What elements should you include in your garden to make it a true Garden Sanctuary? Today, I am going to discuss one, how to enclose your garden, which is a key to creating a garden haven in your yard.
Your garden sanctuary should be ENCLOSED
According to Wikepedia, “A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a safe haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety.”
A place of safety needs to be separated from those places that we see as not safe. The easiest way to achieve that sense of separation is to place a barrier between us and the outside world. That barrier in the garden is usually a enclosure around most if not all of the garden space.
How to enclose your garden
This enclosure can be made from plants, fences, walls, even berms built out of soil. They each have their own characteristics, but the key thing they all do is separate the space inside the enclosure from the space outside the enclosure.
Hard materials such as fences or walls create an instant enclosure that blocks out the outside world the day it is completed. Enclosures that are made of plants are spaced to allow them to grow a bit. Thus they will not effectively create a barrier until some time has gone by.
The easiest way to enclose a garden is to open the yellow pages (oh who am I kidding!), search Google for “fences” and write a big check. Fences are usually made of wood, metal or plastic (ick!). Wooden fences are usually the choice to create a barrier that provides privacy. They can range from plain Jane unstained cedar to quite fancy ones.
If you are interested in creating a Japanese feel to your garden sanctuary, you could also use Bamboo or a combination of bamboo and wood. It may be hard to find fence builders who will do this for you. You may have to do this yourself.
If you have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket you could even have a wall built around your garden.
This could be made from masonry such as brick or a stucco covered concrete block wall. These types of enclosures are more common in arid regions such as the southwest.
How to enclose your garden with plants
Formal hedges are familiar features in European gardens. To create a formal hedge, you basically plant a whole bunch of one kind of plant in a row close together.
Then you let them grow together. The fun begins when you get to begin shearing them several times a year to get them to look like a green wall.
Formal hedges are usually evergreens such as yews, boxwood or arborvitae, but deciduous plants such as hornbeams, beech, or even burning bush are often used to.
For some reason, I know several gardeners that have strong negative feelings about formal hedges. Maybe their parents tortured them by making them trim their hedges with scissors or perhaps they are rebelling against the oppressive authorities that impose strict order on them. Whatever it is, lots of people don’t like formal hedges. I am not one of them, I like formal hedges. If you are one of those there is an alternative called the informal hedge.
The informal hedge is just the same row of plants but instead of being tightly trimmed to create a green wall, they are left to grow into their natural shape. They usually require more width to grow, but are less work to maintain. Informal hedges are often made of flowering shrubs such as roses or lilacs.
Besides hedges, you can enclose your garden with a border of different plants. This is where gardeners with “plantitis” start to get all excited. Think of all the different plants you can fit into a big border that surrounds your whole yard.
Next post, I’ll talk about mixed borders and how to use them along with the “mounded bowl technique” to achieve a complete sense of enclosure in a new backyard landscape even in urban lots.
We have a very minimal back garden but it over looking from all the three sides. We have parking space inside our garden and also a double sized wooden gate. We have also have a common drive at the back which means it’s completely open. Can u please suggest to make our back garden more private and secluded. Any suggestion would be much appreciated.
Mary Ann says
I would like to create a corner hedge of lilacs on the corner of my property but I’m afraid it will be leggy and unattractive after the blooms die and through the winter (I live in Boston). Can you suggest plants in front of the lilacs to avoid the leggy look?
They can get leggy eventually, but if you regularly prune them this can be avoided. There are lots of smaller shrubs that you could put in front of them either in rows or in groupings that repeat it really depends upon what look you like and how much space you have. You could plant a everlow yew (Taxus ‘Everlow’) or a Shamrock Holly (Illex glabra ‘Shamrock” which are low growing evergreens or Dwarf Fothergilla or some repeatable pattern of those two or some other shrubs. You could also plant a mass planting of a summer flowering perennial such as Purple Cone flower that you could leave the seed heads over the winter. It really depends on the character of the landscape, how much space you have and what you like.