Sunday, 13 November 2016

"Northern Design Awards 2016" David Keegan garden design scoops "Best Residential Landscape Design Award"


 David Keegan Garden Design & Landscape Consultancy






THE NORTHERN DESIGN AWARDS 2016 UK

The northern design awards is a prestigious yearly event sponsored by RIBA and the Landscape Institute and brings together architects, designers, property developers and retailers in a celebration of northern design and style.

Residential Landscape Design Award 2016
Open to landscape architects, landscape design practitioners and garden designers based in the North. Judges were seeking captivating entries of exceptional spaces created on any budget.


The award winner 2016
I am delighted to share the news that “David Keegan Garden Design” have scooped this year’s 2016 award for “Best Residential Landscape Design” David won the award for his project, the Eco Garden. David described his project as the perfect balance between low maintenance whilst also creating a perfect environment for both the clients use and support of wildlife.


David’s concept for the winning garden
A big part of my vision in setting out to design this garden was to truly create a connection between the inside and outside spaces, but as a garden distinct from a living room, the aim of which to create the sense of being immersed in the garden even when seated inside. In setting out to achieve this I deliberately set out not to follow the fashion of extending the inside out, but instead, a separate space of nature that, although had a connection to the inside, its flow would be complimentary, rather than continuous. In so doing, whilst the 2 spaces coexist and connect, they offer a very distinct set of moods and consequentially, emotional responses. The end result when you are seated inside the house and looking upon the garden it acts as a calming backdrop and picture, as distinct to when you sit in the garden, you are immersed and escape the connection, and its confines, of what we call house, home and room. In that way the garden becomes a distinct, but complimentary, separate space.


David’s client for the project commented,
“I am amazed every day now how the garden in evolving, it is due to David’s vision and he continues to think about his projects and how he can make them even more perfect and beautiful.
David is an excellent storyteller and continues to be very curious about his clients and transforms all of this into your garden project.
My garden is a story from start to finish that has been beautifully designed, executed and is exactly what I wanted and needed to enrich my daily living"


The awards event presentation
Hosted by Wayne Hemmingway of Red or Dead fame the event, entering its 14th year, is held in a different northern city each year. This year saw the event being staged at the Royal Armouries and New Dock Hall, Leeds. David was delighted to be presented with his award by Noel Farrer President Elect, Chair of Policy Committee and Board member for the Landscape Institute and CABE national design review panel member. The awards serve to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence across a broad range of categories. Winning a Northern Design Award is a high achievement as they are voted for exclusively by leading industry experts.


You can view the winning entry by clicking the links below


For further reading on how the project evolved click this link for my blog entries

http://thegardendesigner.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/eco-garden-design-project-revisited.html

The Winning project can also be viewed on The Northern Design Awards website by clicking this link



#NDA16



Press and pictures please email David
info@dkgardendesign.co.uk


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Northern Design Awards 2016

The Northern Design Awards 2016



Delighted to receive the news that David Keegan Garden Design is a finalist in this years NDA awards "Northern Design Awards 2016"





DK-Garden Design have been shortlisted 6 times going on to win the award 3 times Northern Design award winner 2010 and 2011 shortlisted 2012 and award winner 2013 and shortlisted 2014 and 2015.










Friday, 9 September 2016

Something Bug-ing you?


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. 


All pictures and content are the copyrighted property of David Keegan © 2016



Monday, 22 August 2016

Eco Garden Design Project revisited Worsley, Salford, Lancashire, Manchester



The Art of Garden.

Garden viewed from inside dining table


















The Brief

It’s a truly wonderful thing to revisit a garden that you have designed and created within its first year to find it brim-full of colour, texture and most of all wildlife. The fundamental design principles behind this project, and the design brief set by my client, was for a low maintenance space, not however within the rigid disciplines of a traditional context. But more outward looking and European in its aesthetic. It was also a requirement that the designs for the garden display a strong architectural context, as well provide a haven for insect life that could coexist in harmony with humans. That’s quite a lot to expect from what is after all little more than a postage stamp size garden. 


Bug wall, green walls sculpture panels and Cor-ten pots.




Western red cedar was used to form the sculptural background frames for the Cor-ten Steel pots




























 The Concept

A big part of my vision in setting out to design this garden was to truly create a connection between the inside and outside spaces, but as a garden distinct from a living room, the aim of which, to create a sense of being immersed in the garden even when seated inside. In setting out to achieve this I deliberately set out not to follow the fashion of extending the inside out, but instead, a separate space of nature that, although had a connection to the inside, its flow is complimentary, rather than continuous. In so doing, whilst the 2 spaces coexist and connect, they offer a very distinct set of moods and consequentially, emotional responses. The end result when you are seated inside the house and looking upon the garden it acts as a calming backdrop and picture, as distinct to when you sit in the garden, you are immersed and escape the connection, and its confines, of what we call house, home and room. In this way the garden becomes a distinct, but complimentary, separate space.


Stone cushions designed and made by St├ęphanie Marin, Nice, France





 View from the back of the garden to seating area outside bi fold house doors






The Visit

On this my first summers visit to the garden in year one, I was delighted to find plants dripping with colour and insects busy collecting nectar. A plant of particular note here, as it’s the first time I have used it, is a new hybrid Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop'  a lower growing and more compact variety than the standard Verbena bonariensis, which can tend to get overly large and scraggly in a small space. Combined with Salvia purpurascens and Echinacea 'White Swan', I also used another somewhat newbie Echinacea hybrid, 'Kim’s Knee High', again, another lower growing and more compact variety of Echinacea, and with an almost metallic sheen to the petals this one is a real star. Contrast that with the soft lime green foliage, pale pinkie white flowers of Origanum vulgare, mixed with creeping lemon thymes, it all combines to create cool lower colours and the perfect foil for the stronger colours of top layer planting. Centered to all this is planted the compact Lavendula munstead, completing this haven of colour and scent. The effect of this style of planting is to create layers of colour and contrast from the ground up to just over 60cm.  Just about the right height for this size space as it provides a good picture without overwhelming the senses of the viewer. 
Planting to the cobbled areas is more muted with silver grey and bronzes to provide a framework for the central zone and includes such gems as Eryngium 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost',contrasted with the bronze panicles of Carex buchananii 'Red Rooster' which picks up the tones of the Cor-ten pots, cobble and boulders. Whilst   the striking and verdantly erect panicles and flower stems of Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', now green with flowering stems of soft buff, will extend to the rest of the plant as the seasons move and change, continuing the evolving sense of drama and contrasts in the garden.




A bumble bee busy collecting from the rich nectar store.


Even dragon flies have turned up in the garden to feed on nectar rich plants










The humble white butterfly joins the hunt for nectar.













Log store viewed through the bronze   panicles of  Carex buchananii 'Red Rooster'


Small raised planters at the back of the cedar panel allow hidden space for growing some salad leaves.


Design notes

Garden pots supplied by The Pot Co More info on pots (trade only supply) click this link

Custom made Livingstone cushions designed and manufactured in Nice, France, by St├ęphanie Marin. More info on cushions click this link 

Furniture a bespoke order from the Skyline range made in Belgium. If you are interested in purchasing garden furniture from this range please contact DK Garden Design for prices.

Large boulders sourced from a derelict Japanese garden in Knutsford, the story of which you can find at this link. 

Intermediary feature stones a small quarry I found in North Wales the location of which is a trade secret. 

Base cobble is Scottish river cobble sourced from any number of suppliers found online. All other elements bespoke built by my landscape team.

Content subject to Copyright; David Keegan Garden Design 2016 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Landscape garden design commission, Turton Road, Bolton, North West UK.


Landscape Design Project Bolton, Lancashire.



Topographic survey Turton Road garden design project.



Another really exciting project for DK garden design, this involves a commission to design both front garden and rear garden areas for a currently being renovated and modernised house. Sitting on its own large plot of land.




The clients brief for this project to create a set of dynamic designs for the various areas of the house and large den area to the back garden.  The requirement to match and compliment the modern interiors and create a connection between internal and external spaces. The designs for this project are now well progressed, with preliminary designs approved the project is now rapidly moving into final designs In preparation for landscaping works  which are expected to begin September 2016 with planting then carried out Autumn Winter 2016. Watch this space as this should be a very exciting and contemporary landscape once completed with stunning focal points across outdoor fireplace and cut through water features.




























The rear garden areas as first viewed. Designs are in the final stages for this project with landscape works expected to begin September October 2016 and planting late Autumn winter 2016.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Garden Design project Chorlton Cum Hardy, Manchester, UK

The challenges faced by a garden designer





Topographic survey Chorlton Cum Hardy Garden Design Project.


Sometimes a project comes along that just grabs your attention due to the challenge it presents. This garden design project in Chorlton falls well and truly into that category. Whilst the property looks like a pretty normal house from the front, what if conceal at the rear aspect is a drop in level of some 4 meters, from top house level to bottom garden level. The challenge posed to me as a garden designer, to come up with a set of designs that not only provides usable space at the house level, but also a transition from the house level to garden level that also makes good use of the banking slope in a safe, child friendly and interesting way. 


 Pictures of the house and garden as first viewed. 





The clients brief however, is that the gardens should not have a contemporary feel, but rather in some way work on the same aesthetic principles I employed when designing the Enchanted Forest, part of a previous project of mine in Oldham. No easy task and therefore a worthy challenge. The biggest issues with this garden design project will be structural, as it will most likely involve pretty substantial steel frames, in order to support a large top level platform. Leading down from this top level I intend on designing in a number of features into the sub frame cladding to soften and blend what will end up being quite a bit of timber work. This will be achieved through a combination of green walls, inset bug boxes, wood store and a garden shed and covered area complete with a green sedum roof. 




One of the positives of the elevated position of this site, once the platforms are in place the views from the house level is pretty much into the tree canopy of surrounding areas. 


Friday, 19 August 2016

Ryecroft House, Lancashire, North West UK



A garden design challenge with a difference.






Topographic survey Ryecroft House, Lancashire


Steeped in the history of the industrial revolution and originally built in the mid-1800s for the owner of a nearby steelworks, this project perfectly examples the connection between a house and it grounds. Ryecroft House had lain derelict for many years until its recent purchase by my clients. It is an imposing Victorian Gothic wonder, which in its original configuration must have presented quite an imposing sight, sitting atop a hill on its own plateau as it does, with commanding views to the surrounding countryside landscape on 3 sides. 




Unfortunately the house has suffered some pretty awful intrusion into its architectural fabric in the intervening years and in the process ruing a lot of what would have been its most striking detail. The good news, with time, patience and investment my clients are intent on restoring this grand house, as sympathetically as is feasible, to its original state. Historical information on the house and its architecture was pretty limited, but for DK Garden Design this stirred our keen interest in research and spurred us into an investigation that not only threw up some fascinating information on the original landscape and grounds, but also its somewhat macabre history when we discovered one owner of the house had been murder in his bed in the early 1900s by the gardener and an accomplice. Further to that some of the remaining architectural detail would inform how I approached certain elements of the designs for the grounds, with these incorporated into newly designed elements of the landscape designs for the project, and in the process helping to restore some of the cohesion and context between house and grounds. We envisage this project taking a couple of years to completion.




First visit to Ryecroft house was on a freezing cold day, but with a clear blue sky in April 2016.




Some of the original architectural details that littered parts of the grounds. This ended up being incorporated into my final designs for the gardens.





















Part of the original wrought iron ware remains on this small side balcony and again provided me with details this i used to inform my designs for the gardens.

Landscape designs for this project are now in their final stages and we expect work on the landscaping to begin in the spring of 2017.


Sunday, 3 July 2016

DK Garden Design in July Issue Pro Landscaper Magazine

Pro Landscape
Feature
The Aquarium Garden

Delighted with feature on David Keegan Garden design project 'The Aquarium Garden' in the July issue of Pro Landscaper Magazine.





Digital edition is available by clicking this link. The feature on David Keegan Garden Design runs from page 56 to 59.

Further info on this project can be found in the blog post

http://thegardendesigner.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/welcome-back-to-aquarium-garden.html

Friday, 24 June 2016

Finished Garden Design Project Front and Back Garden, Worsley, Lancashire, (2 part post, post (2) Front Garden Update June 16)

Form and Function


A Finished Garden Design Project in Worsley, Lancashire revisited 

2 part post, (Post 2 the Front Garden)































Client testimonial
"When I searched the internet to find a garden designer for my new house, I came across David’s work for the local council and saw the finished end product and I very much liked what I saw. However, it was not just the garden but what the people wrote about the design process and the project from the start to the end that made me contact him and ask if he would be interested to do a project on a smaller scale. I am so glad he was interested.
My new garden is exactly what I needed and this is a result of David’s skills to listen to the client and then transform this into a unique design. He was very clear about the design process, he is an excellent communicator and remained very involved throughout the whole project. David has chosen excellent allied professionals to work with him such as David the designer of my front garden rails and the landscaping team led by Kris, a team that will go the extra mile through storms and snow.
I am amazed every day now how the garden in evolving, it is due to David’s vision and he continues to think about his projects and how he can make them even more perfect and beautiful.
David is an excellent storyteller and continues to be very curious about his clients and transforms all of this into your garden project.
My garden is a story from start to finish that has been beautifully designed, executed and is exactly what I wanted and needed to enrich my daily living"

Ilse
To view post 2 click this link

Finished Garden Design Project Front and Back Garden, Worsley, Lancashire, (2 part post, post (1) Back Garden Update June 16)

Form and Function



A Finished Garden Design Project in Worsley, Lancashire revisited 

2 part post, (Post 1 the Back Garden)



Client testimonial

"When I searched the internet to find a garden designer for my new house, I came across David’s work for the local council and saw the finished end product and I very much liked what I saw. However, it was not just the garden but what the people wrote about the design process and the project from the start to the end that made me contact him and ask if he would be interested to do a project on a smaller scale. I am so glad he was interested.
My new garden is exactly what I needed and this is a result of David’s skills to listen to the client and then transform this into a unique design. He was very clear about the design process, he is an excellent communicator and remained very involved throughout the whole project. David has chosen excellent allied professionals to work with him such as David the designer of my front garden rails and the landscaping team led by Kris, a team that will go the extra mile through storms and snow.
I am amazed every day now how the garden in evolving, it is due to David’s vision and he continues to think about his projects and how he can make them even more perfect and beautiful.
David is an excellent storyteller and continues to be very curious about his clients and transforms all of this into your garden project.
My garden is a story from start to finish that has been beautifully designed, executed and is exactly what I wanted and needed to enrich my daily living"

Ilse






   



As these are my first self designed green walls I have to say they transform and melded a lot quicker than i expected and is definitely a form i will play with again in the future. Its interesting to see a pattern i visualised as numbers on paper turn into a living pattern on on the green walls.


  Mid terrace with seating and coffee table in background perfect place to sit enjoy the garden and unwind.



   The rebate frames on the cedar panels were devised as a means to provide a soft lighting frame to the Acers 




The green walls as seen across the garden.

Green walls are already full of colour, here  Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver'


 And the  wonderful  Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' (PBR) doing far better and bigger than i could have imagined, or hoped for, lending a somewhat exotic tropical feel to the green walls.


The paler silver greens are then contrasted with the darker leaves and flowers of 
Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’ whilst the sides are softened with the flowing falls of Vinca minor f. alba 'Gertrude Jekyll. In the background the wonderful form of an existing Cherry tree which influenced part of my approach to the project.

The wood store 

Flower panicles Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

    The main cobble beds are planted with a variety of plants, here Eryngium giganteum 'Silver Ghost' contrasts wonderfully with the Scottish river cobble base.

     This was one of the lucky finds as relayed in the Boulder Garden Story with complimentary silver     grey whites and rusty browns adding to the overall balance of the scheme. It also makes a great seat offering a different set of perspectives on the garden.

    Pruned timbers from the Cherry tree have been put to good use and enhance the colours and textures of the garden.

  Sculptural Western Red Cedar screens allowed me to design in hidden planters for growing lettuce and other semi shade loving edibles without impinging on the gardens overall aesthetic when viewed from house and seating terraces.

    These smaller Corten pots to the stepped area add another dimension and connection to the overall harmony and provided the perfect place for Ilse to grow tomatoes. The inclusion of the pots in this area were client Ilse's suggestion and work perfectly in the scheme.

Acer reflected in the warm rusty hues of one of the larger central  Corten pot.

    I chose these bronze grasses,  Carex buchananii 'Red Rooster'to work with and compliment both the Corten pots and the colours in elements of the cobble.



A multitide of bamboo canes in the bug wall will hopefully provide habitat for a host of insects.

    This is a garden of reflection and textures and i love the almost verdigris hue of this particular piece of stone. I visit  an obscure and remote quarry in Wales where i am fortunate enough to be permitted to hand pick my feature stones. 

The second of the smaller Corten pots on the step, this one planted up with strawberries Yum!

 I love the statuesque and architectural upright form of this particular grass, Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' This will add another complimentary dimension as it changes to shades of vibrant bright greens to shades of buff.



And last but most certainly not least a tree which is now a firm favorite after i spotted a fine example in Sizergh Castle gardens in the lake district, Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland Gold' To my mind more Acer like than elder.


Form And Function

A Garden in Worsley, Lancashire.


My initial musings Wedensday May 11th 2016

Question; how do I make a garden relevant? Relevant to what and to whom? The garden owner’s needs, the changing environment, the passing seasons, conservation, conversation? Then there is the question of modernity within the context of the environment and traditionalism. Lawn, do you want a lawn, is a lawn feasible, perhaps not, its high maintenance and rarely ever trouble free. And expected planting beds? And what are the new plants I will think to introduce for? Do you want to grow things just to look at, or do you also grow for the table and the pot? Herbs, maybe some salad leaves? Wood for the burner? Can we have habitat and blur the boundaries into soft edges, a frame within a frame, that captures the trees beyond. How do you then cram all this into a small suburban space and still make it functional. It needs to be a picture, which is a picture whatever the weather and whatever the season, but equally it needs to fill and flow with the seasons as perennials lift their sleepy heads, break the surface of the soil in preparation for spectacle. This week the Cherry tree creates a white umbrella, lending airiness and purity whilst its trunk casts pleasant shadows on the fence behind. The apple bud not far, heavy in white bud on the cusp of open blossom ready to offer a yet to come harvest when the air will fill with the wondrous smell of baking pastry, apple and cinnamon.  The azalea not to be outdone fills and will soon too shine. The fig in the corner not long planted but already fruiting. The point of a garden is surely its connection to all the senses. The answer, this garden which I call the eco contemporary garden. I will not explain more, as there seems little need, it’s there in the pictures, visible, connecting, answering a need by filling the frame of an eye. On a rare day the sun shines and the air fills with birdsong as I wait for the bees and the bugs to make this garden home.


A couple of before pictures