The second of the garden essentials articles deals with the boundary you choose for your garden. If you plan to spend any alone time in your garden, then you really should consider investing in a boundary of some sort to set off your garden.
An easy-care hedge is one good choice for a garden boundary. You can purchase hedges that are slow-growing and go the length of the garden. They will need to be trimmed annually but will need no other care after you put them up. A new trend is in using potted shrubs for hedges. Some people prefer these hedges. They, like traditional hedges, are fairly easy to shape and maintain, but they have a benefit. They can move! If you expand the garden, you will be able to move your hedge without much problem. They also are fairly easy to care for as they will be in a container.
If you want to go with a gate, try a wooden one. Wooden gates will need holes dug for the gate sides, but other than that, they are simple to install. The only potential problem with wooden gates, as with other types of wooden lawn furniture, is that you will have to protect it. Either splurge for a gate that has been weather-treated or plan to add that to your annual gardening preparation to-do list. A good wooden gate should last for many years, however, and it is a wonderful investment.
A trellis is another way to let people know that they have entered your garden sanctuary. If you opt for the open trellis boundary, then you will need to hedge the outside of your garden with gravel, chips, or some type of grass. Then you will be able to put the trellis in the middle to signal to other people that it is the entrance and exit point for your garden. The beautiful part of a trellis is that you can decorate it beautifully with vines or other climbing plants as well. Instead of just being an entrance, it will give others a taste of what to expect in your garden. If you purchase a slow-growing vine, it may take a few years, but you will have a green boundary for your garden.
A fourth option, but one that will require considerably more work, is a privacy fence. If you want to get the fence, then you will need to measure the area before you begin. Take into account your ability to reach the farthest corners of your garden for maintenance purposes. Then think about possible future expansion. A privacy fence is a major investment of time and money, so you need to be sure you are getting something that will last. Once you have the measurements, you can look for a fence. They come in numerous styles, sizes, and shapes, so you should be able to find something that suits your taste.
Now you have completed the easy part. The hard part of a privacy fence is putting it up. You will need to enlist some help, or you could be working on it all season. Get a few people who are good at following through (and following directions) and get started. If you do not already have a good pair of post-hole diggers, then get some now. Also get a good pair of gloves to protect your hands.
These boundary options barely scrape the surface of the gardening boundaries that you can find. You can get a variety of gates and fences, as well as small mesh pieces or thin wire fencing that will allow you to gate off your garden. Do not expect that a boundary will keep animals out of your garden, as that is unlikely. You can, however, keep larger animals from jumping the fence, or keep the lawnmower away when you are beginning your garden. It is important to protect the garden area as it will become something that you enjoy and love, and you will want it to be protected. Take your time with the boundary, as with the path. You do not have to make a final decision this year. If your gardening needs are still evolving, get something less permanent and move up when you are ready for it.
By Julia Mercer