The Shared Spaces Family Garden

Designer: Nicola Haines

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About the garden

The Shared Spaces Family Garden

This west-facing garden is designed for a family with teenagers and young adults but can be tailored to suit any household. 

‘If you put the right structure in place a garden should last through a family’s life,’ believes landscape designer, Nicola Haines. Her design for this west-facing garden is a prime example. ‘The structure is very simple, with three distinct spaces that can be reformatted and customised as your lifestyle changes.’ As a mother, Nicola understands the need to give teenagers privacy. The space closest to the house has been designed for parents and features a table and chairs for outside dining. This is edged with a raised bed with grasses and herbaceous perennials to semi-screen other spaces. ‘You want to be seen but not on top of your kids and raised beds are a great way of adding that privacy.’  

Vegetable beds in the middle of the garden are followed by a relaxed seating area at the rear, which is an ideal space for teenagers to gather with friends. A pergola gives an additional sense of privacy and also serves as a mount for a hanging chair. 

The garden is designed in a series of layers with planting in the foreground, midground and background. ‘Gardens can be so much more than the traditional layout of a long lawn flanked by narrow borders,’ notes Nicola. ‘By bringing some of the planting into the foreground and closer to the house this creates more drama and interest.’  

Nicola Haines

Nicola Haines

Nicola Haines is a Partner in Tierney Haines Architects in charge of the Landscape Design department. She works on rural and urban gardens, both public and private and has won two Gold Medals at Bord Bia Bloom.

Plan B

West Facing Garden

  • Back of the house is West Facing
  • 15 x 9 m plot
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Garden Designers Tips

Nicola’s advice for adding form and structure to your garden.

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Form, structure and texture are as important as colour. Alliums have great colour for a few weeks in the summer but the strong stems and heads give great structure all through the winter and the seeds feed the birds. 



Half the year we look at our gardens from inside so consider the rooms you spend most time in and stage views of the garden from them. 

Hero plant 1: Trachelospermum jasminoides

Commonly called Star Jasmine because of its pure white, highly fragrant flowers this a climber has rich, dark green leaves which turn bronze in winter. Position: Dappled shade, full sun. Height: 9m Spread: 5m


Hero plant 2: Geranium 'Rozanne' - Cranesbill 'Rozanne'

Hero plant 2: Geranium 'Rozanne' - Cranesbill 'Rozanne' Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is a king of geraniums, and even has its own dedicated social media accounts. A super variety it bears striking deep purple flowers in contrast with mid-green foliage, for months on end. It’s perfect for using as ground cover at the front of borders. Position: Sun or shade. Height: 30cm Spread: 60cm spread