When you think of a landscape you most likely imagine those parts that are on the ground level like a patio, pathways, plantings beds, maybe raised planters, and a water feature. But what about those elements that lift your eye away from the ground level. Vertical landscaping is great for maximizing a small space, getting more use from underused features like walls and fences, and creating a focal point.
Pergolas and arbors are probably top of the list when you think of adding something tall to a landscape. Not only can they provide rain cover and sun protection, but you can also add things like string lights and movie screens to broaden their usage. Between kits and custom built pergolas and arbors, you can find a size and style that’ll fit into any garden.
Having a 6 foot tall fence is great for providing privacy but can be a bit bland on its own. Fence planters come in all shapes, styles, sizes, and materials and are easy to install. This is a quick solution to filling blank spaces along stretches of fencing and is particularly effective in narrow side yards where planting space may not exist. Trailing plants and succulents work great for these and add a splash of color you might not get otherwise.
Similar to fences, large blank walls don’t add much to the garden but do provide a great opportunity to add vertical interest. A tall trellis attached to, or placed in front of, a blank wall with a Clematis or other flowering vine, creates a whole new garden area that may have been overlooked before. In urban public or corporate spaces, you’ll sometimes see vertical gardens installed right on the wall. You can find different types of plant pockets (or even palettes) that can mimic this look while adding valuable planting space for both ornamental or edible plants. Retaining walls are another great place to add a bit of excitement. Trailing plants, flowering groundcovers, and succulents planted at the outer edge of retaining walls are the perfect place to add a pop of color in the garden. Multiple retaining walls with plantings in between will help the eye travel up while creating a sense of depth.
The name itself implies they’re not directly at ground level but we can go taller than that! Teepee trellis’ are perfect in your vegetable garden. Vining plants like peas and beans look great through the growing season and the teepee shape makes for easy harvesting. When the growing season is finished, the teepee shape provides a nice focal point in the winter months. Colored ones even help to brighten up those gray days.
Not only do they help provide privacy, but wood and metal screens add a touch of personalization and decoration. Horizontal wood screens can add a modern touch to the garden while metal laser cut screens have the option of so many difference types of patterns and eventually, patinas. Sizes of screens can also be customized for both height and width making them easy to fit into any space.
While we’re not exactly looking at skyscraper height here, bubbling water features do provide a bit more visual interest slightly above ground level so we couldn’t leave them out. Whether in front of a wall, alongside a patio, or near the front entrance they not only provide a relaxing view but can also help drown out excess noise in the garden.
We can’t talk about adding height to a garden without mentioning plant material. Narrow and columnar forms of shrubs and trees are great for providing vertical, multi-season interest and privacy if needed. A single columnar tree can anchor a planting bed or a pair may be used to frame a gate or garden opening or a line of them can flank a path to add attention and create privacy. These types of shrubs and trees can help add structure and definition to a landscape while being a nice contrast to more rounded, spreading, or bushy plants nearby.
Have you found any clever ways to add vertical landscaping into your garden? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!