A wrought iron fence takes a utilitarian structure and turns it into an expression of your individuality. By definition, fences are functional. That is, they are enclosures that present an adequate blockade around a yard or other such expanse of land for the purpose of security, primarily prohibiting or controlling intrusions from the outside.
But they can be oh-so-much more.
Wrought iron fences represent an acknowledgement by the homeowners that their living environment is not restricted to the primary structure. When you install a fence that is more than pure function, you use a comprehensive design approach that extends to the ends of your property lines. With the eloquent vocabulary found in wrought iron, you say that your home extends beyond your interior spaces, out through the windows and into the landscape design.
Today true wrought iron is not produced on a commercial scale. Because of the expense, true wrought iron is used mainly for authentic conservation projects. Most landscaping products described as wrought iron, such as wrought iron driveway gates and a wrought iron trellis, are actually made of something called mild steel. The term is still used because these items were formerly made of wrought iron or have the appearance of wrought iron.
Mild steel, a type of carbon steel that is relatively inexpensive to produce and has good welding properties, imposes few limitations on the freedom of design. It can be twisted and turned into interesting spirals and circles, leaves and grape clusters, woodland creatures and medieval gargoyles.
However, use a discerning eye when choosing the design for your wrought iron fence. An Italian Baroque pattern looks out of place with a modern landscape design, for example. Being a strong material, wrought iron works particularly well when it can showcase its intrinsic strength.
Some people forgo the elegance of wrought iron fences because of the lack of privacy they provide. But you can have both privacy and elegance by combining an iron fence with a living wall of plants.
What plants to use along such a fence line? Shrubbery is the obvious candidate. Select shrubs that will attain the desired height and width. You will also need to factor in the amount of sunlight the planted area will receive.
For a more formal look, use hedges. With the proper pruning regimen, a hedge can turn into a living, green privacy fence. They also have the advantage of giving you control over the height you want to have. Of course, the trade-off is in the added maintenance. Alternatively, you can design for low maintenance by planting shrubs that can be left to flourish in their predestined form.
Other garden landscape issues that you may want to address include mixing other plants within or up against this living wall. The mixture of plants can relieve the formal austerity of hedges. You can also layer plantings for maximum effect. By putting the tallest plant selections in the back row, shorter shrubs and tall perennials in the middle row, and your shortest plants in the front, you create an interesting vista.