Outdoor Living Walls

living walls - Anouska Hempel's outdoor garden dining room with giant topiary hedges - AD via AtticmagArchitectural hedges — living walls — are something I long for in my garden.

Even confirmed non-gardeners like myself can have dream gardens. Mine has living walls — architectural hedges though it’s highly unlikely I shall ever have them. Imagine the skill it takes to sculpt hedges into walls and then to maintain them without even a naughty branch escaping. Surely it requires a staff of seasoned gardeners, which is likely why private gardens of this type inevitably seem to be found in England, Belgian and France. At the height of summer, though, these become outdoor living walls create rooms straight from movie costume dramas. Among my recent favorites is English designer Anouska Hempel’s stupendous hedged in dining space [top] that centers on a Belgian stone table of her own design, sheltered by rows of catalpa trees manicured into umbrella-like shapes and surrounded by walls of colossal hornbeam hedges. Imagine a summer dinner by candlelight here!

living walls - walled vegetable garden at Berchigranges - Wikicommons via AtticmagThe French offer an aesthetic approach to a potager, French vegetable garden, by finishing it with a high hexagonal hedge. Arched doorways, carved into the living wall allow access and provide keyhole views from the inside that must be nothing short of amazing, particularly when the garden is as famous as the one at Berchigranges, in the mountains of Alsace. My post on Winter Garden offers views of the estate in a different season.

living walls - sculptured hedge garden by Wirtz International - AD via AtticmagFanciful cone- and pillar-shapes are used to define the end of this huge hedge designed by the premier Belgian landscape architects Wirtz International. What fascinates me is the way the same plant can be shaved and clipped into forms that do the same work as stone but so much more naturally.

living walls - pergola covered by climbing white roses in a garden between two hedges A simple pergola, constructed between a pair of hedges, is an ideal structure for climbing roses. The shady lane appeal of this arrangement could not be prettier or more romantic. Downtown Abbey couldn’t do better.

(Source: architecturaldigest, Wikimedia, internet)

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4 Responses to Outdoor Living Walls

  1. D. Jean July 17, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    Love those! Can’t imagine the time required. Beautiful. I understand your obsession.

  2. Tammy July 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I’d love to walk down that shady lane and smell the climbing roses.


  1. Architectural Museum Garden - Atticmag - October 15, 2014

    […] nothing as grand as English designer Anouska Hempel’s outdoor dining room that I featured in my Outdoor Living Walls […]

  2. Draped Canopy Beds - Atticmag - June 15, 2015

    […] The great English designer Anouska Hempel created an tent-stripe fantasy bed from burlap, velvet and cording for the Oriel Room, a guest bedroom of her country mansion in Wiltshire, England. With gilded Corinthian columns protruding through the top of the canopy along with tent-stripe walls. and curtains, the Napoleonic look might not be for everyone. That could also be said of other parts of the house which include an elaborate antique Delft tile Crazy ‘Bout the Blues bathroom and a formal garden dining room created from monumental hedges that serve as outdoor Living Walls. […]

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