29 May 2022

Gardening with Jo: Create your outdoor idyll

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Create your outdoor idyll

Create your perfect outdoor space this summer

It's been a great week. The sun has been shining and the nursery has been very busy. With the bit of sunshine and heat and we even got to sit out in the garden. It was breezy so we had jackets on but it is only March. My outdoor room got great use again.

We lit the stove and sat outside and made garlic bread in the pizza oven to have with a simple gnocchi dish. I just can’t wait to spend the summer in the garden and get out the garden furniture in full. I have left my Dunmore sofa set in the garden room but the dining table and other seating has been put away for the winter.

What I haven’t managed to do for some time is to actually do some gardening, and it is starting to show, so over the next couple of weeks I hope to get a good couple of days finishing the beds. I have two more to complete this week but given the amount of projects that we have coming up I might be pushing my luck.

We have the Ideal Home Show coming up in two weeks time and then Bloom is on the horizon as well as all the usual projects we have ongoing - but before that I would like to take a look at how to create the perfect garden for outdoor living at its best. If the last two years has taught us anything it really is to appreciate what we have and to make the best of it.

Happy space

Everything that surrounds you affects you so make sure that you create a space that makes you happy. I recently had a lovely message from one of our clients, who we designed and built a garden for, and she said 'I just wanted to let you know that very time I look out or go into the garden I smile'. This is exactly what I mean - if it doesn’t make you smile and lift your spirits, then make some changes. Make it your sanctuary.

I create my own idyll in the garden using trees, plants and pots to create an intimate place. Make sure you consider the architecture of your house when building your garden, making a cohesive story without distractions.

In any interior, what is visible through the doors and windows is vital to expand the sense of space and blur the lines between indoors and out. This is especially true in the modern house, which uses an expanse of glass to bring the light in but equally as important to bring in the vista of the garden.

If you live in the city or town, then creating this oasis to escape the chaotic lifestyles we all live is imperative — at least I believe it is.

Consider adding water to your garden. You can add water features from ponds to water bowls and do lots with water noise too — but none of these suggestions involve excavating. Add outdoor tables or seating. paying attention to keeping the palette and style running seamlessly from in to out.

Adding really good outdoor lighting brings another dimension to any garden. Seeing the garden in a different light from inside, even when not using the garden, adds space and warmth to your home.

Feature plants and trees that are visible from inside create focal points. Pots, too, can do this and a well placed pot can create almost a piece of art in the garden.

Happy gardening

Next week, I'll share what to do in the garden this month and hopefully, before then, I may just have got out into my own garden. Until then happy gardening and if I can help with any aspect of your garden you can contact me directly at

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