Over the garden wall

There are numerous ways of forming boundaries to gardens and usually they are already in situ when you move into a property. There may be some sort of wooden fencing, hedging, or decorative panelling or there may be stone walls of one description or another.

In my case we inherited some lovely dry stone walls, typical of Cumbria, that have stood the test of time and are now liberally covered in lovely moss and lichen. They need virtually no maintenance so that’s another bonus.

Obviously, the type of walling you might choose will depend on your location, type of property and garden and in some cases how you want to use your space. You might want to have raised beds built of stone, or use it to create borders, on the other hand you might want to create a little bit of fantasy by having an arbour or mock ruin, the possibilities are endless.

There were some excellent examples of dry stone walls at the Chelsea Flower Show where they were used on the Welcome to Yorkshire garden designed by Mark Gregory and on the Warner Edwards garden designed by Kate Savill and Tamara Bridge.

At Chatsworth Flower Show, designer Carl Hardman created the Wedgwood Emergence , a beautiful installation rising from the ground as a ‘random’ field wall perfectly illustrating how dry stone construction can be formed into interesting forms in any garden. ( pictured left )

I asked Chris Bratt, of the Cumbria Branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, about the advantages of this type of wall in a garden. Chris explains that in areas such as Cumbria and in others areas where stone walls are an integral part of the landscape, dry stone walls will fit naturally, unlike mortared brick or block walls: “ If a wall is properly built, it will require no maintenance and will last hundreds of years ,” he says. “ Compare that to fences that rot and need continual care. You might want to consider that boundary walls to your property may need to be stock proof (about 1.5 metres high to prevent all but the most agile sheep jumping over, but not deer). They certainly make a fine looking boundary ,” he adds.

Chris also points out that lower border walls for flower beds must be built to the correct dimensions – one stone depth is not sufficient and for maximum strength and soil retention, he recommends they should be at least 30cms wide.

Stone is also effective for patio design and pathways and there are plenty of manufacturers now producing some really lovely designs to enhance any garden.

Obviously, any type of walling can be expensive but if you are looking to refresh your outdoor space and don’t have the budget to completely start over you should look at stone products available from manufacturers such as Bradstone. They have introduced Natural Stone Walling Slips to offer a quick and easy solution to transform any old, tired garden wall or area.

Walling Slips can offer an instant update by adding stylish shape and structure to your garden design and Bradstone can offer these in six shades including natural sandstone, smooth sandstone, silver grey or natural slate. The natural slate and natural sandstone slips are Z-shaped giving the appearance of a random look while the smooth sandstone slips are individual blocks in a mix of sizes to give a more formal contemporary look.

You can also add Walling Slips to any sound backing wall, whether it’s concrete or brick, using Bradbond walling adhesive to stick to the existing wall.