Garden wall ideas: 15 smart ways to get more from your outside space

Use our expert tips and clever garden wall ideas to transform your boundaries into an eye-catching feature

garden wall ideas
(Image credit: Landform Consultants/designed by John Davies)

In need of some garden wall ideas to stop you feeling fed up with staring at the same garden view? Feel boxed in even when outside? Need more privacy from neighbouring properties? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of the above, then it’s time to take action and put those garden boundaries to good use. Treat them as you would inside your home and look for creative and practical ways to add interest. 

Ok, so there are a million paint tricks out there to try, but why not use these upright surfaces as a chance to grow a new vertical garden, as a place to show off gorgeous new tiles or the opportunity 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. 

There are endless options to try, whatever the size of your outdoor space or budget, and right now is the perfect time to do it. Keep scrolling for inspiring garden wall ideas, then head over to our landscaping ideas feature for more brilliant ways to transform your outdoor space. 

1. Dazzle with tiles on your garden wall

garden wall tiled with modern blue tiles

(Image credit: Kingston Lafferty Design)

Bring outside walls alive by adding richly coloured glazed tiles. 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 unusual shaped tiles – such as triangular, hexagonal or lozenge for a textured finish and ensure the glaze is frost proof. H&E Smith have a wide range to choose from.

2. Frame a bold garden wall

corner sofa on a patio

Amberley sofa set from Garden Trading

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Painting an outside wall black may seem drastic but with some careful thought and clever planning it can boost the colour 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 a simple wooden pergola in front for a ‘frame’. Use this structure as a support for leafy climbers and strings of festoon lights, bring groups of tall, planted containers in on either side and add comfy garden furniture to create the perfect outdoor chill zone. 

3. Hang laser-cut panels

Modern garden with laser cut panels on a garden wall

(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 colour 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 colour 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. You'll find plenty more garden fence ideas in our dedicated feature. 

4. Install a wall-to-wall mirror

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

(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 will reflect extra light too. Simple but super effective this concept is great for small, urban courtyard gardens such as this London garden by Silva Landscapes. Made up of several, frameless panels they have been carefully installed to create a single, flush-fitting mirrored surface that spans 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. Head over to our feature on how to make a small garden look bigger for more space-enhancing tips. 

5. 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, security while still letting daylight filter though and 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 or smooth, powder coated aluminium. 

6. Play with texture on your garden wall

textured garden wall uplit with outdoor lighting

(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, go for a bespoke design 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 lights

7. 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 a well-positioned garden mirror idea 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. Take a look at Primrose for a great range.

8. 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.  

9. Grow a living wall

living wall in a small garden

(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 too. There are many different growing systems out there but one of the easiest to maintain is a pod system such as this one from Living Walls. 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. 

10. 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 at night. Quick and easy to do, play around with affordable solar lights, tucking them into pots and borders slightly away from the base of key plants to get the best effect. Alternatively invest in a mains powered uplighters that can be angled and layered as part of a permanent garden lighting scheme. 

11. 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 Architectshas 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 showstopping 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.

12. 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 colour, planting and interesting surfaces. Timber panels, metal sheets and porcelain tiles plus new innovative ceramic stoneware cladding from London Stone’s DesignClad range, 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.

13. Peek into 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 garden gate. 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. Try English Salvage for a huge range of decorative reclaimed doors.

14. 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 slat garden fence ideas make an eye-catching alternative to traditional brick walls and woven fencing. Not only can they be painted any shade and help to visually lengthen a small garden, they can also easily accommodate water features and 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.

15. 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 heat resistant 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 cosying 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 you’ve the perfect outdoor snug. Check out the stunning wood storage products at Flora Select.

More landscaping ideas: