About the garden
"The Easy Care Garden"
While many intricate and complex hard landscaping projects are best left to the professionals, some of the hard elements of this formal garden designed by Oliver Schurmann could be tackled by skilled DIY enthusiasts.
‘The idea behind this design was to create a garden that people can build themselves if they wish. The materials are all widely available and, while the raised beds are quite large, you will excavate enough topsoil to fill them when constructing the foundations, paths and pond,’ says Oliver Schurmann.
The two interlocking raised beds define the overall formal structure of the garden and create an instant feeling of space, he explains. ‘Trees and shrubs are the backbone of this garden and that’s where the raised beds come in. The garden is quite small so you want to constrain the growth of the trees. A raised bed will allow them to do this without encroaching on the roots of other plants.’
As the garden is facing north they have selected shade-tolerant plants that will provide interest throughout the year such as Pachyphragma macrophyllum, with pretty white flowers blooming in spring and foliage that may tinge red in autumn, and Epimedium ‘Flowers of Sulphur’, whose leaves flush from red in spring to green in summer and copper in autumn.
Oliver Schurmann is co-founder of Mount Venus Nursery in Rathfarnham, Dublin. Drawing on his vivid imaginations to create new and cutting edge garden designs, he has won nine awards for show gardens at Bord Bia Bloom.
- Back of the house is North Facing
- 15 x 9m plot
Garden Designer Tips
Read Oliver’s tips for creating a successful easy care garden.
Formal edging between paved surfaces and planting areas is not required. The plants will edge the paths and patio eventually as they spread out.
Never use a hoe to weed between the plants. Use a little hand fork to loosen the soil and the roots of weeds before pulling them out. Disturbing the soil surface will expose weed seeds to the light and encourage germination.
Hero plant 1: Hamamelis mollis 'Pallida'
Commonly called Witch Hazel, this tree is loved for its sweetly scented, sulphur-yellow flowers from December to late February on bare branches, and its amazing autumn leaf colour. Position: Sun or Semi-shade. Height: 2 - 3 m Spread: 1 - 1.50 m
Hero plant 2: Astrantia major 'Gill Richardson'
An old cottage garden favourite Astrantia, also known as Hatties Pincushion, this is one of the richest coloured, with claret red blooms, dark green stems and leaves tinged with red as they emerge in spring. Position: Full sun to Partial Shade. Height: 60 - 90 cm Spread: 30 - 60cm
Try to use as little mains water as possible to fill the pond as mains water can have a high content of nitrate, which will encourage algae to multiply. Be patient if your pond does go green; the algae will starve after a while and the water will naturally clear up as soon as a good, healthy, well-balanced population of bacteria is established.