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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tootsie Tip #20 Hiding an Ugly Structure

Hiding the ugly...no...I'm not talking about me in the morning after going to bed with wet hair...I'm talking about the ugly that is hanging out in every garden. When it comes to the unsightly areas of a garden....we need to be very creative.
In every garden there is bound to be a pile of ugly...scraps of wood, junk, old and broken pots, branches and twigs, concrete scraps...you know...JUNK. Some of this junk can be recycled and used to make a creative display, but some is just rubble and needs to be hidden or removed. Many gardeners are not equipped with a 1/2 ton truck or trailer to haul this mess away, and will eventually need to hire someone to do the job for them. Until the time comes to hire out to said persons, why not hide the mess?
Now...you could be tempted to dig a hole and bury your rubble, but this is not the best of ideas. Eventually the pile will show it's ugly side again, and you will still have the same issues on your hands...only messier. So...why not...if only for the short term temporary fix, plant a fast growing climber beside the pile and allow the plant to grow over it and cover it up? A fast growing vine can hide a multitude of sins in our gardens.
So? What types of vines can we plant that will quickly handle this issue?
Clematis
Virginia Creeper

Hops
Climbing Roses
Morning Glory
Ivy
Some breeds of Grape Vine
Sweet Peas
Jasmine
Honeysuckle
Hyacinth Bean vine
and there are many others that grow fast, flower profusely and are just wonderful
Keep in mind that if your plant of choice will require and acidic soil, that you should remove concrete pieces from your pile to be hidden....concrete will degrade and neutralize the soil. If your pile happens to be of the "not so fresh" smelling variety...you might want to choose some plants that will perfume the area, and help you deal with such odors.

What do we do with an ugly fence or shed? We follow the same ideas as above...we hide the ugly.
Make sure the fence or shed in question is structurally sound, and if necessary, add a coat of paint or stain in the color of your choice.
Attach trellis, chicken wire or mesh netting for the plants to climb on, to the sides of the structure. Climbing plants will add natural beauty! If it is a garden shed or other building that you are trying to hide...and the roof on it is not good...and you do not think it is worthwhile to replace it...allow the vines to climb up and over the roof. I used to allow morning glory to climb up and over the roof of my greenhouse...it looked like a living building!

I once saw an idea for using eaves troughs as planters. A gardener could easily hide a structure by filling eaves troughs with soil, adding a few morning glory or sweet pea seeds and sitting back and watching a transformation take place. OR...what if you attached some eaves to the side of the building at different heights and planting trailing flowers to hang down all over in different colors....Oh I feel a project coming on...(can you feel my husband's eyes rolling?) lol

Keep in mind that allowing plants to grow on the roof will speed up the deterioration of the structure...so make sure to reserve this project for sheds and other structures that are well past their "best before" date.

Another alternative to hiding some ugliness in your yard and garden-if you don't want to plant permanent hedging bushes- might be some beautifully planted containers. I once saw a set of "bleachers" with containers filled with marvelous flowers creating a nice screen to a less attractive side of a yard. Simply lining up pots and propping them tat various heights works well too. I vary the height of my pots by setting one pot (empty of course) up side down and placing the "planted" one on top of it.

In most cases, when all else fails....flowers never let you down. They distract us all from those unsightly areas of the garden.
I do hope this helps inspire some creative alternatives for hiding the ugly in your garden!
I am planning a post soon to show some creative planting ideas that I have seen and been very inspired by...but for now...the scoop is all you get! lol (I know! a Tootsie post with no photos???the agony! )
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post on planting climbers....
also...if you have not stopped by and met my little sister.... she will be thrilled you came by!