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Help with hiding this small ugly breeze block wall.

Hi there,
Was wondering if anyone had any suggestions with hiding this ugly little retaining wall?
Originally it had bits of wood screwed to it, but they needed staining twice a year and rotted away in parts, so I don't want to go back down that route ideally.
Would it be possible to hide it a bit with trailing plants? could I plant some small plants in the holes in the breeze blocks which would spill down over the edge to soften it.
If so, what plant types? Ideally perennials so I don't have to do it each year.
Obviously if this is a stupid idea, has anyone got any other ideas?
Ideally I want a cheap option, don't want the hassle of having to get builders in etc.
Thanks for any help.


  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,242
    Trailing plants would work very well, Aubretia, trailing Phlox and various trailing Campanula are very easy.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • M33R4M33R4 Posts: 116
    Painted mine with black floor paint - looks very modern now with green trailing plants brushing over it. 
    I wish I could garden all year round!
  • M33R4M33R4 Posts: 116
    Or if you don't mind losing some driveway space, add railway sleepers to reach same height.
    I wish I could garden all year round!
  • bédébédé Posts: 1,768
    Ivy.  My suggestion is "curly locks". aka  "Mandas's crested",  or variegated, to your taste.

    You might  have to train them to to start going downwards.
      location: Surrey Hills, England, cretaceous acidic sand.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • GraysGrays Posts: 141
    M33R4 said:
    Or if you don't mind losing some driveway space, add railway sleepers to reach same height.
    Yeah, I though about something like this, but at he risk of sounding a bit tight, railway sleepers are not cheap these days and that photo probably shows half the length of the wall.
    I thought about some kind of cladding too, but thought the cheaper and probably more aesthetically appealing option would be some trailing plants.
  • GraysGrays Posts: 141
    punkdoc said:
    Trailing plants would work very well, Aubretia, trailing Phlox and various trailing Campanula are very easy.
    Thanks for the advice.
    The area behind the wall is a mess and needs tidying up really.
    Regarding the plants....... do you think the 2 "holes" in each breeze block if filled with compost would be large enough to take a plant?
    Which of the options you listed would be most suited size wise?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,246
    If you tidy up the existing bed, you'll see what space you have. Then pick plants which will suit the soil and climate. It might be quite dry at the edges, so the plants @punkdoc mentions will do well. Ajuga will also trail down from just inside an edging. Arabis is another good plant. It looks quite sunny, so those should all be fine, although campanulas often prefer a little shade ,so perhaps choose the shadier bits for that.
    Allow around a foot to 18 inches for each plant as a rough guide, but they will all spread well when happy. The amount they grow again depends on soil and climate.  Decent moisture is needed for all of them until established. Just be wary of anything which will take over and cover the beds - some Campanulas are a bit invasive [poscharskyana] and things like Ivy etc. 

    Far better to plant properly in behind the edging - the holes are too small for anything to thrive.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I like the paint idea, can then look a bit smarter against the colour of the plants you choose.

  • I would only add that if you wanted to tie together a painted wall theme. without adding too many extra plants, you could possibly add strategically placed 'focal plants' that are taller than the existing ones and these would serve to lead the eye up away from the ground, eg having  the same taller shrub x repeated at widely-spaced intervals, maybe three or five  or seven of them - odd numbers tend to work better.  Painted obelisks or similar structures (in same colour as the wall) could work in the same way, by giving height and drawing the eye up, while repeating the colour of the wall. In the meantime, you could still have smaller (and cheaper) trailing plants over the wall too. A dark painted wall could contrast well with the lovely warm looking gravel/pea-shingle on the ground. I can imagine a Mediterranean -style selection of plants in your border looking good, if your site is accommodating of that kind - from the photo it has a sunny, warm feel to me. It could all look very dramatically elegant while being cohesive, and your site really has a good feel to me already and I think that is something to do with the pea-shingle & the effect its colouring has on the scene combined with the dramatic possibilities of what current and potential planting lies contained within the retaining wall.
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,940
    Over time, those breeze blocks will weather and take on their own character, blending in well with the colour of the block edging on your drive.  I wouldn't paint them, they'll become a feature.  I'd rather see plants!  A quick, easy trailing plant which will give excellent cover for most of the year is Erigeron karvinskianus.  It starts off as a neat clump, expanding to spill out but still neatly and it also self seeds.  They are readily available and inexpensive. Mine flowers from spring to December and needs very little attention or maintenance.  It's happy in full sun, shade and partial shade and most soils.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
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