How to Add Interest in Your Garden Using Height

Timber shelter covering outdoor kitchen

Ultimately your outdoor experience is determined by how your garden makes you feel. Feeling overlooked by neighbours, cramped in a small garden, or even overwhelmed by a large expansive lawn makes you feel uncomfortable in your outdoor space. Resulting in you spending less time in your garden.

Adding height into your garden is a crucial design principle all great designers strive to achieve. Why? Because varying levels in the garden creates interest, solves problems with privacy, and helps your garden feel unified with the greater landscape.

You want to be able to achieve the feeling of sitting in your outdoor space and you not being able to put your finger on why, but it just feels ‘right.’
In this article, we guide you through the different ways you can easily add height into your garden to create interest, bring balance to the space and crucially help you achieve that feel-good factor.

Modern garden with timber arch walkway

Draw your Eye to The Sky

You can change the shape and size of your garden simply by adding elevations. With all your attention at ground level, a small garden can feel cramped, and a large garden can feel overwhelming. The trick here is to guide the eye up away from the ground, taking the viewpoint from ground level to eye level or even higher – this could mean adding trellis onto a wall for climbing plants or even introducing a sculpture into the garden, we’ll cover more options next.

Large garden with timber shelter over seating area

Add Structures

The most effective garden design creates a journey around your garden, enticing you from one point to another. Archways focus your attention at eye level, creating a perfectly framed picture of what’s behind it. Have just one archway in a smaller garden or a 3-5 over a pathway in a larger garden to bring a sense of balance to the space.

Pergolas are great features to have in a garden. The open structure creates a new focal point and provides a practical element of shade over a quiet seating area or additional growing space with fragrant climbers.

If space allows, solid roofed shelters are brilliant for adding a focal point into the garden. You can see in the project above, by adding the shelter into the garden, it balances out the large lawn and huge pine trees offering a middle viewpoint between the two. As well as being practically functional protecting from the sun (or rain.)

Screening using pleach trees

Creating Privacy

In overlooked gardens adding height is beneficial for boosting how comfortable you feel in your outdoor space and for screening out nosey neighbours. The best screening trees to introduce to your garden are standard trees or pleach trees.

Standard and pleach trees usually have a trunk 1.8m (fence height) with the canopy of the trees sitting approximately 1m above your fence or wall. A standard tree canopy is bushy and typically tree-like, while pleach trees are trained flat and are often referred to as stilted hedges – Perfect for if you don’t want too much shade to be cast into the garden. They are many varieties of standard and pleach trees suitable, it all depends on the look you’re going for and whether you need screening all year round.

Garden full of flowers

Maximise Planting

Tall planting doesn’t necessarily suggest higher maintenance. There are plenty of upright shrubs such as Viburnum ‘Dawn’ or fastigiate cherries that don’t take up too much ground space, offer seasonal colour and require very little attention. Introduce varying height into the border from ground level to just above fence height, adds interest by creating transitions from one plant to another, leading the eye throughout the garden and maintains structure all throughout the year.

Gravel garden with low maintenance planting

Extend your Fence

If you are wanting to achieve an increase in your boundary, there are non-intrusive ways to add additional height to your fence without it feeling, dare we say, prison-like. Trellis toppers extend the height of your fences without adding a huge amount of weight or increasing shade cast in your garden. They can be linear or you can get off-the-shelf lattice types, it all depends on the style you are going for.

Climbers can also be trained over them for additional screening if required. It’s important to remember, for fences in your back garden you must not exceed 2m in height after installing the topper. You will need to apply for planning permission if you wish to exceed this.

You can read more about the planning permission required for your garden here:

In Short

Adding height can feel daunting as you want to make sure you get the balance right. Not too tall and not too short for the proportions of your garden and what you are wanting to achieve. Height in the garden not only adds interest, but it can fix problems too such as creating boundaries between you and next door or blocking unsightly views from a neighbouring garden.

When you’re ready to focus your attention on your garden, you’ll understand how important your outdoor space is. So, let us help you get it right, call our team today on 0333 202 1955 to book in for your free consultation today!

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