A garden wall can be the perfect landscaping feature to shape the flow of your outdoor space while adding a little beauty at the same time. From flower-filled stonework to modern stucco, there’s a garden wall perfect for every yard.
What’s the Difference Between a Fence and a Garden Wall?
First things first, it’s important to know exactly what we’re talking about when we say “garden wall.” Garden walls are low walls, usually about 18-24 inches in height, that line a landscape feature. The garden wall acts as a division between the installed feature and the rest of the landscape.
The biggest difference between a garden wall and a fence is that fences are typically tall, meant for privacy or security. A chain link fence makes a secure dog run, a gated picket fence marks the boundary of your lawn, and a slatted fence offers welcome respite from any nosy neighbors.
Garden walls, on the other hand, are low to the ground to preserve open views of your garden. They help to create zones in your landscaping and keep your plants, mulch, and more exactly where you want them. They are most commonly made of stone or brickwork and retaining walls are often filled with plants.
Both fences and garden walls have their place in a landscape, but you wouldn’t put a 5 foot fence around a garden bed, nor would you try to keep your dog contained in your yard with an 18 inch wall! Knowing the difference will help you plan a beautiful and functional outdoor space.
We have plenty of fence ideas, but in this article we’ll be focusing on garden wall ideas to add interest and structure to your yard. Take a look and see if you find inspiration for your yard!
#1 // Rustic Stone Walls for a Cottage Feel
A low stone wall is perfect for defining the edges of your garden beds while allowing expansive views and an open feeling in your landscape. Natural stone shaped into rounded, organic shapes will add rustic appeal to your space. Tiered walls create charming, multi-leveled flower beds that cleverly draw the eye up to the front of the home for classic curb appeal.
#2// Matching Materials to Define a Modern Entry
If you’re looking for garden wall ideas for a modern home, the sharp lines of these white stucco walls provide the perfect inspiration! Matching your garden walls to the exterior of your home is a simple way to keep your curb appeal clean and contemporary while adding definition to your entryway.
#3 // Eye-Catching Garden Backdrop
While some walls fade into the background, you can make your garden wall a focal point of your space with a splash of colorful paint. You can choose a shade to complement or contrast with the rest of your landscaping. The vibrant purple paint used here makes the colors of the trees and flowers pop, while also drawing the eyes right over a decorative water feature.
We also love a Southwestern design where a warm, earthy palette can compliment nature and further create the vibe of the style you are going for. Use a painted backdrop technique in your space to direct your guests’ gaze exactly where you want it!
#4 // Modern Wall to Create Separation
You can use garden walls to create the feeling of a private room in your outdoor space! In this design, a tall white fence and a living wall hide the garden from prying eyes, while lower walls help to break up the large yard space and frame the elevated deck.
This also shows how a garden wall can be used for more than just planting by creating an elegant water feature filled with aquatic plants. The different levels in this space make the space still feel very open, while providing a distinct space.
Find the zones of your garden that could use a little extra privacy and create separation with walls of your own!
#5 // Backdrop for a Bold Flower Border
Sometimes a good garden wall is a supporting feature in a landscape rather than a focal point, like in this design that is a celebration of flowers and foliage. A neutral low wall makes the perfect backdrop to let greenery pop or bolster trailing flower blossoms cascading over the top.
This design lets your plants do the talking while still providing privacy and a border for your house—that’s a win-win.
#6 // Garden Wall Seating for a Functional Feature
Adding flat stone slabs on top of a brickwork garden wall instantly turns a plain brick wall into the perfect place to take a seat in your garden. The wall shown here is an attractive and functional retaining wall that keeps soil contained in the garden beds, but you can apply this technique to a low wall of any style.
This wall distinguishes the patio from the yard, but add a fire pit to the edge or a small coffee table and you have extra built in seating. This is one of our favorite space-saving garden wall ideas to use in any design for a small yard!
#7 // Brick Wall for a Classic Garden
If you’re looking for garden wall ideas for a traditional garden design, a brick wall is the perfect pick for you. Brick is a sturdy and easy-to-use building material, making it ideal for any DIY garden wall project.
Classic red brick allows any surrounding greenery to pop, while painting a brick wall is a simple way to match the aesthetic of your outdoor space. In the below design the trees against the white wall with the red brick and green turf makes a classic design statement. Line a flower bed, row of trees, or your plants of choice with this versatile material.
#8 // Low Retaining Wall for More Usable Space
Sometimes a sturdy retaining wall is the key to maximizing usable yard space. Cottage-style gardens like this one traditionally feature a cheerful explosion of flowers and foliage, which can easily overtake a small space. A low stone wall is the perfect fix for any compact yard, keeping lush gardens contained and preserving open space for pathways and cozy patios.
#9 // Natural Wall Using Existing Stone
You can build a retaining wall without ever needing to buy a thing! If you have extra rocks or other natural elements taking up space in your yard, put them to good use by building a unique stone wall. A good retaining wall adds an elevated planting space for lush greenery and flowers, and one made out of local hardscape will feel right at home in your unique environment.
We’ve had clients who find pavers in their new home’s garage, have leftover bricks from a demolition project – re-use these materials and then have a great story to tell your friends and family when they visit.
#10 // Added Ground Cover for a Natural Feel
If you want garden wall ideas for a natural garden, a stone wall combined with ground cover can create a wall that feels like it’s been there for a hundred years. Green moss growing up your retaining wall while creeping ground cover plants trail over the top will create a miniature living wall that looks like it could have come straight out of a storybook.
Depending on what you pick, ground cover can add a pop of color that is welcoming and warm in a backyard.
#11 // Defined Spaces with a Garden Wall
Garden walls are the perfect solution for anywhere you want to define different zones of your outdoor space. A low wall can make brunch on the patio feel more private while the kids play on the lawn.
A stone wall can make your flower garden feel like an oasis all its own—even if it’s just a step away from your driveway. You can incorporate steps, planters, and other features into your dividing walls to really make them work for you.
Consider the palette of your home and existing yard when selecting materials so you can holistically tie everything together in a thoughtful manner.
#12 // Walled Space for Relaxation
Creating a space for relaxation can feel difficult in a densely packed back garden, but combining cleverly-placed walls with natural inspiration can offer the perfect solution. Skip a fence and let green tree branches create a living wall for your relaxing nook.
Low stone walls with built-in planters help to make a place feel secluded while still keeping views open to the rest of your backyard. Combining these views with the sound of running water or rustling foliage and you’ll have an outdoor oasis in your garden.
#13 // Garden Borders with a Low Wall
Some gardens don’t need a full retaining wall to create space for planting—all they need is a low wall to create a border for their garden beds. A tidy row of bricks keeps soil and mulch exactly where it should be in your flower beds while preserving open views of your whole yard. Added bonus: this low wall is an easy project if you’re looking for DIY garden wall ideas!
This concept can be replicated with other materials, such as stones, little wrought iron fences, edging, and more depending on the look and style you are going for in your garden.
#14 // Framing a Front Entry with a Garden Wall
Everyone wants their house to have great curb appeal, and a garden wall can really play up and be an extension of your home. The low walls in this yard frame the stately front door for a look that draws guests in.
Potted plants along the walkway add a pop of color and texture to a monochromatic style. If you have a covered porch, hanging baskets of trailing vines will look charming hung around your door.
Garden walls and plant life can work together to add an inviting look to any house.
#15 // Vibrant Retaining Wall Planters
Planting in decorative containers is just fine, but create something truly special by making a raised garden bed with a natural stone wall around it. These sturdy walls have a little more panache than pots and other containers and can also zone your space just like any other garden wall.
This look allows your garden to become a focal point in your yard, something to not be missed. You can fill these planters with flowers, leafy plants, or even succulents if you live in a desert climate!
There are garden wall ideas to suit every style and every space—which means there’s a perfect wall waiting for you.
Do you want a helping hand in choosing the right materials, shape, and purpose for a wall in your garden? Our team of experienced landscape architects and designers can help you plan the perfect wall for the best effect in your outdoor space.