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How To: Step by step guide to creating our beautiful, low maintenance suburban garden – GAFF Interiors

How To: Step by step guide to creating our beautiful, low maintenance suburban garden

Garden project in collaboration with Chadwicks

Looking out onto a mountain of muck and rubble, we could not imagine that we’d ever have a city garden that would look so neat, be so low maintenance and even be completed at all in the midst of a pandemic. But here we are!


In this article I want to walk you through the various elements that came together to complete our garden space. First things first, as we were having our extension built, the garden was already massively dug up to allow for that so we asked our builder if they could possibly do some basic work on the garden shape while they were in there anyway (having the digger already there helped hugely). Our garden is on a slant so we thought it best to go for a split level layout. We asked the builder to build the flower bed walls around the edge of the garden and level out the ground for us and that’s it in terms of heavy duty landscaping. So the flower bed walls are bricks, not wood.


We then opted for artificial grass as we don’t have the room for a shed with lawn mower etc and our desire was to keep the garden as low maintenance as possible which artificial grass certainly allows for. For this we went to Chadwicks who work with Laydex Ireland. We needed 30 square meters of artificial grass which came as one large roll but of course there were lots of cutaways to make it work in our garden shape; you are better off ordering a little more than you think you will need. As our builders were still here working on the extension, we asked them to lay the grass for us. It’s not something they had done before and of course you have the option of having it laid by experts but we were very happy with the results! Top tip: remember it will take a while for the grass to fluff up as it’s been rolled up, and if you can, lay it in such a way that the initial, general direction of the blades of grass are facing you: it will look more realistic instantly.

bench made with composite decking

We originally painted the flower bed walls white but with the green grass, white walls and our rusty-coloured fencing, I couldn’t help but think it resembled the Irish flag, so we redid our paint job opting for Johnstone’s Slate Grey which we were instantly so much happier with. It’s an exterior masonry paint which you can pick up anywhere.

For the bench and decking, we went for composite decking, again supplied by Chadwicks (who are supplied by Whiteriver). Composite decking is incredibly durable, it won’t need anywhere near the level of maintenance or care that traditional decking would have needed and it looks fab too. We went for the Montana Composite Decking which is currently on sale with Chadwicks at 24.95 per length. We used the same decking on the steps up to the higher level of the garden and for the bench, so it’s pretty versatile. At this point the garden was looking as though we had professional designers in to do the work but nope, just us!

Kilsaran gravel stones

We didn’t want to continue the decking the entire way around the extension so we opted for decorative gravel stones to give a bit of contrast. My advice here is to go for as light a colour as possible to reflect more light and look really nice and neat. If you go for stones that are too grey, they’ll just look like rubble when it rains. The stones we went with were from Kilsaran, also supplied by Chadwicks (it was amazing to get everything sourced so effortlessly under one roof and have it all delivered to our house at the same time). The stones are Ballykane stones with Kilsaran and cost €15 for 3 bags.

The finishing touches? The planting. We went to a nearby garden centre, under the expert guidance of my mammy because I would not have a clue myself, and opted for perennial plants that would give us luscious green leaves all year long with, again, little need for intense maintenance. We got a mixture of grasses that sway beautifully in the wind, offering different shades of green, some box hedging, some more wine coloured plants and a mixture of herbs dotted in among them. We spent 500 euro on planting and that was us trying to seek out the more affordable options so be mindful that this is where your cost can go up. Some of the big ball shaped trees that I loved were over 150 euro each and so we went for smaller more affordable options.

I ordered the festoon lighting from Lighting Direct in the UK. These were expensive (220 pound) but they are 20M long with 40 bulbs. They’re obviously perfectly safe and suitable for the garden and we had our electrician install a double outdoor plug to make it easy to have these lights without having to have cables come through a window. If you’re starting out with your own garden design, definitely consider your needs for outdoor electricity.

Then we got a fairly basic table and chairs from IKEA. table plus 4 chairs for 200 euro. I love the Applaro collection. And some outdoor dining accessories from H&M home.

And that’s it! Huge thank you to Chadwicks for collaborating with us on the low maintenance but no less beautiful city garden of our dreams. Below, the experts at Chadwicks (and their suppliers, Kilsaran, Laydex and Whiteriver Composite Decking) share their top tips for turning your garden around this summer.

whiteriver composite decking

The benefits of artificial grass, according to Laydex, include:

Apartment living. You can’t plant grass on your balcony, but you can put in artificial to give your balcony a green look. Add some planters full of flowers for your own mini-garden that requires only a mini-effort.

Less mess. Dogs can wreck your lawn. And they are even less likely to wipe their feet before coming in the house. If you are sick of your dog tracking mud into the house, an artificial lawn can solve that problem. Dogs are also less likely to want to dig.

Some of the benefits of artificial grass are environmental. That sounds odd at first, but lawns are actually not great for the earth. They require a lot of watering when it is dry, and people use a lot of chemicals to keep them looking pristine and perfect. An artificial lawn doesn’t need water, weed-killer or fertilizer. And you won’t be using electricity or petrol to mow it.

Paving / garden layout tips from Kilsaran:

1. Keep your design simple and don’t over-complicate it.

2. Observe the sun at various times of the day to determine where the best site for a new patio or planting area would be in your garden.

3. Try to use one colour and material for the main space, then use contrasting colours and materials to create patterns and borders.

4. Use raised beds and walling to add height to a flat area and allow for creative planting schemes.

5. Remember that the paving materials you choose can help to brighten a dark site or reflect light into your home.

6. Patio areas do not have to be attached to the house – they may be independent “floating islands” within your site.

Why choose Composite Decking, according to Whiteriver

Whiteriver composite decking offers you a stylish finish. It is durable and easier to keep compared to traditional wood/hardwood decking. The decking requires no sealer or stain after fitting. The deck can be maintained by regular washing.

Types of decking

Our composite decking range offers you a wide selection of colours and designs. There are three colours available in our Portland collection. While there are five colours available in the Ultrashield collection. All the decks are reversible which gives two different profile finishes for each deck board.

For more information on either artificial grass, paving or gravel stones or composite decking, visit Kilsaran.ie, laydex.ie, wrg.ie and of course chadwicks.ie.

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