Stone walls can be a functional feature in the garden as well as an aesthetic one. They provide the garden with a sense of privacy and can help create outdoor rooms by defining the edges of a patio and providing a sense of enclosure. Gardens which incorporate stonewalls will find they creates beneficial micro-climates. Micro-climates are climatic conditions within a garden and differ from the general overall climate. For instance, the south and west facing side of a garden wall, which is exposed to the sun, is markedly warmer than the surrounding garden spaces. Plantings there will benefit, especially if the plants are borderline hardy. Bulbs will emerge earlier in the spring against a south facing wall as the radiant heat will warm the soil before the rest of the garden. The north and east facing wall can benefit those plants which require shade. Climbing vines or roses are well suited to grow along the garden wall. Wall provide support and the extra warmth which these plants prefer.
Walls can be used to separate sections of the garden, herb gardens from lawn for instance. Retaining walls, walls which hold back earth, can increase the amount of useable space in a sloping garden. Wall can be either mortared or freestanding. Mortared wall tend have a mortared formal feel while freestanding walls seem a bit more informal. Consider carefully the area of the garden in which you’re planning a wall and the style you‘re tying to achieve.
The stone chosen to construct the garden wall can be influenced by local site conditions or the surrounding architecture. Stones found in the local landscape can unify a garden design and make the wall and garden belong to the site. In New England, stone walls built hundreds of years ago run through the landscape. These walls were constructed using stones which were unearthed as farmers worked the land. Though they were built for completely different reasons, the old New England stone wall has a sense of permanence and has become part of the landscape. Garden walls should strive for this feeling of permanence, using local stone will help achieve this goal.
As an extension of the surrounding architecture, the garden wall can create outdoor living spaces which serve as a transition between the house and the garden. A formal wall made of brick can create a partially enclosed patio feel like an outdoor room. Also, unifying the architecture and the landscape in this way will create an overall feeling of cohesion within the site’s design.
Garden walls will made of stone are extremely durable. Properly planned and thought out, a stone wall will add quality to your landscape and well constructed will last a lifetime.