Master gardener, Sean Conway suggests structure is perhaps the most important element in any garden, and in many ways the least understood. Structure conveys information about how the garden should be used. By dividing the overall space into smaller spaces, you can designated smaller spaces for specific activities like dining, a vegetable garden, a cutting garden, etc.
As Conway warns, creating structure for your garden requires a bit of forethought, but consideration in this area is time well spent. Start by thinking about how your garden will be used. Do you need space for entertaining? Do you want to see your garden all at once, or would you rather stroll from one area to another? Do you need space for kids or dogs to play? Such questions help you decide how to add structure to a garden.
An arbor or pergola may be the easiest way to add structure to a garden. Think of them as walls for the garden with doorways built in. Arbors provide information about where to leave one space to enter into another. When embedded into hedges, they truly become a door through a living wall. The arbor itself needn’t be expensive either. A simple one will work as well as an ornate one. They are sold at many garden and home supply stores. For more arbor ideas, try visiting Better Homes and Gardens’ website and searching the term “arbor”.
Pergolas, too, are fine options for providing structure. They are the equivalent of adding an open structured outdoor ceiling to one or more walls, and they are perfect for designating seating or dining areas in a yard. Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to a home over a doorway. They don’t block access to breezes or bright light but do provide shelter from harsh direct sun. Consider adding some perennial vines like honeysuckle to climb up your pergola. Vines can provide a nice, shady break from the sun’s rays while still allowing sun to shine through.