Permanent Structures

Most landscapes have basic structures, as in driveways and walkways.  This under construction landscape project features site specific architectural elements that address certain needs. The lower portion of this steel fence will soon be hidden by a row of yews matching the lakeside planting.  This fence and gates enclose a dog run, and were specifically designed to keep a local population of coyotes out. The horizontal vineyard bar in the top portion of the fence repeats the branch motif of the privacy fencing on the lot line.  The plan for the garden includes drifts of shade tolerant perennials, and lots of groundcover.  A single pot that splits up the gravel path through the garden is tall enough to keep the dog from rummaging through it.  A tall planting will be visible from outside the the run.    

cane bolt handle

Though the fence has a specific purpose, that does not mean it can’t be designed for some visual interest.  A cane bolt is a long piece of steel that goes down into the ground.  This keep one of the two gates in a fixed position.  The bolt needs to be lifted up to release the gate.  The handle on this bolt is not only easy to grasp, but it is friendly to the eye. The curves echo the circular staircase which connects the lower level terrace to a second story terrace. There are lots of structural elements in this one area of the garden-not the least of which is a covered porch with stone-clad columns.  I like iron and steel as a material in the landscape, as it can be very light and airy looking, as well as strong and stury.   

steel fence

The top of the fence culminates in an iron shelf.  I have never designed a fence with this feature before, but I have never designed with coyotes in mind either.  The shelf will hold rectangular wire baskets, with summer plantings.  Apparently coyotes do not grip and climb-they leap over fences.  The hedge of flowers 6 feet in the air will be much tougher to leap over that a fence.  The double hedge of yews is 6 feet wide.  Any coyote hoping to get in here will have to get up a full head of steam, and leap 8 feet in the air, and sail a considerable distance before they land.  I am by no means sure this will work, but it’s my best effort and securing the space.  Not to mention that I think flowers on top of the fence will look great.

garden pergola
Landscaping a lakefront property poses challenges relating to the view of the water.  Most people who live on lakes prize their views of the water-that seems only natural.  The placement of trees are restricted in some communities, so no neigfhboring views are compromised.  This pergola will be planted with roses and clematis, and perennials in the gravel.  The steel structure will not only be softened by the plantings, but it will eventually provide shade underneath from a source alternate to a tree.  Even when the plantings mature, they will never obstruct the upstairs views of the water.   They will frame specific views from the terrace and library.  Between the pergola, and the neighbors iron fence, a hedge of small growing trees will screen the lot line.   

wood arbor

Hard structures in the landscape can take many different forms, and are built for all kinds of reasons.  Some structures are built whose primary utility is a personal expression about beauty.  I enjoy this part of gardening as much as I do the plants, as I value seeing the evidence of the human hand, and the hand of nature, in concert.   

cast iron fountain

English cast iron fountain

garden dining

decomposed granite terrace

antique French iron gloriette

garden gates

steel garden gatesfaux bois arbor

concrete faux bois birch log arbor

alfresco dining

garden dining table and chairs

fountain pot

fountain and antique Doulton face pot overlooking the lake

antique faux bois

antique faux bois bird cage

stucco wall

stucco wall with integral shelves

stained concrete pots

acid stained concrete pots

garden furniture

garden furniture

bluestone terrace

dining terrace

stone walls, pergolas, fountain and terraces under construction

antique faux bois

antique French faux bois garden bench

wood pergola

wood pergola

Valders stone

This fountain is one of my favorite things about my own garden.  I built it with money my Mom left me 10 years ago.  It reminds me of her, as she was an avid gardener who also encouraged me to take some time off now and then-you know, maybe go to the beach.   It provides me with a place to unwind, and take a little time off.  In addition to the history behind it, I like the look and the sound.  I like to get in it when it’s hot.  This is a big structure in my small garden that gives me a lot of pleasure.

Comments

  1. Rob Beebe says:

    This was a particularly nice post, Deborah. As you well know, I love this sort of garden designing, as others will too when they see these great photos.

  2. Your photos are fabulous! I love to add structures to my own garden – they add so much in the overall balance and beauty.

  3. Seems ridiculous hardscaping, focal points & etc. cost money.

    They are as necessary as the air we breath.

    Pictures you chose prove it.

    XO T

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Dear Tara, everything costs-whether it be money, time, or effort. What I devote to my garden means that I neglect other things.
      My world view is really lopsided. I would forgo a lot of things, in order to nurture my garden. When I was young, every structure in my garden came from materials thrown in the trash, put together with my own hands. I am old enough now to have endured the death of a treasured parent, and have invested my grief and what money she left me in a garden structure that represents my love and respect for her. Thanks for this letter-it made me think about what truly is “as necessary as the air we breathe”. Deborah

  4. That faux bois birch arbor is amazing. I never would have guessed it’s faux bois. I bet it weighs a ton. I love so many of these structures you’ve featured, but my favorites are the pergola a the lakefront property (I can’t wait to see how that project comes together) and your fountain. I think it is sometimes hard to spend money on hard structure in the garden, but these things certainly make these landscapes what they are.

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Dear Erin, it does weigh a ton. We bolted it together with stainless steel bolts once we got all the pieces there. Effective hard structures for the landscape can be very simple and put together by a gardener themselves. It’s just a form of self expression that does add a lot to a landscape. Deborah

Leave a Comment

*