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.

Using Timber.

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.

Low hit and miss side fence with 6ft feather edged boundary fence & framed gate
Low hit and miss side fence with 6ft feather edged boundary fence & framed gate

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.

Very low maintenance, Mediterranean style
Very low maintenance, Mediterranean style

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.

Trellis

 

To improve the strength of this gate we added metal framing at each corner, both inside and outside, it was only partially successful.

A black stained trellis gate
A black stained trellis gate

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.

Low timber retaining wall
Low timber retaining wall

A quite pleasing effect can be achieved.

The softer low timber wall looks at home here.
The softer low timber wall looks at home here.

Roof Gardens

Roof gardens benefit from the light weight of timber and its ability to be ‘modulised’ , as can be seen here..

Low timber walls on roof garden
Low timber walls on roof garden

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..

Structural Timber Walls
Structural Timber Walls

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’

IMG_0591

 

Once established they can look like this..

Planting covering a timber wall
Planting covering a timber wall
The timber wall blends in so well
The timber wall blends in so well

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..

Treated timber barrier in play area
Treated timber barrier in play area

Here’s how we did it..

Using a 4in1 bucket on a bobcat
Using a 4in1 bucket on a bobcat

Moving to more decorative uses, lets explore trelliage and low walls..

Wishing well feature with trellis back drop
Wishing well feature with trellis back drop

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.

Pergola with Wishing Well at end of path
Pergola with Wishing Well at end of path

Ornamental Trelliage

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.

Cloud trellis adds movement
Cloud trellis adds movement

Here the trellis has been painted white next to the house it gives a very clean look.

Painting trellis white adds interest
Painting trellis white adds interest

Here we had a custom made heavy duty trellis, note the pencil edges soften the whole fence.

Superb detail for trellis
Superb detail for trellis
The completed trellis barrier
The completed trellis barrier

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

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14 thoughts on “Creating mystery & intrigue with Timber Walls, Fences & Trelliage

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