Garden Design

Make sure that your garden arbour fits in to the overall garden design. Look around in rural neighborhoods and you'll notice that on the whole, older properties are tucked away in sheltered valleys away from cold winter winds. When they were built, there was no double glazing or central heating, so farmhouses and cottages had thick walls and small windows to reduce heat loss. These days, houses are often built in higher places to take advantage of far-reaching views. The trouble starts when their owners want to make a lovely garden and find themselves both fighting the wind and in a dilemma. Planting windbreaks shields gardens, but at the same time reduces views.

City gardens are no less prone to exposure, as they will grow and spread regardless of topography. The hard surfaces of a city tend to absorb and retain heat, so that on the whole, they are warmer than the surrounding countryside. Yet solid buildings create wind tunnels and plants growing on balconies and roof gardens have to put up with extremes of heat, wind, and light.


When frost is forecast, some gardeners have more reason to quake than others. Gardens by the sea will rarely suffer frost, whereas further inland and in higher places, frost is often severe, penetrating, and longer-lasting. Then there is the strange, often unpredictable phenomenon of frost pockets.

While planning and designing your garden, look out for every nuance of climate and note it down. Not only will this help when it comes to choosing plants and the most sheltered areas for seating, but it might suggest what look parts of the garden might have. If what you have resembles an open prairie, a Mediterranean hillside, a boggy ditch, a woodland, or an enclosed area ideal for scented plants, go with the flow and capitalize on your conditions rather than fighting them.

Gentle undulations make for an interesting garden, but steep slopes can be the stuff of nightmares. Do you cut a zigzag path down through and spend your entire gardening life balanced on one leg? Or is it better to terrace? Terracing is going to be time consuming and expensive, with plenty of attention needed to drainage at the base of the beds and firm walls to support the soil. But once you have them, steps can lead onto the flat surfaces and each will be backed by a retaining wall, offering wonderful planting opportunities. Hopefully, by doing this, terracing manages the worst of the slope, leaving only a few banks to plant.

 Garden arbour


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