19 July 2021
A Guide to Walled Gardens
Whether it's a wall around the boundary of your garden or a way to separate the land into sections, walled gardens can offer a more temperate climate and are a beautiful design choice for any garden setting. Gaining popularity in Victorian Britain, walled gardens were traditionally used to border kitchen gardens and protect exotic plant species brought back from their travels. The walls offer a place for privacy, shelter and separation creating the perfect spot in which to practise mindfulness and shield from the British weather.
What are Walled Gardens?
Walled Gardens are characterised by high walls made of stone or brick. Their main use is for horticulture purposes, to protect plants from frost and wind. Formal gardens feature precise geometric patterns and harmonious plants. The enclosed walls raise the ambient temperature of the area by a couple of degrees, creating a microclimate. Perfect for growing crops and non-native species that require warmer temperatures.
How to Design a Walled Garden
Traditionally, the early Persian design of walled gardens often featured four quarters, separated by walkways and with a pool at the centre. These days anything goes and with a few key planning ideas you can create a walled garden thats right for your needs and style. For some traditional kitchen garden Inspiration using our Jacobean brick pavers, have a look at our 'Hill Cottage Case Study'
Walled gardens do not need to be traditional either. Create a contemporary walled garden by changing the materials. Use porcelain tiles throughout and light coloured, skimmed walls to create a seamless modern look like this stunning garden transformation on Houzz.
Step by Step
Firstly, decide if you want a formal or non formal walled garden. Formal gardens are neat and precise with similar plants kept in one area. They are arranged in squares or rectangles with the use of borders or edging - ideal for a rose or herb garden. Informal gardens are less organised and can feature an array of loosely organised flowers and plants, in a more cottage garden style.
1. Draw a scaled plan of your garden - 1/2 inch to 1 ft works well for most residential spaces.
2. Next, decide whether you would like the wall all around the garden or to separate an area. Decide how high the wall will be and if it needs gates or space left to enter.
3. Explore what materials would work best in your garden - brick and stone look more traditional and offer a warmness, while concrete and skimmed walls offer a more modern touch.
4. Then sketch out the sunny and shady spots of the garden also being aware that the wall may throw some more shade into the garden at different times of the day - this will help when it comes to planting.
1. Plan and label what areas will be used for what plants, if you are creating a kitchen garden think about what crops and herbs you would like where and if they need companion plants.
2. Mark out any areas you would like to incorporate more privacy and decide how you would like to achieve that - screens, hedges, tall trees?
3. Think about adding a water feature to the garden to promote wildlife and bring a fluid element to the garden.
4. Add in a variety of plants for interest, Think about tall grasses and trees, climbers and trailers to engulf the walls and add maturity. Sketch these on and colour appropriately. This will give a sense of how your colours and styles of plants work together.
Once you have decided on your border, it's time to think about the paving and pathways. For a more traditional look and feel try our National Trust Kitchen Garden Range with authentic reproductions from historic UK estates. Or, for a more Mediterranean feel, check out our terracotta range.
A more modern take on the walled garden would be to use light or dark coloured porcelain tiles. Try matching or contrasting the paving with coloured walls or partner with brick or stone to bring warmth to the design. Take a look at our paving used in current walled gardens in the inspiration below.
Walled Gardens to visit UK
There are hundreds of historic walled gardens around the UK, many of which have been restored to their original use, providing produce as working kitchen gardens. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Barrington Court, Somerset - beautiful gardens designed by artist & writer Gertrude Jekyll. Featuring a stone walled garden with an abundance of different fruit & vegetable varieties. National Trust, Barrington court website
2. Llanerchaeron, Aeron Valley - 18th century self-sufficient Georgian villa unchanged for 200 years. Featuring productive kitchen gardens and the remains of horticultural technology. National Trust, Llanerchaeron website
3. Attingham Park, Shrewsbury - A restored Georgian walled garden with a bountiful kitchen garden. Take a little piece of the gardens home with freshly harvested produce available to buy in the shop. National Trust, Attingham Park website