A blog by the award winning garden and landscape designer David Keegan. Award winner "Residential Landscape Designer of The Year 2016" Northern Design Awards . Award winner "International Landscape Design 2012", "APLD" USA. Award winner "Garden Designer of the Year 2010, 2011, and 2013 Northern Design Awards. Currently working on garden design projects in Cheshire,..
The awards ceremony was held in Toronto in September which I couldn't make as I was touring in the North of Vietnam, but look what turned up in the post and is now hanging on my office wall, my awards plaque!! I feel so honored to have received this award and recognition. On the home front I am currently working on a number of very exciting projects, one of which has been in progress for the last year and a half and has a fascinating back story as to its location. I will be posting a blog about this project in the next week or so. In the meantime you can view and read all about the APLD International Landscape Design awards 2018 by clicking this International Landscape Design Awards 2018 to a digital version of the awards magazine issue. I'm on page 13 and 196 -197.
If you wish to make contact with David Keegan garden Design & landscape Consultancy you can do so using this link contact us
International Landscape Design Awards 2018Delighted to have received the new that I have been awarded Silver in the International Landscape Design awards held in the USA. This is yet another wind for the ECO garden project designed by David for a client in Worsley in Salford, Greater Manchester, North West UK. This will be the fourth award presented for this garden. With David winning the #NDA "Northern Design Awards 2016" for Best Landscaping Design for the project. It went on to pick up the best residential build at the #BALI "British Association Landscape Industries in 2017"
award winners logo International Landscape Design Awards 2018
The Multi award Winning Eco Garden designed by David Keegan
Some of the judges comments on the award winning garden design:
"A stellar illustration of great design and sustainable Eco-friendly principles. Overall a stage for people and nature to play. Excellent job."
"Well-conceived design with good aesthetic and cohesion. I love that materials were recycled and an intentional connection to ecological systems was made, as well as how the materials were used. The rock paving in one area looked like it might be difficult to walk on though. Nice plantings that work well together."
Pro Landscaper Interview David Keegan The UK's leading landscape design and horticulture magazine recently paid a visit to Manchester to explore the state of the horticulture and landscape and garden design industry in Greater Manchester and I was delighted to be asked to do an interview focusing on design trends, my work in Manchester, and my most exciting recent project.
Pro Landscaper Interview With David Keegan Garden Design
There is a also a wonderful and insightful feature with the RHS on the planned new RHS Garden Bridgewater which will be located just off Leigh Road in Salford.. This will be the first project of its size for The royal Horticulture Society in more than 100 years and its first new garden in nearly two decades. Personally speaking I cannot wait for it to open!!
Pro Landscaper mag cover April 2018
Big thanks to Abbie Dawson and Nina Mason from Pro Landscaper for taking the time to travel to Manchester and for a great feature
Garden Design News I have just received word that this project I designed a couple of years ago is to be featured in an upcoming international book on Landscape Design. The book is to be published a little later this year and I will post a blog when it comes out. In the meantime here's a recap on the project:
Greenfield Garden Design Project By David Keegan Garden Design
Redesigned front garden area Greenfield garden design project David Keegan Garden Design
Greenfield Saddleworth Garden.
The plot is located in UK hardiness zone 8
An overgrown and somewhat dated gardens both front and back. 2 lots of steps leading to the front entrance neither of which were well constructed or inviting. Also a steep slope to the rear garden area presented a winter hazard. The back garden was somewhat run down but some very nice riven York stone slabs. Although the garden seemed to contain a very large lawn this was not in fact part of the property, but strangely enough was on loan from a property developer. In actuality the garden boundary was just to the rear of wood store area. No clearly defined boundary to the area where climbing frame was located.
Before pics; a few views of the gardens when I first visited
The clients desired a space that had a more grown up feel and one that was more usable and acted as an extension to the home. They also wanted some form of terrace, seating area, to replace the climbing from as this spot in the garden was ideal to catch the early evening sunshine. A new wood store was also on the brief along with a new fence and gate of some description to replace the trellis fence and gate that separated the front and back garden areas. They wanted some form of usable social area close to the new contemporary glass extension they had recently had installed. The front needed to be simplified with the entryway and steps redesigned to make more easily and safety usable. They were not sure if they wanted to keep a lawn in the front garden. The clients also wanted some element of art in the space but were open to how this might be interpreted whether through a water feature or a focal piece.
And some pictures of the garden once redesigned
Landscape design project following redesign
New sating and dining platform joins the inner kitchen levels for a seamless connection between garden and home.
Summer colour in raised beds in the redesigned gardens
From the outset my feeling were that the rear garden area lacked any sense of colour and as such was not an inviting proposition. Equally the step down from the door to outside level made the space feel that bit more awkward and detached. By designing in a deck to run level with the internal floor level I intended to make the space more accessible and the addition of raised beds allowed me to introduce colour and intimacy by making the area around the house feel more connected to the living space. The irregular hit and miss screen to the side allowed privacy without making the space feel cut off or closed in. The introduction of hazel hurdle fencing to parts of the boundary further softens and gives the gardens a more authentic and natural feel that is in keeping with its location. I also wanted to find a way to connect the side area and gate to the steps up to what was a studio. I had in mind some form of ornate iron work as this would also answer the need for a sculptural element to the garden. This was the interpretation of sculpture is integrated into the scheme as opposed to merely sitting in it, offering function form and style.
I commissioned a sculpture artisanal blacksmith I had worked with on previous projects (David Freedman) to turn the idea to a usable and functional form. The use of Asplenium leaf as panel motif was to my mind a master stroke on his part, forming the back drop to the fern/woodland garden created to the side area, between rear and front gardens.
Wanting to create a series of themes for the various spaces and seeing that the front area was never used other than to mow the patch of grass I felt this was an opportunity to create a space that paid some small homage to the langue of the local landscape in the High Peaks whilst also making it more inviting.. The concept, to create a dwarf pine dry river bed garden to include a small terrace for a table and chairs. A new lollipop boundary fence was installed and painted in a pale apple green and fore planted with Photinia Red robin to add year round colour. A variety of dwarf pines and silver foliaged plants add form colour and contour. An old chimney pot from the house was salvaged and used as a focal Point. The clients were at first sceptical of this concept not knowing how it would look but in its completion love it. On a clear sunny day it enjoys views of the peaks.
Distinctly themed garden areas that draw the user and the eyes into the space. Natural stone walls with stone copings create and intimate dining space and connect the house to the gardens. A new boundary fence demarcates the gardens and offers more privacy. Acers, alliums, lavenders roses’ and sage add colour and scent acting as a colourful backdrop to the extension whilst also adding interest and invite to the path from the front garden. Low level ferns campanula and woodland plants add low level interest to the newly formed steps and raised bed while also lightening the area from its previous overgrown state. A newly designed wood store with cedar shingle roof along with the hazel hurdle fence add to the naturalistic aesthetic whilst the sculpture fence and gate add year round interest and sense of playful spontaneity to the space.
A front dry river bed garden planted with a variety of dwarf pines, and framed with Photinia, somehow make this area feel rooted into the wider landscape seeming as it does to breach the boundary between the two.
Bespoke garden gate inspired by the leaves of Harts Tongue fern
New raised bed and garden screen
All existing stone was integrated into the design and reused with wall stone and copings sourced from a local stone yard. Hazel hurdle was also sourced from local supplier. American yellow pines was used for all timber work offering as it does the most sustainable alternative to tropical hardwoods or tantalised softwoods.
To liaise with clients thought design process and to liaise with and commission sculpture. Liaise with landscapers and clients throughout the instillation of the project and to source supply and plant plans as per plant lists and schedules.
Looking for inspiration for your garden for 2018 ? Now is the time to plan if you want to enjoy the garden during this coming summer. Why not check out my award winning garden design projects on my website. The featured picture is from one of my garden design projects in Lancashire which won the Northern Design Award for Best Landscape Design in 2016!
A Garden Designers Top Five Tips To Creating A Wildflower Meadow, Or Lawn......
It seems that wildflower meadows are fast becoming the latest trend in garden and landscape design whatever the size of garden, or grounds, that might be on offer. In fact, I decided to write this piece following a recent request for the incorporation of a wildflower area in what is little more than a postage stamp size garden for a client who hates maintenance.
Bolton Landscape Design Project Before
And in the beginning it may look like this.
So, top tip number .....................................................................................................................................
1: Wildflower meadows, or gardens, are reasonably high maintenance and require patience, along with a regimented regular intervention if they are to have any chance of success...........................
..................................................................... assuming you have made it past Top Tip 1 onto number,
2: Wildflower meadows, lawns, gardens, is a bit of a generic catch all term, hence before you even consider installing one, crucially, you need to understand the conditions of your site. Firstly most important of all the condition of the soil, successful wildflower cultivation needs a poor soil. Rule of thumb, the poorer the better. If your soil is rich you may have to ditch. The alternative is to strip out the good stuff and import a lot of sterile, make sure the pockets are as deep as the desire........
........................................and lets say you've made it past tip 2 and are still as keen as ever tip number
3: Believe it or not there is no single seed mix when it comes to wildflower cultivation, there are instead many different mixes depending on the site conditions you have, for example is the ground generally wet even in summer, or is it, constantly wet in winter drying out to cracked earth in summer, is it in shade, or part shade, full sun, acid, or alkaline? The answers to all of these questions will be equally important in ascertaining the correct mix to max your particulars, which in turn increases your chances of success.............................................................................................................
......................................if you are still with me, and smiling by this stage, you really are keen, onto tip
4: Site preparation is paramount, assuming you are not going to need to strip out tons of topsoil to replace with barren soil, the quickest and most efficient way to prepare the ground in preparation for wildflower seed sowing is (unfortunately) to spray the ground with a systemic weedkiller, then leave the area for at least two weeks, when you will return to remove all the dead vegetation. Once cleared you should scratch the surface layer, tools for this will be dependent on the size and nature of the plot, this will give the seeds a better chance of germination. Leave the site again for a couple of weeks to see if any further weed germination takes place and once again, spray, leave, remove............
.........................................................................................................................................At last you have reached stage 5 and therefore are committed, or ready to be, depends on your state of mind onto tip
5: Having worked out your square meters you will by now also now also know what type of mix you need, the weight of seed needed for the area will be determined by this mix and can be purchased from a large number of specialist companies, but choose carefully, as many are not as good as they might seem. Seed should ideally then be sown at the end of summer, or failing that, early spring. Once sown get ready for at least the next five years of work in order to create a successful wildflower meadow.
Look Back Series Picture 1 Beginning of a series of pictures from past & present garden design projects some award winning some not but all equally important to me as a garden designer Picture 1 a garden design project in Chester and winner of numerous awards. The is a picture of one in a series of five garden rooms in this project. This is the sculpture garden and was inspired by the E.N.O. English National Opera Production of Handel's comic Opera Xerxes. In flower Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' add drama and line the curving paths across a water rill to sculpture plinths. To find out more about David Keegan garden Design and landscape Consultancy or to contact us click this link
The Sculpture Garden in Chester, Cheshire, North West, UK.by David Keegan Garden Design
Something Bug-ing you, an article on humans irrational fear of wasps.
Picture of wasp feeding on ginger Lilly flower taken in one of my clients garden
It’s that time of the year again in the UK where wasp numbers seem to reach their dizzy pinnacle as they fly erratically in all directions in search of those last bits of food and sweet treats. In fact, much like humans, they are sugar fiends. It was a client’s question as to the proposed locations of some bug boxes in a garden design I am working on that led me to reflect on the public perceptions of these much maligned and somewhat unloved insects
Further I have become aware of a spread in fear and dislike of bugs and insects in general, but more significantly wasps and to a lesser extent bees. Whilst international concerns focus on the use of neonicotinoids, with their detrimental effect on bees being critically important, there seems little, or no mention, of their likely effect on the rest of the nectar feeding populations of insects and birds. Whilst the focus is rightly on bees, due to our reliance on them as pollinators, this overlooks and forgets the very important role that other insects play in the management of pests on our plants. Whilst lacewings and hover flies are important and non-harmful species in this line up of beneficial to humans, wasps are also a very important addition to that list. Unfortunately for the poor wasp they have received a very bad and negative press, with most wrongly believing them to be a harmful pest, with little or no use to humans. As a consequence I find when I explain to clients that wasps are one of my favourite garden insects in spring and summer, due to the number of aphids and other plant damaging insects they can munch through, it is usually met with disbelief.
Possibly a large part of our human fear of wasps lies in their ability to sting multiple times, unlike bees who by virtue of stinging commit what is an act of suicide. However this fear, in the main, is somewhat hysterical and out of context. The important thing to remember is, despite what you may assume, a wasp is not actively looking for a human to sting, but busily trying to collect enough food in the early stages of the year to feed the growing colony back at the nest.
A few wasp (Vespula vulgaris) facts.
1 All wasps build nests, though their nests are different from the bees, which produce a wax substance to create theirs. Wasps chew scraped wood fibre, creating a more papery nests.
2 A social wasp that is upset emits a pheromone to other wasps, signalling them to come and help. Based on this, common sense would tell us to stay calm.
3 Mating takes place between young queens and drones inside the nest. At the end of autumn, the nest dies off leaving only the fertilized queens.
4 The fertilised queen wasp emerges from hibernation around the middle April to begin the search for a suitable nesting site.
5 A queen wasp begins a new colony every spring. First the queen will raise worker wasps to help bring in food and make the nest larger. Then she will begin laying eggs. A colony of wasps can grow to 50,000 in a single summer
6 Although a nest of wasps can contain between ten to fifty thousand wasps there is only one queen at a time in the nest.
7 As summer fades and the weather becomes cooler the workers become tired and aggressive towards anyone deemed a threat. It is at this time of the year when humans are most likely to get stung as the wasps, having done the job of feeding the colony, are now left to their own devices as they die off. It is usually human overreaction and hysteria which triggers alarm in wasps that leads to stinging. Best advice try to stay calm and rational using gentle non aggressive motions to shoo the wasp away. Chances are they will leave you alone and continue their forage.
8 A few common sense rules during late summer and into early autumn when wasps are dying off. Don’t leave sweet sugary drinks or larger in uncovered drinking glasses or cans. If drinking from a can always check that a wasp, or other insect, has not inadvertently gotten into the can prior to drinking. It is not unknown for people to drink from a can only to be stung in the mouth, or throat, by a hidden insect.
9 Although for most a wasp sting will be a minor and short-lived irritation, for a small number it may lead to an allergic reaction, causing anaphylactic shock, which is potentially far more serious. If your reaction to a sting is severe it is best to seek immediate medical help by calling an ambulance.
Last but not least.
For the most part try to be aware of the very important role that wasps play in the control of agricultural pests, which in turn can lead to a reduction in the use of far more noxious and harmful chemicals.
David writes about the the enchanted forest garden project for feature on Designer Plants for the August issue of Pro Landscaper magazine. Read the article in the digital edition of the magazine page 80-81 which is now live by clicking this link
David writes about the the enchanted forest garden for special feature for the August issue of Pro Landscaper magazine.