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Looking for ideas for garden boundaries please

marcos 114marcos 114 Posts: 24
edited April 2018 in Garden design
Hello GW forum folk.

I recently moved into a house with both a front and back garden (which is a novelty for me, having moved from a maisonette with a small decked area). I've not really before been all that interested in gardening, but now I have the opportunity, it's really piqued my interest.

Clearly there's lots to do - but I firstly wanted to get the basic structure of the boundaries sorted, there's a mixture of various wooden fence styles, a stone a wall, an historic brick wall, and a wire mesh with a nascent hedge on the other side. Just going on a walk in the local area for inspiration, it's clear that fences are by far the most popular, but I didn't see a single fence I really liked. And more often than not, they are rotting at the edges (particularly the bottoms).

I have a plan the previous owners had made of the existing layout for planning permission, which serves as a handy reference for this post. For scale, it's about 10m at the front, 20m at the back (which is SSW facing), and around 10m on the little side area:

The front is a bit unusual in that it's a ~200 year old walkway, with a 3.3m high wall (which I absolutely love, incidentally).

So per the topic, my question is, what would folks here recommend for the boundaries?

I wondered about reclaimed or old-looking red brick, but for the full 40m or so each side, I figure that would be eye-wateringly expensive?

What I think may be more reasonable is old red-brick either side of the front garden, to complement the existing front wall (though would be limited I think to 2m to avoiding shading neighbours). I'd have to ask the neighbour about changing the existing stone wall (or building in front of it). We have already bought two espalier trees to go against the front wall, and I'd like to have them either side too - hence wanting to have something more permanent than a fence.

What to do about the back though I'm not sure - the wire fence to the left looks like we could just wait for next door's hedge to grow through. However, I'd like it to be symmetrical with the other side. What I like about the wire fence is that it would seen to be well supported, will need little maintenance, and that we can train things against it.

Training things against wooden fences doesn't seem like it would work well long term, as plants would get in the way of maintaining it with wood stains/sealant.

Here's some further photos for reference.

The back garden (SSW facing):

Front garden, right-hand border, hedge with a large gap, and rotting fence behind:

Front garden, left-hand border, well maintained stone wall and newish fence:

Front garden NNE facing, historic 3.3m high wall (the side you can see is SSW facing, and far enough to avoid shade of house). About half the garden is in the shade of the house this time of year (April):


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,637
    edited April 2018
    First, check your house deeds as you will not be the owner/person responsible for maintenance of all of those fences so you can't just barge in and do what you like.  Boundary disputes can escalate into serious problems between neighbours so tread carefully and be diplomatic and consult and confer first.

    Secondly, check out costs of walls v fencing v trellis and give yourself a budget based on how sturdy you want it to be, how much privacy you need and how long you expect it to last.  Look online for fencing styles and maybe get a couple of quotes fro brick walls.  Investing more in good quality boundaries will pay off later but may not be ideal if you have other expenses like a fat new mortgage, house improvements and other projects.

    Lastly, think about what you want from your garden - show, quiet retreat, social space, kids' play area, wildlife haven and so on as that will also have some bearing on what you choose and don't forget hedging.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks @Obelixx

    I should have mentioned I already discussed this with neighbours. We are responsible for the boundary to the right, and the lady there is actually very happy we're sorting it out. To the left, the neighbour doesn't mind what we put up behind the existing wire fence. For the remainder, we'll have to discuss what's she'll be happy with.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,055
    edited April 2018
    I'd plant a hedge alongside that wire fence ... possibly holly, or perhaps yew ... either would look wonderful, would go well with the old brick wall at the end and would give a softer look than more bricks (and would be infinitely cheaper ... brick walls cost arms and legs, particularly attractive old frost-proof bricks ... trust me, I used to be married to a builder)  ... and just think of the opportunities a hedge would give to nesting birds  :)  

    A hedge on the other side would be great too, but be careful of too much similarity between the two sides ... it can end up looking a little 'box like' if you're not careful. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,635
    An interesting garden and lovely wall!  
    In the back gardenI would be inclined to let the neighbours existing hedge grow through the wiring to your side but keep it tightly clipped back. The other side looks more of a problem in that there are two different types of fencing and you would have to find out if the neighbour would be happy with a wire fence (I suspect not, most people prefer wooden fencing, in which case the vertical type is preferable and lasts longer).

     In the front garden, if the existing well maintained wall is breeze block, you could either extend the existing vertical fencing in front of it, (although you'd have to angle it slightly at the join). You can get concrete "boards" (can't think of the right name for these!) at the bottom, so the fences won't rot so fast. If it's nice solid stone blocks, I would just move some of the existing evergreen bushes and replant so they hide more of this wall. On the other side I would just reduce the height and width of the overgrown gappy hedge and perhaps just take down the old rotting fence behind (if it's yours). The hedge can act as the boundary. Take your time deciding which boundary type you'd prefer and don't be in too much of a hurry to cut down existing mature shrubs/hedging - once they've gone, they've gone!

    One further point, espalier trees are usually supported by canes and wires, you might to check if you are allowed to screw into the old brick wall - or are they to be freestanding? 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,054
    Lizzie27 said:

     You can get concrete "boards" (can't think of the right name for these!)
    Gravel boards, which can be wood or concrete. Concrete looks ugly to me, but I guess it lasts longer than most wood.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,635
    I knew it was something like that! I agree concrete does look ugly, but it does preserve the fence panels for longer.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845
    edited April 2018
    Love the euonymus and the old brick wall.  Not enjoying people limbing up shrubs.

    Why is the privet so ashamed of the wire fence?  Would be great if it was growing through hiding it.  Perhaps the weave is too tight.  Or is this newish?
  • Thanks @Wayside

    The privet has a chance, I neglected to mention there were two (and in places three) layers of rotting fences, trellises, and ivy all along that side. So now there's some light, it may grow through.

    I did have someone quote for doing the whole 80 metres in brick (40m each side), and they said in bricks alone it would be nearly £20k! So, that's a 'no' then :)

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,635
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
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