Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Advice, please.


Hola, friends.

What should I do about the concrete-ish foundation-y part of my house?

This week I am having some burly men come tear up the concrete slab that currently serves as a patio. Then I am going to stack field stones to make a planting bed thing all along the back of the house, but I was thinking, even when I plant stuff, you're still going to be able to see that grey concrete. I think in the past someone recommended I paint it, but really?

Help, please.

Following that, crushed gravel will go in. That might not be the final solution, I may do some hardscaping in a few years, but for now it will beat my ghetto chipped, broken, uneven concrete patio that takes up half my yard. And please don't remind me that the gravel will get tracked into the house, etc etc. I know, I know. So many of you have been kind enough to warn me already, but I have already made up my mind, you bossy freaks! (I kid, I kid...)

UPDATE: Some suggested creeping fig. Click HERE to read more about it.

101 comments:

Paul Anater said...

Tile it! Stacked stone or stone veneers would look too fake, so tile it in some kind of a natural-looking saltillo-type thing OR get creative and put up a mosaic with smaller tiles. No broken plates and teacups though, please. But seriously, some kind of a tile mosaic would make a focal point out of something you hate. How cool would that be?

Brandi said...

There are some beautiful concrete stains you could use to add a shimmer or color to the concrete. I considered doing that to my concrete patio when I had it done (in the end, I found out that the townhouse association had a rule that prevented me from doing so). There are some really fantastic things you can do with concrete stain.

Always, Ashby said...

Yes, really, paint it! A neutrally seasonal and natural color like green that you won't get sick of, that won't stand out too much, but won't be some ol' scratchy concrete.

DD, you aren't a very good listener.

Anonymous said...

Graffiti

mhr310 said...

Plant a hedge of boxwood (Home Depot sells inexpensive ones that will cover that wall in several years) and trim them into a neat border and they will be a backdrop to whatever flowers you plant in front.

lucitebox said...

I love Paul's tile idea. I also would be in favor of hedging if you like that look.

It's gauche to talk about what things cost, I know. But I have some concrete problems (or rather my landlord does) and I've been thinking of begging him to stop patching it and jackhammer it the helloutta here. How big is your slab, if I may ask? (That's what she said!) And what's a general price for removing it? I don't even want to bother him with it if it's hugely cost prohibitive, but he's spending about $500 a year patching and it looks like shit.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

What if you added another layer to the concrete and carefully trimmed it at the top, making it very beautiful and tailored and utterly, utterly smooth. With a slight lip at the top, where the concrete and the brick meet. That way the concrete will look purposeful and elegant. You could certainly stain it, but the meticulous tailoring of the concrete is key.

Anonymous said...

grow creeping fig on it (ficus pumila) and then plant in front of it with boxwood, ferns and ground cover. creeping fig stays tight to the architecture and stays tidy looking.

LRF said...

One thing that you can do to disguise the ugly wall is to plant some ornamental grasses. The nice thing about grasses is that they are less predictable than a hedge or bush, they add visual interest at a reasonable price point, and they keep their shape (although not always their color) even in the winter. Grasses can grow quite large and visually have the ability to soften the transition between a garden bed and an ugly fence or concrete wall (see example in link below). Good luck.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/uimages/la/061808_grass.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/gardening/small-space-filler-ornamental-grasses-053824&usg=__t6MpB_y_x-54hOdppOlxJuiGqFA=&h=365&w=540&sz=51&hl=en&start=40&sig2=_GJCdkZBCtAaU8cEB2l6Cg&um=1&tbnid=bhYo83rjvSOAJM:&tbnh=89&tbnw=132&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dornamental%2Bgrasses%26ndsp%3D21%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26start%3D21%26um%3D1&ei=0ertSeezJ8TB_Qazl_XhDg

Rajee Sood said...

Hi,
I have a suggestion ... this ofcourse depends on your climate zone... I would recommend you try ... growing the creeping fig vine (ficus pumila) ... looks gorgeous when it fills up just the space you want to. You can keep it covering just your concret part and this way you don't loose precious space to bulky finishes or plants ...and it goes beautifully with the brick work.
Some of hte images on google images will tell you what I mean.
Just a suggestion :) Hope you enjoy deciding

ArchitectDesign said...

I love the idea of gravel -very European.
I say put some hedges or flowering bushes in front of the concrete. Don't try to bring attention to it by tiling it or painting it weird colors. If you really don't like the uneven finish there are concrete paints out there to give it a more even color.
I like A.A.L's idea of a smooth topcoat with a top border, but that might be expensive labor wise.

Amanda Calhoun said...

I'm with Brandi - do not paint - all I can envision is that horrid peeled up paint you see on front porch steps. I would highly consider acid staining. You an make it look like ANYthing with acid washing.

A

Great Dame said...

I second the idea of fig vine on the concrete foundation. I think it's hardy in your part of the world, and grows at a reasonable rate - not hard to keep in bounds.

As for the gravel, how about something like slate chips?

http://www.georgialandscapesupply.com/products/gravel.shtml?gclid=CKLo1qyogpoCFcZM5QodjgnBGQ

They're kinda flat and faceted, so they will compact and make an easier walking surface. And if you get the 1"-ish size, you won't track it in on your shoes - promise! Even my Clydsdale-sized dog doesn't track it in on her paws, and so far none of the dogs have scraped up feet from the gravel either. So Ricky should be fine too.

David said...

You could paint it if it bugs you that much, but I say ignore it and concentrate your efforts on the beds and plantings in front of it.

Harvey Millstein, Certified Interior Decorator, said...

Oh who cares. Tell us more about the burly men.

katiedid said...

Stain or AA's idea of just letting it be what it is if you can trim it to a clean look. Creeping fig is great....but a word of caution: it attaches itself to the mortor between the bricks and can weaken it over time. If the concrete was cleaned up, I think it would look quite wonderful! (No paint.) Oh....and Anon grafitti idea...luv. Hahaha!

Tracey said...

I was going to suggest the concrete stain but I also like the idea someone gave you for making the concrete look deliberate and "finished."

erika said...

I wouldn't do anything to that concrete - I love it! A nice smooth base / backdrop for your plants. And the contrast it provides for your terracotta pots and green plants is beautiful contrast. I think anything else would look contrived... I like natural materials though... so that's just my $.02.

Susan Lang @ Designing Your Dream Home said...

Wow! I am so impressed with all of the helpful suggestions. Please take many photos of the before and after and show us what you end up doing.

g. said...

Creeping fig is a great idea. I planted some a few months ago and it looks like it has been here for....well, longer than a few months Quick, spreads well, needs little, costs nada.

Decorno said...

Harvey! You're back!

Anonymous said...

Please, no tile, paint or stain. It will just look like a sad attempt to "gussy up" your foundation. No, no, a thousand times no.

Yes to the boxwood hedge. Boxwood also makes sense with your Tudor style home. If you prefer a less tailored look (and less trimming), you could go with a plant that looks good in its natural state. Many to choose from.

I also like Aesthete's suggestion very much, but I'd still do the planting.

A practical thought: If I understand your plan correctly, you are going to stack flagstone in front of the foundation to make a raised planter bed? Please consult with someone (professional, contractor-type?) before you do anything. A raised planter next to your foundation could be a problem, as water from the planter will seep into the concrete. You may need to install flashing, or they may just tell you not to do it. That would be my recommendation. (But admittedly I'm no expert.)

I think... if you want to plant in front of your foundation, plant directly into the ground. Don't put in a raised planter in front of (and up against) the concrete foundation.

--arroyo

Anonymous said...

A number of companies make stone or simulated stone panels that you affix to the foundation. The panels make it appear that your foundation itself is made of stone.

The House of Beauty and Culture said...

Masonry paint the same colour as your door and trim.

Anonymous said...

I agree with graffiti (in chalk)- you will be throwing greenery against it anyway and it would wash off when you grow bored of it.

Here is a Peruvian wall I found on google:

http://angrywhitekid.blogs.com/photos/uncategorized/img_0390.JPG

or, for some Banksy inspired canvas:

http://angrywhitekid.blogs.com/photos/uncategorized/img_0567.JPG

Gang-banger midgets rock.

Anonymous said...

You could stencil using a primitive oak leaf motif in a slightly darker gray - not 3D and not too big - just a mellow backdrop for the plants. It would stand alone during colder months.

Have you painted or stained the fence yet?

Anonymous said...

Making the concrete "utterly, utterly smooth" and "meticulously tailored" might be gilding the dandelion.

I'd just paint it a darker, fade-into-the-background color, put a lot of potted plants in front of it, and call it good.

Anonymous said...

I think you should leave it as is. I've seen pics of european homes/estates that have the gravel coming up to the foundation with potted plants/trees sitting on the gravel. It really looks nice...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the person who said to get advice before planting next to the foundation, unless you've had it waterproofed from outside. Otherwise, you're running into all sorts of potential wet basement headaches which can be very costly (as someone who's just dumped too much money into a wet basement, heed my advice). Good luck and looking forward to seeing the result of what ever you decide to do.

home before dark said...

The idea of a dark paint and then planting in front sounds like a winner. Thinned paint is a stain! Use differenent tones and sponge it on. Do not cover with sealer. If you need to repair, thinned paint goes on simply and no peel off look. I'm concerned about the residual toxic stain stuff in the ground.

Another option: a series (same style) of containers along the despised area. Depending on container you could get at least a foot up the wall BEFORE you plant. Then, depending on sun patterns plant accordingly. If you have sun the containers would be a terrific kitchen garden of herbs.

About the gravel in the house. I think the trick is to pack it well. You can rent power equipment, use a water roller or for under $30 by a hand tamper. You will not need to go to the gym on days you tamp gravel! Just be sure you slant gravel away from foundation (about 1/4" a foot). Gravel packs better and is cheaper if you order "unwashed". Enjoy yourself. It's your house.

Anonymous said...

I like the natural look of this(very common in provence). After the concrete patio is gone and gravel
put in, just big terra cotta pots with box and other plantings(keep it bold and simple) will look wonderful against the concrete. Some benches and tables. I'm not keen on the planter next to the house, seems a bit dated. Ginny

Anonymous said...

creeping fig will not grow where you are like it does in houston. also, you have a very defined area where you want to be, so it will not be at all difficult to maintain. i promise, it will look great!

the article you found is quite deceiving . . . here is some more info -- http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/vines/ficus_pumila.html. it can be kept to any size you want quite easily and it i hardy in zone 7 in a protected area.

Rachel said...

I'll have to take some pics of some creeping fig that has covered a building by us... But Anon is right - it won't grow as quickly and aggressively up there. Still, you'll need to trim it back probably once a year.
But it looks great!

And I like the idea of gravel. I would love to do something like that! Just get a doormat, problem solved.

Dianna said...

You should paint, stain or tile it in some beautiful color! Also you could consider plating a nice climbing plant..I have a climbing hydrangea but the creeping fig is pretty as well.

cassandra158 said...

just paint it the same color as your door and window trim. the color is dark and the contrast will look great agaisnt the greenery in your flower/plant/whatever bed. Since it's a foundation and because of the climate, i'm betting tile will crack and look messy and you'll have to redo it within a year or two.

paint would be the most cost effective, look more sleek and be less fussy then anything else.

If your going to plant some creeping vines or something, just keep in mind the up-keep of said vines because they can seariously mess up your brick if they creep higher...not to mention screw up your foundation.

Kimbydee said...

I think the gravel will blend with the concrete and the flagstone so I wouldn't paint or tile. The grey will provide a nice backdrop for any plantings. I definitely would wait until I put down the gravel and put in the planting bed to decide...if you must cover it I think the creeping fig idea is the one. It will look great and if you want to change it it won't take a major investment.

Grace said...

Oh creeping fig is great. Mine went in a year ago, looks like it's been there a lot longer. Easy to manage too.

Quick question... Why is your home always referred to as "Tudor style"? There are no Tudor features.

---- said...

i think you should just get some old toilets and bathtubs and fill them with plants. the sheer ugliness of the potty plants will make the concrete seem like nothing.
or you could make a mosaic with crushed plates and large mugs sticking out...now where have i seen that before?
i kid, the creeping fig or some type of ivy seems like a perfect solution.

Emily said...

I'm jumping on the graffiti bandwagon...but that might be my black thumb talking.

Also, moroccan tiles would be stunning, though not necessarily something you'd want to cover up...

---- said...

ps. painting it black and planting a bunch of brass antique-y looking planters would look incredible.

Hanako66 said...

...not sure how this would look next to brick, but why not cement field stone to the wall?

Anonymous said...

Heather and heaths, depending on climate and soil. Evergreen and with planning, you can combine varieties for year-round blooms. And foliage can range from lime green to silver to bright red. Has a nice mounding effect and will hide the wall without the worry of paint chipping or concrete face cracking.

Liza said...

I second the creeping fig idea. Tres chic.

Anonymous said...

Creeping fig is in both my front and back yard. I have to maintain it, that is true, but it looks so good!
Looking forward to hearing your decision!
Dee

kirbydog said...

I suggest NOT planting any type of creeping fig, ivy, etc. on or near your foundation. The reason is BUGS!!!! These vines attract bugs, and other 4 legged animals you don't want anywhere near your home, take it from one who knows and has had over 30 yrs of home ownership here (Cape Cod) and in the Caribbean. Also, these vines can grow between your bricks, bad news.

Erynn said...

Fig vine is fun! You could also do ivy, and if you really wanted to go all out and add a bit more of something special, you could train it on a pattern, like this link:

http://www.semihomemade.com/garden/easyivyespalier.htm

I did it at our old home along the foundation, and it looked like I really knew what I was doing the garden!

Anonymous said...

No ivy, nothing creeping.

It will crawl up into the brick and erode the mortar, and you'll have a big nasty problem on your hands.

Ryan said...

I would agree that anything creeping could be bad for your brick. My foundation is tall (almost 3 ft) and was stuccoed and painted way back when the house was built (1925). I don't think the paint was ever touched up. Who knows what magic paint they had then (lead!) but it sure does stick.

It's painted a dark cream color.

Anonymous said...

LEAVE THE CEMENT ALONE. You have an old classic house, don't do something so trendy that you will hate it in 10 years. Doing anything else will just attract more attention to it. Agree with those who say wait until the gravel goes in....I think it will tie the cement in better. And remember, the only person really noticing it is you. From the photo I really think it just recedes when you have great plantings in front of it.

nikinikinine said...

I say paint it as well. The hubs and I go to Nantucket every summer (Natucketeers perhaps? I digress...) and all of the homes with exposed concrete have painted it to match the shutters on the house, so the vast majority are hunter green or black. It looks beautiful. I tried to scrounge up a pic for inspiration, but no luck!

Anonymous said...

Not tile. Tile and brick next to each other? Yech.

Mrs. Limestone said...

I would just leave it. You don't want to draw attention to it and take away from the lovely reds in the brick.

Anonymous said...

You could still throw a design on the wall behind the fig - perhaps something to freak the dog?

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Singapore/photo821744.htm

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Anonymous said...

Please don't paint it! Eventually it will peel and Oh, what an ugly mess! The best thing to do is plant a row of boxwoods. They will take a couple of years to grow in nicely. Then you can trim it very neat and tailored. No ornamental grasses! This isn't California! Your landscaping must be in keeping with the sytle of your home. Boxwoods are a great way to go. Get that slab jackhammered out of there. The pea gravel will be great. Just don't lay it too thick. Your back patio space should be all about boxwoods, ivy, potted plants and pea gravel.

Anonymous said...

OK, for the love of God...NO climbing fig! No climbing anything. You will regret having a climbing vine on your brick. It causes the brick to retain moisture and eventually you will have a problem with mold and bugs and erosion of your beautiful red brick. OMG, I can't believe all the comments here about morrocan tile (!!!!!) stacked stone (NO!!) mosaic tile (NEVER), stain, paint, etc. This is all wrong on so many levels. You have a classic tudor cottage and you need to landscape accordingly. Get some boxwoods pronto. Grow them to the desired height and then trim them twice a year. Done! Charm, classy, evergreen. Boxwoods will make a nice backdrop for your potted plants and will give the back of your home a cohesive and established look. Ornamental grasses??? This is so WRONG!!! Please don't try to bring this house into Domino Decor or Beverly Hills 90210.

Anonymous said...

No peruvian anything. No stenciling. Boxwoods! Now! OMG, no fieldstone. NO!

kirbydog said...

HERE-HERE to the last 2 posts! Less is more.. do nothing to the foundation and follow their advice.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:10, 2:31, 2:40, & 2:46 pm--

You're clearly the same person (the fondness for CAPITAL LETTERS, the "!!!"s, the bossy purism ("All boxwoods!" "No grasses!").

How about single, concise post, instead of four repeating ones? Just a thought.

Decorno said...

I should mention that I am going to be planting all my veggies along the house, so all the scoldy types who are preaching boxwoods need to understand that this is the warmest, sunniest spot and I am not going to waste it on boxwoods (as much as I love boxwwods). I need the space for a potager.

Anonymous said...

NOOOOOOOO!!! Not a potager! This isn't Beverly Hills 90210! You have a classic Tudor! You must grow only plants specific to the House of Tudor, as harvested between 1485 and 1603!!!

becky said...

Sorry, I don't know much about landscaping and such, but I love love love that planter with the blue base. Ideas on how I can find such a lovely for myself? If it's ebay/craigslist, what kind of keywords can I find it under? LOVE!

Anonymous said...

If you're planting vegetables veggies next to the wall then maybe painting or staining might not be the best idea? It might leach into the soil.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Know you've been told, but - Stain it.

Decorno said...

Becky - if you mean that fat planter near the door... I bought it at Lowe's a few years ago. It's super heavy and was a little inconvenient to get in and out of the car, but worth it. I am sure they still have something similar.

Susan said...

Do NOT paint it. Bad idea. Really bad idea. Think all the concrete porches you have seen that are painted---such eyesores. Leave it gray--do plantings in front of it. Consider perennials that grow in your area. These come in various heights, colors, foliage, etc.

LB said...

NO to the creeping fig or climbing vines or anything that is going to cling to your house and go crazy! My last house, I fought ivy year-round. Year-round I tell you! If I let a weekend go by when I didn't work on the ivy, it was taking over my house.

I like the tile mosaic idea and the staining in a very subdued color.

Don't plant anything to close to the foundation. Not good for the house.

Other options would be to set up a variety of potted plants or even a screen. The proper name escapes me, but the privacy screens that get used as room dividers or to change behind? Some are made specifically for outdoors.

Susan said...

Feel compelled to weigh in on the creeping fig conversation, since it has taken over our entire back fence and front of house - mind you, I love it for propagating so wildly without assistance but in your case it will get woody and thick and demand your attention with the snips on a regular basis. I vote for the boxwood idea!

RobtW said...

An Aesthete's Lament offers the best advice if you're hellbent on making architectural changes: applying a modest moulded top edge to the concrete/parged foundation.

Short of that: either a (very) subtle concrete stain to make it look a little less raw, or leave it alone; it doesn't look bad, though fussing with it might achieve that effect.

As for the plant-phobes, assuming even extraordinarily extravagant and unchecked growth, boxwood will not cause foundation problems for a good quarter century or more. Many types of ivy and other vines are not deadly invasive; they won't suck the life out of your house unless you were to go all batty like those Beale gals at Grey Gardens, eyes clouded by cataracts and too entranced with the Victrola to lift a pair of clippers -- for decades. Just don't let a hedge or foundation shrubs brush hard against the house, and, if you grow vines, keep them tidy and trimmed and keep watch that the roots do not penetrate beyond the surface of the masonry.

pve design said...

stripe it.

gatherings home said...

I agree with A.L.'s idea. There are companies out there that will do concrete overlays (check out www.concretenetwork.com for a contractor near you). I think clean simple lines possibly with a stone or brick ledge would be in keeping with the tudor style. Of course so would the vines....but if your looking for low maintenance do the overlay. You'll be glad you did. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Lattice. You could paint it or let it weather to a nice silvery gray. That would look good with the concrete. You can buy 4 x 6' sections & easily trim them to size. It would be a nice base or finish, to the brick. Kind of garden-y, outdoors-y wainscoating thing. You can't go wrong with diagonals/ diamond pattern countering all that vert/ horiz of BRICK.

paint it. black. said...

Creeping Fig is great. I am growing it across the front of my house which is presently covered in ugly metal siding. Until we can get the money to pull down the siding and re-stucco the house the vines are covering the ugly. Frank Lloyd Wright (I think) said that vines are an architects friend.

I don't know what city you live in, creeping fig might not be hardy if you're in a cold climate. Boston Ivy would also do the trick & is super cold hardy.

Or you could just paint it.

paint it. black. said...

p.s. I was just reading everyone's comments against using creeping fig. If you maintain it right at the level where the concrete transitions to brick then you won't have to worry about the vine "wrecking the mortar". I really wouldn't let that discourage you. It's just a little bit of maintenance every now & then.

Anonymous said...

I showed up to the party a little late, but still want to say my bit:
leave it, here's why:
what with blowing out concrete, laying down lovely gravel, landscape plants, etc, by the time things are in, grown and filled in, you won't even "see" that concrete foundation area. You know what? no one else sees it.
Focus on your plan for the area and re-think this later. You may realize that it's perfectly fine and you don't need to make it look like something else because it is what it is.
sign me...
did that too.
p.s. you can always cover it with the creeping fig later.

melissa said...

Hmmmm....
creeping fig
very aggressive grower once established very high maintenance if grown on buildings - will dislodge roof tiles, damage wooden structures and attempt to cover everything in a curtain of green.

sorry to rain on that particular parade

Lolo said...

Your raised potager, are you building beds and putting in planter boxes? are you planning on leaving dirt up to the foundation once the concrete is out? How deep of a bed are you planning?

If you leave enough of the concrete in to support the weight of planter boxes (some of the cast concrete ones are suitably pretty) you could put espaliered shrubs/vines/dwarf trees against the house and that would take care of the issue. Plus, you wouldn't have to fuss about your potage competing with your foundation plantings for soil, etc.

According to the posters on Dave's Garden (which I love, due to good feedback of actual amateur gardeners) the creeping fig roots under the foundation of the house and can prove to be a bitch. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2029/
It's slow to show off but for what you want, I would put in some climbing hydrangea. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/147/ Once it gets happy, it's lovely, well behaved and very easy to care for. Either espalier it or let it wander at will with snips to correct it as wanted.

it's just me....searching for hidden treasure said...

you can stain it! painting makes it slick...stains come in great colors...we will be doing ours this summer in bright, fun colors...one for the cement stairs and a different color for the patio...google how to prep the cement first...have fun!

Anonymous said...

Use the woven willow edging to hide most or all of the foundation. You can get some of the cheaper stuff at local big box or go online to get the fancy stuff. Since it is organic, count on replacing periodically. Maybe by that time you border plants will cover

Decorina said...

Just leave it alone. Anything you do won't look right. It is a structural part of the home. The worst thing you could do is paint it, especially to match the door and trim. You will be very sorry if you do this.

Don't plant anything next to a foundation wall. The gravel must slope away from the house always.

The key to a successful gravel finish is a proper foundation. Use several inches of road base, crusher fines or similar material, compact it and put your gravel over the top. Crushed gravel on top will stay in place better than washed gravel because it is all sharp edges. Smooth (washed) gravel will be sinky and lumpy even over a compacted base.

lucitebox said...

After reading 80 comments, I'm now inclined to say that you should leave it alone. It is what it is.

Planting the right things in front of it seems like the best option. Research your zone and find what might happen when certain things are planted in the area, but don't paint, stain or tile. It's fine, really.

Anonymous said...

What about a very attractive (and tall) bench by the door? Then cover the rest with tall planters.

Anonymous said...

Creeping fig is a great idea. It's beautiful and hardy and sticks to surfaces. We have it growing up our back fence in our very small back yard to hide it.

Iheartfashion said...

I vote for the creeping fig...

joy refurbished said...

Concrete stain is a great idea. I also saw a diy show once where they painted a colorful rug on the concrete. Believe it or not it did look really cute.

Kwana said...

Wow after reading all these comment my head is spinning. I feel kinda silly leaving my opinion but here goes I like the idea of leaving it alone and going with just your gravel on the ground or the lattice idea and painting the lattice the same colors your door and window trims.

Hey check out my own little improved concrete porch here: http://kwanawrites.blogspot.com/2009/04/stepping-pretty-or-charles-in-charge.html

LRF said...

Boring boxwood hedges seem like giving up. All that crap about 90210...nothing dates a person, a house, or a style more than a rigid adherence to tradition and 'taste'. It's fine to follow pointless rules if you are also ready to lead a sexless life and eat pudding for dinner. *Yawn*. My mother is a professional landscape and garden planner. She is always trying to get her rich and often stuffy clients to think more creatively and personally. I think it's great that you are using your space to grow food. There are tons of pictures online that illustrate how beautiful and useful a garden can be when you really utilize the entire space. I recommend planting flowers and vegetables together and using the height and color variations of the plants to create visual interest. Grasses are a good option as visual filler because it's easy to find varieties that are native to your region (which means easy care and good for the environment). Also, think about how hideous garden beds can be in the winter. Grass keeps its shape all year round. Not to mention nature (you know that place where plants actually come from) grass naturally occurs amongst other plants to prevent soil erosion. Whatever you do make sure that you have variety of height, foliage, and color.

Little Lantern said...

Is it really part of the foundation or could you chip it off? You could also get bricks and make the brick go all the way down.

Lolo said...

Oh, there's an idea. Brick overlay. They make them extra thin so that you can cover up that concrete slab.

Also, have you ever smelled boxwood? At the nursery this week I was reminded once again why I stay away from planting it in my yard, even though I love the look. The boxwood section had that wonderful scent of cat spray.

http://crosslandteam.com/blog/2006/04/04/boxwood-shrub-can-stink-up-your-sale/

You can clip yews to a nice formal hedge.

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

I agree with Aesthete's Lament. It's the unfinished nature of your concrete apron that could be improved. A lip or round-edged rail at the top would add consequence (though to be honest, I would embrace the foundation's pedestrian aspects, invoke the principle of wabi-sabi, and spend my $$ on porcelain sinks and wine). Maybe the solution is to stucco over it and add the finishing detail at the top at that time. The stucco could be a creamy limestone color. Scroll down to see Marc Jacob's townhome here. Red brick, limestone foundation. Voila.

hello gorgeous said...

Stain the concrete.

Save your money for other things.

(Seriously. I used to obsess about these things that no one will ever notice besides you. Put something pretty out there to focus on.)

mosey said...

Don't paint it or tile it. Get rid of the concrete and plant some pretty little bushes and a few flowering vines or hedges to creep up the wall. Add some pretty, natural rocks and create a cute mini garden.

rerun said...

babe...i love that you got NINETY-TWO responses to your concrete dilemma. i look forward to the results! yeah, that's my way of saying i've had two beers and i got nothin'. night.

Anonymous said...

94th comment...

Leave it. Hard stop.

pve design said...

FLAMES!!!

Anonymous said...

Rats. Creeping ficus, when mature, produces fruit that attracts rattus rattus, the common icky nasty disease-carrying foul beastlet. You might want to cross the creeping fig off your list.

Lindsay said...

Leave it. Don't go anywhere near and certainly don't paint it green! Paint on concrete always chips and somehow looks cheaper, unless it's an entire surface (an entire brick wall painted white, say). I wouldn't tile it either - it gets very busy, at the best of times, and at worst can look a bit twee. That concrete is honest, and hiding something almost always advertises itself as Hiding Something. It just doesn't work. Just container plants, and let some of the trail along it, or build a lined concrete planter there with drainage. I think a slightly more modern touch, with that brick, would work best.

Lindsay said...

PS I actually really like that concrete. With pavers and/or gravel, it will complement them nicely and you will need that tie-in.

Sacheverelle said...

I think you should consider the climbing plant idea, fig, ivy, what have you, but prepare to wait a while for results.
Last summer I planted Boston ivy to cover my ghetto concrete block garage but I have to say, it isn't as quick growing or invasive as I'd hoped..Only a handful of vines grew up the side, the longest is maybe 2 foot. At this rate it'll take a few years to cover it.
Is fig faster-growing than ivy?

john in nc said...

grow moss on it-
paint with a mix of yogurt and ground up moss-
and keep it damp

Sacheverelle said...

john in nc-What does the yogurt do? Something with the cultures? Wouldn't that be stinky?