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Know your limits

 Every one has a boundary, be it fenced, hedged or walled. A boundary serves several functions, primarily for security and to define the legal limit to which the property extends.

A well planned boundary using appropriate materials can also provide a backdrop to planting, emphasise and control views in and out of the garden and when intelligently designed can even create microclimates, areas of differing temperatures and protection from the forces of wind and weather.

The choice of materials for a boundary will also differ according to the local character of the area and of course the budget. A red brick wall may be well placed within a new housing development but if you live in a rural location, you might consider more traditional methods of dry-stone walling or hedging. Brick walls have the benefit of longevity and relatively high security when built properly but are proportionally more expensive. A hedge on the other hand provides a habitat for wildlife, is a lot less expensive but is normally less secure.

When planning any kind of boundary, think about what the space in front of the boundary will be needed for. You can plant in front of a wall to great effect but not so easily in front of a hedge as you’ll need to maintain a hedge by trimming to keep it at its best. Trellis can be used and supplemented by climbers, which gives a pleasing growing wall without losing too much width. Remember to also consider the neighbouring property when installing a boundary and don’t allow hedges to grow above the height where you can reach them. An overly tall wall or hedge not only blocks out sunlight but can also reduce available rainwater at its base.

The range of materials for a boundary is considerable and what you use will define not only the visual aspect of your property from the outside, but also play a big part to the garden within it.