Landscape design is often thought of as the treatment of horizontal surfaces around a built structure where decks, paving and planting become the most obvious elements considered at the initial and planning stages of a project. An often overlooked landscape design opportunity can be the treatment of the vertical surfaces that surround and define an outdoor space. This can include boundary fences, freestanding screens or walls and the facades of buildings. These can all provide a great blank canvas for creative design elements and applications. The following are examples of how these can be integrated into your outdoor space.
Mirrors are a favourite folly of garden designers and when sited cleverly, they can create an increased sense of depth and light to an otherwise ‘flat’ garden elevation.
‘Green walls’ are a relatively recent trend to bring a lush, verdant look to an otherwise flat vertical space. A proven prefabricated modular system will ensure the plants receive the correct irrigation and fertilisation they’ll need to thrive. The initial plant selection is key to the success of the wall.
An emerging overseas trend is the installation of decorative panels to create dynamic features on walls in courtyards settings. High end examples of this are backlit, metal panels with customised ‘laser cut’ geometric patterns. Corten steel is great panel option which will weather with age and create a striking rusted patina. The selected decorative pattern can be a repeating geometric stencil look , or an organic free-form arrangement that’s customised to suit the personality and ‘quirk’ of the property owner. ‘Off the shelf’ panels are available at an affordable price point and may also be suited to DIY installation.
Decorative cut panels can also be used to create boundary screening with varying degrees of visual permeability. In a highly urban setting this can can provide sophisticated and effective visual screening to neighbours while not blocking light into your space.
Used with a combination of proportion, restraint and clever placement these ideas can add a unique design element to your outdoor space.