Garden Planning Tips Hide Ugly Features

Garden Planning Tips Hide Ugly Features-bp-fi

Garden Planning Tips Hide Ugly Features Top Tip

Wouldn’t it be lovely if all the garden looked lovely, but sadly this is not the norm. Most gardens have an unloved area, a part of the garden you wished wasn’t there or an immovable feature that is just downright ugly. The trouble is modern gardens are much smaller now, so these ugly bits become even more noticeable. This Garden planning tips hide ugly features post will help you come up with easy design solutions that won’t cost a fortune. But that will help you hide those ugly bits better!

Distraction – you can’t hide ugly objects in a small space. You just need to make them less noticeable.

Every garden has its bad bit, the problem arises when the bad bits become THE garden feature. So how do you reduce the negative visual impact?

With all these images, there is one common problem, one missing element that means all you end up looking at is the unattractive features. These could be concrete paths, bland paving slabs or lots of fence panels. So what is the missing element?

A ‘Look at Me Instead’ feature!

The problem with hiding large unattractive features is, what is doing the hiding has to be large as well. You simply replace one ugly element with a larger less ugly one.


Does adding a green ‘wall’ make the ugly less ugly? All that is accomplished is more attention is drawn to the one part you don’t want to notice. It becomes more noticeable because it is trying to hide something. Curiosity though, makes us look for the element that is hidden away.

A different approach is needed.

Distraction Technique Number 1 – Add something unexpected.

This is all about creating an ‘oooh what’s that’ or an ‘oh, that’s a clever idea’ response. Add something to the ugliness that is so totally different, it takes over from the ugliness behind it. And the best part is that this can be anything YOU LIKE!


Distraction Technique Number 2 – Make a big bold feature elsewhere

Now this may seem blindingly obvious, but in a small garden, one big tall bright bold border or feature will shout and demand your attention. This is especially the case if you can add movement to the garden also. We watch things that move more than we watch things that don’t..

captivating isn’t it.?

Distraction Technique Number 3 – Make a place you can immerse yourself – entirely

If it is not possible to change the eyesore, perhaps because it is not in your garden or owned by you, then the next best option is immersion. Create a sanctuary area in the garden to retreat into but once ‘inside’ all your senses are activated. It’s not just sight, you need to think about touch, taste, hearing and scent as well. Scent is probably one one the best distraction methods available. Smell evokes memories and to tap into our memories, we often close our eyes – so you then won’t be even looking at the unattractive parts of the garden.

Imaging sitting in a small trellis covered bench, with plants to eat, surrounded by scented foliage. Maybe just in front of you is a small wind sculpture spinning gently in the breeze or you have a butterfly feeding station – you will automatically become engaged and interested in what is around you.


All you need is one small space that is just for you, where the world is ‘outside’ and you are surrounded by the things that make you happy.

So it’s all about language, if we stop trying to ‘hide ugly features’ and instead think of ways distract ourselves – we open up a world of interesting options.

Hiding the neighbours ugly garden wall

hiding neighbours ugly garden
OK this is not the prettiest wall

Whilst it would be lovely to look out of the window and see a beautiful view, the reality is that normally it’s not quite so stunning!

The remedy for many people is to plant a big dense green hedge to disguise the ugly view. The problem is that you get a dull view instead!

So let’s think a little differently, as most of you will probably already have the hedge or fence, you need to concentrate of making that more interesting. Consequently, you will not notice the hedge or the ‘neighbour’s ugly bits’ so much.

Similarly, you need to distract the eye from ugly images, by adding something interesting to look at. In the picture above, all you really notice is how tall the neighbour’s house is!

To counteract this, and to bring your eye line down to stuff you want to notice. So now some trellis has been added that sits above the wall, climbers can then be planted to soften the harshness and dominance of the wall.

Tall planters to try to re-balance the view (less brick wall, more nice wall), and then the planting is really quite bright and bold, so hopefully you notice this much more than the house behind.

You may think why not a tree there, well, a tree tall enough to hide the wall will have roots big enough to crack the walls too – it would be too close to foundations and thus not advisable.

Hiding the neighbours ugly garden then involves one basic principle.

Don’t try to hide it, create a ‘look at me instead’ part of the garden. Simple eh?


Plan your view.

Take a chair into the garden and sit down. Shut your eyes and open them again – what’s the first thing that catches your eye. Repeat this by moving the chair to face different angles in the garden.

You will now have a plan of ‘first impressions’ in the garden, some of which will be good and some not so good. So what to do now….

If the bits you would rather not see are impossible to exlcude from view, then the simplest solution is to turn your back on them. If you sit down facing away from the eyesore, you can look at something nicer.

Then with the orientation of your seating area sorted, you can create an area of the garden that is really good to look at. In this way you control what you want to see.

In the garden below, there is not a lot to ‘see’ so your attention is easily distracted.

not quite a show garden

so, did you notice the flowers…..?

Gardens can be made less ugly and more interesting with a little thought, as long as you concentrate on distracting your eye so that it doesn’t stay looking at the ugly bit because it has a more attractive bit to look at.

Now clearly we could write a book on garden design that will help you plan even the narrowest of gardens better – which is brilliant because there IS a book to help you

I Want to Like my Garden by Rachel McCartain available at Amazon and other online bookstores in eBook and Paperback

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