Timber is one of the most popular landscaping materials because it is versatile and can be used for a variety of projects. Using timber in your landscaping will help you create the outdoor space you have always wanted. Timber is a great way to improve your garden, as it is easy to find, affordable, and pretty durable. It is also simple to work with, so you can easily transform your garden into something you will enjoy.
Timber can be a sustainable choice for landscaping ideas. Choosing to use reclaimed, scavenged, or locally sourced materials can add satisfaction of knowing you have created something unique and practical with minimal environmental impact. When looking for products made of wood, make sure to find ones that have been accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council. This means that the wood used for the product came from forests that are managed responsibly.
There are many ways to use timber for landscaping, such as building strong walls, laying decked or timber-paved walkways, or using driftwood to add character-rich features. The material and finish of your chosen project can be easily varied depending on your personal style and the climate of your home.
Give Your Space a Designer Edge by Landscaping with Timbers
If you are looking for ideas for garden structures, pathways, attractive boundaries, or a statement seat, our ideas for landscaping with timbers will help you get started on your next outdoor project.
1. Celebrate the rich tones of timber
The rich tones and dense grain of high quality hardwood decking ideas are comforting and inviting. This type of material is perfect for creating low maintenance landscaping because it is hard wearing and can cope with a damp and changeable climate.
This garden, designed by Nigel Correia Gomme, features slatted timber panels and coordinated bench seating and deckboards.
Nigel says that the deck has smooth planed hardwood decking boards which are warm medium brown in color, even though they are called Yellow Balau. FSC certification is important to us because it shows that we care about where our materials come from.’ We only use wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), meaning it has been grown and harvested sustainably. We believe that FSC certification is important because it demonstrates our commitment to using materials that come from eco-friendly sources. This material is very tough and stable, resists bad weather well, and is easy to take care of. Make sure to give your decking a good once over with some decking oil at least once a year to keep it looking its best.
2. Zone your space with timber screens
Timber screens are a great way to divide up your outdoor space. They are a great option for privacy screening in gardens while still letting light through and preserving sight lines. Place them around your deck or patio to make the space more cozy, or use them to create a wind break in an exposed area.
There are many different types of trellis ideas available, including square and diamond shapes in various sizes, or contemporary hit and miss designs. Adolfo Harrison’s stylish urban wildlife garden is full of tailored designs that are perfect for any plot. The screens surrounding the raised seating area are elegantly simple and feature open sections to frame select views of the garden beyond.
Staggering timber screens is another nifty design trick. The design of the garden encourages visitors to explore it by weaving through the space, making it appear larger than it is. It also adds interest and intrigue. Use shrubs and thin trees to cover the ground and make the panels look like they fit in with the design while also making the effect stronger.
3. Go for a coastal vibe with weathered timber
Vintage timber can give your backyard a rustic charm. Paired with the right plants, it can create a wild and relaxed atmosphere. This naturally weathered material is perfect for constructing a chunky flight of garden steps winding up through a border, a robust garden boundary, or even a series of sturdy monoliths to guide the eye or divide up the space. It is evocative of wild, coastal style and is a stunning foil for vibrant blooms and foliage.
Although it may be difficult to find a lot of driftwood, it can be used for cheap landscaping. It is also full of character and has unique forms. If you want to add reclaimed wood to your home, start by gradually collecting smaller pieces. You can mix these pieces with regular timber, or you can consult local salvage yards and lumber specialists to source larger quantities of reclaimed wood.
When it comes to choosing plants opt for sprawling ground cover plants such as santolina, sea thrift and valerian and intersperse with taller highlights such as crocosmia and sea holly, then create movement by landscaping with grasses for added interest.
3. Erect the perfect fence
Besides being used for the fences at national battlefield sites, landscape timber can also be used as modern fence posts and railings for your backyard.
This type of fence should only be installed on dry soil and with timber that is meant to be used below ground. This will help prevent wood rot. Another way to help prevent your posts from rotting is to set them in concrete. Consider fencing as a pool enclosure, too.
The easiest way to install fencing with landscape timber is to choose the split-rail style. This will not act as an actual privacy fence, but it will be much simpler to install. Building a traditional 6-foot privacy fence can be a challenge if you’ve never done it before. Make sure to examine the soil before anything else; Depending on the type of soil, you will need to choose the appropriate type of landscape timber. Cut the wood to size and then fill the post holes with concrete. Take a look at this how-to for more info.
4. Create an outdoor deck retreat
A traditional deck attached to your home is a great way to extend your outdoor living space. You can also use landscape timbers to construct a standalone deck in the middle of your yard, creating a secluded oasis. Your deck can be located away from the house, among a garden, for a more retreat-like feel.
The difficulty of the project will be determined by how intricate the plans are. If you’re starting from scratch, try building a freestanding deck using landscape timbers, a drill, decking screws, a hammer, and a level. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours.
The cost of building a simple island deck as discussed above is less than $250.
5. Design a treehouse or fort
A treehouse or a ground-based fort made out of landscaping timber is a great way to create additional outdoor living space for kids. This activity will provide hours of fun outdoors while also stimulating imagination and creativity, which are essential for your children’s development.
Choose pre-treated, natural wood, such as cypress or cedar, to make your project last up to seven years. Or, for a chemical-free solution, choose synthetic timber. Here’s a tutorial to help get you started.
Like you would when building any type of house, you’ll need to draw up some plans, build a foundation/platform, put in the floors, and then, construct the frame — including walls with windows and a door and a roof.
6. Throw a pergola into the mix
A pergola would make a great addition to your deck, patio, pool area, or front porch. The wooden structures act as anchors in the space, holding all the elements together. Along with providing shade and privacy, pergolas also add visual interest and texture to a space, as well as a place to grow vertical gardens.
There are many pergola kits available for those who want to build a pergola, making it a great option for DIYers. The kits come with everything you need to assemble them, without having to cut any lumber, sand it, or stain it.
7. Start a vertical garden
You can make a garden wall out of landscape timber boards, which you can then stain or paint for a modern or rustic look. This wall makes a great statement piece and can also serve as the backdrop for a trellis. You can train climbing plants to grow on the trellis and they will create a stunning display.
Constructing a garden wall is similar to building a wooden retaining wall, except the garden wall will be taller. The advantage of landscape timbers is that their flat surfaces on top and bottom make them simple to stack. You only need to reinforce them with rebar and center supports, as well as attaching them with deck screws to keep the planks from moving.
8. Construct a she shed
If you’re struggling to find solo time in your home, you can create your own private space with a “she shed” or “man cave.” Creating a log cabin look with landscape timbers is easy to do because they have flat tops and bottoms which makes them easy to stack.
Vibe is an independent, creative magazine for women. No matter what kind of atmosphere you want, your she shed can be used as an office, garden center, craft room, or just a quiet place to get away from a hectic household.
Before building the shed, you will need to build a concrete foundation on level land. Once you have decided what kind of border you would like, you can either go to a local hardware store to buy the landscape timber needed or buy a kit that comes with everything you need.
The average price to have one built is around $3,000. The average price of a new she shed is $6,000, and the average price to have one built is around $3,000. There are options that cost as little as $1,200, and there are also options that cost more than $30,000.
9. Build a bridge over water features
A small body of water, whether it is natural or man-made, can bring peace and quiet to any part of your yard. Rather than letting the rock sit in your landscape, try making a rock garden around it. You could even finish it off with a bridge made of landscape timber.
The experts are suggesting the use of redwood or cedar for the flooring, beams, rails and posts of the project.
This project won’t be too hard for someone with prior experience building things. In order to build a bridge, you will need to be able to construct its shape, install its beams, put in the decking, and apply the sealant to finish it.
10. Repurpose timber pallets as a living wall
This text is suggesting that you use screens to create a private space in your garden or to make a seating area more cozy. Pallets can be an easy and efficient way to use timbers for landscaping. Before you start, determine where you want the pallet garden wall to go and how many pallets you’ll need. Then, level the ground where the wall will be built. A straight line or ‘L’ shaped arrangement is the easiest to construct, and will result in a neater and quicker overall look.
Place the pallets in the desired location and use wooden stakes to hold them in place. Make sure each pallet is close to the next one and repeat the process.
Paint the timber using exterior wood paint in the color of your choice. Add a planting pocket by placing pots behind the central timber brace. Staple a section of landscaping fabric into the gap between the posts to create a hammock-style planting area. Fill the planting area with compost. Finally, fill the pots with a mix of trailing bedding or sprawling ground cover plants.
What can I make out of landscape timbers?
Timber is a versatile building material that can be used to add character and structure to your outside space. It is affordable, attractive, and easy to work with. Here are just a few ideas to try when planning your landscaping with timbers:
- Build a covered pergola
- Retain a sloping garden with timber walls
- Create a deck for lounging
- Build your own DIY treehouse ideas
- Create privacy with wooden screens
- Construct a wooden arch for climbing plants to grow over
- Make raised garden beds
- Lay a log path
- Design a network of wooden walkways
- Cozy up a space with log stack walls
Building a low garden wall by stacking timbers is a relatively simple process. By planning ahead and having the right tools, you can finish the project in just one day. Choose from rounded lengths with two flat sides, square posts, or chunky sleepers that are tanalised and pressure treated.
Cut the timbers to length as needed and arrange them in the desired pattern, staggering any joints. You will need to drill holes vertically through each layer and insert rebar that is the height of your wall plus half the height. The rebar needs to be driven into the ground until the head is flush with the top of the wall.
For more information on how to build a garden wall, please see our dedicated guide.