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Ensure a Rosy Future for You & Your Garden

Irish Independent, April 2005

Did you know that your garden or outdoor space can significantly enhance your quality of life and your health?

According to the current issue of the new Irish consumer magazine ‘House – Architecture, Design, Garden, Advice’, employing the services of a landscape gardener or professional gardener sooner rather than later makes more sense than ever.

When embarking on a building project – whether it is an extension, renovation or a new house – one immediately thinks of employing an architect, engineer and builder, but not so readily of engaging a landscape or garden designer.  Yet if your property includes outdoor space, that space is a valuable asset.  A well-designed garden or exterior space can enhance the value of your property by as much as an estimated 15%.  Most importantly, your garden or outdoor space can significantly enhance the quality of your lifestyle as well as your health, according to recent research by Professor Diane Roth from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The Irish Garden and Landscape Designers Association (GLDA) recommends employing the services of a professionally qualified garden and landscape designer early on in the project.  Traditionally, on commercial and public sector projects, architects consult with landscape architects and designers from the outset to ensure a seamless integration of building and landscape design.

To ensure an enlightened working relationship with your landscape designer, the GLDA has outlined the following necessary steps:

Before Construction

Before any building works take place, commission a qualified garden/landscape designer to carry out an assessment of the soil.  The soil is the most important constituent of any garden or landscape site.  Soil is also the medium for the laying of sewage pipes, and possibly sewage works, water pipes, ducts for electric wires, surface drainage, soak pits, oil pipes, gas pipes and all associated inspection holes and man-hole covers.  Topsoil is an oxygen-beating, living material and the essential ingredient for most plant growth.  To ensure future growth on the site, the soil’s properties must be respected at all times by the architect, builder and landscape contractor.  Pre-planning and cooperation with all involved is a great help.

Planning Permission

More and more county councils across Ireland have started to request a site landscape-planting plan for planning permission.  In such cases, it is essential that the architect, engineer and landscape designer consult with each other from the outset to ensure a speedy and happy outcome for the client.  The garden designer will help you decide what areas will be planted or lawn and must be kept free of all traffic, and that materials for essential services are located with due care for future garden enjoyment.

Garden Layout

A qualified garden designer is trained to assess all aspects of the site, when viewed from both inside and outside the house and can best advise you on the micro-climate of the site such as exposure to wind, temperature, light, shade and shelter.  The designer will alert you and your architect to views to be highlighted or obscured, trees to be removed or retained at all costs.  As these factors may also influence the position of the house on the site and the design of the surrounds, it is important to involve a garden/landscape designer from the outset.  These careful considerations, coupled with a well-designed layout and knowledgeable planting to suit the site, are undoubtedly going to influence the sell-on value of the house.

Preparing for Costs

Your garden design is an essential part of your building project and it makes business sense to include a costing for the exterior areas and the garden with the overall project cost.  A qualified garden designer will prepare estimates for you that can be submitted with your finance application, when taking out a mortgage or loan.