What do you do when you’ve got those horrible eyesores in your backyard which you can’t just load into your car and take to the tip?
You dress them up!
Some components of your backyard design are essential, even if they’re not particularly pretty. Whether it’s just the rubbish bins or an air conditioning unit you want to hide, we’ve got some top-notch tricks to conceal them from sight.
Air conditioning units, pool circulation systems, and propane tanks
Air con units, pool pumps, and propane tanks are all big enough to attract a fair amount of undeserved attention.
They can be tricky to hide, as they need space for ventilation and servicing. Plus the air con unit emits hot air that’s bound to scorch any plants you try to grow nearby.
Lattice, trellis, or picket fences are your best bet for concealing these unsightly yet essential contraptions.
Build three walls around the device and leave the fourth either as an open space or with a gate to allow easy access. If your contraption backs onto a fence or house wall, build two walls with the opening on the side furthest from your view.
Lattice and trellis work particularly well because you can grow climbers such as clematis, honeysuckle, and sweet peas over it to build a thicker partition.
If you really want it to blend into your surroundings, paint the fence with your home’s colour theme.
Another fantastic idea is to use plants that perform well as fences (though rule it out for air conditioners). High hedges do a good job of sectioning off the area, while bamboo is a natural screen, growing tall and thick to hide your unappealing fixtures.
Down spouts, pipes and posts
Many houses – especially older ones – come with unattractive yet unavoidable plumbing fixtures. An easy way to conceal them is to sand them and paint them the same colour as the weatherboards or concrete behind them.
Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to find the right paint match – or to camouflage pipes against brick.
The easiest thing to do in this case is to dress up the plumbing with lightweight climbers (too heavy and they could tear the pipe right off the wall!). Morning glory, ivy or sweet peas are good choices.
Attach bird netting, twine, or baling wire around the pipe to help support the climbing plants as they grow.
Alternatively you can turn your downspout into art, with a clever idea such as this one:
Your garden shed doesn’t necessarily have to be ugly. Nor does it need to be hidden from view. With the right paint job and some clever additional features, your garden shed could blend in with its surroundings and actually add to your garden design. Who would have thought?
To begin with, paint the building the same colour theme as the rest of your property. That helps it look like it belongs.
Secondly, if your backyard shed has windows, install some garden boxes and grow cascading plants (you can find some plant inspiration here). Fuchsias, impatiens and petunias are some great options.
Add a few quirks to give your shed a bit of personality – a weathervane, for example. You can even be daring and create a charming path leading to the shed. That makes it look like a masterpiece you want to show off, rather than an embarrassment you intend to hide.
If you’ve inherited a garden with a pesky tree stump in the middle of the yard, it can be hard to know what to do with it.
You can have professionals remove the stump, but it will cost you.
Alternatively, you can keep the stump but dress it up either by hollowing out the centre and filling it with cascading plants or simply surrounding it with shrubs and pot plants. If it’s a big stump you could place a few pot plants on top and surround it with tall shrubs.
A great idea is to fill some old wine barrels with cascading petunias or day lilies. Gather them around the stump and it will blend right in!
Ready to Renovate?
Australian Outdoor Living brings you all sorts of backyard renovation ideas to help you make the most of your own little bit of the outdoors. Check out some of our other resources below: