A large, flat expanse in your backyard might be a blank slate for your garden design, but you could create drama and interest by planning a multi-level garden. The different heights allows you to arrange distinct focal points and vignettes that elevate your landscaping from predictable to unexpectedly exceptional. Multi-level garden designs have a lot to offer for homeowners, beyond the unique visual appeal.
A multi-level garden is a clever way to make the most of a non-level lot. Hills, slopes and other unevenness can be viewed as an asset, not a liability. A sloping yard is an opportunity, for it provides the backdrop for creating a multi-level garden. It could be terraced or steppes or a winding, meandering walkway along stone or brick retaining walls. A multi-level garden automatically gives the impression of movement and flow, inviting you to wander through the high and low points of your backyard oasis.
In typical, flat landscaping, most of the interesting features are low to the ground, but in a multi-level garden, designers have the ability to move the center of focus to eye level. Instead of stooping to admire the blooms, they are awaiting you at arm’s length. By utilizing varying plant heights in addition to the different levels of growing area, landscape designers are able to move the focus up from the ground. Your backyard will literally surround you with lush greenery and fragrant flowers.
One of the biggest benefits of multi-level gardens is that they make use of under-utilized areas of your yard. Walls and fences are softened by adding plant material to them. This can be done a number of ways, but most often we see hanging planters or flower boxes mounted on the wall or fence, as a way to camouflage the wall and introduce different heights of growing plants. Adding flowering vines is another way landscapers add height and dimension to a space. As they grow, the vines will climb up walls and fences, and even trellises and arbors, to form a virtual wall of plant life that reach as high as the structure allows.
A multi-level garden allows you to expand your growing space. You aren’t restricted to just your ground…you have much more opportunities for cultivating plants and flowers. Your landscape designer may create several large, permanent container gardens while designing your multi-layer garden. Or you can introduce them yourself with store-bought containers of varying size and shape. Alone or clustered together, container gardens can become a focal point themselves or be used to separate garden space and direct the flow of movement through the yard. In addition to containers and planters at varying heights, you can also add hanging baskets as another way to bring the garden plants to a new height. Hanging baskets can be the perfect accent pieces for porches, patios, decks, and other areas of the garden.
Water flows downward, therefore water features are ideally-suited for multi-level garden spaces. Trickling streams and waterfalls can be added to move the water from one level to the next. The movement of water has been proven to be relaxing, and you can create a tranquil setting in your own backyard by taking advantage of gravity. A multi-level water feature is a great way to add drama and excitement to you space.
By having different levels in your yard, you have the opportunity to create several garden rooms. Each room – differentiated by levels, borders, and architectural features – can have a specific function in your yard, and you design the garden spaces to reflect those. For example, you could have an outdoor dining room, which is set apart by pavers or patio blocks, with a walkway or path leading into it. On a different level, you can have a reading room, with a comfortable reclining chair, plenty of sunshine, and fragrant blossoms.
Gardening at different levels may pose some challenges, but the rewards are worthwhile. A multi-level garden is unique, memorable and inspiring, and homeowners have many more opportunities for creative touches than do homeowners with flat yard spaces.