Last time we talked about paths, so today I thought it might be advantageous to discuss ‘Timber Walls & Fences’, we will include Trelliage as they all have a role to play, helping to create a certain kind of mystery within a garden landscape (We’ve discussed hedges recently so you can scroll down to that article if you would like )
These ‘vertical materials’ are acting as a visual or physical barrier between differing areas, leading the eye on to a new discovery or perhaps just creating a contained space. At some time fairly soon we should add ‘Green Walls’ which are gaining in interest and can look absolutely superb. I wonder how long it is before we develop these to grow edibles ?
We have designed and built a huge number of gardens over the years, gaining valuable experience in what works best in a given situation.
This garden, was primarily designed to reduce aftercare, taking care to keep the beautifully rustic boundary fencing, which blends in to both the surroundings and the new work so well.
It was necessary, to repair the odd arris rail, a couple of fence posts and some slats, re hang the side gate etc.,but overall by keeping the original the rustic feel was I think you will agree maintained.
It’s nearly always best to work with what is already there, rather than ripping out everything. My first task is always to look up and see how the tree canopy is, then beyond the space we are working with to see what impact we may be making without perhaps realising how a neighbour might view our endeavours.
In small gardens complete barriers tend to make the garden smaller, so it is best to create more of an illusion of a barrier, this is often best created by using trellis, here is an example that we stained black. (A word of warning, trying to make a gate from trellis is fraught with problems if you do not add a full frame that is braced, when you add this it tends to upset the look of the trellis, so think carefully before using as a gate, as without the frame the gate will change shape over time!)
The trellis here was primarily to separate the more formal ‘Front Garden’ with the more relaxed ‘Play Garden’ at the rear and side of the property.
To improve the strength of this gate we added metal framing at each corner, both inside and outside, it was only partially successful.
If a more substantial barrier is required, say in the form of a structural wall to hold back a bank then there are a number of ways to achieve this.
Low Timber Retaining wall
Here we used vertically set timber as a retaining wall, we did place a waterproof membrane behind the timber and a gravel pressure release drain so as not to have unsightly stains running across the light coloured paving.
A quite pleasing effect can be achieved.
Roof gardens benefit from the light weight of timber and its ability to be ‘modulised’ , as can be seen here..
Structural Timber Walls
Some years ago now, we discovered, well perhaps I should say a local native of our area wanted someone to test a new product he had found lurking in New Zealand, so, as we had won a number of awards for our work, and our teams were well known, he persuaded us to try this product..
It was fantastic, ok I should add some provisos, it is treated wood, it lasts a very long time, I have pieces from 30 years ago that are still unblemished, maybe bleached a little but otherwise fine. It will twist if not constructed correctly, although it is unzippable and thus fairly straightforward to repair. If you introduce plants into the wall it looks amazing and infact the plants protect the timber.
Here’s a much taller one we completed.
It is essential to use a structural engineer to carry out the necessary survey, and calculate the design criteria for these ‘Gravity Walls’
Once established they can look like this..
Some years back we were even asked to build a play area within a timber stockade, the posts were about 16 ft long and required some ingenuity to place correctly..
Here’s how we did it..
Moving to more decorative uses, lets explore trelliage and low walls..
We sometimes add some whimsy to our designs, here we used a rather deep drainage shaft, disguising it as a wishing well, to make it stand out we added a trellis surround to enable us to plant climbers to enhance the visual impact. Here its just been completed.
Here we used a cloud trellis to add some movement to the landscape and to help hide the boring stepped trellis in the neighboring garden.
Here the trellis has been painted white next to the house it gives a very clean look.
Here we had a custom made heavy duty trellis, note the pencil edges soften the whole fence.
Ann & I will spend a little time on the radio show talking about materials, when we interview our next guests who will be Designers. In the meantime do come and listen at Growing Trends
We would love to hear from you with ideas, comments, suggestions and requests…
Ann & Chris