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What can I do with ugly tiny paved yard?

(65 Posts)
Lucysdiamonds Mon 30-Jan-17 15:09:27

I live in rented accommodation so can't make drastic changes like ripping up the paving.

The yard is very small and narrow, the'res a high wall on one side and the kitchen extension on the other. Behind the kitchen extension is a tiny decked area covered with corrogated plastic with a plastic storage bench on the decking.

The paving is old concrete, cracked and ugly.

They're is a buddlea growing out of the wall at the top .. just looks scruffy and takes away light.

At the end of the garden there is a small flower bed, about 1.5 metre by 60 cm I guess. In there there is a crooked christmas tree.

What can I possibly do to make it look nice on a very low budget and with little knowledge or experience?

I thought of putting pebbles or gravel overt the concrete but it's heavy to carry.

I don't know anyone who can give me cuttings really.

What would quickly and cheaply make it look good?

Forgot to say, must be cat and dog friendly.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Mon 30-Jan-17 15:13:15

Lots of pots with flowering and lovely smelling plants. You can buy potted plants for very little at supermarkets or start then yourself from seed.

HeyMacWey Mon 30-Jan-17 15:19:02

Not gravel as cats will use it as a toilet.

Could you use a power washer on the patio to freshen it up a bit?

I'd look at pots. Churches tend to have plant sales in the spring time, places like aldi also have good gardening bargains - plug plants.

You could ask on streetlife or similar if anyone would have happy to share cuttings with you.

Could you post a picture?

ClaudiaWankleman Mon 30-Jan-17 15:19:15

Try a kitchen garden? Herbs, some edibles etc. Usually quite low maintenance.

Is there a sunny corner? A table and a couple of chairs there will be nice for when the weather picks up. Even if you don't end up using it so much, it's good to give an obvious purpose to spaces that have been neglected.

Could you get rid of the Christmas tree? Evergreens always end up looking quite miserable.

Lucysdiamonds Mon 30-Jan-17 15:36:43


It gets very little sun if any and there isn't really room for a table and chairs, it's too narrow.

There is a little gravel down and the cats aren't using it .. they're using the flower bed instead shock. I've no power washer bit the concrete is actually crumbling away, must be quite old.

I'll try and get a pic.

Yes, I thought about getting rid of the tree .. it's ugly and taking up space.

shovetheholly Tue 31-Jan-17 08:24:02

1. Cover the wall with a self-clinging shade loving climber (this saves money on wires/trellis for support). It sounds like you have very deep shade, so you need to choose quite carefully. If it gets a bit of light, you might get away with a lovely climbing hydrangea -for really dark corners, maybe a variegated ivy with a good amount of white in it to shine out? I've seen people put climbers around vintage advertisements in small spaces, and it looks great. Alternatively, a garden mirror can help to make a tight space feel larger by bouncing light around.

2. Get rid of the buddleia and the Christmas tree. Get a big bag of compost and dump it on the border and fork it in. Then you can add whatever shade-loving plants you can find cheap. Personally, rather than choosing smaller things, I'd get some middle height stuff that is evergreen and gives you all-year interest. Corsican hellebores, ferns, an acer, Viburnum 'tinus' will all like heavy shade and look good together. Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons have cheap plants for a couple of quid each in the growing season - you could buy one a month or something! They will take a while to bulk out, but they will only be £2-3 each.

3. Get some pots and put structural plants like a fatsia in them in strategic places! Carefully positioned containers can really distract the eye from looking at cracked paving. You can take them with you if you move as well. Don't forget to feed and water especially in the summer.

4. If there's not room for a table and chairs, at least you can have a chair! see if you can pick up a cheap wooden one and paint it a bright colour with garden paint (cheap in Wilkos).

Lucysdiamonds Tue 31-Jan-17 08:35:22

Thanks! Great ideas smile

Will the climber be ok in a large pot as the only earth is the flower bed at the far end?

I love the sound of vintage advertisements, I'll look on ebay ...

shovetheholly Tue 31-Jan-17 08:52:23

You can buy vintage 'fakes' too, I think!

You can put the climber in a really big pot, but if the concrete is crumbling and easy to get through you might be better off lifting a section of it and planting into soil. (This is hard graft, but it is likely to be considerably cheaper than a large pot). You just remove some of the concrete and any underlying hardcore, then dig in lots of compost because the soil will be very poor and compacted underneath. I got rid of literally tons of concrete from my back garden by drilling holes to weaken it, then crowbarring/mattocking the sections up. To do a small section shouldn't take that long, and it doesn't matter if the edges aren't totally straight because you can plant a ground cover plant to disguise them. Campanula poscharskyana is very pretty, evergreen and shade tolerant - it will creep along all the cracks in your paving given half a chance, which could make a virtue out of the problem!

MollyHuaCha Tue 31-Jan-17 08:54:49

A pic wd wd good. I'm thinking pot plants with (charity shop) mirrors behind them to increase the perceived space.

ILikeyourHairyHands Tue 31-Jan-17 09:01:12

Cat boots are great for pots, plants and tools too.

AstrantiaMajor Tue 31-Jan-17 10:53:30

May I ask what part of the Country you are in? As the year moves on you may find that a little bit of garden gets sun. I would go for one very large plastic pot, put some gravel around the base to cover the worst Concrete.
Put some rubble in the bottom of the pot, otherwise you will spend a fortune on compost. If the budget runs to trellis then you can hang plastic pocket planters on the trellis. If you put them up high they will take your eye upwards and they will benefit from light. I would use ordinary soil and fill them with trailing nasturtions. The seeds are really cheap, do t mind poor soil and need minimum watering. On your poor soil throw down. Calendula and Nigella Seeds. You will have a riot of cream, yellow, orange, blue and purple. Do this at the end of April . Keep them watered for the first month.

Try asking for plants and pots on freecycle or Freely Wheelie. I have recently spread over 50 plants and many very large pots around my area to grateful gardeners. I have found that the £1 shops are really good for plants.

Lucysdiamonds Wed 01-Feb-17 02:28:48

Sorry I've been out all day and didn't get a picture before it got dark. Tomorrow ....

I'm in South Wales.

esk1mo Wed 01-Feb-17 02:42:06

theres an app called Houzz and you can search for examples and inspiration for tiny little patios etc. or pinterest.

UterusUterusGhali Wed 01-Feb-17 09:43:11

I second everything that holly said.

I'd chuck Mexican Fleabane everywhere too, and hope for the best re sun.

Lucysdiamonds Wed 01-Feb-17 16:24:27

Thanks for the suggestions. I have no idea what Mexican fleabane is ... off to Google!

Photo attached .. sorry it's getting dark and please ignore the reflection .. taken through the window.

Lucysdiamonds Wed 01-Feb-17 16:32:33

When you say chuck it everywhere, do you mean on the flower bed, in pots or on the paving?

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Wed 01-Feb-17 16:38:36

I would string back and forth across the gap as high as you can with some bulb shaped solar lights
and put a bright parasol at the end with some carnival colored chairs- so that you have a sense of welcoming and protected space.
I wouldn't cover the ground in pots - it will make the space look even smaller. But I would try and get a few with a bit of height on them but not much width - perhaps pots with trellis towers actually in them and some climbers , jasmine is good value all year and amazing in flower - and trumpet vines?
maybe a potted bamboo

night scented stocks in the flower bed and a large ice bucket on a stand and you're away!

MrsHouseBrownie Wed 01-Feb-17 16:39:42

Get rid of the tree. Put a big mirror on the white wall (cheap in the range/ charity shops) It will make the garden bigger and brighter. Floor paint for the cement? What's behind the boarded up window? I'd cover that in trellis and a clematis montana if it's not removable. Cheap pots and compost from home bargains and plant marigold/ nasturtium seeds for easy plants with lots of colour in the summer.

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Wed 01-Feb-17 16:42:43

This sort of effect - but without needing the overhead trellis

MrsHouseBrownie Wed 01-Feb-17 16:44:50

Like this?

Lucysdiamonds Wed 01-Feb-17 16:47:14

Thanks .. great ideas! I love solar lights smile

Bamboo sounds great too .. but maybe outside my budget.

Lucysdiamonds Wed 01-Feb-17 16:50:35

Clematis Montana ... good idea!

I don't know about removing the window .. if I could work out how I'd attach a mirror there! But it'll be too expensive. .

Painting the concrete is a bit too permanent for rented accommodation .

Keep the ideas coming .. they're great! Love the pics too .. it helps.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Wed 01-Feb-17 16:55:26

I am going to plant up a pot with fake Giant catcuses....but it involves finding some very large stones and pebbles. And quite a bit of green paint.

see Pinterest for ideas!

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Wed 01-Feb-17 16:57:57

what about prayer flags instead of light strings, I had some across my yard and really loved the whole idea of the wind blowing the prayers idea why, I am as cynical as they come but they were fab when they got a bit frayed.

not quite so much when they fell down and tangled up with the washing line, but that did take ages.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 01-Feb-17 16:59:51

I think that's a lovely space! Are you allowed to paint the white wall a colour? Pots of colourful plants will look gorgeous.

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