Walled garden design ideas – how to create your own secret garden?

Written by Kremena Ruseva

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What is a walled garden? How to design an attractive private place within our own garden? We shall show you beautiful walled gardens and give you some useful ideas for the layout and design so that you can have your dream backyard retreat.

What is a walled garden?

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As the name suggests, a walled garden is a garden enclosed by high walls. Such gardens appeared back in Medieval times and were usually enclosed by hedges, a stone wall or a fence. In the Middle Ages, the walls surrounded castles and gave shelter and protection to the local population in dangerous times. Inside the walls the gardens provided food and medical plants to the population.

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Potager gardens are typical examples of walled gardens. Initially, these gardens were designed to protect the plants from animals or severe weather as the walls maintain a higher temperature within the sheltered area and plants can grow in a suitable micro climate. Stone or brick walled gardens became widely popular as the walls absorb, retain and radiate the solar heat and plants are protected from a sudden change in temperature and weather conditions. Potager gardens were popular in many country houses and were used to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs.

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With the development of landscaping, the idea of a walled garden changed and potager slowly turned to decorative gardens and became a secure, secluded spot where people could relax in peace and quiet.

Walled garden design ideas – how to design a peaceful secret garden?

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Each of us sometimes need to relax and a small secluded garden is the perfect place for it, because that is the place where we can get closer to nature, to regain strength, relieve stress and feel renewed. A walled garden is usually hidden somewhere deep in the backyard. However, you can arrange anywhere, even on rooftops.

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How to design a walled garden? The first and most important rule is to isolate the spot from the rest of the garden with a wall – low or high or a hedge, if you wish. The garden wall will perform two functions – on the first place it will provide you the seclusion and the tranquility, isolate you from the noise and the rest of the house. In addition, it will give protection against cold winds, draughts, and extreme temperatures. As a result this will allow you to grow even the most exotic plants and arrange it as per your personal taste.

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The plot has a major role in the design of a walled garden. The wall will look in a different way on a sloping area and on a leveled site. Whether your garden wall will be straight, with curved lines, forming different geometric shapes – a zigzag or something else – it will be entirely your choice, provided the plot area is suitable for the chosen design.

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When choosing the type of garden wall you need to remember that it is connection between the house, the landscape and the garden itself. The function of the wall will determine the material, the height and the overall appearance. You have to decide whether it is going to be a noise barrier or a privacy wall, an additional decorative element in the landscape or a space divider. Of course the appearance and character of the wall will be determined by the choice of materials – lower walls are perfect as space dividers and are often used as they add to the sculptural look. Stone or bricks are mostly used for walled garden as they provide better privacy and insulation.

How to choose the plants for a walled garden?

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Traditional walled gardens follow a geometric pattern, sometimes with a water feature in the center. However, in modern garden design, you can take a more liberal approach and arrange the garden the way that you find most pleasing to the eye and soul. The walls will protect the plants and you can choose anything from wild flowers to exotic ones. Fragrant plants are a very good choice as they will add a pleasant scent and will make the place even more relaxing. Honeysuckle, lavender, primrose, roses and herbs are an ideal choice and do not require much care. You should not worry whether the garden looks simple or lush. It is important that you feel good in it.

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Decorating a walled garden is also a personal choice. A water feature, a small garden pond or a mini fountain will be a good idea as the sound of running water has a calming effect. It the garden is too small, you may opt for a small water cascade.

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The style of the secret walled garden can be in accordance with the overall landscape design. However, many people choose a completely different style for this special place. If you are a fan of Zen or Japanese style gardens – this is a great opportunity to design one. If you are attracted to Mediterranean style – add some clay pots, a wrought iron bench and a few garden accessories and decorations. Let this part of your garden free of any strict laws of landscape design. This will allow you to change its appearance when you want to and if you want to. You can change even the plants and turn a formal garden into a magical and romantic rose one or a lush tropical.

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Even if your walled garden is just a gazebo or a pergola hidden by climbing plants, you can arrange it in a beautiful way. Walled gardens usually do not feature outdoor furniture sets like dining sets or lounge sets. A tiny table under a canopy or a bench under the shade of sprawling jasmine bush will give you a place to sit down and enjoy some quiet and peaceful time. Again, if you feel like it, you can add some furniture. Your secret walled garden will help you achieve all that you want. Treat it with respect, take care of it and spend many happy restful hours.

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