Way back in 2009 when I ordered 24 sheets of colorbond, rolled to my specified diameter, it was my intention to organise the consequent 12 raised vegie beds to define an inner space. I suspected that it wouldn’t provide quite the sense of enclosure that the location required, but was prepared to give it a go first, and respond accordingly.
It’s always worth doing this if you can. One of the biggest faults of professional garden design is that it invariably forces these decisions to be made from the start, rather than allowing them to accumulate organically… But I digress.
I cut eight of them down so as to leave the corners higher. That added to the sense of corner framing, but it wasn’t enough.
Then I added tall tepees of locally cut sticks, which helped (along with some growth), but it still wasn’t enough.
Though in the meantime, I had fun with the sticks, playing with a bit of weaving etc, largely to keep out the cat, and sometimes to protect the seedlings from crazy north winds, in this very exposed site.
At best it looked good, but it still didn’t provide the sense of enclosure that made you want to go and sit in it. There was no avoiding some sort of fence.
Only a couple of months back, in an itchy moment, I launched in and decided I’d make it out of sticks cut from the local Eucalypt forest – in this case seedling Pinus radiata that has invaded, and threatens, the native bush.
This, of course, has no durability in the ground, so I used ‘perfect round’ 75mm treated pine for the uprights, and painted them with fence black. Everything else was cut within 2km of home.
I played with a few configurations, unapologetically copied from the unsurpassable Prieure d’Orsan in Berry, France, which had also been the inspiration for earlier stick-work (and I wrote about at length here). I loved the upright weave, but it was very stick-intensive, and there’s something simple and charming about the trellis. Being by nature indecisive, I posted the above pic and called for some decision-making assistance on Facebook (and if you haven’t checked out The Gardenist on Facebook, you should. I often chuck stuff on there when I’m in a hurry. Click here to do so). The vote was in favour of trellis, which was how I was leaning anyway.
The result is better than I imagined, and does exactly what I’d hoped it would – provides a sense of containment without constriction, and consequently draws you out to sit.
The pics below were added to this post later, in response to Jennifer’s comment. I knew I’d dodged illustrating it properly (partly cos the vegie beds are empty (water saving measure), and party cos it’s impossible to capture the sense of enclosure – of transparent shell – around you in a 2-D pic). Anyway, these are as good as I can manage