Raising Expectations: Transforming a Flat Garden Space

green lawn with bushy garden

While gardening slopes and hilly terrain pose many challenges, gardening on a flat stretch may leave your landscaping looking… well, flat. There are many ways to incorporate features that will add height to your landscape and provide a more balanced view with plenty of interest and perspective. The following are some ways to raise your garden and landscape to a higher level for greater garden appeal.

Trees, Shrubs and Other Tall Plants

There are certainly expensive methods to add height to your garden - trucking in material to construct slopes and hills, for example. However, there are many simple and cost-effective ways to create the balanced look you are after as well. Perhaps the most obvious place gardeners will want to begin is with the plants themselves. Even desert climates will support some tall growth, but your climate and soil will have great impact on the types of plants you choose. Trees, of course, are the first choice. They do, however, take a long time to grow, but even newly planted trees will give some height to a flat landscape. Consider conifers—not only might they grow tall, but many varieties grow wide, which may serve to fill in a flat-looking landscape.

Shrubs are another good choice for a flat area. Consider them for the back of the garden or even to procure a sense of privacy for a patio area. Many climbing plants and vines do not necessarily require a nutrient-rich soil; often these plants thrive in poor soil conditions so long as they have a support structure such as a garden gate, trellis or arbor on which to climb.

English ivy and climbing jasmine are a couple of great choices. Also, many ornamental grasses like purple pampas grass grow quite tall and will give your garden great flair. Finally, you might even consider some pedestals for containers of plants or very large pots for broad-leafed plants that provide lots of foliage and will draw the eye up from the flat ground.

Heightening the Hardscape

Besides plant choice, there are many other ways to raise your garden view. Creating a rock wall will provide height and visual interest. Many plants also thrive in the crevices of such a wall, and there is a vast array of rock and stone available at local garden centers for such features. Large rocks will also raise the eye level a bit in the garden if placed strategically for that purpose. Oriental gardens often feature groupings of multiple rocks simply to draw the eye and reflect the idea of mountains in the landscape. Stone is also useful for creating raised garden beds, which is another way to give the garden and lift and possibly to create a series of terraces. Railroad ties are also useful for this purpose.

Decorative fencing is another option to try for raising your landscape. Ornate wrought iron or rustic wood fencing could go far to transform your landscape. Plants of various sizes growing before your fence will also give the appearance of a hilly terrain especially when containers of differing sizes are interspersed. Many fences might even double as a support system for climbing vines.

There are many tall garden structures that will draw your eye up from the flat ground. Gazebos are lovely and come in many styles; some gardeners even design their own to reflect their own style. Consider a series of trellises, arbors, arches and even a pergola to lift your garden off the ground a bit. These features are as useful as they are lovely. Or, consider a water feature to add height to your landscape. From large fountains to birdbaths, they may help alleviate a flat terrain and prove an attractive focal point.

Designing your landscape to provide features and growth with height is important for aesthetic reasons, but taller features also provide wind breaks and give your garden a sense of privacy. When laying out your landscape, choose tall plants for the back of the garden and gradually install plants that are shorter near the front. This will eliminate that flat appearance and enable viewers to appreciate the various plants in your garden.

Shopping online or at local garden centers will also provide many other ornaments that will add height to the setting such as hanging baskets, plant stands, garden furniture (tables with umbrellas and swings with overhangs), and more. You can keep your garden from looking flat by incorporating even one or two of these suggestions, but there are so many options that choosing one that is right for you should be no problem.