Walls That Work
The following examples of garden-variety room dividers all use an inspiring combination of hard and soft elements to form attractive and functional walls, screens, boundaries, and passageways.
Elaborate woodwork and a pergola-style top make this crisp white gate a stylish example of a formal garden-room divider. The arch in the middle suggests an entry door; the flanking trelliswork resembles muntined sidelights. Brick hardscaping is softened by restrained greenery, and potted plants add color.
Shrubs can perform as living walls; their fullness screens and encloses while their flowers and foliage provide visual interest. In this garden, a purple butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.), a golden arborvitae (Thuja spp.), and a dwarf Siberian spruce (Picea spp.) surround a sitting area. The bamboo lattice provides only a token physical barrier but acts as a linear boundary in contrast to the shrubs' roundness.
Salvaged ironwork aged with a verdigris finish works with prefabricated cedar lattice panels to enclose a miniature piazza. Climbing vines and spiky foliage reinforce the lattice's strong vertical statement. Classical statuary tucked into overgrown greenery creates the look of a formal garden gone wild.
Like a window seat indoors, a bench-trellis combination offers both a place to sit and a view to enjoy. The natural wood tones of the trellis set off the rose garden as it supports 'Constance Spry,' a vigorously growing shrub rose. The trellis' diagonal weave combines with the roses to form a romantic, wallpaperlike effect.
Interior floor plans usually include hallways to connect rooms. You can apply the same principle outdoors. A trellis creates a mini corridor one must pass through on the way to and from the vegetable garden. The vibrant colors of Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' beg you to stop and admire them for a minute or two as you make your way through the garden rooms. A simple bench and small birdbath encourage longer stays.
A sweeping arch of Rosa multiflora 'Carnea' spreads across the vaulted arbor separating the rose garden from the backyard. The waves of blooms spilling over the path call to mind the soft look of an older garden in which one area flows gently into another.
A solid wall with lattice on top creates a safe, quiet haven in a corner of the garden. The wall ensures privacy and security below, while the lattice admits light and air above and allows views of the surroundings. The rose arbor above the bench rounds off the room's square corner and produces a fragrant, cottage-style bower.
Who says fences must always be cloaked in drab and neutral shades? An iron version salvaged from an apartment complex takes on new life under a coat of lavender paint. The colorful fence perks up the entry to a woodland garden, as a fountain of Clematis cascades over the gate's simple arch.