Walls in gardens offer a great opportunity to divide the area into secluded zones that create privacy, intimacy and protection. This may be protection from the elements as after all, a cold windy, but sunny day can feel completely different when sheltered from the wind in the sun trap you've created, whilst protection may also be from visually unattractive features or from the eyes of prying neighbours. Walls can be tall and imposing or low and combined with a planting bed as a raised feature within your garden.
So what are the best walling materials to make a functional feature become a work of art?
To start with, there are some very quick and easy solutions to creating an instant wall using old (or new) railway sleepers. These offer a practical solution that anyone can achieve. For a more creative approach, instead of using the sleepers horizontally in the traditional form, try installing them at staggered heights on end. This creates a flowing and multi-tiered appearance with your planting which is not only interesting and visually appealing to look at, it also gives the impression of depth so increases the dimensions within your garden. The dark colour of traditional oak sleepers offsets the brighter tones of the planting so brings the foliage and flower colour to life.
Another, more traditional option when constructing a new wall is to use bricks, but not just any bricks. You ideally want to use landscaping bricks. These are far more ornate than house bricks which means you can create a wall that is aesthetically pleasing within your garden. Many garden walls are low and as such, using a decorative brick for this purpose is ideal as it becomes a feature in its own right without becoming overpowering. Concrete landscaping bricks are designed to look similar to natural stone in either a rustic stippled appearance or a look similar to the modern contemporary style of granite. They come in a selection of sizes so it's possible to mix and match these if preferable to create a less formal appearance. The consistent dimensions with a manufactured walling product means the bricks can be laid relatively quickly and easily using traditional methods. Natural stone walling bricks are great for creating a drystone wall or a more rustic design to add interest and character to your garden. Constructing a wall using natural stone wall blocks is often more labour intensive as the stones are rarely consistent in dimension and may have tolerances within the stated sizes. With a little patience and a careful eye for detail however, a natural stone walling makes a real statement, adding charm and style.
For a more unusual appearance, you can use wall cladding to cover either an existing wall or apply to a quick to construct blockwork wall. Wall cladding materials are available in both natural stone and porcelain options and offer a straightforward solution to covering walls both high and low. This walling material works well in both contemporary or traditional styled gardens and creates an instantly attractive finish. With natural stone versions of wall cladding, individual sections of stone are carefully bonded to a rigid backing stone which in turn, is bonded to the wall you are looking to cover. The stone sections can be cut using a diamond blade disc cutter and adhered to the wall (which must be dry, of solid construction and dust free) with a bonding agent such as CT1. With porcelain cladding, each walling tile is usually taken from moulded designs with the same interesting contours typically found in the natural stone varieties. With porcelain tiles, cut with a porcelain blade instead and use a saw with a water feed attachment. Wall cladding in both natural stone and porcelain need not only be used in the garden as they make an attractive feature inside the home as well.
For a cleaner, simpler appearance, Flexstone wall cladding comes in large sheets of semi flexible stone composite. These large sheets are ideal for attaching to an existing wall with a bonding agent in addition to other flat surfaces. Its lightweight, easy to cut manageability creates an instant impact. Available in a wide variety of colours - some with a lightly textured finish to give the impression of a wall of solid stone, but at a fraction of the price. Similar to other wall cladding, Flexstone may be used both indoors and out.
We hope these ideas give you some inspiration on how to create a new wall or update an existing one. We'd love to hear how you get on!