Garden wall ideas: 21 stunning looks for the boundaries of your plot

These garden wall ideas and expert tips will help you transform your plot's perimeter into an eye-catching feature

water garden wall ideas at The roots in Finland kyro garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019
(Image credit: RHS/Sarah Cuttle)

Are you in need of new garden wall ideas? Maybe your yard's current perimeter is making you feel boxed in, looks a little worse for wear, or doesn't complement the rest of your garden's theme. Or perhaps you're looking for something that offers a little more privacy from neighboring properties. Whatever the case, it's time to take action and put those garden boundaries to good use.

Just like with garden fence ideas, there are plenty of creative and practical ways that you can add interest, whether that's with the wall itself or with decorative features. There are a million paint tricks out there to try, for instance, but you can also use these upright surfaces as a chance to grow a new vertical garden, as a place to show off gorgeous new tiles, or to indulge in a decorative metal panel.

Of course, walls have practical uses too; they can help visually stretch your space (a well-positioned mirror or clever mural will do the trick nicely), support a water feature, accommodate smart lighting and even become home to a mood-boosting outdoor fireplace. Once you get started, you'll realize just how many opportunities a humble garden wall can present.

Garden wall ideas: 21 ways to revamp the borders of your yard

There are endless garden wall ideas to try, whatever the size of your outdoor space or budget. We've rounded up lots of our favorites below to get you inspired to transform your plot.

1. Grow a row of espaliered trees

screening wall from pool with espaliered trees

This wall separates two garden zones

(Image credit: Paul Raeside/Future)

Tall walls and privacy fence ideas are important for making a space feel more exclusive and keeping prying eyes out. And, they're useful for defining different zones in a yard, too. Take this stone wall, for instance, which adds texture and character to a seating zone whilst screening off the pool beyond.

A row of espaliered trees is ideal for adding a shot of green to the scene and won't take up much space. Once established, it'll offer a welcome patch of leafy shade to the area too, as the sun moves throughout the day.

2. Elevate the mood with an eye-catching hue

little greene garden wall painted in Puck with shelving

This outdoor dining zone has been given a fresh new look with Little Greene's exterior paint in 'Puck'

(Image credit: Little Greene)

'Give your beloved "outdoor living room" a glow-up by painting your exterior space – it can make such a difference and is so simple to do,' says Co-Founders of COAT Paints Rob Abrahams and Rob Green. Plus, all you need is a tin of paint and a few brushes, so it's a great choice if you're after a budget-friendly update (or cheap fence ideas).

There are plenty of hues to choose from, but how about taking a cue from this set-up above? It will help your plot's perimeter blend in with the surrounding greenery of your garden. 'That way, you'll blur the boundaries of your outside space and make it look bigger than it actually is,' says Rob and Rob. Plus, it'll win you style points too, due to its soothing and sophisticated vibe. 

Why not attach simple wooden shelves as well? Not only will they add to your garden storage ideas but they'll also provide space for decorative features such as potted plants or solar lanterns. Perfect for an outdoor dining zone or kitchen.

3. Add a whimsical window

stone wall with window shelves and hanging basket

This wall is full of characterful features

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright/Future)

Whether you go for a modern look or a classic design like this, an arched window is a simple way to break up an otherwise imposing stretch of wall. This one frames the leafy views beyond beautifully, whilst a colorful window box makes a lovely finishing touch. 

Hanging basket ideas are also a great way to liven up garden walls, bringing more flowers and foliage into any sized space. Why not upcycle an old shelving unit like this one with a lick of paint to secure to the wall, too? Then, you can adorn it with matching planters filled with blooms, micro greens, or perhaps an aromatic herb garden.

4. Soothe the scene with a water wall

The roots in Finland kyro garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

The Roots in Finland Kyrö Garden by Taina Suonio at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

(Image credit: Sarah Cuttle/RHS)

We're head-over-heels for garden wall ideas like this. Although simple, it offers so much to the overall ambience of a plot due to its soothing sound and flowing movement. And, paired with a dark grey hue on either side, it allows the colors of the strappy green leaves and delicate pink blossom in front to pop.

Why not recreate the look as part of your modern garden ideas? If you're looking for more contemporary inspo, our guide has you covered.

5. Add extra greenery with an outdoor wreath

wreath on garden wall

Decorate your wall with a DIY creation

(Image credit: Photoword/Colin Poole/Future)

Looking for something a little more unique for your garden wall ideas? It won't last forever, but a giant outdoor wreath will certainly turn heads and makes a lovely accent for a garden party or special occasion.

If you're feeling creative, you could make one yourself from seasonal foliage and flowers from your garden. Spritz it with water to help maintain its freshness for longer, or opt for a dried design with the likes of lavender and eucalyptus for less maintenance.

Our garden decor ideas has more pretty looks to help you pep up your outdoor space.

6. Dazzle with tiles on your garden wall

blue tiled outdoor wall by Kingston Lafferty Design

This garden wall makes a stunning feature with its jewel-like hue

(Image credit: Kingston Lafferty Design)

Bring boring boundaries alive by adding richly-colored glazed tiles as part of your garden wall ideas. Stick to one bold shade for maximum effect and let natural light play across the undulating surface, picking out the subtle variations of tone. 

Look for unusually shaped tiles such as triangular, hexagonal or lozenge for a textured finish and ensure the glaze is frost proof.

7. Make it a fun feature

pink feature wall with animal topiary in modern garden

A vivid pink wall brings a sense of play to this plot

(Image credit: Polly Wreford/Future)

It's bold, it's pink, and it will certainly be a talking point. Garden wall ideas like these add an artistic, almost sculptural presence to a space.

With its cut-out design and the addition of animal topiary, it makes for a fun feature for any garden, no matter its size. It could also be used as part of your garden screening ideas – what a way to hide the compost bin!

8. Frame a bold garden wall

corner sofa on a patio

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Painting an outside wall black may seem drastic but with some careful thought and clever planning it can boost the color of plants and furniture around it and create a super stylish feature. 

Treat brickwork to a fresh coat of matt black masonry paint and add simple wooden pergola ideas in front for a 'frame'. Use this structure as a support for leafy climbers and strings of festoon lights. Then, bring groups of tall, planted containers in on either side and add comfy garden furniture to create the perfect outdoor chill-out zone. 

9. Hang laser-cut panels

Modern garden with laser cut panels on a garden wall

Decorative metal panels from Peter Reader Landscapes contrast beautifully against a grey brick backdrop

(Image credit: Peter Reader Landscapes)

Add a decorative touch to a dominant brick wall with some laser-cut metalwork panels. A stylish and contemporary way to introduce color and pattern to an outside space, without appearing twee or fussy, there are many different options available.

Choose from off-the-peg panels in Corten or stainless steel or go for a bespoke steel design that can be powder coated in a color of your choice. This classy trio in burnt orange forms a key part of this design by Peter Reader Landscapes and looks stunning against the cool, grey paving and slatted timber fencing. 

This look would work just as well on a sturdy fence, if you're after garden fence decoration ideas.

10. Install a wall-to-wall mirror

small garden with a mirrored wall to maximise the feeling of space

A simple yet effective design by Silva Landscapes

(Image credit: Silva Landscapes)

Replace a boring wall with a space-stretching garden mirror and not only will it create the illusion of more room but it will also reflect extra light too. This concept is great for small, urban courtyard garden ideas such as this London plot by Silva Landscapes

Made up of several frameless panels, they have been carefully installed to create a single, flush-fitting mirrored surface that spans to the end of the garden. Planting right up against the mirror and encouraging branches and ivy to overhang the top edge enhances the effect and helps it blend in. 

Our feature on how to make a small garden look bigger has more space-enhancing tips. 

11. Fit fretwork screens

metal fretwork panels used as a garden wall

(Image credit: The Worm That Turned)

Decorative and undeniably beautiful, intricately cut metal screens make stunning alternatives to traditional walls and fences. They offer privacy and security while still letting daylight filter though. And, these garden wall ideas need very little upkeep too. 

There are numerous off-the-peg designs to choose from including leaf, flower or geometric patterns that repeat across entire panels or feature as a single, large scale motif. Materials vary too, from elegant rust-look Corten steel to smooth, powder coated aluminium. 

12. Play with texture on your garden wall

textured garden wall uplit with outdoor lighting

This scene designed by Gregory Phillips Architects sets an industrial-chic tone

(Image credit: Darren Chung/Gregory Phillips Architects)

Bring a playful yet industrial feel to your outside space with a textured wall. Perfect as a statement screen behind a lounging or cooking area, a wall with a three-dimensional surface can add a touch of pattern and warmth without being overwhelming. 

There are several ways to achieve this look. For instance, you could go for a bespoke style in cast concrete blocks as shown in this chic design by Gregory Phillips Architects, or try 3-D exterior cladding. Whatever finish you choose it will take on a whole different dimension when lit up at night with outdoor lighting ideas

13. Fake space with a mirror

mirror on a garden wall used to enhance the feeling of space in a small garden

This sleek garden space was designed by Robert Myers and built by Landform Consultants

(Image credit: Landform Consultants/Design by Robert Myers)

If you want to conjure up more space, try using well-positioned garden mirror ideas and never-ending paving. Best located in a corner where it can be viewed from an angle, the trick is to run a path and planting right up to the base of the mirror to create the illusion of a continuous space. 

Choose from lightweight acrylic or tough mirror glass and make sure the product is well-sealed against moisture seeping in.

14. Use a quick-build veneer wall

Stone veneer garden wall

Give your garden wall some added sparkle with this Stoneface Drystack Nero Quartzite Mirror walling from Marshalls

(Image credit: Marshalls)

If you love the intricacy of a handcrafted stacked stone wall but can't justify the time and cost of installing the real thing, then cheat the look with a stone veneer. Perfect for retro fitting or covering a newly built flat block wall, you can achieve a naturally hewn, textured finish that will add structure and drama to your outside space. 

Highlight the finished surface even more by incorporating a timber bench into your retaining wall – a great space-saving solution for small garden ideas.

15. Grow a living wall

living wall in a small garden

This verdant backdrop has been created using a pod system from Living Wall Solutions

(Image credit: Living Wall Solutions)

Do your bit for wildlife – and make the most of a limited space too – by planting a living wall. A lush tapestry of foliage and blooms is a great way to spruce up a plain wall and makes an eye-catching feature.

There are many different growing systems out there but one of the easiest to maintain is a pod system such as this one. Made up of a series of stackable planters you can easily arrange them to suit your space and grow a wide range of plants to get the look you want. 

It's also easy to arrange and replant them as needed, plus you can water the top row and let the irrigation system take care of the rest. 

16. Play with shadows

contemporary garden with sleek garden walls and water feature

This contemporary garden incorporates sleek garden walls and a built in water feature. It was designed by John Davies and built by Landform Consultants

(Image credit: Landform Consultants/Designed by John Davies)

Just like gardens, walls can take on a different role at night. A crisp, stone-clad wall by day can easily become the perfect screen for displaying dramatic shadows and dancing plant silhouettes when lit up when dusk falls. 

Quick and easy to do, play around with affordable solar lights (you'll find our pick of the best solar lights in our guide). Tuck them into pots and borders slightly away from the base of key plants to get the best effect. Alternatively, invest in mains-powered uplighters that can be angled and layered as part of a permanent garden lighting scheme.

17. Paint a space-enhancing mural on your wall

painted mural on a garden wall

This stunning mural by Alexa Ryan Mills Garden Design and SS4 Architects has turned a plain garden wall into a statement feature 

(Image credit: William Eckersley for Alexa Ryan Mills Garden Design and SS4 Architects)

Turn an eyesore into a work of art with a beautifully painted mural. Yes, it's a bold step, but as shown in this show-stopping garden design, it can add a spectacular and truly individual feature to your outside space. 

The secret is to go for an evocative image that will blur with the view beyond your garden – it could be the sky, rolling hills or an undulating row of trees. Avoid using any exacting details and use cool, gentle receding tones to help create the illusion of space.

18. Mix and match finishes

Garden wall made from Corten steel

(Image credit: London Stone)

Treat garden walls as a blank canvas and make your mark by mixing color, planting and interesting surfaces. Timber panels, metal sheets, porcelain tiles and innovative ceramic stoneware cladding all have their own individual characteristics and can be combined in different measures to create a chic and contemporary look. 

Layer up with statement planting – such as this combo of clipped box, silver foliaged olive trees and white bark Himalayan birch – to bring the finished look alive.

19. Create an illusion of another world

outdoor mirror with shutters on a garden wall

This shuttered mirror from Cox and Cox has beautifully weathered metal shutters that work perfectly in a rustic or contemporary setting

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Add a surprise element to your backyard by hanging a shuttered mirror, false doorway or a garden gate idea. Surrounded by creepers and nestled amongst foliage, these enchanting gateways add a feel of mystery and intrigue and conjure up the illusion of extra space too.

20. Try sleek and versatile fencing

modern grey fencing teamed with a decked terrace and built-in sandpit

This family-friendly garden features contemporary fencing and a built-in sandpit in the modern decking. It was designed by Robert Myers and built by Landform Consultants

(Image credit: Landform Lambeth)

Great for a smart and contemporary look, narrow-slatted fences make an eye-catching alternative to traditional brick walls. Not only can they be painted any shade and help to visually lengthen a small garden, they can also easily accommodate water feature ideas and the best outdoor wall lights

Fitted in front of the existing boundary, any less-than-lovely pipework or wiring can sit neatly in the gap behind, out of sight, appearing only at the point it is needed. The finished result is chic and super smart as shown in this gorgeous garden.

21. Go for stacked timber walls

outdoor fireplace with built-in log store used as a garden wall

This black heat-resistant Stig log burner by Adezz at Flora Select has been teamed with a matching tall wood storage unit for an eye-catching feature in this garden

(Image credit: Flora Select)

There's no better combo than logs and flames for cozying up an outside space, so swap plain walls for a large scale, tactile wood pile. Held securely in place within tall steel storage units, the cut timber ends merge to create an organic patterned jigsaw, creating a fuss-free, contemporary look. 

Team with a freestanding log burner and black steel back panel and you've got the perfect outdoor snug. Or, our outdoor fireplace ideas will have you inspired.

More top tips for decorating backyard walls:

Looking for more fabulous garden wall ideas? The team from Gardenesque share their suggestions:

  • 'Consider container planting to create structure and color against a brick wall,' they say. 'When planted, containers can create height and add exciting form to any space. A group of containers in several shapes and sizes will allow for structured planting that makes the most of vertical line, creating depth.'
  • Don't forget that garden wall ideas can also be safe habitats for visiting birds and insects. 'Consider adding insect hotels to even the smallest of walls to turn your garden into a wildlife-friendly zone,' the team says. You could also introduce bird house design ideas.
  • 'Create a feature wall brimming with natural greenery and climbers,' the team continues. 'Containers of vertical climbers can be planted in ground level pots and trained on wall mounted trellises to add personality to a wall.' Our trellis ideas for gardens feature has plenty of gorgeous looks.

bridgman furniture with climbers on wall

Clambering plants make a stunning backdrop for this Mayfair furniture from Bridgman

(Image credit: Bridgman)

Do you need foundations for a garden wall?

In short – yes, you definitely need foundations for a garden wall to keep it sturdily in place. 

The first step is to dig a trench. The wall will go in the center of this trench, with an equal amount of space on either side. How much space depends on the type of wall you're building, including its thickness and height, as well as the soil type in your yard. However, a good rule of thumb – at least for walls under 30in in height – is to make the measurements of the trench's width double the thickness of your wall. In terms of depth, a minimum of 12in is generally regarded deep enough for a light wall, if the soil is well-drained and firm.

The bottom of the trench is then filled with a level layer of concrete mixed with aggregate. This provides a stable 'footing', will make the wall easier to build, and will help it to last longer.

Jill Morgan
Freelance writer

Jill puts her love of plants and all things garden related down to the hours spent pottering around with her Nan and Grandad when she was little. Today she is lucky enough to have a garden of her own in Surrey, England, and spends much of her time writing about them too.