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ugly concrete yard woes

(36 Posts)
yellowgladys Sat 16-Jul-16 16:43:26

Any ideas how I can cheaply transform my very ugly back yard? It's quite large - c. 10m x 5m of crumbling old concrete. I've done what I can with planting - I have big raised beds and pots, but there's still SO MUCH CONCRETE! I guess I'm looking for a cheap way that I can landscape it somehow. I rent, and the landlord isn't going to pay to dig it up and put in a lovely lawn, I don't have much of a budget myself, but if there's a cheap way I could put something on top of it, I'd do it, as it would really cheer me up.

AllegraWho Sat 16-Jul-16 16:45:15

Gravel ? Bark ? Snazzy paint ?

Notthecarwashagain Sat 16-Jul-16 16:49:05

Could you put down decking tiles?
I've seen a few places selling the 'clip together' ones.
ikea have some

PolterGoose Sat 16-Jul-16 16:51:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

timtam23 Sat 16-Jul-16 17:34:12

Some of my neighbours have put down astroturf. I know it sounds a bit naff but it does look better than crumbly concrete. To be laid properly it should be stuck down but some of the renters have just popped a big square of astroturf straight onto concrete without adhesive and it looks OK. I think you can get rolls quite cheaply in Home Bargains.

Kr1stina Sat 16-Jul-16 19:56:23

Fake grass is a great idea, because you can take it with you when you leave / sell. If you put down gravel you're just giving it to the LL.

Thecatgotmytongue Sat 16-Jul-16 19:58:42

Watching with interest ... I'm in the same boat. There was a patch of concrete completely crumbled away in my yard and I've filed it with gravel. Now need more! I like big pebbles scattered around too.

mineofuselessinformation Sat 16-Jul-16 20:03:00

Compare the price of gravel with decking squares. Either would look good, especially if your raised beds are surrounded by wood.
If you go for the gravel, you could make your garden seaside themed - wispy grasses in pots, and some larger stones, a few lanterns etc. Or for the wood, have lots of brightly coloured flowering plants. smile

wobblywonderwoman Sat 16-Jul-16 20:07:06

What about have four large square raised bed covering the area and gravel around it.

Seems a lot of work when renting though. How long are you intending to live there?

Ilovewillow Sat 16-Jul-16 20:11:57

Might sound odd but if you have a table and chairs out there how about an outdoor rug!

Quodlibet Sat 16-Jul-16 21:00:49

I was going to suggest fake grass. We did this over our crappy concrete. Ordered it from ebay and laid it ourselves - it was a couple of hundred quid but makes a huge difference. There are lots of merchants on ebay who will send you samples - some of them are pretty realistic.

I just bought a few bags of builders sand to fill and level the worst bits of the concrete, and we pegged the grass down around the edges bit didn't glue it.

yellowgladys Sun 17-Jul-16 00:23:17

Thanks so much for these great ideas, im going to read properly tomorrow and have a think. I hadn't thought about fake grass, but actually it might be a good idea

yellowgladys Sun 17-Jul-16 11:26:45

Thanks for all the advice, it has made me feel less depressed by my ugly yard and I have been googling this morning to see what would be possible. I would just really like to have a yard that me and DC could be in that would be cheerful.
I can't paint unfortunately as the concrete is too crumbling, and I'm renting. Even if the landlord was ok with it, decking squares, gravel or properly laid fake grass are going to be out of my budget, especially as we might be moving in a year or so.
I have a disability, so am a bit limited in what I can do myself. I actually think plonked down fake grass / big outdoor rugs might be the way to go, and I'm going to see if I can fill some more floor space with containers. Big pots are so bloody expensive though! I'm always stalking the sales looking for them. Do you think big flexitubs with holes drilled in would work ...? or maybe they would split with the weight of the soil?
Any more ideas very welcome. I don't want to post pics as too identifying

PolterGoose Sun 17-Jul-16 12:02:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Sun 17-Jul-16 12:04:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

froubylou Sun 17-Jul-16 12:11:50

What about some of those foam squares you can get for dcs to play on? You could glue the edges together then weight them down with pots or a tyre turned into a sandpit. They are pretty cheap to buy.

They won't last forever obviously but should get you through summer.

Also if anyone has any decking done ask for any offcuts that ate left. You can make raised beds really easily with those. Then maybe instead of normal flowers plant a 'spring meadow'. You can get those shake and sow seed boxes from pound land or aldi and Lidl.

Another thought might be that bamboo screening you can buy but put it down on the floor as matting. Again it isn't going to be a long term solution but will cover up the worst of the areas.

Quodlibet Sun 17-Jul-16 12:29:17

Old pallets piled up and the gaps planted at sides to make vertical planter/insect habitat?

Happy50 Sun 17-Jul-16 13:28:25

I have cats.
They see gravel as a litter tray
Don't use it if you or the neighbours have cats

yellowgladys Sun 17-Jul-16 14:33:04

Thanks for the latest ideas, I really appreciate them -I wish I'd posted here two summers ago! There are lots of local cats, so I will avoid gravel and large uncovered sandpits I think wink I've just had a big boost, went to my local centre and spent £50 of my budget on a load of very reduced, large, good condition flowering shrubs for next year to put in various recycled containers and a couple of trugs, that will fill a fair bit of space. Cheap foam squares underneath a (covered) sand table area would actually be great, I think.

Youvegottobekidding Sat 23-Jul-16 22:13:41

We use to rent, and ours was a concrete back yard. We yearned to do something with it, but like you couldn't afford much & we're saving like mad for a deposit. We 'spruced' it up with a couple of 'pebble' beds, a few pots of lavender & some garden ornaments. Also if you can borrow a jet wash, perhaps get someone to give it a once over, it may just bring it up nicely.

Scottishthreeberry16 Sat 23-Jul-16 22:26:01

My yard was concrete. Put down pavers and now it looks great. Ours were a bit on the expensive side but you can pick up quite cheap ones actually. Sometimes people put them on freecycle if you can collect. Yes to big containers and large plants - like bamboo ... something with impact. We put an old fatsia japonica (houseplant) outside and it's done well, despite living in the frozen north

JT05 Sun 24-Jul-16 09:45:00

I've just read the thread, great ideas. Flexitubs sound like a good cheap container idea. If you fill the bottom with broken polystyrene then you use less compost, they are lighter to handle and there is drainage material.

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 24-Jul-16 12:32:09

If you don't mind plastic B&M do the best range of budget, large (impact!) planters I've found. They're all listed on the website.

I have several of the 55cm bell pots (£3.99 - terracotta or black colour) and they're still doing brilliantly 2yrs on - no cracks/ fading/ splits.

I like the polystyrene tip as the cost of compost can add up! I've pressure washed my patio recently and it's surprising the difference it makes smile

JasperDamerel Sun 24-Jul-16 12:41:13

I'm stealing some ideas from here, too, as we have a hideous concrete front garden/driveway, and have lots of indoors renovations to do before we can get it landscaped, but I'm fed up with our house looking horrible and neglected.

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 24-Jul-16 14:00:57

I've also seen people make good use of mirrors in concrete yards. They can be quite rustic (check out your local ebay!) and seem to draw the eye/ add extra dimensions in their reflection. Plus you can take them with you grin

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