GLDA 9 Designer 9 Bernie O’Reilly

Designer Profile:

Bernie O'Reilly, MGLDA


Co Meath


086 858 6505

GLDA Member since:


Work Area:

Leinster, Connaught, Ulster


Small Garden Design, Large Garden Design, Planting Design, Consultancy Advice, Project Management, Public Speaking / Teaching

Specialist Design Themes:

Traditional, Contemporary, Formal, Informal, Asian, Mediterranean, Cottage, Low Maintenance

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Bernie studied in the College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens and attained a BSc (Hons) Horticulture in 2013.  Since setting up her garden design business, Sage n Thyme, she has completed a number of residential garden projects in Dublin, Meath, Monaghan, Cavan and Leitrim.

Early in her life, thanks to the experience of living on her family farm in Leitrim, Bernie discovered what turned out to be a life-long connection with nature and gardening. She found in a garden the possibility of secret retreats to suit particular moods, each with its own private world. It was this that cultivated her approach to garden design and a desire to create ‘a journey through the garden.’

An enthusiastic plants-person, Bernie uses her extensive plant knowledge to create naturalistic planting schemes which enhance the mood of the space and excite the observer with each season. She works closely with her clients to create desirable, functional and sustainable gardens that work in harmony with their surroundings.

While her client base is predominantly residential, Bernie also creates design solutions for community gardens which are naturalistic and respectful of the environment, while sustaining and attracting wildlife.

Bernie also provides workshops to groups on how to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables, using organic principles.

She offers a full garden design service with 3-D computer drawings, advice on plant selection, as well as offering horticulture consultancy services.











Design Qualifications

Certificate in Training & Continuing Education – Maynooth University (2017)
BSc (Hons) Horticulture – Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown (2013)
BSc Horticulture – College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens (2012)


“Blue Star Programme Garden – St Oliver Plunkett NS, Navan, Co Meath”
 Postcard Garden Bloom 2019 – Certificate of Distinction


Killester Garden, Dublin

The garden was built in conjunction with complete renovations to the house. A series of curves outline the ‘rooms’ of this rectangular space, drawing the eye from the main patio, down steps onto the lawn area, through the sculptural oak timber arch, and on to rest on the timber seating of the rear patio. The loose planting in the perennial border brings a sense of warmth and liveliness, while the bold silhouette of the bamboo and the curved line of the yew hedging create a structured element to the overall design.  

Rural Garden, South Monaghan

The 3m high concrete retaining walls frame the rear and sides of this house, nestled into the hillside in Monaghan. A series of hardwood timber raised planting beds form the basis for greening up the space with a seasonal mix of trees, shrubs, climbers and perennials. The enormous boulders excavated on site were re-purposed to line the natural fall for the dramatic sculptural water feature. The sound of water over stones can be heard from the side pergola and form a link to the lake in the distance.

Blue Garden, Meath

The client brief was for a patio to link the house with the rest of the garden, to look out on a garden with a blue haze, and some form of screen for privacy. The feature blue wall was an artful way of creating a boundary between neighbours and a backdrop to highlight the movement and colours in the planting scheme. The planting border is edged with re-purposed rocks found on site. A curved gravel path leads to a secret garden for the grandchildren and views to the horses in the fields beyond.


We were blessed to find Bernie through the GLDA stand at Bloom! Bernie provided the answers to our necessary 3m wall with the most creative ideas for beautiful bio-diverse planting. We will be forever grateful to her for her talent, patience and kind nature. We thoroughly enjoy every aspect of our garden, which provides us with great happiness and peace.

Pat & Terry O’Leary
Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan

From the onset, Bernie listened and designed and developed a garden that gives on a continual basis. Barely one year old, the garden never ceases to change colour and provide movement in all weathers. It is exciting to see the growth now in Spring and maturity of some plants which all help to give a feeling of being grounded in a new home and garden. Bernie continues to check on the plants, give advice and suggest further ongoing ideas. Definitely she nurtures a love of nature and all it has to give. Thank you, Bernie.

Phil Dunne
Killester, Dublin

Bernie took our very basic ideas for our back garden and transformed them beyond our imagination. From start to end, Bernie provided a comprehensive service along with clear concise proposal and pricing structure. I would have no hesitation in recommending Bernie to anyone looking to have their gardens landscaped. She has an exquisite eye and her attention to detail and work ethic in making sure our ideas translated into a relaxed easily maintained space is beyond anything I could have imagined.

Naas, Co Kildare

Bernie has a great imagination for design and a great work ethic. She is easy to work with and she always has cost and economy in mind, without compromising the beauty of the resulting garden.

Frank & Ann McKenna
Co Meath

Our garden of 40 years needed changing to accommodate our extended family. From our first meeting Bernie was there for us, listening and using her creativity and imagination to paint a picture from old to new. We achieved all and more than we could have imagined with Bernie’s personable and tenacious approach. Bernie coordinated a beautiful planting scheme and we now have a beautiful garden, much more than we could have imagined. We cannot recommend Bernie strongly enough. We are delighted with her passion to create a garden, respectfully taking into consideration our needs and the needs of our environment.

Harry & Marie Donovan
Dunsany, Co Meath

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