Bord Bia Bloom ‘Dream Gardens’: The Shared Spaces Family Garden

Bord Bia Bloom’s Easy Steps to Dream Gardens is a new initiative designed to help you plant your own show garden at home. Bord Bia has worked with seven Bloom award-winning show garden designers to create garden design templates that you can download exclusively from the Bloom website here.

The Shared Spaces Family Garden is designed by Nicola Haines, a Partner in Tierney Haines Architects in charge of the Landscape Design department. She works on rural and urban gardens, both public and private and has won two Gold Medals at Bord Bia Bloom.

This west-facing garden is designed for a family with teenagers and young adults but can be tailored to suit any household.

‘If you put the right structure in place a garden should last through a family’s life,’ believes landscape designer, Nicola Haines. Her design for this west-facing garden is a prime example. ‘The structure is very simple, with three distinct spaces that can be reformatted and customised as your lifestyle changes.’ As a mother, Nicola understands the need to give teenagers privacy. The space closest to the house has been designed for parents and features a table and chairs for outside dining. This is edged with a raised bed with grasses and herbaceous perennials to semi-screen other spaces. ‘You want to be seen but not on top of your kids and raised beds are a great way of adding that privacy.’  

Vegetable beds in the middle of the garden are followed by a relaxed seating area at the rear, which is an ideal space for teenagers to gather with friends. A pergola gives an additional sense of privacy and also serves as a mount for a hanging chair. 

The garden is designed in a series of layers with planting in the foreground, midground and background. ‘Gardens can be so much more than the traditional layout of a long lawn flanked by narrow borders,’ notes Nicola. ‘By bringing some of the planting into the foreground and closer to the house this creates more drama and interest.’