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Hard Landscape : Decorative Walls

A decorative wall has no practical function, such as defining the property boundary or retaining earth, but the functions of division and ornament are just as important.

The main function is to divide the garden, defining each area and its treatment. A high wall might divide an internal garden or courtyard from the rest of the garden, creating a garden within.

The higher the wall, the more complete the division, but even a low wall can effectively define the edge of an area of paving, or perhaps a small internal garden, such as a rose garden. Apart from the function of creating division, high walls provide support for wall plants.

Low walls can be used to divide a flat garden in compensation for lack of natural changes of ground level. Ornamental walls should also be decorative in themselves, nicely made with a neat coping perhaps. The straight level lines of low walls make an excellent foil for the varied form of plants.

Walls must be there for a purpose; there is not much point in having a low wall just run across an area of lawn. However, if there is a little flower border to one or other side of the wall, or both sides, a reason for the wall is established.

Stone walls are appropriate for older gardens, and natural gardens. Well-built, plastered, dashed or sprayed walls suit a modern-style garden. Screen walls, made with open, screen blocks or by leaving gaps between solid blocks, are less enclosing than solid walls while still providing division.

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