated by a dense dark cypress and the end of the garden is a tangle of briars and bindweed. By the time the geothermal heating system has been laid, every inch of the garden has been disturbed and dug up.


A border of Madonna lilies (Lilium regale) with Rose 'White Flower Carpet' and Sarcococca confusa, with a long line of fastigiate Juniper. On the right is the newly-planted hornbeam hedge (Carpinus betulus), being the edge of one of the 'rooms'in the garden


The compartments and lines of the garden take their cue from the rear façade of the house: facing south, the garden is a hugely important part of the house.

The 'wild' flower garden at the far end of the garden, planted with native trees, perennials and grasses around a glade of mown grass. A wonderfully relaxed and private area.

Planting around the curved car parking turntable

A small area behind the hornbeam room and before the informal flower area: a plain and simple rectangle with a yew hedge - an antechamber or lobby between spaces is how we imagined it, and it is a particularly nice space - there is a magnolia at one end (sadly not photographed).