Landscape Design Ideas – Garden Arbors, Pergolas, Fences & Sheds
Landscape Design Ideas
Landscape design ideas can include any of the following garden features – whilst some may not see a garden shed as a feature necessarily, an attractive one can be chosen to make it a feature. Fences too can be considered a feature even if they are not included in the original plan for landscape design. Ideas for alternatives to fences would be garden walls – these can be made into delightful features and found within the”Landscape Design Ideas” category.
Garden Arbors and Pergolas
Both these garden features add considerable interest to a garden: they provide an opportunity to grow some attractive, and offer a shady retreat on hot summer days.
Garden arbors can be formed by using trellis panels. Three pieces are arranged in a U-formation, with a fourth section forming the roof.
Timber or plastic trellis sections can be screwed to a wall using zinc-plated wood screws fixed into plastic wall plugs. Make the holes for the wall plugs using a masonry drill to suit the plug size. To hold the trellis about 2.5cm (1in) from the wall, use pieces of wood, cotton reels, or short pieces of copper pipe as spacers.
Pergolas are formed by building a series of linked arches in a line. Some fencing manufacturers sell pergola kits that use square sawn timber uprights, but rustic poles also look effective. Erect them in the same way as fence postsp. If preferred, the uprights may be brick or stone pillars. The cross-pieces and linking sections can be in matching timber or poles, joined to the uprights with half-lapped joints and held with galvanized nails.
Garden fences have two functions: they can be used to provide privacy and security, or to define a boundary line. The type chosen depends on the job that the fence has to do.
Choosing a Fence
If privacy is required, then a timber fence of panels 1.8m (6ft) high fixed between posts is the answer. This is one of the most popular fences for back gardens.
The panels can be of narrow overlapping boards (arranged either vertically or horizontally) or of interwoven strips. Panels from 60cm to 1.5m (2 — 5ft) are also available.
This type of fence has the advantage of being much easier to install than feather-edge boards fixed to arris rails located in posts, generally at 1.8m (6ft) intervals.
Posts can be either timber or concrete, and what the latter may lose in appearance it gains in durability.
Where height is required without a totally solid appearance a panel fence can be topped with trellis panels, which come in matching lengths. Heights are from 30cm to 1.8m (1 — 6ft), so it is even possible to erect a complete fence of trellis.
Another popular timber fence is the paling type. The pales are fixed to the horizontal rails and can be spaced at a suitable distance to keep animals out (or in!), as you wish.
For economy, wired chestnut palings sold in rolls are good value. These are usually fixed to round chestnut posts.
Another attractive fence for the right rural setting is the picket type, which can look very charming.
Chain-link fencing — either galvanized or plastic-coated — fixed to timber or precast concrete posts is another low-cost fence. Though robust when properly fixed, they are not attractive and should ideally be screened by a hedge.
Ranch-style fences — wide boards, spaced apart and fixed horizontally between posts — can be of timber or plastic. The latter has the advantage of being rot-proof.
Erecting a Fence
It is essential to treat timber posts with a good preservative, and this is worth doing even if the posts are supplied pretreated. The posts are the cornerstone of the fence, yet without protection they will rot in a couple of years.
Stand each post in a bucket of preservative for a few hours before use.
A recent innovation is a form of steel legs which are inserted in the ground, and into which the posts are fitted.
The easiest way to dig the post holes is to use a tool called a post-hole borer. Resembling a large corkscrew, this is driven into the ground using a clockwise anti-clockwise movement until the required depth is reached. Waste earth is lifted out as boring proceeds. The holes should not be less than 45cm (1-1/2ft) deep for a low fence, at least 60cm (2ft) for a high one.
To position the holes accurately, use a string line, stretched taut between stakes, to denote the line of the fence. A batten the same length as a section of fence is used to mark out the positions of the posts within the line.
Place the first post in its hole and pack stones and rubble around its base to keep it upright. Check for a true vertical using a 90cm (3ft) spirit-level. Secure one end of the first panel to the post using 5 — 6.5cm (2 – 2-1/2in) aluminium alloy nails, dependent on whether thin or thick timbers are being fixed. Three nails (top, middle, bottom) are sufficient on either side of each end of the panel (twelve nails per panel). If a helper is available, let him support the fixed post while the next one is inserted and plumbed upright in its hole and stabilized with rubble. If help is not at hand, use temporary struts fixed to the posts as support.
Check that the post tops are at the same level. To do this lay the spirit-level on a long straight-edge spanning the post tops. Make any adjustments to the second post before nailing the panel to it. Ensure the bottom of the panel is clear of the ground. Follow this procedure to erect the whole fence.
Fill the post holes with alternate layers of a dryish concrete mix (one part cement to eight parts sand and gravel mix) and rubble. Finish with concrete. Timber struts should be nailed to each post to ensure the fence remains rigid while the concrete sets.
Timber capping pieces nailed to the tops of the posts can be used to reduce the chance of them rotting. Alternatively, saw them to a single or double bevel.
A close-boarded fence is erected in much the same way. Posts are plumbed upright and the arris rails inset into the preformed holes in the posts, where they can be secured with aluminium alloy nails. The vertical boards are then nailed to the arris rails with edges overlapping slightly.
Close-board fences should always have a 15cm (6in) deep gravel board fixed between the posts and ground to prevent the main boards from rotting.
Erecting a Shed
Nearly all sheds are supplied in prefabricated sections ready to bolt together on a firm, level base. A good base is essential, even when a floor is supplied; thick concrete is ideal, but paving slabs can be used if placed on a layer of sand over rammed.
Excavate the soil to take 5cm (2in) of hardcore, over which 7.5cm (3in) of concrete should be laid. The concrete should be retained in a temporary timber formwork, but check that it is square by ensuring the diagonals are equal. The top of the formwork should be levelled, using a spirit-level.
A suitable concrete mix for the base is one part cement, two-and-a-half parts concreting sand, and four parts coarse aggregate, all by volume.
Keep the timber floor off the base by using 7.5cm x 5cm (3in x 2in) wood bearers which have been pressure-treated with wood preservative (you can buy pressure treated wood from a good fencing contractor).
Lay the bearers on strips of bitumen damp-proof course, then lay the floor over the bearers. The bearers allow air circulation under the floor, but they also create a haven for rodents, so seal the open ends with small-mesh wire-netting.
Sheds without floors are erected directly onto the concrete base, with strips of damp-proof course under the sides. In exposed areas, the shed can be secured using rag bolts set into the concrete.