Giving the outside a sense of place
■ 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.