Raise the Bar

Use fences and trellises to give your herbal landscape a lift.

| August/September 2007

Have you noticed the way some gardens seem to stand out from others? A garden that draws attention and admiration is one that goes from bottom to top, layering plant colors and textures and using structural elements of varying heights to create excitement. The depth and dimension created by layering is important to the design of every successful garden, and structural additions such as fences and trellises make it easy to accomplish.

These versatile supporting structures can do more than provide privacy or define a garden area. When selected and sited carefully, they can play a leading role in your landscape. Cover them with an attractive plant, and these stylish structures can take your garden to a new level.

Here’s how to choose one that’s right for you.

Fencing Fundamentals

For many people, a fence is merely a tall wooden barrier used to mark the property line between neighbors. But practicality aside, a fence is also a visual prop that can be any style, material or size, and you can put it anywhere within your yard, not just at the edges.

For instance, you might use a 2-foot-tall wattle fence (a rustic woven fence made from flexible branches) to accent and define beds and borders. Or, you might choose a 4-foot-tall white picket or split rail fence to provide a greater sense of enclosure without blocking your view. Both create a charming background for annuals, perennials and low-growing shrubs.

A fence that reaches 6 feet or higher provides a quick fix for privacy issues as well as a beautiful backdrop for showcasing taller ornamentals, such as hollyhocks, as well as rambling roses and climbing vines. You even can use a single section of tall fencing in the center of a garden island to serve as a focal point among herbs and perennials or as an artistic divider between different garden rooms.

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