Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Wall gardens are distinctive features in the landscape. These offer ideal growing conditions for cacti and succulents.
Wall gardens can fulfill many landscape roles. Very versatile, they provide
space saving options for those with limited gardening space.
Typically, wall gardens serve a dual purpose. In those situations where walls are necessary, plantings of cacti and succulents soften the wall so that the wall garden becomes an integral part of the landscape.
Wall gardens often mark the boundary lines between properties. They can also separate different areas of a landscape.
If you have steep slopes where retaining walls are necessary, wall gardens will give you places to grow plants right in the wall.
Wall gardens are often used for terraces. Theyíre sometimes used in conjunction with steps. For example, there can be a wall garden on each side of the steps.
The types, style, and building material of the wall garden are determined by the overall garden design that youíve selected. For example, use similar building materials for the steps and the adjacent wall garden. Repeating the material will add a unified theme to the landscape. Brick is sometimes used for wall gardens.
Wall gardens are often made with stone. It would be possible to use rot-resistant wood for low walls. Concrete isnít usually considered attractive enough to use for wall gardens. Constant freezing and thawing cycles can eventually cause concrete to develop cracks.
The height of the wall garden depends on its purpose. For creating divisions within a fairly level terrain, a low wall of several feet is sufficient. When deciding on the height, be sure you have easy access to the area. It shouldnít become necessary to stand on a ladder in order to maintain the cacti and succulents growing in a wall garden.
Wall gardens call for careful planning. During the construction process, the two sides of the wall need to have a space between that can be filled with soil.
At the same time, there must be provisions for drainage. You donít want rain collecting in the bottom of the wall garden. Typically, a wall garden built of dry stacked stone will have crevices between the stones where the water can flow out.
Usually, wall gardens are only a few feet in width. If these get too wide, they start to look like elongated garden beds rather than walls.
For wall gardens, you can select from a range of cacti and succulents. Typically these wall garden plants will either be a ground hugging or hummocky species. They can also have cascading stems that spill over the edges or the wall. In some cases, upright plants are used.
For cacti and succulent plantings, fill the wall with a quick draining soil mix. Pure topsoil might retain too much moisture. So, be sure and add grit, gravel, or sand to the soil. Mulch the plants with a layer of fine gravel or pebbles.
Most any hardy cacti and succulents would be suitable. For the best effect, plan these plantings carefully. Observe the usual elements of garden design.
Though itís true that wall gardens are often used in sunny spots, these could also be installed in shady areas. Just choose suitable cacti and succulents adapted to shade or partial shade.