Posted by Gardening Felix | Posted in Basic Gardening Tips, Landscaping | Posted on 22-07-2012
Vertical elements are among the most defining pieces of a garden layout and are a crucial way to give your garden a more interesting and individual style. Gardens that feature ivy-clad pergolas, elevated terraces, raised beds and walls can give you a feeling of really being “at home”; they also show your garden’s treasures only piece by piece instead of all at once.
How you should apply such elements depends, of course, on the surrounding of your garden: If your neighbours’ gardens are quite flat and the only separation between your garden and theirs is a low fence, it will look awkward if you start to construct high raised beds, stone gardens etc. on your property. However, if you for example have a garage wall at one side of your garden, this will give you an excellent starting point. The following tips are what I find really interesting – don’t be shy to adopt them to your garden and use them as fits you.
1.) Free-standing walls
The effect of walls made of brick, sandstone or logs can give an amazing effect to your garden layout. Depending on how you build them, they can give a “romantic ruin”-type feeling or that of orderliness and structure. Use free-standing walls of ca. 3 to 4 feet to separate vegetable patches from the rest of your garden; grow them with plants such as lady’s mantle (as seen on the photo above) and perhaps put a garden bench to their front side.
Pergolas can be great both as elements on their own as well as a cover for pathways through your garden. I find it especially amazing to combine them with large trees that will make up a natural part of your pergula. Build them adjacent to a wall for a more subtle effect or free-standing as a real eye-catcher, preferably overgrown with wild-wine or ivy to to provide a better “fit” into your garden. Another great possibility is to build a small pergola either on an elevated terrace or in a lower part of your garden (surrounded by raised beds). BBC Gardening offers a nice guide to constructing your own pergola.
3.) Raised beds and stairways
Raised beds are good on their own (as they make the care for demanding plants easier), but their optical effect on your garden layout even increases if you combine them with sophisticated stairways. Stairways can be winding, at right angle or straight; they can be made of large sandstones or of single stones that make up mosaics. You may think that it’s quite expensive to optain the necessary materials, but you can also get some of it from building rubble and second-hand dealers. Be careful to construct supporting walls if you want to create high raised beds, as the weight of new soil can put too much pressure on simple cemented brick walls.