Garden renovation: outdoor kitchen-living-diner

By Ruth Bell 25-04-2024
Garden renovation: outdoor kitchen-living-diner

Alan Rudden designed a series of patios to transform this Dublin plot into a multifunctional space to enjoy whatever the weather

Interview: Róisín Carabine


Image of garden designer Alan Rudden and his garden space

The owner: Multi-award-winning garden designer and horticulturalist Alan Rudden lives here with his wife Cathy and one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Alanah.

The plot: A 13m x 7m secluded garden at the rear of a detached house in Westmanstown, County Dublin, adjoining Alan’s design studio.

Image of garden space designed by Alan Rudden

What did the garden look like before?

A mess. The builder who was renovating our house had used the garden as a yard for all his building materials so it got destroyed.

What was the plan for the new design?

To make the garden an extension of the house with well-designed separate zones for cooking, eating, entertaining and relaxing that included lots of lush planting and sheltered outdoor areas that could be used all year round and in any sort of weather.

Image of garden space designed by Alan Rudden

Tell us about the work that was done?

The new design features a series of four distinct paved terraces. A small patio directly outside the rear of the house catches the morning sun while the larger louvred pergola-covered platform has a wall-mounted wood stove and two sofas. There’s another covered area which houses the outdoor kitchen with gas BBQ, charcoal grill and storage and a fourth patio with more seating and a triple spout water feature set against a wall of tumbled Tipperary sandstone.

What was your biggest challenge?

Adding the soil pits to allow the plants to grow. The area was mostly compacted stone and concrete which required a lot of ground excavation and heavy waste removal.

Image of garden space designed by Alan Rudden

Best design decision?

The soil beds, without which the space wouldn’t be as lush and green, and the oak roof structure over the outdoor kitchen which allows me to barbecue no matter what the weather.

Lessons learned from this project?

The garden was built before the arrival of a young child who is very mobile! I’ve had to ‘baby-proof’ the water feature with a steel grid.

Image of garden space designed by Alan Rudden

Get the look

Garden design & landscaping, Alan Rudden; Sinai Pearl Egyptian limestone paving, Natural Stone Yard; Plants, Tully Nuseries; Forno Enok stove in corteen steel, Caragh Nurseries; Kamado Joe charcoal Egg, Garden House; Beefeater 5-burner gas BBQ, Outdoor Scene


Want to create your own alfresco cooking space? Don't miss our 14 steps to the creating the perfect outdoor kitchen


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