In earlier articles I discussed finding and implementing your own style in your gardens. This week I'd like to talk about adding to that with fencing, arbors and trellises. These all are available in a variety of styles but most are made from wood, metal or vinyl composites.
I have used trellises to grow roses and vines on for many years. My first use was of wooden fan trellises against a south facing wall with Morning Glories planted on them. Over the years I planted Moonflower and Hyacinth Bean vines on them also. A good treated wood trellis will last many years before succumbing to the harsh Kansas elements. For that reason, I chose heavier metal ones at the front of my pergola. They support my climbing roses and clematis well and have retained their frames and coatings over the past twelve years.
My yard is interspersed with fencing in various areas as well.A wooden privacy fence stretches between my house and garage along the back side of the pergola offering a windbreak but spaced to allow for conversation with my nice neighbors. All I've had to do by way of maintenance over the years was to replace a few pickets until this last year when the support boards on the back side had started to rot arid needed replacing. That was after the original fencing was in place for 18 years.
I also have sections of black wrought-iron fencing in various locations throughout my landscape. The first time I used it was as a backdrop to a rose bush in my Island Bed. I used a single 36" tall section flanked by curved end sections. It is tall enough to highlight the rose without blocking the view from the house or street. I liked it so well that I then added four more 40" tall sections along my alleyway in the back yard. Red bricks stacked in alternating 3 brick courses on top of a 12" by 12" paver to a desired height and topped with a second 12" by 12" paver formed decorative columns at each end. I then used bricks and a larger size pavers in the center to display garden statuary. Native grasses and purple salvias grace the back and front of the fencing.
When the dry hot summers of 2011/2012 brought the demise of a row of lovely shrubs along my front property line I was heartbroken. After some deliberation I once again turned to the fencing for a solution. This time I used a single 40" tall section flanked by one 36" tall section on each side. I again used bricks and pavers for columns at each end and front center for statuary. More bricks outline a narrow bed around the fencing which now holds daylilies, Asiatic lilies, liatris and sage.
Having already used black wrought-iron handrails on both of my porches, and having a climbing rose on the same iron trellis next to a set of porch steps just begged for the addition of an arbor to make the entryway more inviting. An end of season sale at the hardware store provided just the perfect one for 50 percent off. It is lovely with or without the rose covering it.
Would my yard have been ok without these adornments? Certainly. But, these subtle additions have highlighted my plantings and landscape without upstaging them. And the best thing of all is they don't require a drop of water to stay lovely all year!
This is an easy to install, relatively inexpensive way to add beauty and function to your own landscape. Give some a try and enjoy.