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Ideas to Improve Concrete Ramp

MsFlissMsFliss EssexPosts: 1
Hi, first time posting so hope it comes out ok. Due to access needs I now have this concrete ramp in the front garden. I would love to add some greenery but struggling to see how to do this. There are some very very small gaps along the middle of the ramp. Are there any plants that might cope in such a small space?

Any ideas welcome, the ramp does need to stay though  :)



  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,747
    edited 12 January
    Hello @MsFliss, I’m sorry to say that the gap looks pretty inhospitable for any typical garden plant, it will also be difficult to access to do any planting or maintenance.  Would it be possible to position a container in that first corner of the ramp without hindering your access?  Another option is to consider a number of balcony pots to hang on the rails, and to plant them with hanging basket type plants to add some cheer.  They simply attach to the railing and are often available in bright colours which could help you add some extra colour. Welcome to the forum, I hope this helps.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,227
    There are three hitches here that I can see.

    1. Is there any soil in those cracks or is it just hardcore or concrete at the bottom of them?

    2. If there is soil, then it will be very dry unless watered regularly and, with the water coming into contact with the concrete slabs, will probably be very alkaline.

    3. Any plants that could manage to gain a foothold would need to be very slim, slender and non twiggy. You don’t want to get tangled up in sticks and thorns.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,867
    edited 12 January
    I'm inclined to agree with the above I'm afraid.
    As a last resort, you could buy a couple of packets of mixed annual seeds and sprinkle them around. Some are bound to survive and flower.
    If there's a border in front of the white wall you could plant in there to soften it a little.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    Painting the handrails might make it look slightly nicer.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,527
    I like @Plantminded's suggestion of the hanging balcony pots if they wouldn't impede your access needs and also wonder if you could drop some small sedums into those small ground gaps, they seem to grow in the most inhospitable gaps here, especially stonecrop.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,747
    Here's a selection of balcony pots on the first page of this link to consider - one with a larger capacity will offer more choice for what you grow and how often you have to feed and water:

    Buy balcony pots: Delivery by Crocus

    Pelargoniums might be a good choice to grow - they prefer not to be too wet and flower constantly throughout the summer and beyond if it remains mild.

    I took this photo in Spain over 10 years ago of Pelargoniums in balcony pots which impressed me!

  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,739
    If you pack the gap with soil, and make sure there is good drainage, I think some of the creeping Sedums would work.

    Sedum origanum
    Sedum sexangulare
    Sedum Dragons blood
    Sedum pachyclados
    Sedum pluricaule
    Sedum lemon ball

    Delosperma (there are various colours), would probably also work, and Sempervivum.  Creeping Thyme should also work. Personally I would avoid anything bigger/annuals, as they will probably need too much regular watering. 

    I would also consider painting the ramp with a suitable masonry paint, perhaps a Sage green, or something similar, just to soften it. If you won't want to do the whole ramp, then you could just paint the blocks at the sides of the ramp. Agree with those that suggested painting the rails as well.
  • McRazzMcRazz Posts: 144
    I'd bet Erigeron Karvinskianus would have no trouble finding a foothold there!

    KeenOnGreens advice sounds good too.

    I know cost might be an issue but you could get a contractor to lay some resin bound gravel on top of the concrete to create something a bit softer. 

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
    edited 13 January
    I would focus on softening the somewhat industrial feel at the front. A tall pot to the right of the ramp entrance (and perhaps a matching one the other side of the steps) with a small, rounded evergreen shrub (say, Hebe Green Globe) and some large planters to the left in front of the ramp in the same colour/style with some tall slim, evergreen shrubs to disguise the ramp (e.g. Euonymous Green Rocket)

    Possibly add a matching triangular pot - if it doesn’t impair your turning circle -  in that first corner with a tall, flowering perennial that could then be echoed by using the same plant either side of your bay window. For the latter keep it simple, maybe the old favourite Verbena Bonariensis would work - tall, easy, non-spiky, long-flowering and drought tolerant. Or Lavender perhaps?

    That way, the whole looks designed and planned rather than an attempt to disguise!

    Personally, I think itty bitty plants trying to eke a living out in the very narrow gap in the middle would disappoint and be more trouble than they are worth. 
  • You need to consider how you use the ramp. Any plants are going to be walked on or driven over with a wheel chair. You will soon have a selection of weeds growing in the cracks which will give you colour, if only green. Creeping thymes might survive. The hanging pots on the garden side of the rails would be an idea, bear in mind your being able to reach them to weed and water, also lift and fit into postion.
    Would it be possible to plant low growing climbers in the garden to train up lightweight fencing against the rails?
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