Giv­ing the out­side a sense of place

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors -

■ What’s your back­ground?

>> I grad­u­ated from An Gri­anán Hor­ti­cul­tural Col­lege with a Di­ploma in Gar­den De­sign and Land­scap­ing in 1997. I am also a Prop­erty Care As­so­ci­a­tion cer­ti­fied Ja­panese Knotweed Sur­veyor.

I have an hon­ours de­gree in Busi­ness Stud­ies — I did that when I was up in Dublin. It has been great for me busi­ness-wise. I came to Cork from Dublin in 2006.

I have been do­ing land­scap­ing since I was 15 years old, when I started tak­ing a sum­mer job — that’s how I got my love for it. I still like it, which is a good sign. ■ What’s a typ­i­cal work day like for you?

>> I’m up at about 6.30am — about 12 hours a day would be nor­mal for my­self, for this time of year any­way. From the be­gin­ning of March to the end of Oc­to­ber, a 60-hour week would be nor­mal. For the rest of the year, it might be 40-45 hours a week.

Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary is about or­gan­is­ing work for the next few months. You try and pick and choose your jobs at this time of year. Maybe not so much in Novem­ber — you might be glad to get it. I am in the Busi­ness Net­work­ing Group for eight years. We meet ev­ery Wed­nes­day morn­ing. We refer busi­ness to each other. There would be very rep­utable busi­ness­men around the ta­ble, which is great for ad­vice and men­tor­ship. ■ Tell us about a re­cent project or de­sign you have worked on?

>> We did a project with the ar­chi­tect John More­head on Dou­glas Road last year. It was a full land­scape — front, back and side gar­dens, and in­ter­nal court­yard. We did the drive­way, raised beds at the back and a lot of Kilkenny lime­stone went in. There was some in­tri­cate work. It was a lovely job. ■ What’s your de­sign style?

>> My own would be con­tem­po­rary to a point, but if I have a client who is will­ing to do some gar­den work, then I would push them more to­wards the coun­try gar­den style. ■ What/who in­spires your work?

>> The coun­try­side would. Ire­mem­ber do­ing my place­ment in col­lege in Kilkenny Cas­tle, and I just loved the area — all the trees and the coun­try

walk-ways. I like vis­it­ing coun­try houses, like Fota House. I would go for the gar­dens. ■ What’s your favourite trend at the mo­ment (if you have any)?

>> A lot of peo­ple like the clean-cut gar­dens, so even the paving ma­te­ri­als we’re us­ing is a lot of ma­chine-cut ma­te­ri­als, rather than hand-cut which would be a lot rougher.

Peo­ple want low-main­te­nance — it’s a bat­tle to try and get them to put in some plant­ing, try­ing to get them to un­der­stand that if you’re us­ing a lot of hard ma­te­ri­als and it can look very cold.

In any gar­den de­sign, you put in struc­tures which could be walls or paving; you need to soften it then with wood and use your plant­ing and your lawn area — it’s just as im­por­tant as ac­tu­ally do­ing struc­tures. ■ What’s your most trea­sured pos­ses­sion?

>> My fam­ily of course!

In terms of work then, it would be my pick-up truck. It’s a three-litre diesel — very pow­er­ful and ideal for pulling trail­ers. I’d be lost with­out it, es­pe­cially in Cork where the land is so hilly.

■ Who would be your favourite de­signer, or style in­spi­ra­tion?

>> I ad­mire Diar­muid Gavin — I might look at his de­signs and take a snip­pet and think ‘maybe I can use that, or al­ter that slightly’. ■ What would be a dream project for you to work on?

>> A dream project is work­ing with a client who loves their gar­den, and who is will­ing to pay for qual­ity work­man­ship.

What I find with new builds es­pe­cially is that they don’t see the ben­e­fits of the gar­den.

■ Have you any de­sign tips for us?

>> The main thing is to look at the back­ground. If you’re in the coun­try, you’re try­ing to com­ple­ment the land­scape.

If you’re in the city, where you might have a con­tem­po­rary look, then you can go with a con­tem­po­rary fin­ish. I think the out­side has to blend in with the sur­round­ings. ■ www.john­but­ler­land­scap­ing.ie

■ https:// www.houzz.co.uk/pro/john­but­ler/$url

So­cial me­dia sites:

ABOVE: John But­ler Land­scap­ing can cre­ate a self-wa­ter­ing ver­ti­cal gar­den fea­ture is ideal for those with lim­ited gar­den space or with only a small yard. BE­LOW: John de­signed this gar­den for the School of the Di­vine Child, a co- phys­i­cal and com­plex...

Sleeper con­tain­ers were built on a slope and planted with Aus­trian pine trees to give pri­vacy in this steep, slop­ing gar­den.

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