Outdoor Living – Extending Your Home to Your Garden


Outdoor Living - Extending Your Home to Your GardenOutdoor living has become a reality for most people with a garden space in recent years, instead of a vague magazine aspiration some years ago.  We don’t always get the ideal weather in Ireland, but when we do, we are out there making the most of every minute of sunshine.
Decks,  paving and patio doors  have opened up the garden to more possibilities of extending our dining and entertaining to the outdoors. Now with sustainable, organic, “Green Living” fast becoming the only acceptable way forward, people are now turning back to the garden to grow some healthy tasty fruits and vegetables.

Creating Privacy in your Garden:
Often though, privacy is a very big issue, especially in estates and newly built homes. It’s like a being in a room with no walls but lots of windows looking in – not very comfortable!

The first things to plant in a garden should be boundary plants to give “Walls” to the garden. Use plenty of tall plants such as Silver Birch and Mountain Ash trees that give instant height.

For evergreen screening, consider Bamboo, Acacia trees and even Olives which are fully hardy in Ireland. Use the evergreens to screen overlooking windows and use the native deciduous trees in between to give seasonal colour. Don’t be afraid of height. You need plants that grow up to 5m at least to achieve privacy. Hang plenty of bird feeders and nesting boxes to encourage wildlife into the garden. Wake up to Birdsong every morning!

Clothe the walls with climbing plants to disguise the boundary walls and fences. Consider adding fruit plants such as blackberries, raspberries, figs, kiwi, and grapes to the mix of climbing roses, honeysuckles, ivies and clematis. You can even train apple, pear, cherry and plum trees as fan trained wall fruit. Just imaging reaching from the patio chair to pick your very own fresh blackberries or a juicy apple!

People never sit in the centre of a room, always near the edge, close to something tall. Its just more comfortable that way. So, put plenty of big pots on your deck or patio area where you sit. Fill them with tall plants under-planted with scented herbs, edible salads, fruits like strawberries and blueberries and of course flowers. Now you’re really starting to “Live” outdoors.

The internet and broadband has opened new possibilities for working from home and there is huge interest now in adding a home office to the garden. This replaces the old “garden shed” with a beautiful timber log cabin that is beautiful to look at, a real garden focal point and really useful instead of a shed full of junk. These new buildings are high quality, warm, easy to heat quality additions to a home and with prices starting at about €4500 are much cheaper than a home extension and much more aesthetic. You can even take it with you if you move  home!

Tip! If your garden is small, seriously consider removing the lawn altogether and create a deck,   patio or even a gravelled area. This will reduce the routine work of the garden, and give you more time to use and enjoy the garden.

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