Garden walls can be integrated into the landscape in many useful ways. They don't always have to be functional. Walls can provide an aesthetic value standing on their own.
It is a good idea to make sure a garden wall, as opposed to a fence or row of shrubs, is what you really want and need because once the wall has been installed...it's permanent. Here are some ideas for garden walls and plantings, and a few things to consider before getting started.
Ideas for interesting, useful, and beautiful garden walls
Garden walls can be constructed from various types of materials, such as bricks, stones, timbers, concrete, etc. If you want to get more creative, you can combine all these materials into a creative, one-of-a-kind wall that reflects your personality or features your unique treasures. Consider specks of glass for color, shells inset to make creative designs, artifacts you've collected through the years and don't know what to do with.
Garden walls can be short or tall, long or small, they can be solid or planted with vegetation.
Construct a red brick wall, about 6 feet tall. Plant a series of fruit trees that will be 10 to 15 foot tall when mature. Add heather and fountain grasses at the foot of the trees, and snowberries and Oregon grape between the trees and the wall. In full summer, the wall will be barely visible. In winter, the wall will stand out, adding a backdrop for the colors of the snowberries and Oregon grapes. In winter and spring, the wall will act as a barrier that protects your fruit trees from harsh winds, while it provides a contrast for the white heather blooms.
Rock walls are perfect for nestling plants like sedums, and they grow well in our Northwest Washington climate. While we don't recommend ivy because of its invasive nature, other vines are recommended and look good on a rock wall.
Add pots into the wall (build them in) and you will create a colorfully unique gardening palette.
Arches, pillars, and windows also add uniqueness and help to break up long stretches of wall space. For more ideas like these, search for creative examples and interesting wall designs at the Vizcaya Gardens website.
Re-live the days of the Flinstones and make walls with built-in furniture. How about a wall with a built-in outdoor kitchen? Shelves and sinks and grills can all be built out of the same materials, and the kitchen would be an integral part of the landscape. A fire pit at the corner of a pair of walls will block wind, allow for a chimney, and there can be a place for padded seating….ahhh. Then you can invite your landscaper over for a barbecue!
Creativity has no limits. As long as the wall is sturdy and constructed to last, there are so many beautiful things you can do with garden walls.
A garden wall with a roof overhang could be just the place to enjoy the view of your garden in less clement weather.
A wall can provide both privacy and beauty. Create your own quiet retreat, complete with a waterfall streaming out of the wall to a pond below. The sounds of trickling water, combined with the sturdiness of the wall, blocks unpleasant sounds and is enjoyable to view.
If you have enough room, create a maze, and put in a surprise garden in the middle or at various spots -- a simple maze with the benefit of a very private space in your garden.
More things to consider before building a garden wall
Know what's underground. Just as you need to be aware before you dig, you also need to know if drain pipes, cable, or wiring is in the ground beneath where you plan to construct a wall. It's much easier to adjust the location of the wall before it's built.
If you are placing the garden wall on your property line, you'll want to verify its true location. Some people think they know where their property line is, only to learn they were slightly wrong and the whole project has to be rebuilt. The boundary survey, on file with your county records office and easily accessible online, will show your property line. It is worth your while to find out for sure!
Garden walls are such a beautiful addition to a landscape, and there are so many more creative garden wall ideas floating in our heads, so please call us soon at Environment Construction (425-803-9881). Let's dream.