Stylish transformation of a Dublin city garden

Will Seaman and John Kiernan extended their home, and redesigned the garden space, to indulge their love of entertaining

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Back in 2000, Will Seaman and John Kiernan’s garden was divided into two parts by a high wall: the front and side was a drive and parking space, the rear a lawn bordered by assorted shrubs. ‘It had the potential to be turned into a wraparound garden, which meant we would be able to have day-long sunshine,’ explains Will.

Raised beds offer year-round colour, starting in spring with the new shoots of lavender. May has alliums in groups, then the lavender blooms until the end of summer, after which fuchsias flower up to the first frost.

The garden is also carefully lit for entertaining; each olive tree is underlit with a spotlight, and Will has added solar party lights and candlelit lanterns for atmosphere. A chiminea keeps the dining area warm into the evening.

The Costs

Hardscaping and raised bed construction/topsoil: £11,000

Decking, framing and trellis: £10,500

Underplanting and container planting: £7,000

37 olive trees at 1.2m stem: £4,300

Lighting and water feature: £2,500

Shed and sundry paving: £1,750

Total: £37,050

stylish city garden before image

Originally, a high wall divided the garden into two parts. It comprised a lawn, shrubs and space for parking

dining area in a stylish city garden

The new dining area is located in the spot once used to park cars. Composite decking, Grange Builders Providers. Rattan table and chairs, Homebase. Umbrella, B&Q

Garden project notes

My best purchase

‘The composite decking – it’s perfect for our climate, as it doesn’t need the maintenance of timber decking, which gets slippery and green in the long, wet winters. We just give it a good scrub in the spring, there’s no need for re-oiling – it looks great and lasts longer.’

Favourite item

‘The rattan table and chairs. They’re really comfortable and only have to be washed down to be ready for the summer. Before we bought them we had to wash down, sand and repaint the garden furniture every year – a real chore.’

Best bargain

‘Wooden benches from Homebase that cost £95 each, and have been repainted with Farrow and Ball’s Blue Black. The small table cost £35 from Ikea, and has been repainted to match.’

a stylish city garden lawn

The area is surrounded by trellis constructed of uprights with pine lath across, which was built by John and Will

a suntrap in a stylish city garden

stylish city garden art work

Rattan sofa, chairs, storage box, coffee table, and cushions, all from B&Q. The glass artwork is bespoke; for similar, try Bianca Divito. Wall lights, Homebase

city garden trellis walls

Olive trees border the whole of the garden. They are in shiplap-panelled raised beds, made by Will and John, that are topped with ledges wide enough for party guests to sit on

city garden lanterns