Landscaping: Wall Gardens
An empty dry wall setting can be turned into a picturesque viewpoint with the addition of a wall fountain to some other type of hanging décor. You can create a mossy and aged appearance simply by green-planting in the soil in the crevices. You can add color to this setting by planting any of several flowering plants, whose strong roots will also work hard to hold the wall together, creating better bonds. Here are some flowering plants that will work well for this task:
- Evergreen candy-tuft
- Garden pinks
- Snowy rock cress
- Creeping veronicas
Here are some spreading plants that can be used:
- Hardy verbena
- Small rosettes and little tufts that need sun and room for roots like sempervivium, dwarf iris, dwarf pinks and yarrow
Another way to create plants in the walls is with seeds sown among the rocks, such as bleeding heart, some ivies and varieties of poppy and phlox. Semperviviums, azaleas, prostrate junipers and
dwarf azaleas keep a bank or rock wall green through the winter.
Mortared and Concrete Walls
Mortared walls have a simpler construction that that of dry walls. The mortar serves as the bond so it is not essential to match the stones. For the masonry wall, a cement mixture of 1 part Portland cement and 2 parts sand is a good bonding agent. Mortar should be liberally applied to form a bed for each stone as it is added, and the chinks between stones should be well filled with smaller pebbles or gravel.
A mortared wall will be more permanent than a dry wall and easier to build. A concrete wall has greater strength over both masonry walls and dry walls. It is built in forms, which is more difficult and technical. The forms must extend well below the frost line. They can be constructed of 1 x 6 scrap lumber, and held together by any length lath or 1 x 2 that you have available.
Wire screening is inserted in the concrete, adding strength while prevent bubbling or cracking. This type of reinforced concrete wall can be much thinner than either a dry wall or a masonry wall. The inner surface of the concrete wall needs to be sealed by using a waterproofing compound or tar paper. The top of every wall, whether concrete, dry wall, or masonry, should be protected from the elements. This can be done by using broad, flat stones as capstones to the wall.
You can use slate or flat stones acquired in the course of collecting the material for the wall. As you build your garden wall and plant flowers, make sure you are paying attention to the color scheme you create. Flowers of contrasting colors create an attractive wall. Another option is to create spaces with flowers of the same color, that bloom at different times so that it will always appear as patches of different colors on the wall.