Many new builds and modern kitchen extensions include a window just above the bench height. Whilst this new style can be a wonderful source of natural light in your home, it also poses a tricky dilemma for many… How do you dress the side access to your home, so that the view from your kitchen isn’t just a fence?
The Master Landscapers of SA have a few tips and trick that may be able to assist.
Wherever possible, consider your views, side profiles and potential solutions ahead of building or renovating. However, should you inherit this problem there are a few options available to you:
Green walls provide a beautiful vista and can contribute exceptional green-life to your outdoor space. The benefit of the tiered system is that you can place sun loving plats at the top of the structure, but be careful to consider the total weight of the product being installed as some green walls and climbers are heavy! Your existing fence/wall must be strong enough to hold the weight.
To decide if this solution is right for you, you will also need to consider the space occupied by a green wall as many protrude approximately 800mm, into a space that may only be approximately 900mm wide, creating access issues. Slimline green walls are available, but they can require more maintenance die to their small pot sizes. Further, you will want to consider the proper construction of a green wall structure, access to water, and potential framing methods as green walls can look a little untidy from the sides.
Artificial plants, like the premium ones Freedom are selling here, require less space and look pretty real. If you’re on a budget, Bunnings or even Cheap as Chips do okay versions of the same thing. Clip-together tiled options like these, work nicely if you’re looking for a more density.
Reach out to Waterpro for the Atlantis Gro Wall.
The original green walls, climber are great space savers! In regard to structure, it is imperative that you can secure posts into the ground and that you consider what your climber can grow on. Tensioned steel wire is a sleek option, but it can make for ‘gappy’ foliage as the plant only has spaced horizontal wires to cling on to. Galvanised weldmesh is a great option for a climber, or if you have the room, you can use a rendered surface or an existing wall to grow a creeping fig. Just beware- they can get big!
In general, we recommend that you choose the right climber for your space, including avoiding using thorny climbers like roses and Bougainvillea if you intend to continue to use your side access. Chilean Star Jasmine and Mandevilla are both great choices, but consider the sunlight you have available before you commit. Also, be careful of hard wooded climbers like Hardenbergia as they are green on top but with nothing underneath – right where the view from your window will be.
SA Grown by Heyne’s Wholesale Nursery can assist with plant choices, but be sure to steer clear of Ivy, Boston Ivy, Glory Vine and Wisteria as they can grow very large and will loose their leaves in winter.
Hard Screening and Fancy Lighting
Screening can be an effective way to add depth and intrigue to a garden design with the use of feature walls and focal points. In limited spaces, some screens, like laser cut solutions may be light enough to be affixed to your fence. Or you may be able to attach lightweight rendered foam panels for example. In fact, a combination of these elements works very well, if professionally designed.
As well as providing an artistic element, screening such as slatted or batten timber, aluminium or composite products, light boxes, stone or brick veneers, corten cladding, or mirrors, can provide both a decorative and functional purpose. For the more adventurous amongst us, you paint your screens, include bespoke graffiti art, or even add painted or printed panels. The rich ochre rust colour of weathered steel always provides a stunning backdrop for any planting.
Festoon or LED lighting can also jazz up a sad view.
Well Maintained Plants
Using plants themselves as a screen provides a beautiful effect, but can require some skill. Espaliered plants, those grown flat on a trellis or tensioned wires, can quickly fill a large span and provide a living backdrop to peek out onto. Remember though, that some shrubs have an upright habit, but with diligent pruning they can be kept very thin.
Other important considerations include:
- Most practical solutions for a side fence location will need to consider the amount of available sun and shade. Typically, these locations are often in full shade, or even more problematic, receive 90% full shade for most of the year, with two weeks of scorching heat during mid-summer.
- Existing Surface Treatments
- If your side path is already concreted, there is little option to install posts, which are required for most installations. Further, if there is existing concrete or paving, installing a water feed and or lighting solutions may be very difficult.
- Oblique Views
- Consider all of the sightlines from your problem window, not just what you see when you stand directly in front of it, and plan to run your feature well past the window itself.