Colonise your garden all year long
The heatwave has made the difference between staring out at and getting into our gardens. With pods, ponds and yurts, we can get the best from our domestic outdoors
Yvonne Hegarty, with her ‘garden pod’, at her home in Rathmines. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Triona Lillis and Gavin Morgan with their hot tub.
Elma Fenton in her garden pond.
Hanging garden: outdoor style from Dunnes Stores
Zoological garden: inflatable animals from Miramira.ie
Garden party: American lounge chair from Dobbies Garden Centre in Lisburn and paper bunting thefavourshop.ie
Art for park’s sake: a piece by sculptor John Coll
The recent spell of good weather has made us fall back in love with our gardens. Now that we can eat, play and even sleep under the stars in them, it’s possible to imagine using them on a permanent basis. Amp up your exterior with great outdoor guises from architectural retreats to outdoor art.
Forget the traditional garden room. Modernist Yvonne Hegarty’s garden pod is a slick futuristic sphere with gold-tinted windows that looks like it has been teleported from another planet.
Designed for you to enjoy your garden from the outside, whatever the weather, the pod has nautical-style seating and a table that breaks down to form a large covered lounger.
It was given to her as a recent landmark birthday present by her husband, Joe. She chose the super-sized bauble over a piece of statement jewellery.
The pod got its very own welcome-to-the-family party with friends and clan invited to get up close and personal with the extra-terrestrial form.
Her teenage kids, Karl (15) and Anna (14), think its “super cool”. “It’s a great escape,” says Yvonne. “We can escape them or they escape us.”
The neat design is suitable for even a small garden. Prices start from about €10,000.
Triona Lillis and Gavin Morgan
Triona Lillis and her partner Gavin Morgan met while working for Galway-based street theatre company Macnas. She’s a costume designer who also runs fashion and vintage shop Astor on the Tuam Road in Galway. He’s a set designer and prop maker. Their garden in Moycullen is awash with ideas inspired by music festivals they’ve been involved with, including Electric Picnic.
They love the outdoors. Every summer they erect a Mongolian yurt they bought in the UK for €3,000 that acts as a spare room for friends staying over.
They also love a long soak in their hot tub built by Gavin from wood off-cuts left over from his set design for The Crucible. Like something from a Wild West movie, the water is heated by a fire lit in an old gas bottle brazier and travels through copper piping to create a convection-heated tub.
Triona says: “Lots of our friends’ younger kids think our garden is a bit like Butlins. Friends drop by, bring food and end up staying all weekend.”
When the nights get cold, they withdraw to the custom-built bar in their basement.
During the boom, an indoor pool was an essential piece of arriviste kit. Times have changed. Those who still have deep pockets and plenty of outdoor space are exploring Elma Fenton’s natural swimming pool, an ecological style statement that requires less maintenance than a traditional chlorinated pool.