Deciduous fruit trees lend themselves to beautiful landscape design for the patient and talented gardener. Some of the most famous historic gardens in the UK, such as Audley End and Heligan, make use of fruit trees in ornamental yet productive designs in their walled kitchen gardens. Fruit trees are trained against walls in fan, cordon or standard espaliers. The warmth of the wall aids the ripening process and it protects fragile blossoms and young fruit from wind or frost. I fell in love with this type of garden reading Gardens Illustrated magazines when I first studied horticulture. Call me old-fashioned, but nothing beats these gardens in my eyes for edible garden gorgeousness. Walled gardens have a timeless appeal that will surpass any design trends. It is easy for even the beginner gardener to achieve a similar effect in their own gardens. Apple trees such as the Ballerina range are dwarfing and grow in a colum. They are easy care, providing instant espalier gratification. To make a statement, plant several at least 2m apart, on the sunny side of a wall or on either side of a pergola or gateposts. If you have a boring backyard, dividing zones up into "rooms" using hedging and espaliers can work a treat. Training fruit trees in a horizontal espalier along a post and wire fence, or in a fan shape on a masonry wall, will transform your garden and make it good enough to eat. You can enhance views and create tantalising glimpses through arches or pergolas to other areas in the garden, catching the eye with sculptures or feature plants. A garden I once worked on had an old plum tree in the centre of the lawn and the owner wasn't sure how to go about achieving enough productive vege garden space. I developed a simple potager-style formal design with stained macrocarpa beds just beyond the reach of the branches. The potager beds were designed in a half-cartwheel shape that started beyond the outer perimeter of the tree's branches. Shell paths with diagonal pavers divided the beds.
The warmth of the wall serves to aid in the ripening process and it protects fragile blossoms and young fruit from wind or frost.The remaining half-cartwheel was marked out by a clipped rosemary hedge. The circular lawn with plum tree and garden bench took centre stage. Along the fenceline on the west and east boundary, I espaliered red and green pears on one side, and another plum on the other to aid pollination of the old tree.