Garden Wall Building Materials

Walls serve multiple purposes for a garden. As a barrier or screen that delineates a property line, a wall provides privacy and a sense of intimacy for the garden occupants. As part of the decorative landscape, a garden wall adds structured beauty and creates a subtle, orderly perimeter of the garden boundary or as a lovely accent to the landscape. Natural materials are the best choice for a durable wall that will seamlessly blend with the surroundings. Synthetic materials will endure the effects of weathering and require little maintenance.


A stone or brick garden wall is an elegant addition to the garden. Moss-covered walls of uncut stone evoke nostalgic sentiments of pastoral fields and rose-laden garden pathways. Masonry garden walls provide a sense of permanence and harmony within the garden sphere. However, constructing a rock or mortared brick wall is an arduous task, and the wall must be constructed properly to endure the frosts and rains of the seasons. Skilled masons require ample compensation for their toil, and if materials are not native to the property, the expense increases for the quarrying and transporting of heavy rocks or bricks. Yearly maintenance is required as the wall shifts with time. Still, masonry is one of the most beautiful and enduring wall building materials, and will capably withstand the harshest weather. Types of masonry materials include: hewn or uncut stone; slate; exterior-grade brick; preformed cinder retaining blocks.


Wood is a common building material for all types of garden wall structures. Wood is relatively inexpensive, widely available and can be crafted into innumerable shapes, styles and sizes. Tall palisades of wood slats provide security and privacy. Latticed wood fencing ends a romantic appeal and will support rose vines, clematis or drooping clusters of wisteria. Recycled sleepers are extremely strong and serve well as a retaining wall. The most common species of wood for garden walls, acclaimed for their weather resistance, include: teak; cedar; pressure-treated pine; redwood.


The use of synthetic garden materials, such as plastic, is becoming more common. Manufacturers can mould plastic into anything, making the material resemble wood or stone. Plastic wall materials never require painting and never rot. Extreme temperatures may make the material brittle, and plastic may crack or snap under stress. Plastic may be moulded into lattice slats, tall wall segments, posts with elegant caps and more.


Perfect for an informal garden, lush plants or rows of shrubs provide harmonious beauty and subtle privacy. Deciduous shrubs or hedges, such as the privet or dogwood, offer seasonal seclusion while evergreen arbor vitae and English holly conceal around the year. Young willow trees may be planted in twisted, ornate rows; they increase in beauty and shade as they grow and thicken. Plants native to the region will perform better than introduced species, and require less maintenance.


For a more industrial or contemporary appeal, precast or poured concrete makes a long-lasting, impervious barrier. Walls constcted of breeze blocks must be connected with mortar to retain their shape and position. Concrete should be reinforced with wire mesh or iron rebar to prevent the wall from buckling or cracking. Concrete manufacturers offer concrete in multitudes of colours, pre-mixed, precast or as a colour additive for poured cement. A concrete wall serves as an exceptional base on which to add glass mosaic tiles, terra cotta tiles, ceramic tiles or stucco plaster.

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About the Author

Rebecca Mecomber, a former radio broadcaster, has been a professional blogger and writer since 2006. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," and several other publications, covering topics such as Federal Trade Commission policy and media regulations, blogging, home improvement and New York travel.