Garden screen and dividers – Provided a garden is of an appropriate shape and size, division of the space into a number of smaller areas can dramatically increase the apparent size of the overall composition. It may also provide a feeling of mistery and surprise, engender an element of movement, and create opportunities for a series of different themes. This kind of space division can be achieved either in a straight-forward way, by using a solid barrier such as a wall, hedge or fence, or by using some kind of open garden screen that partially blocks a view but beckons you on with a glimpse of things to come.
Divisions of this kind do more than just block or deflect a view; by encouraging you to follow a planned route, interest is created in the different spaces along the way.
Planting can be planned to either side of a path; focal points can be carefully sited at the end of a vista; and overheads can compress the view so that tension is increased and then suddenly released. In this way, you are distracted from the garden as a whole, and led to concentrate on the spaces through which you happen to be passing.
The ultimate form of space division is a maze. Some gardens, over-planned and over-complicated, verge on the maze mentality by breaking the garden design into too many set pieces. To achieve the right balance it is vitally important to look carefully at the size, shape, aspect and slope of your garden, and plan the break points and just what they are constructed from accordingly.
Garden divider – Equipped with plants that grow through the openings, garden partitions create both outside and inside an attractive, functional form of landscaping.
The decision about what to use for solid internal dividers is ultimately a personal one, depending on your own taste and practical requirements, but your choice of boundary material may well suggest what to use. Stone or brick boundary walls might suggest similar walls within the garden, pierced by gates or gaps that focus on a particular view beyond. On the other hand, hedges could be used just as effectively. Yew, for example, will echo the solidity of stone but offer a softer backdrop to planting and a more gently themed approach.
Where a garden is surrounded by high boundaries, more open garden screens often work better than solid divisions, leading the eye down from the perimeter, either in a curving pattern that sweeps down, or a stepped design that offers a more angular approach.
Wherever a garden screen, hedge or wall projects into a space it will deflect a view and create a visual full stop. This is the natural place for a focal point of some kind, whether it be a well-chosen seat or a larger feature such as a pool, arbor or summer house. These will be the punctuation marks of your garden, places to pause, places for something special to happen, before you continue with the rest of the composition.
Open garden screens can be made from a variety of materials, both soft and hard. A line of espaliered or pleached trees, for example, is essentially architectural in shape but has the benefit of flower and foliage both to temper the outline and provide an ever-changing aspect throughout the seasons of the year. The options for hard landscape dividers cover the whole spectrum, from honeycomb walls, open fencing of many kinds, and, of course, trellis.
Most trellis is used as a vehicle for plants, and although there are situations where a well thoughout and detailed piece of trelliswork will lie in perfect harmony with its surroundings, make sure it is designed as part of the overall plan, and not simply for design’s sake!
A trellis garden screen will also be invaluable for disguising the mundale and utility areas of a garden. The simplest will allow climbers to do their job. Basic trellis is made in a squared or diamond pattern from substantial slats that will give years of life if treated with a non-toxic preservative. Whatever the size of the trellis, the same basic rules apply: always provide a sturdy framework, and use sound posts securely fixed into the ground to ensure it doesn’t collapse.
As a final thought, remember to look at garden features in a lateral way, and do not rule out the use of ‘unconventional’ materials.