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A garden wall can be much more than just a border around your property; it can also provide privacy and security to let you enjoy your garden in peace, shield your plants from the wind and even contribute to your garden’s aesthetics. Many gardens utilise interior garden walls to help to shape and frame the overall design.

In other words, when you need to choose a new garden wall it is worth taking the time to really think about what it is that you want. You will have plenty of options not just in terms of materials but also additional features which can improve your security, give you more space for gardening or simply help to impress your friends.

When planning your new garden wall, it can be a good idea to speak with a local landscape designer about what your options are and what you want to achieve. They may even be able to help you source local materials, which could be cheaper, or recommend choices which you may not have considered yourself. A new garden wall will usually be built by a bricklayer/stonemason, though if you want a more ornate design you should make this clear before hiring a Pro. If they do not have experience with decorative work, you may want to look elsewhere.
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Choosing a border wall

A garden border wall needs to get two things right before anything else: privacy and security. It should be high enough to deter intruders and stop nosy neighbours from peeking over while also helping to keep young children and pets inside. If your garden borders with a noisy high street or main road, your border wall can also help to reduce the amount of noise coming through.

That said, there are certain limitations to what you can do with a garden wall. The optimal height will be between 1.5m and 2m (anything taller than this will usually require planning permission). While security is important, the law also states that you cannot install anything with the intent of causing bodily harm to intruders, such as barbed wire. You can, however, add features like trellises, which can make your walls much harder to climb over.

When looking at materials for your garden wall, try to keep the character of your home in mind and do not choose anything that will clash with it. As impressive as a certain choice may be, if it sticks out against your property’s exterior then it will lose a great deal of its charm. Again, if you need help making your decision or finding more options, it can be an excellent idea to speak to a local landscape designer.

  • Brick - Brick walls are sturdy, cheap and surprisingly versatile. Bricks can be bought in different colours and with various characteristics, such as an aged and weathered appearance. You can also use bricks to create an elaborate design on your wall.
  • Wood - While it is easy to just think of simple wooden fencing when considering this option, wood can actually offer a variety of choices. Certain types will look far more ornate, while others will require less care. You could also choose wood as a facade to cover a different material, such as concrete. If you consider this option, remember to keep long term care in mind. If you want your fence or facade to last, it will need to be treated fairly regularly.
  • Natural stone - While building a natural stone wall can be expensive option, there is no denying how fantastic they look, especially for period or rural properties. You may be able to build a cheaper wall by sourcing your materials from a local quarry or looking for reclaimed stone. For more help, speak to a local stonemason.
  • Semi-dry - Built with minimal mortar, these walls are designed to look like stones are simply sitting on top of each other. This provides a wonderful aged look which can really contribute to the aesthetic of both period and rural properties.
  • Dry stone - These thin bricks are made from reconstituted stone blocks. They are cheaper than natural stone and can provide properties with a cool modern look.
  • Metal - This is a fantastic modern choice, especially when combined with integrated lighting. If you want to choose a cheaper material, you could also add metal panels to it to create a more urban or industrial aesthetic.
  • Poured concrete - While this may sound boring, concrete can actually be quite striking and versatile. This choice looks right at home in modern and urban gardens. It can also be set with patterns; for example, if it is set using timber, the concrete will take on the patterns of the boards. If you are considering concrete, take the time to look for ideas online about how you can make the most of it!
  • Hedge - While a hedge should not be your only border barrier, there are several potential advantages to consider. As well as adding privacy to your garden, a hedge can also encourage wildlife and you can even trim it into impressive designs and shapes. Perhaps best of all, a hedge can grow higher than 2m without you having to apply for planning permission.
  • Gabion wall - These steel cages offer a wealth of potential for an artistic homeowner. They can be filled with anything, from common stones to broken plant pots. They do their job perfectly and by taking the time to choose a beautiful aesthetic filling, you could give your garden a truly unique appearance.

Decorative garden walls

While border walls help to keep a garden secure, interior garden walls help to shape and style its design. Granted, it can be good to try and keep your garden as open as possible, but a wall can do more than just block your view: it can frame your garden to help you really enjoy its appearance or even provide you with more space for actual gardening.

  • Trellis - These wooden structures are actually popular for both interior garden walls and borders. While they may look easily climbable, they cannot support the weight of a grown adult, making them surprisingly effective against thieves (especially if you allow thorny plants to climb them first). Trellises are also useful for growing climbing veg, such as peas, or easy-maintenance plants like ivy.
  • Water wall - A water wall is a garden feature that has water trickling down from the top. The look and sound of a water wall can be wonderfully soothing and they can even come with embedded lights so that they can be enjoyed in the evening. 
  • Moon gate - You might think that a wall with a large round gap in the middle would defeat the purpose, but the space created by a moon gate is not just a gap: it is a window that lets you choose how people view your garden. As such, installing a moon gate with the right location and angle can be the perfect way to frame your garden’s design.

If you do not have space for an interior garden wall, do not fret: there are plenty of ways to improve the aesthetics of a border wall too! Wall decorations are becoming increasingly popular and can be installed with simple screws and hooks. You may also want to consider picturesque facades or even paint (you would be surprised what a coat of paint can do to review a wall of tired old bricks!)

Another quirky option is to add ‘shelves’ to your wall. This can provide you with space to turn a boring looking wall into a canvas of colour using potted plants or garden accessories. Just be sure to take everything down during windy or stormy weather!