Garden design hiding an ugly wall on a Shoestring
How to hide an ugly wall in one weekend and information about Bamboo
I couldn't pass the opportunity to tell you about what my husband and I are doing in our back garden right now. We're trying to make it more attractive and this weekend we covered a very ugly wall, quickly, easily and cheaply.
We actually bought the ugliest house in the neighborhood, I kid you not! That's what the estate agent told us, and that's just exactly what we thought too! The house needed a lot of work but it was exactly what we needed and in the right location, and more importantly what we could afford!
Let me apologize in advance because most of the images you'll see in the this lens are very ugly!! But it is a bit of a before and after lens, it gets better as you scroll down, and it ends with a real beauty!
How we tackled the ugly walls
A very small budget for the garden
Along with our ugly house came the ugliest garden in the world. Our garden is a massive challenge because we have to improve it a lot, with as little money as possible.
We are going to rely on friends and neighbours to donate plants and a few bits and bobs, but the hard work is down to us. We can't afford to employ designers, we have to use our own creativity and ingenuity! Some of our lovely friends have already given us some plants and pots, and we have ideas to recycle all sorts of things, but we still have a very long way to go.
We also need expert advice so that's why I have decided to bare all on this Squidoo lens lol! I know that you guys will be able to help me with all sorts of ideas.
Even though it's ugly we have a couple of things that make it a bit easier -it's south facing, so it's a sunny garden, and it's divided up into 4 areas, so we can make different 'rooms'. Our plan is to have an area with a lawn and fruit trees to provide shade, and small vegetable patches. One area is for a shed where my son can store his toys, and have space outside too. The third area is to the side of the house, so we'll have lots of pots and erect a pergola there. And the hardest area is right outside our back doors. That is the space we have the most problem with.
The walls were so bad that we needed to do something quickly because we just couldn't stand the sight of them any longer. The texture of the wall was so awful it is made of large breeze blocks, and at the very back of the garden we faced the back of some garages! All concrete slabs!
We thought that fast growing creeping plants like a Mile a Minute would work, but we didn't have the patience to wait even one summer for it to grow. And anyway what would we do in the winter when it died back? We'd be back to staring at a seriously ugly wall. So we decided that we had to cover it with something before we planted the creepers.
We thought of painting it but our neighbours have tried that and it looks terrible, because the paint does not disguise the texture of the bricks. Also, they chose baby blue, which does not look very nice at all! ( in our opinion that is! ) I don't suppose they'll be joining Squidoo any time soon!!
So we visited our local garden centers and went online and found something called split bamboo screen, and that's what we settled on.
We have had it on the back wall for nearly 2 years and it's been fantastic. It is very hard wearing and, although it won't last forever (nothing does in the garden anyway), it will last for a few years and therefore it is ideal for our needs.
I love the fact that it is made of organic material, because I want my garden to be as natural looking a possible.
Here's what we did - It was so simple
There are quite a few different lengths and heights on Amazon so you'll have to measure your wall before you buy. However you can cut them down if you need to. We had to cut ours to a certain height, which was a bit of a pain, and a two person job, but it worked well and we did it with an ordinary saw.
If you click on the image you'll be taken to Amazon.com where there are others to browse.
Tools we used
First we measured the length and height of the wall we wanted to cover and ordered it on Amazon.co.uk. If you're in the UK then there's a link UK Bamboo Screens
We worked out how we would attach it to the wall, which wasn't difficult and went remarkably smoothly.
It took us about 2 hours to erect the screen once all the cutting had been done. We used:
- an electric drill
- Heavy duty gardener's wire
Our nifty technique
We worked our way round the wall drilling a hole and putting in a screw, tying the wire round the screw and then feeding it through the gaps in the bamboo screen and tying a knot. We then pushed the ends behind the screen so you couldn't see any messy ties. We did alternate top and bottom and we spaced them about a foot apart.
This is exactly how we put the screen up at the back of the garden which was very big and tall. It was easy.
My son goes to a school where they have gardening on the curriculum and they have a huge garden on the grounds. They were cutting down some bamboo, so I was there stuffing it into my car as fast as they could cut it down. I did this with care because it is very brittle and sharp. I'm not sure what mine is but I think it is clumping bamboo.
You have to be very careful about planting bamboo in your garden because it spreads like wildfire! You need a very big garden and you should make sure that you plant it away from your house because the roots will spread too. Here’s a site about Bamboo that is full of information and pictures that show how massive this plant grows. There are many different varieties too.
So we decided to buy 2 large pots. These were very cheap because they are made of plastic. I usually avoid plastic at all costs but I have found that they last a lot longer than clay or ceramic ones, as they crack in the cold. I didn't have anything I could recycle because these babies needed to be big!
I feel pleased that I took the time to research this and I am confident that I will be able to control it now that it is in pots.
The pots have to be as big as possible and kept wet at all times. In time I may have to cut the root ball or they'll get pot bound, but that's the joy of gardening - everything needs loving care and attention. I'm sure they'll do really well.
The fruits of our labour!
By Sunday afternoon we had achieved this look. We are delighted with it. And the whole thing cost less than £80!
The pots along the wall will grow and we're going to grow strawberries there too.
Need shade in your Garden?
There are lots of gazebos and different pergolas on Amazon if you click on this one you'll be taken to there directly.
This Coolaroo Square shade has lots of 4 and 5 star reviews and I think solves the problem very effectively and economically too.
Garden Design Experts - We Need Your Help!
Now we need to ask for your help - what are we going to do with the ugly floor! Somebody, in their wisdom, decided to pour concrete over the whole area, and now it has all broken up with the cold and passing of time.
The space is screaming out for an extension to our kitchen and living room, but we simply can't afford to do that. Also, the estate agent has advised us that if we spend money doing that, it won't raise the value of the house because there's a limit to how much the houses in this area are worth.
So what do we do now? Remove all the concrete? But then what?
Do you have any suggestions? Remember we're trying to do this on a shoestring so we think we should not spend more than around 300. Do you have a photo we could look at for inspiration? If so please leave a link or comment in the box below. We'd really appreciate your help, and love to hear your ideas.
Do you think our garden will look better with
Here are some ideas - Do you think we'll ever get it to look something like this?
After a lot of research and browsing all over the net and reading all your amazing suggestions and comments (thank you) - we still haven't come up with a solution to our floor problem.
The real problem is that we're trying to do this on a shoestring and materials here cost an fortune - for example to cover the floor with pebbles we'd have to spend over £500! I can't bring myself to spend that amount of money on bags of stones!
The problem with decking is that my husband doesn't like it. I know that's very odd indeed because half the UK have decking in their gardens and they seem very happy! But I have another problem - RATS! They live under decking - we're in London, remember the Pied Piper and the Plague!! The rats are still here and they love the safety and warmth of decking in people's gardens. So I have been put off that idea too.
The search continues. Keep in touch.
A Beautiful English Rose - These will soon be part of my garden design!
© 2014 Giovanna Sanguinetti