Side Passage Makeover

The side passage is one of those ugly areas used for storing the bins, we rarely venture round there and we have no need, although if you have a window or two looking out onto this space, why not add some colour using some ideas from this simple spruce up.

1. First thing to do would be to look at the backdrop. If the fence is looking tired, a lick of paint is the best thing to inject some colour or just freshen up the space. Hiring an airless spray gun, does the job a lot faster.

2. If the side passage is all concrete, the easiest thing to do is go above the soil level using pots/troughs. Northcote’s urbanlite range is ideal as it is lightweight and comes in both classic and contemporary designs. These troughs are great for moving around and at only 300mm wide they don’t protrude out from the fence too much. Use a quality potting mix, preferably one with water saving crystals and a slow release fertilizer, to reduce the need for regular maintenance of plants.

3. Choose plants that have a naturally upright growth habit, so walking past those bins is still possible, without brushing into them.

Cordyline ‘Rubra’ – This is a strappy, cane-forming plant with deep burgundy leaves that will liven up an area.
Ctenanthe ‘Grey Star’ – This fabulous grey and deep green striped plant has purple undersides.

These plants tolerate the lower light levels that are often found around the side of the house.

4. To dress up the path, a series of pavers as steppers can be used, choosing a colour to match the troughs. The spacing of these is important and it is recommended to use the measurement of a comfortable step as a guide; or approximately 700mm apart. Lay them straight on top of the existing slab and bed them onto a sand cement mix. When they start to set, use a 10-20mm Nepean gravel to surround them. This also assists with the drainage of the troughs.

5. Lastly, adding a feature, such as an antique Chinese screen to fence creates a beautiful view from the window.

Angels’ Advice

When using an airless spray-gun, depending on the type of paint, dilute with water or thinning agent to stop the lines from clogging.
On narrow or poor access sites it is easier to get bulk materials such as pebbles and sand delivered in bags.

Suppliers – (pavers) – (Nepean pebbles) – (pots) – (potting mix)

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