What kind of garden wall or fence should you build?

June 30, 2015

There are many reasons to enclose a garden, and many ways to do it. Whether you're building a solid wall, an open fence or a hedge, find out which materials you can use, the general cost of the project and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

What kind of garden wall or fence should you build?

Open fence

  • Materials: Wood or wire
  • Expense: Moderate
  • Space needed: Little ground space needed
  • Advantages: Easy to erect, lets in air and sunlight; simple designs won't compete with other garden features; can be decorated with climbers or other plantings
  • Disadvantages: Requires some maintenance

Solid wall

  • Materials: Brick, stone or cement
  • Expense: Moderate to expensive
  • Space needed: Takes up ground space
  • Advantages: Adds structure and presence in the landscape; provides permanent backdrop for self-clinging climbers and other plantings; retains heat well for plants that need warmth
  • Disadvantages: Relatively difficult and time-consuming to erect


  • Materials: Perennial shrubs
  • Expense: Fairly inexpensive
  • Space needed: Takes up ground space
  • Advantages: Creates an attractive, all-natural "living fence," especially if flowering plants are used; provides shelter for wildlife
  • Disadvantages: Takes time for plantings to establish, requires pruning and regular maintenance

Choosing wall materials

Dry stone

  • Dry stone is the most popular type of wall-building material.
  • All you need is stone, a few tools, patience and a strong back to build this mortarless wall.

Concrete blocks

  • Concrete blocks are relatively inexpensive and easy to work with, but they're heavy and look utilitarian.
  • You can dress up the sides of a concrete block wall with paint or stucco and cap the top with terracotta roof tiles.

Landscaping blocks

  • Landscaping blocks are as easy to lay as concrete blocks, but they're much more attractive and much more suitable if you want to build a wall that curves.


  • Bricks are available in numerous colours, shapes and textures and offer a tidy, formal look.
  • Use ordinary bricks where they won't be seen and "facing" bricks for visible surfaces.

Landscape ties

  • Landscape (railroad) ties are a good, economical choice for low retaining walls and raised beds.
  • Two strong people can easily position them; secure them in place with rebar stakes.

Protect your outdoor sanctuary

Whichever method or materials you choose, you can find an attractive way to protect your garden sanctuary from the outside world.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu