Home Garden Problem Solving: Blank Wall, Thin Planter
One of the most common front yard problems is to provide an open and welcoming front walkway to give a good vibe to a home, attracting positive energy from a feng shui standpoint, or just being pleasing on the eye and welcoming to visitors. As landscape designers or homeowners we are often faced with a large blank wall which is edged by a planter area that is about 2′ wide. In an ideal world, we would rip out the walkway and make the planter area larger, but we have to design according to our pocket book.
The plant choice for this location and space need some care and attention then. So often I see spiky plants here that seem to reach out to stab the visitors as they go by – pigmy date palms, New Zeland flax and even taller grasses such as purple fountain grass. If you want to create a welcoming entrace, you will find yourself continually trimming the plants back, leading to the plants looking stunted and misshapen.
And that long blank wall, typically leading up to the front door, is just begging to be made the most of.
My immediate reaction is to look at what we can grow on that wall. Many people are nervous of adding a vine because in their minds they see vines like ivy or creeping fig that have suckers, hooking themselves into the stucco, becoming almost imposible remove cleanly.
Here’s a solution we came up with that you may like to try if you have this kind of space in your yard.
We start by building very simple trellis structures made of ready-made square or diagonal trellis panels, framed out with redwood 2”x4”, extended out into fence post like footings. The timber is easy to source, its fairly inexpensive and its a very doable project for someone with minimal woodworking skills. Once built, you can stain or color it any shade you like to blend in with the surroundings, or make it a focal point.
Now that you have this structure*, you can grow your vines up through it, providing walls of color, or in this case fragrance. Great vines to consider are:
- Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) for fragrance
- Lady Banks Rose (Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ or Rosa banksiae ‘Alba Plena’) for yellow or white blooms
- Passion vine (Passiflora edulis) for blooms, edible fruit and butterflies
- Butterfly vine (Mascagnia macroptera) for its yellow orchid like blooms
You and your visitors can enjoy this welcoming sight as you walk up to the front door.
*Other ways you can use these trellises:
Diagonal trellis structure painted green and decorated with wall art, separating one area of the garden from another
A close squared trellis structure to hide eyesores such as trash cans from view
Trellis structures set in from the fence line to provide extra privacy from overlooking windows
Displaying outdoor art work, while hiding ugly utility boxes