Garden Design Tips – Ugly Views & how to hide them
Garden Design Tips: Hiding Ugly Views
You can do something about those eyesores..even in a small garden!
and here’s how…
Have a colour theme:
Our eyes are easily distracted and colour is a very good way to making you notice one thing and not another.
So choose a colour theme and stick to it, use 2 colours plus green. In the same way as you decorate a room, have the base colour – which in a garden is green and then you add the accent colours.
If the view is particularly ugly, then choose a strong theme, use bright and vivid colours that attract your eye. Alternatively, choose just one colour plus green for a more muted but just as strong theme.
Disguise the straight lines:
Your eye will naturally follow a straight line, there must be some deep hereditary reason why, but that’s for another discussion. The point is if you have straight lines you will notice them more.
So to make the garden appear less boring, you need to ‘unstraighten’ it a bit!
Standing on a lawn, your eyeline will be at the same level to the fence-line, is it any wonder then the the fence is so noticeable?
You need to break this up by planting shrubs that grow above the height of the fence and/or growing some climbers on the fence that will diffuse the straightness of the top line.
Here in this blank garden, the view is dominated by the fence the lovely patio & path and the shed, none of which are stunningly beautiful.
The visual emphasis in the garden is to get you to concentrate on the worst parts of the garden.
The path is a bit of a runway to nowhere, it borders the washing line, but all it does is split the grass into 2 unusable areas. The shed is the only real garden feature to look at. However what is most noticeable are the fences…all the way round the garden and fences are not very attractive!
Simply cloaking the fences in climbers or hedging brings it’s own set of problems. Hedges take up valuable space and light. Climbers on the other hand can easily swamp fencing and create a merry mess that requires tidying every year.
To disguise ugly views, change the thought process from ‘let’s hide the ugly views’ to ‘let’s create something gorgeous to look at instead’.
Paths should always go somewhere, there is then a purpose to walking along it.
The path has been moved to the side of the garden and a small utility area has been paved beside the shed…for bins, outdoor junk and so forth. The washing line can still follow the line of the path, it’s just not right down the middle of the lawn anymore.
Straight away, you now have a more usable shaped lawn – and without the central path, it also looks a little wider too.
What do you want to look at.
Now accepting if budgets are limited, planting might take a while to finish, you still need to plan it at the outset. In this finished design, small trees have been planted at the end of the garden. The shed will no longer dominate the view.
Get some height:
The first part is to get some height in the garden, especially if you are overlooked by other properties.
Trees have been planted in the back corner to create an attractive screen. The advantage of the trees is that they are self supporting (unlike climbers) and there are many to choose from.
Use different leaf colours and barks to create more interest and the bed underneath can be planted with bulbs and or low growing plants which fill the area in time.
Now trees can be expensive especially if you buy large ones. However, they will also require less pruning, last a very long time and are usually pretty maintenance free. Ideally at least 1 should be evergreen.
The most important factor to look at when using trees is to pay attention to the ultimate size. You only need a tree that maybe gets to 15-20 feet, then the foliage hides the eyesore but not the sun.
Lastly, before you choose a tree, ask, will the wind blow the leaves into or away from the garden? How does it set seed, by wind or does it drop them. Does it bear fruit which will drop everywhere! See our Messy Tree guide.
If despite all this the view is still ugly:
The simplest solution is to place your seating area closer to the ugly bit, but facing away from it. There has to be a more attractive to look at, so sit with your back to the ugly view and improve what’s in front.