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How to make side return space useful?

(23 Posts)
SilverSixpence Sun 16-Mar-14 23:36:20

We have a small amount of space to the side of the kitchen approx 1.5m square which is currently overgrown with moss and generally wasted. Is there any way I can put it to use? There is a shed blocking the way to the garden but I was wondering if I could make a tiny garden area there, maybe using vertical planters and a few pots, but practical ideas are welcome too.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Sun 16-Mar-14 23:38:57

You have a door out to it but can't get beyond it because of the shed? Is the shed wooden or brick?

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Sun 16-Mar-14 23:40:04

So is there another door out to the garden? (Am failing to visualise it, sorry!)

whereisshe Sun 16-Mar-14 23:40:45

Water tank for garden irrigation?
Grow potatoes in bags?
Kitchen herb garden (in pots on a raised shelf) if you can access it from the kitchen window?

SilverSixpence Sun 16-Mar-14 23:51:03

Yes sorry it wasn't clear, there is a small square yard type space then a shed blocking rest of the way to the garden, which is accessed through a door in the back room. The she'd is wooden so could paint it perhaps?

The kitchen window ledge is too shallow for pots

ShoeWhore Mon 17-Mar-14 06:34:31

How much light does it get? Any direct sun?

LightastheBreeze Mon 17-Mar-14 08:12:06

Maybe clear moss and stuff and get one of these storage things or put some planters there if suitable for growing stuff

Or use area for recycling bins, depends if its somewhere you look out of window to.

LightastheBreeze Mon 17-Mar-14 08:15:57

Oops forgot link, Storage thing

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 17-Mar-14 09:44:02

are the walls around it 1- or 2-storey? 2 will restrict light a lot (depending an aspect)

what are the walls made of? Could you paint them in a light colour? If the sun isn't going to reach them then white - if it is then cream would be good, I've had white walls & they were dazzling when the sun was on them. (Someone was on GQT once who had a very small very dark backyard, their immediate response was "paint it white" but he lived in Saltaire & wasn't allowed to!)

There's a climbing hydrangea which would do well if you could get it into the ground - a friend used to have a tiny enclosed square with very high walls all round & it grew - this one. Not sure if it would do so well in a pot.

Ivy grows pretty much anywhere & it's evergreen, which the hydrangea isn't apparently (I thought it was). There are a few here, along with clematis montana which is pretty robust - I've had one in a large pot for years, it's in an E-facing corner with 2-storey walls to N & S so only gets very early sun & only in the middle of the year, I never touch the compost & it still comes back every year (mind you have never attempted to move it, it may have broken out of the bottom of the pot & through the concrete it stands on grin)

Annual begonias do very well in shade IME. So do busy lizzies but there's been some kind of problem with them recently, an infection or something.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 17-Mar-14 09:47:09

Or could you move the shed...?

If not then yes, paint it too. Cuprinol make some beautiful colours for wood called Garden Shades Our shed is Barleywood smile

SilverSixpence Mon 17-Mar-14 10:41:07

Ah thanks just the type of advice I needed! I have been looking at cuprinol shades and would like to paint the shed in a pastel green or blue and the fence in cream/white. I will try the begonias in vertical planters.

Not sure how to clear the moss, not keen on weed killers but might be the only thing that shifts it. Failing that could put something down like white gravel but don't know if that will be a good idea or not.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 17-Mar-14 11:22:56

pale green or blue would look lovely smile

you could get a couple of etageres or similar to add some height (as long as they don't stick out too much at the bottom)

or some of these - cheap & cheerful, but there are lots of smarter more robust alternatives available (more expensive of course...) Lots of etageres on that site too

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 17-Mar-14 11:23:31

what's underneath the moss btw?

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 17-Mar-14 11:41:20

moneysavingexpert thread on removing moss from paving (greenfingered forum - I didn't know they had one!)

bleach seems popular hmm also power washers, but in a confined space the results could be horrendous! scraping most of it off with a hoe would be a good start by the sound of it`

Pannacotta Mon 17-Mar-14 12:33:35

HOw much light does it get?

GrendelsMum Mon 17-Mar-14 13:20:11

My in-laws turned the side-return into the shed, by putting up a simple corregated plastic roof and lockable doors at either end.

The moss is growing because it's damp and shady and you're not using the area for anything. So in the short term, I'd just brush the moss away with a hard broom (no need for weed killers, as it doesn't really have roots), and work out why the surface is damp - you may have some sort of issue re gutters.

Pannacotta Mon 17-Mar-14 13:26:29

Hello GM how are you?
I was also going to suggest a storage area. Neighbours of mine have done that and store their bikes, recycling, garden tools, house tools, wellies etc and its a fantastic use of space.
With the MOss it sounds too shady to grow much.

GrendelsMum Mon 17-Mar-14 13:47:39

Hello P! Hope you're well - was just thinking of you and your gardening course the other day, and hoping that you and the DC are very well

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 17-Mar-14 14:35:41

Is it actual moss or algae? My back yard is more or less covered in algae atm - never happened before - purely because the winter was so wet & sunless (it doesn't get much sun between about Oct-Mar even in a good year). OP's moss might be similar, esp as her space is completely enclosed (mine is at least open to the E)

SilverSixpence Mon 17-Mar-14 15:47:49

Hi the height is two storeys on three sides and shed in front so it is quite shady. Also think you are right about gutter issue but need to investigate further - think clearing moss and painting and a few bright pots will make all the difference!

echt Mon 17-Mar-14 17:49:21

Gravel on the ground could turn your return into a cats' toilet.

Painting the shed sounds a good idea.

RalphRecklessCardew Mon 17-Mar-14 19:31:50

Knock down the wall and make it into a sunporch - kitchen extension?

I've seen it done with a terraced house and it really worked.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 17-Mar-14 20:00:36

1.5m sq isn't a huge space for adding to the kitchen, but it could make a very useful porch

(we're looking into having one at the top of our side return, to store all the crap we currently have under the stairs & dotted around the house - I have paint & other decorating stuff in a wardrobe because the only other suitable space would be in our shed & cold weather isn't good for paint)

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