Boundary options include walls, fences and hedges. Walls are an investment, making a permanent addition to the property and connecting garden and house visually. Fences are cheaper but shorter-lived; bear in mind that they will need replacing over time. Hedges take time to grow and need clipping, but form a soft, natural boundary.
Here, the strong horizontal lines of the fence contrast nicely with the striking verticals of the green sulphur bamboo.
A trellis clad in clematis makes a decorative, inexpensive screen.
Adding screens and panels within the garden divides it into smaller, more intimate spaces. They are especially useful in predictable plots which have lots of right angles, where they can add interest and heighten mystery. Panels below waist height allow views across the garden. Taller screens separate different areas. Gaps allow tempting glimpses of the garden beyond. Other characteristics to consider include opaqueness versus transparency, colors and textures, and ways to make supports and other frameworks reinforce the overall composition. For example, mixing brightly colored opaque and transparent screens makes a bold statement.
An interesting alternative to a traditional continuous hedge, these tall, clipped conifers form a strong background feature.
Using Natural Forms
Plantings, alone, can be formed into structural boundaries. A range of trees and shrubs can be trained to form hedges and screens. You'll need patience while slower-growing plants mature, but the results can be rewarding. Natural forms suit traditional gardens, but are not out of place in a modern design, where clipped shapes add spheres or lines to a design. Accentuate the vertical lines of small trees with low-growing plants at the base.
Here, clipped \"lollipop\" bay trees emerge from box-framed lavender beds, demarcating the dining area. The slate terrace lends textural contrast.
This bold planting of sculptural bamboo is reflected in the pool in front.
Screens and garden dividers can be decorative in their own right, while a work of art can also have a structural function. By introducing a strikingly different material, such as glass or metal, into a design filled with plants, you can add exciting accents and heighten the drama. Glass may be frosted or clear, printed with patterns or molded in different ways, although even toughened glass may not suit a family garden. Metal adds gleam and reflection to an otherwise matte series of surfaces. Install sculptural structures where they can be fully appreciated.
This unusual wire mesh tunnel, a work of art in itself, invites use and functions as both a screen and a walkway.
The image printed on the transparent, frosted screen acts as additional \"planting.\" Both the screen and the seat appear to float within the garden.