When was the work done?
Brian did two gardens for us. The first garden in Clonskeagh in Dublin was built in the latter part of 2005. The second garden in Kilkenny was built in the middle of 2009.
What was involved?
Clonskeagh was a small garden and a very awkward site in that it was sloping quite steeply from the back of the house. Brian came up with a marvelous design, with two tiers and a sweeping pathway up through the middle. There's a waterfall mirroring the two tiers. This was a turn key solution in that the garden was completely finished including the planting which was all done by Oliver Shurman from Venus Nurseries.
The garden in Kilkenny is a much larger site but it was also sloping severely. Brian was able to build up perfectly level lawns on the ground floor of the site using retaining walls. He created a rockery with large limestone boulders and gradually climbing steps up through the middle which is fabulous. It's wonderful. We have a two level pond, with a waterfall in the middle. We also put a lot of lighting in the garden.
How did you choose Brian O Hara Design?
We saw a small advertisement for Brian in a gardening magazine. In all we contacted two or three people but we thought that Brian was the one for us, and he proved to be absolutely wonderful.
Had you definite ideas in mind before you talked to Brian O' Hara?
The only instruction we gave in Kilkenny was that we wanted the garden to be leveled, so we didn't have to cut grass on steep hills. We were also very keen that the garden would reflect the house. There was an old house on the site, and we had decided to demolish and rebuild with a Da Vinci passive houses.
Did Brian introduce new ideas?
Yes, Brian's skill is in designing and he came up with the entire designs. As he went along, he had to modify a few things to suit the house and topography of the site. Brian would explain what wouldn't work with me, and come up with a solution. We had no problems working together at all.
How did the project run?
It went very well. Brian brought in specialist companies to do specific tasks, such as earth moving, paving, stonework and planting. All the people that Brian used were excellent.
Brian was the coordinator and designer but he tied them all together. Everything was done under Brian's control and we were dealing with Brian only. In my experience, there is always something that won't go well on a project, but not in this case. There were no issues. What was the biggest benefit to you of using Brian O Hara Design?
Peace of mind and reliability. Brian came back to me with issues, rather than me querying what he had done. For example, as the work went, it was clear that there was going to be some big drops which would not be safe for children and he came up with the solution. There was no problems - this is a feature of Brian's work. We had no grief whatsoever.
Would you recommend Brian O Hara Design to others?
Yes, I would have no hesitation whatsoever.
Any tips for other people?
Make sure that you get a designer who can cope with all sort of varying issues as they arise. Brian was able to do that.