Artificial Grass — The Solution for Your Garden?

  At Ashbrook Garden Centre & Landscaping, we have been installing steadily increasing areas of artificial grass in our garden landscaping projects. Customers have been coming to us and requesting ‘AstroTurf’ for their back gardens to maximise the use they can get from their outdoor areas. To call artificial grass ‘AstroTurf’ is a bit erroneous, as Astroturf is only one brand of artificial grass (it’s like calling a vacuum cleaner a ‘hoover’). Artificial grass is becoming ever more popular because it has properties that make it superior to a traditional lawn in many ways, and eminently suitable for Ireland’s cooler, moist climate. Cash advantages Artificial grass is extremely low maintenance. Laid on a gravel and fine sand base, it is...
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The Dandelion: Getting Rid of a Victim of its Own Success

  “And over that potato-field A lazy veil of woven sun, Dandelions growing on headlands, showing Their unloved hearts to everyone.” From: Spraying the Potatoes, by Patrick Kavanagh The dandelion is one of Nature’s great colonisers and survivors. Thriving in a range of soils, it is a ubiquitous sight in Irish meadows and along our roadsides, as well as on waste ground. Unfortunately, however, it is more than happy to colonise your flowerbeds and your carefully mown lawn, dashing any hopes of producing a Wimbledon-like front garden. And once dandelions take hold, they’re not exactly easy to get rid of! However, though dandelions might be somewhat unloved, as Kavanagh wrote, they are far from useless. And a little knowledge of...
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Garden Landscaping: The Appeal of Imported Natural Stone

    Natural stone flags and slabs have been used for paving for thousands of years. Paving the courtyard or pathways of a country house with stone flags was once viewed as a sign of considerable wealth, as each flag had to be dressed by hand to achieve the requisitely flat surface of the stone. A good compromise today is to use imported natural stone.   Traditional stonework Producing stone flags and slabs in the days gone by was an incredibly laborious task. Limestone flags, for example, had to be quarried carefully (to avoid breaking) in a quarry as close to the customer as possible to reduce transport costs as much as possible. They were then dressed by hand by...
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Ashbrook Landscaping: The Meath Garden Centre

    There are very simple reasons why more and more people are making Ashbrook their Meath garden centre of choice. From our wide range of products here in the garden centre to our vast garden landscaping experience, dropping in to Ashbrook Garden Centre and Landscaping means you’ll be talking to someone with a wealth of experience in gardens. And to someone who cares about your garden.   As the leading Meath garden centre, we have happy customers coming from all over the Leinster region for their gardening needs, especially with respect to garden landscaping.   Customer care   For the team at Ashbrook, the customer is at the centre of everything we do. We’ve been working hard in recent...
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Caring for Cobblelock Driveways

    Cobblelock driveways and paths are great additions to any home, presenting your house to passers-by and welcoming guests. With regular care and maintenance, they will look well for a lifetime. It’s a true shame to let something so beautiful fall into disrepair, so here are some tips for caring for cobblelock driveways. In Ireland’s moist, fertile climate, a lack of maintenance can lead to the growth of moulds and algae, with grasses, mosses and dandelions between the cracks. Over time, this organic matter settles in the cracks, providing a fertile seed bed for all kinds of weeds. Another factor is that our repeated heavy rainfall will cause the blinding sand to be washed out or down into the...
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Garden Landscaping: Cobblelock Driveways

  Cobblelock driveways have become very popular in recent years, as many homeowners have come to recognise them as an excellent way to make their home far more attractive and impressive from the outside. Well-thought-out cobblelock driveways complement the property and increase its value considerably, as they serve as a de facto ‘Welcome mat’ for anyone approaching your house either by foot or by car, day or night. Colours and hues Before deciding on a certain colour or finish of cobblelock pavers, make sure to call to a good garden centre where they have an extensive range to choose from. Take some pictures of the colour scheme of your house on your phone, including the brickwork, the pathways, the doors...
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Building a traditional dry stone wall in your garden

  The traditional dry stone wall is a hallmark of the Irish landscape, and its inherent beauty and functionality make it the perfect dividing line in any Irish garden. Following a few simple steps and principles will help you to get started building a traditional dry stone wall, whether big or small, in your garden.   Partition The American poet Robert Frost once said that “Good fences make good neighbours.” Indeed, though many of the stone walls in the Irish landscape were raised after the Act of Enclosure in 1768, the Céide Fields in Co. Mayo prove that the Celts were using stone walls to manage grazing and land use in Ireland some 5,500 years ago. Traditional dry stone walls...
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Drainage: Avoiding a waterlogged garden

  After the recent heavy rains, many Irish gardens are waterlogged, with insufficient drainage meaning large lakes of water where the ground should now be firm with a white skin of frost. Drainage in the garden is a function of a range of factors, including the compositions of both the topsoil and the underlying layers, the slope of the garden, the water table in the area, and the topography of the surrounding area. If your garden is surrounded by fields or gardens at a higher elevation than yours, water will tend to run and seep downhill and into your garden. Soil has a tremendous capacity for soaking up and holding water, but if rain continues for days, the soil becomes...
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Pruning roses – it’s time to break out those secateurs…

  The best time for pruning roses is in February, in the very depths of winter. Many of the plants and trees in our garden need a touch of frost to help them recognise the warmth of spring – the cold acts like a trigger for growth. An old gardener’s tip says that when the Forsythia begins to bloom, it’s time to get pruning. Our aim is to start shaping our rose bush during dormancy and before any new growth starts, so the plant doesn’t waste energy in stalks that you then cut off. But a word of warning for young roses: don’t prune freshly-planted roses, and only lightly prune first-year roses to let them get established. If you are...
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The November Garden: What to do as Winter Arrives

After our Indian summer, winter is coming in fast. In the November garden, there’s lots of preparatory work to do before the hard frosts strike. Firstly, rake up any sticky wet leaves in the garden to stop them from wilting the grass underneath. Keeping your grass healthy will mean your lawn won’t be patchy when spring comes around. Wind-rock is a phenomenon that can affect roses in autumn. Strong and gusty November winds can buffet rose bushes, rocking them over and back and loosening their shallow root systems. Lightly pruning them now to reduce their height can prevent too much loosening, before their final pruning later in the winter. Tie up any top-heavy plants to prevent them falling over in...
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Sod it—it’s Time for Laying Lawn

Autumn is the perfect time of year for laying lawn, and putting down cultivated turf is the quickest way to get a beautiful lawn. A turf-roll lawn will be grassy and green from day one, and is a quick and easy garden landscaping solution if you prepare the site and manage your time and space well. Start by measuring the area you need to cover, adding 4 or 5 percent to account for trimmings and wastage—especially on irregularly-shaped lawns. Find out what kind of grass cover is the right one for you, depending on how much traffic your lawn will have to bear (i.e. how many footballers you have in the family), or if it’s supposed to look like centre...
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Early Autumn Jobs in the Garden

Early autumn is the perfect time to start putting the garden to bed for the coming winter. Grass growth slows right down as September draws to a close, as shorter days with weaker sunshine mean that soil temperatures cool. This gives many garden plants the signal that summer is over, and the leaves begin to turn from green to a thousand beautiful yellows, reds and browns. While it has been milder later in the year in recent decades, the first frost could come anytime around the end of September in Ireland, so it’s important to get those autumn jobs done. It’s a good idea to start making space inside now, and to bring in the tender plants before the frost...
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Suburban Garden – a Modern Masterpiece

The suburban garden we are drawing on for inspiration today is from the Dublin area, and it’s truly a modern masterpiece. It was created by Alan Coffey, a landscape gardener that the team in Ashbrook sometimes work with! The house on this wide but shallow site is located in the middle, leaving a u-shaped area around the sides and back. A cobbled driveway was laid to the left of the house for parking, with a grassy children’s play area directly behind it. This is screened off from the driveway by a row of box ball hedging plants, and a herb garden. A colourful mixture of relatively mature trees, including Japanese Maple and other woodland perennials, were retained and used as...
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Thinking Big in an Inspiring Small Garden

Small garden landscaping isn’t easy: there’s only so much you can fit in, so everything needs a purpose. An inspiring small garden needs big thinking and a discerning eye to make it work, and thus look, well. Sometimes you have other disadvantages too, such as a geometrically-skewed space, big bulky objects that can’t be moved, or difficult materials underfoot. But don’t worry—there’s a solution for everything… Take this inspirational American garden, for example: the irregular space is surrounded by a steep hillside, which required a chest-high concrete retaining wall. Even worse, the previous residents had poured the entire garden with reinforced concrete, and planted a huge geothermal pump at the side of the house. Gorgeous… To solve all those ‘problems’...
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Beautiful Low-Energy Garden Fencing

A wise man once said: “You never gain something but you lose something.” While we have gained a huge amount of knowledge in the areas of house construction, horticulture and garden landscaping in recent decades, a host of older but tried and trusted methods have been lost to all but a few enthusiasts, specialists and…auld fellas! Some practices, however, like using hazel rods in a simple basket-weave pattern to form structures, are perfect for creating inspiring and beautiful low-energy garden fencing! Dying arts such as laying hedges or building dry stone walls have made a comeback in recent years, and are often among the most economical and effective methods of livestock control, or of marking field boundaries and mearings. In...
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Micro-Gardening Your Garden Fence

What to do with those Hannah Montana wellingtons your youngest has just announced are leaking? Micro-gardening could be the answer—adding interest to your garden by growing flowers and shrubs in containers you’d never expect to find in a garden…and micro-gardening your garden fence can be a whole lot of fun for kids, too. Micro-gardening is often driven by a gardeners needs: a shoestring budget, a lack of space, or simply being tired of throwing away things that could be used again, e.g. for garden landscaping. ‘Upcycling’ refers to a kind of recycling where you actually create a new product of more intrinsic value than the original—the container is ‘repurposed’, so to speak. A great idea is to upcycle the kids’...
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Beautiful, Natural Deck Design

Wood is a wonderful, natural material—perfect for use in the garden. Wood is warm and welcoming, and has a certain ‘give’ underfoot. It feels good to touch (for hands AND feet!), and its insulating properties mean your feet don’t get cold when you walk on it. The perfect material for a beautiful, natural deck design! However, in garden landscaping, wood’s best characteristic is simply that it is…REAL! All of us have an in-built affinity for quality, natural materials, and tend to gravitate toward environments where they are used. Even classic designs for warm and welcoming hotel lobbies and bars will include wooden furniture, cut stone architecture and brass fittings, as something in us recognises natural materials and quality when we...
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Inspiring Modern Garden Design—An Island Retreat

How about a garden with…let’s see…everything? Our inspiring modern garden design for today (admittedly from a somewhat warmer climate!) panders to your every wish—mixing colours, sounds, textures, elements and striking visual features to a kaleidoscope for the senses. This is garden landscaping as modern art—modern art you can actually ‘get’! The deck in the centre of the water feature is an island (for one?) in an oasis, warm and lasting teak wood under foot to entice you off the polished stone of the foreground. This beautifully-finished contrasting light and dark stone apron is so beautiful it would be a shame to cover it with anything more than a throw cushion, just to soften things for you as catch the news...
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Patio Designs for Small Gardens

Who doesn’t wish they had a big garden? We’d all love to have oodles of space out back, where we could let our creativity in garden landscaping run wild. The reality, however, is often something a little more modest. How can we create an enjoyable, usable space in a small area? With the right patio designs for small gardens, we can make even a tiny space into a very special hideaway. Our featured image is an inspirational garden landscaping concept from the USA. A small and narrow garden space is turned into a mini-oasis, with a beautiful paved area for relaxing, lots of visual interest with the water feature at the back, and an array of plants and shrubs around...
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Practical, Simple Garden Paving Ideas

Making the most of your garden, in an Irish context, is being able to get out there and enjoy it—whatever the weather has been like. Coming off the back of the terrible summer of 2012, we now see how important the conditions underfoot can be. In terms of garden landscaping, a wooden deck or a paved patio area allows you to get out there and get gardening earlier, or to soak up any stray rays of sun! Luckily, garden paving ideas are really only limited by our imagination, and we’ve picked one again here for inspiration. Our featured garden landscaping image from the Southeast of England shows a very simple idea that has been beautifully carried out. The square or...
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Inspiring Garden Landscaping Ideas

Garden landscaping seeks to make the most of the space, conditions and budget available to create a garden that suits the user’s lifestyle and interests. Our featured image for today comes from a garden in the UK, and offers so many inspiring garden landscaping ideas that it is hard to know where to start first! Starting with a longish, rectangular shape with classic high walls and finishing in a wonderful brick-built garden shed, the garden planners have produced a little masterpiece. The carefully-manicured lawn area is as quintessentially English as a pin-striped Savile Row suit, but look at the form: the picture seems to have been taken from the upper floor of the dwelling house, and the initially straight path...
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Garden Patio Design Ideas: Inspiring the Irish Garden

In today’s globalised world, young Irish people have become more mobile internationally, bringing back new business ideas and cultural impressions, and even garden landscaping and garden patio design ideas for their future homes. Our inspiring featured image today comes from an American garden, but can be translated into an Irish garden landscaping context very easily. This patio runs right up to the door of the house with no concrete path between, and is almost completely walled in. While this looks very attractive, it’s critical that the patio is planned with an adequate number of grates and drainage points, and a good fall away from the house to run water off in case of a downpour. The fall for drainage has...
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Inspiring Garden Landscaping Design

Our inspiring garden landscaping design for today comes from a warmer region of the US, but provides us with plenty of visually-dramatic ideas for our own gardens. The fire-engine red insert in the wood pile hints at the heat of the fire in the fireplace, even on the coldest winter day, and a raised bed surrounds the owners with vegetation as they sit around the open fire with friends. Even when not in use, this corner of the garden is packed with talking points for our inspiration!! Can we translate such inspiring garden landscaping design ideas into our rainy Irish gardening context? Definitely! It can be tempting to play it safe when designing our gardens, using only neutral tones of...
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Lawn Edging Ideas for Irish Gardens

What postcard images do we associate with Ireland? Ould lads drinking Guinness? Donkeys and carts? Shamrocks? One of the most enduring motifs associated with Ireland is surely that of green fields surrounded by loose stone walls. There is something about a loose stone wall in Ireland that just looks ‘right’—the stones are simply part and parcel of the land, and they speak too of the hands that built them. And so lawn edging ideas inspired by the Irish countryside will naturally work and look well in any Irish garden. While our featured image was snapped in America, it can still inspire us to make our garden beds more dramatic and our garden landscaping projects more appealing. The red bricks of...
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Garden Fence Panels – Stylish Privacy for Your Garden

Garden fence panels are a stylish and affordable garden landscaping option for screening off your garden. Take the panels shown in our featured image – a garden fence from the UK that we found inspiring. Garden fence panels provide shelter from the prevailing wind for more sensitive plants and, by reducing the wind speed in your garden, make the area feel (and look) that bit warmer. Warmth is an important and underrated factor in garden landscaping and design. While we tend to associate stone and metal with ‘cold’, wooden fixtures create a subliminal feeling of warmth in our subconscious. Looking at our featured image, we can see pressure-treated wooden garden fence panels creating a much more attractive division from the...
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Great Garden Patio Design: Making the Most of Life

Great garden patio design starts with the homeowner themselves, and what they need from their garden. A garden, being an extension of a home, says a lot about the people who live and work there. Including a patio in a landscaping project suggests homeowners who like to sit and enjoy the fruits of their labour, and share that with others. Done tastefully, it can be a wonderful and welcoming place for receiving guests from spring through to autumn. Take the beautiful walled garden in our featured image. I think we can safely say that this is the garden of someone who values their privacy, but who enjoys sharing their house and home with friends and guests. The beautiful stone and...
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Garden trellis ideas for your garden

If you’re looking for garden trellis ideas for your garden landscaping project, try our featured image for inspiration. A beautiful, pressure-treated softwood trellis can last for over 20 years in your garden, providing you with a wall of rose blooms or climbing flowers through the summer to brighten your mood as you leave in the morning, and welcome you home after a long days work. A beautiful trellis can also be used to screen off your garden from your neighbour’s, or simply to give your garden that feeling of intimacy—even after construction and without having planted or trained your climbers. It is a feature we often include in our garden landscaping projects. If you look closely, you can see that...
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Small Garden Design– The Low-Maintenance Solution

In Ashbrook Landscaping and Garden Centre, one of the largest Meath Garden Centres, we are always looking for inspiring ideas. In this section of our website we look at inspiring landscapes from around the world that may inspire ideas for us and our customers. In this article we look at an idea for a small back garden. Are you tired of that muddy patch of moss outside your back door? Do you hate dragging out the lawnmower for two minutes work? Inspired small garden design can give your house a new lease of life… Many houses in Ireland have been built on tiny plots of land, especially those built as terraced houses. Irish semi-detached houses can also come with deceptively...
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Inspiring Garden Landscaping: Garden Border Edging

In Ashbrook Landscaping and Garden Centre, one of the largest Meath Garden Centres, we are always looking for inspiring ideas. In this section of our website we look at inspiring landscapes from around the world that may inspire ideas for us and our customers. This garden has gives unique and inspiring ideas for border edging. Garden border edging can make a huge difference in cleaning up the lines of your garden landscaping project, and making it look neat and well-cared-for. The most important factor in tidying up your garden is in working out a plan—and that’s the first place we at Ashbrook Garden Centre and Landscaping can help. Taking the beautiful bordered garden in our featured image, we can see...
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Deck landscaping ideas — for Irish gardens

When looking for deck landscaping ideas, we all tend to idealise the Irish summer, and fall in love with deck and patio designs from websites or glossy magazines that might be more suitable for California than a suburban Irish garden. Although the Irish summer is relatively short, a beautiful deck can help you to make the most of it, whether you’re entertaining, sending the kids out to play, or just soaking up the evening sun. In the picture shown, this deck landscaping idea would act as a wonderful visual interest throughout the year, providing plenty of seating for guests and space for a barbeque, children’s paddling pool, or even a television for sporting events. This deck also provides wind protection...
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