Garden planting rails – How and where to use them

Last time around we looked at all the ins and outs of pergolas. Adding a structure as large and as dominating as a pergola isn’t always the best option for everyone though. So this week we will take a look at planting rails, the pergolas smaller sister.

Planting-rail

So what exactly is a planting rail?

Basically, it’s like a pergola, but it’s like a flat version that you can either put across the garden or on top of the fences to add a bit of height and dimension to it, as shown in the photographs above.

The main purpose of a planting rail is to add height. So you can use them on top of an existing fence as a way to grow climbers higher than the fence and help screen the neighbours.

The other use of a planting rail is to frame the view as well as add height. This happens when you use them across the garden. Placement however, just like it is with pergolas, is critical if you’re going across the garden.

How to correctly place a planting rail

There’s no exact rule here, but visually, I think it looks better if the planting rail is at the beginning or end of the garden rather than in the middle. You can see in our example garden above that the planting rail framed the view to the top raised patio at the end of the garden. So it wasn’t just floating in the middle of nowhere, it linked in with the patio area.

Planting-rails

You can also use a planting rail a bit like an extended arch, with sections of trellis beneath the rail. This gives you a more solid division in the garden than the example garden version. So just imagine that garden with each end of the planting rail filled in with trellis, making the patio area a bit more enclosed.

Another way of using a planting rail is to have them in raised planters. That way you create interest and height and a place for climbers to grow up out of the planters. So as you can see, there are many uses for the underused planting rail.

The other advantage of the planting rail is that it’s obviously considerably cheaper to install than a full size pergola. You can use metal or timber, the choice is yours. Obviously metal you can bend and shape more easily, so that gives you a greater flexibility with your styling, but of course metal will be considerably more expensive than timber.

Metal-Plant-Rail

BUT do be warned, no garden feature alone will NOT give you a stunning garden – you have to get the design layout right first. If you don’t know how to do that then…

Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page: https://www.successfulgardendesign.com/freeclasses/

Garden Pergolas pt 1 – How to know if your garden needs one?

Having a pergola in the garden can be a very nice feature as it adds height and year round interest. However, it is critical that they are correctly situated otherwise it could end up looking out of place and a bit of an eyesore!

Garden-Pergolas

As wonderful as a pergola can look, they certainly don’t suit every type of garden, so how can you tell if it will work well in yours?

Before we look at the where of pergola placement, we need to cover the why. If you get the why part right, then it will help you place the pergola properly.

So why do you want a pergola in the first place?

  • Is it to help screen the neighbours from viewing directly into the garden?
  • Is your garden flatter than the proverbial pancake and you want to create some height and interest?
  • Or, perhaps, you just really fancy the idea of having a pergola and don’t have a specific problem to solve?

Anything you place in the garden has to have a purpose, even if it’s just a visual one and never actually gets used. So if you chose the last option, be very careful to make sure your desired pergola actually works with the rest of your garden.

How to correctly place a pergola

You need to think, first and foremost, of a pergola as a path. Completely ignore the fact that it has upright posts and roof like cross beams. Just think path. Now ask yourself, would you put a path in the location that you are planning for the pergola? Would it look right? Or would you be thinking, why on earth would I have a path there!

PERGOLA

Things making sense visually is critical, as I mentioned earlier. A pergola is really a fancy walkway, so it needs to go to and from somewhere in order to make sense.

If it doesn’t initially make sense, don’t worry, there are things you can do. If a walkway style of pergola doesn’t seem to work, then consider a corner one instead, as shown in the example gardens below.

A corner pergola also works well in small gardens as it doesn’t take up too much space. The other alternative to a corner pergola is one that juts out from the house, usually over the patio doors. If you choose the latter option do be careful about how much light it will block out, especially when it’s covered with plants.

Corner-pergola

So, if the pergola doesn’t form a specific function, i.e. it’d not really needed to add height as you already have trees or it won’t work as a path and you don’t require shade over a seating area, then I would suggest you don’t go for one.

I certainly don’t use pergolas in every garden I design – I probably only put them in 25% of the gardens I design, because they are not needed.

Next time we’ll look at the different styles of pergola design you can have and the different types of materials they can be constructed from.

BUT do be warned, a well placed pergola will NOT be enough to give you a stunning garden – you have to get the design layout right first. If you don’t know how to do that then…

Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page: https://www.successfulgardendesign.com/freeclasses/

Every business has got to have one these days, so here it is - Disclaimer: Please note, the information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate, up-to-date, reliable, and complete information. No warranties of any kind are expressed or implied. Readers acknowledge that the author is not engaging in rendering professional advice. By reading this website, the reader agrees that under no circumstances is the author responsible for any losses, direct or indirect, that are incurred as a result of use of the information contained within this website or related downloads, accompanying videos, or other supplementary materials. This includes but is not limited to errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. The material contained on this website is not meant to be a substitute for formal training nor a replacement for professional training or services. Please note some of the links on the site go to affiliate websites where a small commission is earned if you purchase. Please do your due diligence on all linked to products before buying.   Find Rachel on Google+
Google+ Google