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A guide to garden walls

When you are planning your garden layout, it is essential to consider how you will be dividing up your space. This includes everything from the practical aspects of privacy and maintenance through to the type of look you want to go for. Your garden walls are an integral part of your garden and can have a dramatic effect on its appearance.

Marrissa Wilson
· 9 min read

When you are planning your garden layout, it is essential to consider how you will be dividing up your space. This includes everything from the practical aspects of privacy and maintenance through to the type of look you want to go for. Your garden walls are an integral part of your garden and can have a dramatic effect on its appearance.

There is no reason your garden walls can’t be a beautiful feature of your garden as well as being practical in design. In this article, we will be going over the different functional ways you can use walls in your garden.

Types of garden walls

Garden walls have often been a primary feature in gardens. They are a practical way to mark your boundary line, offer privacy and to keep small children and pets safe. But don't think about your walls as only a functional necessity. Walls are practical, but you can also use them in your garden decor. Use them as terraces, to make raised flower beds or to divide up your garden.

Let's take a look at all the types of walls you can use in your landscaping designs.

Perimeter walls

Let’s start with the most obvious type of garden wall: your perimeter or the boundary wall. These are usually made out of any stone, brick, or concrete materials you prefer. A boundary wall marks the edge of your garden and divides it from your neighbours garden or the footpath.

This is a great place to start when planning your garden. If you have walls in place already, then you might need to consider planning your garden design around them. If you don’t like your existing walls, then you have options. You could remove the wall, but an easier option is using masonry paint to change their colour. Another option is to grow some climbing plants up the walls. This can transform a tired garden wall into a beautiful feature.

Dividing walls

A dividing wall is a low wall that you use within your garden to divide it up. These aren’t designed for privacy but are often practical. You can use these walls to divide your garden into different areas. You can then use these areas for specific reasons or can even have different themes incorporated into the design.

If your garden is particularly large or an unusual shape, then this type of garden wall is a great addition. You can divide your garden up into manageable sections and create more straightforward shapes to work within. There are so many options when it comes to dividing walls. Your only limit is your imagination.

Retaining walls

Gardens with a steep slope or hill can be a bit of a problem when it comes to garden design. It’s tricky to plant flower beds and place garden furniture on an incline. A great way to combat this is by incorporating terraces or raised areas in your garden.

Creating terraces involves building up the ground and creating stepped areas with soil. A wall built as a retainer provides a functional solution to keep the soil in place. You can also use these retaining walls to create benches. Another use is as a flat area to place pots or decor.

One particularly good way to use a retaining wall is to create a raised flower bed. You can create stunning floral displays or grow veg whilst saving your back from all that bending over to weed and tend your plants.

Feature walls

The last type of garden wall we are going to talk about is feature walls. You might think about these as an interior decor solution, but they look great incorporated into your garden design too. Choose the focal point of your garden. This is the area of the garden that you want to draw the eye to. Add a splash of paint to the wall, paint a mural or use planting to emphasise the area.

Choosing your wall design and materials

Once you have decided to incorporate garden walls into your garden, your next choice to consider is the design and materials. You have a lot of options so let's take a look.

Concrete

Concrete walls are a common feature in modern gardens. This is because they are easy to build, maintain and will last for years. Another excellent quality of concrete is that you can shape it into creative designs with ease. With concrete, you have the option of using concrete blocks or using poured concrete to create solid walls.

Stone

Stone is a traditional building material. Dry stone walling is a traditional art form dating back hundreds of years. For a rustic or conventional British country garden stone is a great option. You can pick the type of stone you like and the type of method you want the wall built in. Then stack the stones or boulders dry. If you want something a little more secure, add some mortar to fix the stones in place. Whichever method you choose, you might need to call in an expert to help because getting this right can be tricky.

Brick

Brick is another traditional wall material and is still a popular choice. This is another option where you have a reasonable degree of choice. You can choose the colour, size and style of the brick so that it fits within your garden design.

Brick is an excellent material to work with. You can create intricate designs and shapes in your walls. Bricks are also a versatile material that works well throughout your garden. You can build your boundary wall, your garden beds and your retaining walls with brick. These walls will all tie in nicely together despite the different heights, uses and sizes of wall.

Is a perimeter wall better than a fence?

Another popular method for dividing up your garden, or offering privacy, is a fence. These are often made from wood. Wooden fences are a popular choice because they are versatile and cheaper to build than a wall. You can often put a fence up yourself, too. In contrast, walls are harder to build and often need specialised expertise or access to materials and tools.

So that begs the question, is a garden wall better than a fence? If you are on a budget, then a fence is likely to be your better option.  According to mybuilder.com the current cost of a wooden fence is approximately £10 per 1.8-metre panel, including labour, to install. This is a cost of about £240 for four metres of fencing. A typical garden wall that is 1 metre high according to priceyourjob.co.uk costs around £650 for four metres. More than double the price! It is also worth keeping in mind that these costs will vary depending on your location and your tradesman. These are 2020 prices and are average approximations. The prices in your local area may differ to these.

With a garden wall being a pricier option, what are the benefits?

The most obvious benefit is how sturdy a wall is. A garden wall is a permanent structure that, if well maintained, should withstand most weathers and conditions. Walls made from stone, brick or concrete should last for years. A garden fence is likely to need new panels or need wholly replacing every few years.

Another benefit of walls is the ease of maintenance. You will need to check your garden walls every year for signs of damage. But generally, you shouldn’t need to spend too much time maintaining a wall on an ongoing basis. A fence needs weather treating with paint or wood oil regularly to stop the wood rotting and to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Things to remember when planning your garden wall

All garden planning requires a little thought. Make sure you include your garden walls in your plans and early decisions.

Here are a few practicalities to consider while planning your garden.

  • Check about any regulations or permits you might need. For a traditional, low garden wall, you shouldn’t come across too many problems. It is worth checking the government website page to ensure you are working within your legal obligations.
  • Make sure you check where the boundary line is in your garden and who is responsible for maintaining any fences or walls, especially if you live in a terraced house. According to the website fantastic services, The only accurate method of checking is to look at your title deeds. In many cases, these will identify which property the boundary line belongs to. In some cases, even this isn’t clear, even on the property deeds or land registry documents. In these instances, you would need to come to a new agreement with your neighbour.
  • If you are changing anything on the boundary line of your garden, you should check with your neighbours first. Your garden wall affects them too, so ensure they are aware of any changes. You also should inform them of any building work that might disrupt them.
  • Pick a great contractor. Building a garden wall is a big job, and shoddy masonry work will come back to haunt you later. So, make sure you get at least two quotes from different contractors. Always check insurances and get recommendations from previous customers.
  • Your design and planning for the future. Remember, once you have built your wall, you are stuck with it, unless you want to go through the costly process of knocking it down and rebuilding it. So, make sure you know what you want and have designed with any future plans in mind.

Final thoughts on garden walls

Your garden is a place to enjoy in the way you love the most. This could be by providing a place for the grandchildren to play in safely or by creating yourself a tranquil space to relax in. Garden walls can be a fantastic way of landscaping, dividing, and creating privacy in your garden. With so many options you are spoilt for choice. So, plan some walls into your garden design for a garden that is easy to maintain, practical to use and looks great too.

Marrissa Wilson

Marrissa Wilson

Marrissa Wilson is a writer and knowledge enthusiast who loves to learn and discover new information about a variety of topics. Marrissa specialises in topics surrounding lifestyle and the home. Marrissa is lucky to have experienced working with a diverse range of people and businesses from tea makers to fabric designers and everything in between!