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Ask Gerry : Assessment : Successful Design

Novice gardener

, churchtown Posted On: August 28, 2011

I am a novice gardener. I have a large mature neglected garden.115I would really love to take care of my garden. where do I begin. I feel overwhelmed.


With a neglacted mature garden, it is best to take some time to assess what is there and this will take a full year, as bulbs pop up and perennials and shrubs flower.

Take note of good plants and identify them, make a list.

In the meantime, keep the lawn cut and keep weeds at bay as best possible.

Also use the time to make a list of what you want from the garden and what good aspects the garden has.

When you have done this, you will have a better feel for the garden, what is offers and what you want, what to get rid of and what to keep.

But hasten slowly and try to understand what is there, but not everything old is necessarily good, and new plants and new features can be added.

Unwanted flowers and shrubs can be taken out over a period of time, or all at once, and new plants planted. Weeds that are out of control can be cut down with a brushcutter and covered with black plastic to kill them, or spray with Roundup.

More detail in:







Planting in August

, New Ross Posted On: August 6, 2011

I have just moved and only grass in garden. Am a complete gardening beginner. Is there anything I can plant this time of year to add some colour to the garden. Shrubs or flower, preferably something that will come back yearly.


First take stock of what you have and start a wish list, which then should be narrowed down to priotities, linking these to suitable areas of the garden.

Mark out the position of new borders and beds. Prepare the ground by killing the existing grass, either by covering to exclude light or by using Roundup or similar.

Plant trees, shrubs and perennial flowers when the ground is free of weeds and grass. Autrumn is a good time to plant. Plant sprig bulbs in autumn too.

More information on plant choice at:



gardening with fibromyalgia

, Miltown Malbay Posted On: May 24, 2010

I’ve suffered from fibromyalgia for c. 12 years. Lately it’s getting worse and I find it difficult to bend, kneel etc. I love my garden. Is there any way I can find aids to enable me to do more?


There are specialised suppliers of garden equipment used by people with arthritis and Arthritis Ireland might be able to supply some contacts.

It might be possible to alter the design of the garden somewhat to reduce effort and make access easier. If you consult , the Garden and Landscape Designers Association, they have designers in various parts of the country.

professional design cost

, oulart, gorey Posted On: May 6, 2010

well done on site i like it its very handyi only joined a few days ago,we have a semi dec house oh 06 of a acre house is more to front of it we are thinking of geting somebody to do a design or a plan as i call it.something to work of but in these ression times are worried about cost of gettin this done. any idea of cost we’re in wexford area, im ok to do the labour work end of it just need a plan to work off.


You should have a look at the GLDA site,

Different designers have different ways of operating. Start with a site visit.

problem honing design ideas in very small area’

, greystones Posted On: February 7, 2010

My patio area is small, my ideas BIG, i have learnt a lot through reading and shall chose two flower colours , pinks and whites and varients, plus various green vegetation. But as it stands i feel it will be too cluttered.where can i find a person who is knowledgeable who can just view it to give simple advice to hone down.i am severely disabled and new to gardening but its now a mega passion!


There are lots of garden designers, such as the Garden and Landscape Designers Association at or local garden centres might be able to suggest somebody locally.

Garden Design

, Mullacash Naas Posted On: September 14, 2009

Our house is a modern red brick dormer on an acre site. We are now developing the garden and have sown a lawn and planted some trees. The lawn is divided by a driveway up to the house. The look is very plain and uninteresting. Some planting is required. Could you recommend some plants that would be fairly easy to maintain and look well.


The key aspect to consider in the design of a large garden, which an acre, 4,000 square metres, is, is to take an overview and not to engage piecemeal. Often, this is a problem for those inexperienced in garden design because it is on a much bigger scale than they are used to.

As a general rule, a site of that size needs large plants, namely trees to fill space, and one-third or half the site area can be planted to trees, usually to fill the corners and boundaries, leaving occasional gaps for good views, or just for a gap. These trees are normally planted small, which is cheaper and more effective.

Within those boundaries, the lawn size, and mowing requirement, is reduced. Other features such as island beds, ponds, paving and flower borders can then be slotted into place. The best approach is to make a plan on paper and sketch in features from a list of requirements. Every owner's requirements are different and it is important to match the design to these. When features and planting areas have been chosen, then plants can be chosen with a greater chance of a good outcome.

More on design at:

Site assessment:

Large garden designs at:

More on trees at:




Japanese garden design

, Killaloe Posted On: April 5, 2009

I am very keen to create a japanese garden in my back garden. Can you recommend some experienced japanese garden designers in the Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary area?


You should contact the Garden and Landscape Designers Association.