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Thread: Help my 'yard'

  1. #1
    Gold Member IceQueen's Avatar
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    Default Help my 'yard'

    Please help me with my yard, if you can call it that. It is about 20 feet by 7 feet, and is need of some serious landscaping design. The concrete patio takes up about half of it (though I wouldn't be adverse to ripping that up!) I live in Oregon, USDA Hardiness Zone 7 and Sunset Western Climate Zone 6.

    From the inside of my house, here is looking to the left:


    Here is the right:

    Here is the view from the far left of my yard to the other end:

    Here is my neighbor's house directly 7 feet behind me (the patio and thuja trees seperate us) that I want to block as much as possible:

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    Elite Member Dixie Normos's Avatar
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    first of all, I'd take out the wood chips and cover the ground with grass or something else pleasing to bare feet. Second, put a table over top of that grey-green metalic thingy to maximize space usage and to hide it's royal ugliness from view.
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    also they make those hose roller up cover things to make it look nice.
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    Elite Member sherbear905's Avatar
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    What kind of budget are you looking at? Are you good at doing things yourself?

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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dixie Normos View Post
    Second, put a table over top of that grey-green metalic thingy to maximize space usage and to hide it's royal ugliness from view.
    I think it's an air conditioner unit so putting a table over it might compromise its effectiveness. Maybe some sort of trellis around it that would still allow airflow instead? Perhaps something similar to this:
    WOOD PRIVACY SCREEN - Taylor Gifts

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    Gold Member IceQueen's Avatar
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    Budget wise, I am up for about $500.00 for materials/items, I think I'm pretty handy (my motto is 'I can make that cheaper!' when I'm at the store).

    I never thought of putting a table over the A/C unit, would that affect it?
    You think I should put grass down?

    What else can I do? I hate hate hate my yard.

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    Gold Member IceQueen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy View Post
    I think it's an air conditioner unit so putting a table over it might compromise its effectiveness. Maybe some sort of trellis around it that would still allow airflow instead? Perhaps something similar to this:
    WOOD PRIVACY SCREEN - Taylor Gifts
    oh pretty, i like that.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Man,what a blank canvas! Doesn't seem to get much sun,maybe mornings? Anyway: Virginia creeper going up that blank wall-won't hurt the surface & climbs by itself. Get the wood chips (the reddish stuff) out, Clemantis vine in corner wher it gets afternoon shade but the roots are shaded. Begonia-big pots of dragon wing. Soften all that fence with pretty smelling vines-star jasmine(check with local nursery) and cover the whole bottom in ground covers from Steppables.com (think A*O told me about it). Might have to do it a bit at the time,they are pretty expensive. Most spread-might take a while. If it stays shady all the time,impatiens are colorful & great.
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    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceQueen View Post
    I never thought of putting a table over the A/C unit, would that affect it?
    Yeah, don't cover the A/C unit. It isn't pretty, but it has to have free flowing air. Putting a trellis around it with climbing vines or plants would look good, tho.
    “What are you looking at, sugar-tits?” - Mel Gibson

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    Elite Member sherbear905's Avatar
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    That's not my pic, but I had the same type of yard at one house, and built a smaller version of a pergola, and did the irregular pavers. Although I love the idea of grass, that's an awful small space to worry about mowing.

    You could hang flower baskets with vines on the side of the pergola facing the neighbors to camoflauge, and eventually plant some type of vine that would wrap around the pergola.

    I'd tear out the patio. If you would lay pavers, make "rounded/curved" sections to soften up the area.

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    Elite Member SweetPea's Avatar
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    They have all different kinds now. I have a white resin one. Hides the ugly unit.




    I see a nice little bistro set.



    Some sort of water feature either in the corner or on the wall. You can even make one out of a planter to save on cash.


    Tall potted plants soften things up a bit.


    This is very inexpensive to do. Just a little muscle.

    Last edited by SweetPea; May 22nd, 2008 at 11:10 PM.
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    Gold Member IceQueen's Avatar
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    I love all your ideas - thanks everyone!

    I think that the area is too small for grass - like shearbear said, I'd have to get a mower for such a tiny area, but I love the idea of pavers and groundcover.

    The pergola is a great touch and I can hang colorful plants off that, and have a bistro inside, plus I bet I can make a little privacy screen attached to the pergola to block the ac

    Wohoo! I have hope now Off to save every picture in this thread, thanks again! I hope to post some pics at the end of the summer of my new and improved space.

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    Elite Member sherbear905's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceQueen View Post
    I love all your ideas - thanks everyone!

    I think that the area is too small for grass - like shearbear said, I'd have to get a mower for such a tiny area, but I love the idea of pavers and groundcover.

    The pergola is a great touch and I can hang colorful plants off that, and have a bistro inside, plus I bet I can make a little privacy screen attached to the pergola to block the ac

    Wohoo! I have hope now Off to save every picture in this thread, thanks again! I hope to post some pics at the end of the summer of my new and improved space.
    Can't wait to see them! Looks like you should have fun, you've got a great little spot to work with.

    Maybe even throw up some hooks on the fence to hang pots, or put some cool "suns" on it, etc. I'd toss a strand of little white lights into your bushes, and a wind chime or two to wrap it all up. If you would put a pergola over the patio, you might not have to tear it out, or do your area in "stages"...

    Good Luck, keep us posted!

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    Elite Member azoria's Avatar
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    I'm a professional gardener/groundskeeper and my husband is in the HVAC business.

    First, there is nothing you can do with the unsightly air conditioner. It absolutely must have maximum air circulation, it cannot be covered up nor hidden in vines. There isn't enough room to put up a trellis/screen around it. Leave it be. You'll just have to live with it as is.

    Agree that the bark mulch needs to be removed. It is feasible to have a bit of grass which would add softness and be nice under your bare feet. An old fashioned push mower would do the mowing in 5 minutes and run you about $35. Needs no gas.

    Those ugly bushes should be removed. They are too big for the space and will only get bigger. Plant some pretty flowering vines on the fence: clematis, trumpet vine, nothing too rangy. Vines by nature tend to be weedy so if they get out of hand you can just retrain them or hack them back.

    Do you really need paving stones? There is already a concrete patio. I would invest the most of the $500 in plants and a bistro set. A couple of pretty flower pots on the patio, some low growing flowering shrubbery, a little area of summer flower bed, a bit of grass, vines for the fence. Easily done on your budget.

    You'll be able to see it better after you've dug up those ugly bushes and removed that bark.

    Removal and clean up first, and then the other possibilities will be more apparent.



    P.S. Since it is such a small area, be sure to avoid installing any kind of plants with thorns or spikes like roses or yuccas.

  15. #15
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    1. Yeah, I'm afraid you have to live with the AC unit. It needs max airflow.

    2. Depending on your climate and the amount of sun the yard gets I'd consider replacing the bright orange mulch with either some lawn (which will need maintenance) or some gravel/stone. Orjust pave the whole lot to make a proper courtyard.

    3. Consider painting the fence a funky colour - maybe a dark eggplant purple - and then add some lattice and grow climbing plants - again this depends on your climate and the aspect of the yard.

    4. You can get some really nice water features now at places like Home Depot. Just a simple stone effect pillar with a small electric pump that circulates the water - no need for plumbing. No cupids please!!

    5. Think about lights. You can get simple solar/battery powered things from Home Depot you just spike into the ground and that switch on automatically when it gets dark. They look really good around a table/chair setting.

    6. Sounds weird but a feature mirror on the fence will make the yard look twice as big and with planting around it looks really effective.
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