Planting around the house

A house needs a garden. A house is lost without a garden and a garden is lost without a house. The two have a symbiotic relationship and each helps the other. Like plants, houses need roots, and plants are these roots. Many Irish people are afraid of plants and want them as far away from the house as possible. How the house and garden join is important and plants near or adjacent to the house sets the tone for the house. The combination of a house and a garden is what we like to call a 'place'. Here are photos of gardens we have designed, planted or made that show planting around the house.

Galway Garden.jpg

Buffered by strong winds and in an exposed corner site, we nestled the house into its site with banks of plants such as Miscanthus, Cornus, Birch and Scots pine. When we first visited the site the house was still under construction and this was a sea of mud!

bedroom garden.jpg

This suburban garden is best viewed from the bedroom, pictured to the rightof the photo. The plan was to make a glorified wilderness, filled with woodland plants so that there was an ever-changing view from inside. The planting consits of species such as Dicentra, Luzula, Digitalis, Hosta, Corydalis, Polygonatum, Echium, Polystichum, Athyrium, Dicksonia, Matteuccia, bulbs, Acer, Betula, Phyllostachys, Rodgersia...

Bloomfield 5.jpg

Bloomfield 4.jpg

Where there isn't a garden, like in an apartment, then plants can be in containers. In this apartment we weren't allowed to build any planters so we useddifferent sizes and styles of containers to bring greenery right up against the windows. This planting wasn't just to make a pleasant outdoor space; it was also vital for enhancing the interiors.

Bray garden 6.jpg

Bray garden 7.jpg

This imposing house near Bray in Co Wicklow was sitting in a bleak landscape of gravel. We introduced deep beds around the house and planted them with an array ofrare and unusual plants including shrubs such as Daphne 'Jacqueline Postil', Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam' and Drimys aromatica as well as numerous perennials, ferns and bulbs.

Monkstown perenials.jpg

Planting along the south-facing side of a house in Monkstown. The planting scheme comprises of Salvia, Knautia, Stipa, Eryngium, Lavandula, Lilium and Agapanthus. Spring bulbs will add an extra month or two of interest at the start of the year.


Our own garden in the foothills of the Wicklow mountains. Our house sits in a rural site, nestled amongst trees, fields and streams, so the planting reflects this and wraps all around the house. Heavy, wet soil and a dense population of slugs means some plants  grow fabulously and others don't. Successful perennials and grasses included: Paeony, Miscanthus, Calamagrostis, Molinia, Matteuccia, Rodgersia, Iris, Crocosmia, Veronicastrum, Astilbe, Alchemilla, Fillipendula, Primula.