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Garden Design: Hiding a Wall and Ugly Floor on a Shoestring

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We bought a house with the ugliest garden imaginable - but we fixed it on a shoestring! Have a look at our results!

garden-design-on-a-shoestring

How to Hide an Ugly Wall in one Weekend

I couldn't pass the opportunity to tell you about what my husband and I are doing in our back garden right now. We're trying to make it more attractive and this weekend we covered a very ugly wall, quickly, easily and cheaply.

We actually bought the ugliest house in the neighborhood, I kid you not! That's what the estate agent told us, and that's just exactly what we thought too! The house needed a lot of work but it was exactly what we needed and in the right location, and more importantly what we could afford!

Let me apologize in advance because most of the images you'll see in the this lens are very ugly!! But it is a bit of a before and after lens, it gets better as you scroll down, and it ends with a real beauty!


Here's the Yard in all its Glory

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A Very Small Budget for the Garden

Along with our ugly house came the ugliest garden in the world. Our garden is a massive challenge because we have to improve it a lot, with as little money as possible.

We are going to rely on friends and neighbours to donate plants and a few bits and bobs, but the hard work is down to us. We can't afford to employ designers, we have to use our own creativity and ingenuity! Some of our lovely friends have already given us some plants and pots, and we have ideas to recycle all sorts of things, but we still have a very long way to go.

We also need expert advice so that's why I have decided to bare all on this Hub! I know that you guys will be able to help me with all sorts of things.

Even though it's ugly, we have a couple of things that make it a bit easier - it's south facing, so it's a sunny garden, and it's divided up into 4 areas, so we can make different 'rooms'. Our plan is to have an area with a lawn and fruit trees to provide shade, and small vegetable patches. One area is for a shed where my son can store his toys, and have space outside too. The third area is to the side of the house, so we'll have lots of pots and erect a pergola there. And the hardest area is right outside our back doors, which is the space we have the most problem with.

Here's What we did - It was so Simple

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The walls were so bad that we needed to do something quickly because we just couldn't stand the sight of them any longer. The texture of the wall was so awful it is made of large breeze blocks, and at the very back of the garden we faced the back of some garages! All concrete slabs!

We thought that fast growing creeping plants like a Mile a Minute would work, but we didn't have the patience to wait even one summer for it to grow. And anyway what would we do in the winter when it died back? We'd be back to staring at a seriously ugly wall. So we decided that we had to cover it with something before we planted the creepers.

We thought of painting it but our neighbours have tried that and it looks terrible, because the paint does not disguise the texture of the bricks. Also, they chose baby blue, which does not look very nice at all! ( in our opinion that is! ) I don't suppose they'll be joining Squidoo any time soon!!

So we visited our local garden centers and went online and found something called split bamboo screen, and that's what we settled on.

We have had it on the back wall for nearly 2 years and it's been fantastic. It is very hard wearing and, although it won't last forever (nothing does in the garden anyway), it will last for a few years and therefore it is ideal for our needs.

I love the fact that it is made of organic material, because I want my garden to be as natural looking a possible.

Bamboo Fencing

There are quite a few different lengths and heights on Amazon so you'll have to measure your wall before you buy. However you can cut them down if you need to. We had to cut ours to a certain height, which was a bit of a pain, and a two person job, but it worked well and we did it with an ordinary saw.

If you click on the image you'll be taken to Amazon.com where there are others to browse.

First we measured the length and height of the wall we wanted to cover and ordered it online.

We worked out how we would attach it to the wall, which wasn't difficult and went remarkably smoothly.

It took us about 2 hours to erect the screen once all the cutting had been done. We used:

  • an electric drill
  • Screws
  • Heavy duty gardener's wire

Our nifty technique

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We worked our way round the wall drilling a hole and putting in a screw with a raw plug to hold it in place. Then we tied the wire round the screw and fed it through the gaps in the bamboo screen securing it with a knot. We then pushed the ends behind the screen so you couldn't see any messy ties. We did alternate top and bottom and we spaced them about a foot apart.

This is exactly how we put the screen up at the back of the garden which was very big and tall. It was easy.

By Sunday afternoon we had achieved this look. We are delighted with it. And the whole thing cost less than £80!

The pots along the wall will grow and we're going to grow strawberries there too.

The fruits of our labour!

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Next we Tackled the Floor

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When in Doubt Deck it Out!

After hours of deliberation, we decided to buy decking to cover the ugly floor. Somebody, in their wisdom, decided to pour concrete over the whole area, and now it has all broken up with the cold and passing of time.

We went online and ordered the correct size of decking for ourspace. WE waited for a sale and we got it for half the RRP. Which was a bonus. But we still spent around £500.

The result was worth it though, and we learned how to lay decking, which is a very handy life skill. Tackling the job ourselves saved us a lot of money, so we feel very proud of our achievement.

Laying the Decking :The Various Stages

Laying the foundations

Laying the foundations

Laying ground cover to suppress weeds

Laying ground cover to suppress weeds

Screwing down the decking with an electric screwdriver

Screwing down the decking with an electric screwdriver

Tools we used

Commandeering our son to help!

Commandeering our son to help!

The last deck!

The last deck!

Hey presto. 1 day later!

Hey presto. 1 day later!

Much Better!

If you scroll back to the top of the Hub, you'll be able to compare the garden.

I think you'll agree that we have made an enormous difference to that space. Now we can put a table and chairs out and eat al fresco in the summer -how lovely.

What an immense sense of achievement.

Here's the Garden Bathed in Sunlight

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Giovanna

Please leave your advice and suggestions here. - Thanks very much indeed for your visit.

Giovanna (author) from UK on November 15, 2014:

Yep and ours is still going strong. Unfortunately the floor is still the same -no I tell a lie -it's actually getting worse!! Grrrr! We still haven't thought what to do with it. Any ideas? Thanks very much for your visit.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on November 14, 2014:

Bamboo fencing is a great idea. My husband and I actually did this to a previous home and after the bamboo aged, it looked even better, more relaxed. What a difference it makes, plus it is very inexpensive as compared to other solutions that don't even measure up (in my mind) to the simple bamboo fence style.

Giovanna (author) from UK on May 20, 2014:

@123Garden: Hi -these sound promising. Do they have them on Amazon? Thanks very much indeed for your visit and suggestion.

123Garden on May 19, 2014:

You might check to see if you could use rubber shop mats. I bought some years ago for my husband's workshop. Each piece is about 30 or so inches by 24 inches and they hook together like puzzle pieces. They are about an inch thick and can be cut easily with a large pair of scissors or razor knife. They are very, very durable. I would think if you filled any low areas in with sand or dirt and laid them down they would give you a dark concrete look that will work well in a garden. They would also be able to be washed off with a garden hose as they repel water well.

Giovanna (author) from UK on April 11, 2014:

@ramonabeckbritman: That is so tempting. Stones cost a fortune - even the small ones. everything is so expensive, and we have set ourselves this challenge -to make a beautiful garden with as little expenditure as possible. I'll look into the fake grass thing! A problem i can foresee -is that it will make our real grass look awful!!! Thanks for your visit and help.

Ramona from Arkansas on April 10, 2014:

Quick, Easy and affordable .....Roll out a roll of fake grass carpet to cover the ground. Done! :)

Giovanna (author) from UK on April 02, 2014:

@sha-ron: That's very true! I have had a look at pebbles and slate and stones and they're all very, very expensive - we'll need a lot of them. So now we're getting closer to a design. Thanks very much indeed for your visit and comment.

sha-ron on April 01, 2014:

There are so many different possibilities and which ever ones are used I think they would all look great. Changes not matter how, make all gardeners feel better.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 28, 2014:

@1Museaday: It certainly does need freshness and beauty! I like the idea of stones surrounded by grass and plants - it would make it a beautiful area. Filling it with just stones, fills me with dread!! Thanks for your visit and comments.

1Museaday on March 28, 2014:

Great job! I feel a combination of medium sized light colored stones surrounded by grass and flower beds would give it the much needed freshness and beauty, both.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 26, 2014:

@Maggie42: Hi MaggieMoo ( love your name!) I like large slabs too. We're still deep in thought. It's either slabs with medium sized stones and plants or a raised areas -wood? We have settled on nothing yet! We need shade too. Thanks very much for your visit. I can't wait to get going!!

Maggie42 on March 25, 2014:

I think large concrete paving stones would be the quickest and cheapest solution. I'm not sure of the technicalities but I think you would have to put down a sand base to lay them on. We put bamboo similar to yours on the fence near our pool about five years ago. We are near the ocean in Australia so it is pretty tough conditions it has discolored slightly but is still as good as new. Keep us updated on your progress i love these stories.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 25, 2014:

@paulahite: Thanks very much indeed. I feel really honored! Unfortunately, I can't link your G page to mine - I'd like to add you to my circles but I don't know how!!! I'm quite bad at G+!! Any suggestions? Thanks for you visit and amazing comment!

Paula Hite from Virginia on March 25, 2014:

Great Lens! It's been chosen as the very first lens on our new Google+ page today!Come and check it out!https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/10593843672309975630...

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 22, 2014:

@delia-delia: It would be great to have a flat surface to put a table and chairs - are palets strong enough to act as a base? I could bolt them together and then cover them with chipboard. We could then paint something really beautiful on the floor! Build an arbor round that, and then put stones and plants around the whole structure. That sounds like a plan to me! I wonder if palets are that strong, or whether they'll just rot in one winter. I have to do some research. Thanks so much for your visit and great suggestions. I see your vision!

Delia on March 22, 2014:

Congratulations on LOTD! Nice job in hiding ugliness...and an inexpensive way to do it! You can combine different looks for different areas..if an area is used for sitting and wanting stability, like where your broked cement is, build a small deck with a sunscreen cover of type you like..or Arbor. (I've seen decks done with discarded palets in an array of designs) Make one step down the length of the deck on the side to a pea gravel walkway, winding to an area of interest (statue, water fountain etc.) lining the outside of the pea gravel walkway with easy to grow plants and potted trees.....just my vision ;-)

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@ecogranny: Thank you Grace. I am very, very grateful for your help. I think the concrete was put down in order to build an extra room on the side of the house. But that was a very long time ago. There's definitely no waste there, and there is bare earth under it. I'm beginning to feel that the only way is to remove it and work with the earth. The arbor is almost as important as the floor because the sun beats down there in the summer and we're overlooked by neighbors so it's not very private. Thanks again for your time it's very kind of you.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@MarcellaCarlton: Thanks Marcella I am looking online as we speak to see what kind of stones are available. Can anyone answer the question- what do you do with the concrete. If I just put stones on top it will keep cracking and get worse. Thanks for your visit and ideas.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@Doc_Holliday: That's a very good idea too. But it is right outside our back doors -living room and kitchen - and given that we're in the UK - the winter is wet, wet, wet! I think grass would look lovely but we need some sort of hard floor too. Thanks very much indeed for your visit and suggestions. I really do appreciate it.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on March 20, 2014:

Congratulations on your wonderful and inexpensive solution to an eye-sore. Deciding on the best solution to your concrete slab problem may involve testing the underlying soil. It would help if you knew why the previous owner covered the soil. If it was in hopes of capping hazardous wastes, you might not want to remove it. If removing the slab is an option for you, though, once you're down to bare earth, you can augment the soil with organic compost, build it up and design a beautiful garden.I love your arbor solution. It is gorgeous, and you can easily find plans to build your own on the internet. If you're not yet ready to invest in an arbor, you might consider raised beds for ornamentals and/or edibles, especially if you want a quick bang for your buck. You can install trellises in larger raised beds to get the feel of an arbor.Good luck with your garden. I look forward to seeing what you do. Remember, a garden is always a work in progress, but that is what makes it so enjoyable.

MarcellaCarlton on March 20, 2014:

I agree with the crushed stone that almns72 has suggested, and maybe add a water feature. This is going to be beautiful. Nice job.

Doc_Holliday on March 20, 2014:

The concrete doesn't look too thick so it shouldn't be too difficult to remove it. I would then lay down roll-on lawn. It is quick, relatively inexpensive and you can never go wrong with a bit of green stuff :-)

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@almns72: Hello Alms -I wonder what you mean by decomposed granite - time for some research - it sounds very interesting. Thanks very much for you suggestion. Thanks for your help.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@sara0129: Thank you -I'm very happy that you like it. Thanks for your visit and kind comment.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@mansfisa44: Thank you.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@ChocolateLily: OK thanks for your visit and comment. I really do appreciate it. Why not make a lens about your garden too. I'm getting so many amazing suggestions from people. It's touching.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@blestman lm: Hello - I'm afraid the garden on the lens with the pergola and crushed white stones isn't mine!!! lol. That's what I'm aiming for though. I'm sure I'll get there in the end. I like the crushed stones too. Thanks so much for your visit. I shall put an image of my finished garden here around May - fingers crossed that you'll like it. Thanks so much for your visit and comment.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@Ibidii: Give me a couple of months and then call back I intend putting a great photo of my new garden here on this lens! Thanks so much for your visit and kind comments.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@DebMartin: Yes Deb you have nailed it there! I am concerned that stones will end up getting swallowed up by weeds and earth, especially if we walk on them regularly - that's why we haven't done that yet! Perhaps I could put flower beds rounds the edges and cover the earth with a few stones as decoration. That leaves the centre. I've looked for flagstones. They are very expensive and so heavy too. Oh dear what to do :( Thank you for your visit and comment I really do appreciate your help.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@anonymous: Thank you very much indeed. It's very kind of you. Thanks for your visit.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@Brite-Ideas: Hi! Thanks a lot for your visit and kind words.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@Donna Cook: I shall be posting them here so watch this space! I feel a bit of pressure to get on with it now -which is great. Give me a couple of months -aiming for May. Amazing how Squidoo helps you to get things done. There's nothing like committing things to writing as an incentive - let alone on a public lens!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@PAINTDRIPS: Thanks so much x

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@PAINTDRIPS: Hi Denise. Yes that's what we want a place to sit out, a bit more privacy - somewhere with a bit of Zen! Small coloured stones would look awesome - I wonder where I can get some of those?? Thanks very much for your visit and suggestions - it really is amazing how much response I'm getting. Think I'll make a lens about all my quandaries!! lol.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@Heather426: I love that idea! Do you have a photo as an example? But how do I stop the floor getting worse? It gets more and more powdery and cracked with time? I've tried painting a product on the good bits but the rest of it has had it!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@Michey LM: Thank you Michey it's very kind of you to say so. Thank you so much for your visit and words of encouragement!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 20, 2014:

@esmonaco: Great! A lot of people are suggesting stones. I think they'll look great too. I wonder how I would stop weeds growing through, and stop the concrete underneath getting worse - it could end up a proper mess! lol! Thanks very much indeed for your visit and suggestions.

almns72 on March 19, 2014:

Hi, my suggestion is decomposed granite, that's what its called in australia anyway, spread about 3 or 4 inches thick, it will pack down in time & looks very attractive.cheersalmns

Shamim Rajabali from Texas on March 19, 2014:

The bamboo looks really nice.

mansfisa44 on March 19, 2014:

Very well done!

ChocolateLily on March 19, 2014:

It looks good so far! Wish I had some inexpensive ideas, but we're still trying to come up with our own. I'd be inclined to remove the broken concrete and start fresh, but that might not be your best option at present. I love the bamboo plants!

blestman lm on March 19, 2014:

Making your own concrete form is certainly nice. Also, a layer of crushed white peastone with the pergola looked terrific. All in all this is an inspiring lens. I am so delighted that you didn't have enough money. Your creativity is outstanding.

Ibidii on March 19, 2014:

Congratulations on LOD! It is looking good! I can't wait to see what changes you will make for the future! You did a great job!

DebMartin on March 19, 2014:

I'm all for the flagstone. Yes, a little more expensive initially. But it will last longer than wood and prettier than concrete. I like the idea of colored stones but there's not so much fun on bare feet. Remember, over time, the pollen and other tree and plant debris will create soil for weeds and plants to take hold. You'll want something that is easily cleaned. That's all I've got for you. Good luck and congratulations on your great start.

anonymous on March 19, 2014:

Exceptional design advice. Congratulations on getting LotD!

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on March 19, 2014:

This is amazing!! what a difference, it looks wonderful - a little creative thinking and some DIY work can make such a difference! Congrats on LOTD, well deserved!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@smine27: We had no choice really! So far so good, the best is yet to come. Thanks so much for your visit and comment.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@LiteraryMind: Thank you so much for your advice. I was thinking of painting the wall of the house, but staining it sounds like a much better option. What colour would go well soaked into red bricks? I agree with you about the flagstones - they would wobble. You have understood our problem very well, how we we stop weeds growing up through the stones? Thanks so much for your help.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@gottaloveit2: I do have big dreams that one day we'll be sitting in a lovely space. Doing it ourselves will make it even more special - I'm sure. Thank you so much for your visit and your words of encouragement.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@Embeegee: That sounds cool -but my husband is more of a traditionalist and likes his grass on the ground!! Plastic grass is an option indeed. Thanks very much for your visit and your great suggestion.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@puppy-love: I do hope so - it looks really lovely - the bamboo gives the garden a zen feel and is a great background for the plants. Thanks very much indeed for your visit and comment. Good luck with it. Why not make a lens!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@cargo123: Thank you very much indeed. Thanks very much for your visit and very kind comment.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@Elsie Hagley: I'm sure you're right. It rather fun - I'm getting to know so many people on Squidoo - so generous with their time and ideas. Thanks for your visit.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@Kittycheer: No pressure then!!! I will certainly post the results of our labour!! I can't wait to have it done. We're planning to put a chimney / burner out there and table and chairs - so the floor has to be kinda solid. I know about the moulds but you can't get them here in the UK -or at least I haven't been able to source them yet. Amazon.co.UK don't do them. Perhaps .com will be willing to post them but that will cost a fortune. Thank you so much for your visit and your suggestions. I am really touched by this amazing response.

Donna Cook on March 19, 2014:

Great lens! Would love to see photos when you're done.

Kittycheer on March 19, 2014:

Wow!! Great job! Congratulations on LOD. You have a very good start toward what you want. Once you've laid the ground work the plants and shrubs will do the rest for you as they mature. I plant shrubs and small trees in containers and move them around for a couple of years to see where they look best.Also, the suggestion by RenaissanceWoman2010 is very effective and the cost much less than buying ready made patio pavers. I made a small patio using the concrete form to pour my own and it worked great. You can put a small amount of dirt in the cracks and moss can make it look even better.Only tiny bits of moss spread very rapidly.Good luck and be sure to post your finished project.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 19, 2014:

Oh and congrats on lens of the day!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 19, 2014:

The bamboo was an awesome idea. Excellent. I love gazebos, but you could achieve that effect with the small colored stones and an awning. Make a place for outside chairs and a table. You will love sitting there and enjoying the fruits of your labors.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on March 19, 2014:

You could just stain the concrete. cheap and it looks great!

Michey LM on March 19, 2014:

Those examples are very good and easy to implement, I like the idea with bamboo decoration, and growing Bamboo and between them bright colors flowers. This is such a good and practical lens.

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on March 19, 2014:

Looks to me like the bamboo was a great choice, I think that wood decking would cost more than the medium sized stones. A real good choice in my opion would be the forever decking, but that would really be expensive. So if you're on a budget I thinkd the medium sized stone will work and look great. Congratulations on LOTD!! and Thanks for sharing your project, Good Luck I hope we get to see the finished results :)

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2014:

I just love what you did with the bamboo. Kudos to you for taking up such a big project.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on March 19, 2014:

I would go with the small pea gravel. Flagstone is expensive and you would have to do something to level out the concrete underneath it anyway. It's in such bad shape, add concrete might not even stick and then the flagstone would be compromised. If you ever decide to do something with the wall, stain it instead of painting it. Paint chips and peels from the weather. Regular furniture or wood deck stain seeps right in and is permanent.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@Grasmere Sue: That's something I am considering. But my friend laid some in her garden and it didn't last very long or look that great. The problem is that it gets dirty and squashes down because it doesn't replace itself like real grass. However, it may be that she bought poor quality grass. I have noticed that there's new stuff out there these days, and they say they've ironed out those cracks! I'll give it some thought - the idea of a beautiful lawn and no work is very tempting -indeed! Thanks so much for your visit and comment. This is the best lens I've made so far!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@RoSelou: I'm so pleased that I have been of some help. A beautiful garden doesn't have to big big -it's all about making a space that is beautiful and restful -so I have a big job ahead of me. Thanks so much for your visit and your comments. Good luck with your garden. Why not make a lens about it!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@Vantis: Thank you. Now the hard bit - the floor and the shade.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@Merrci: Hi Merry - I am feeling the pressure!!! All eyes on my ugly back yard! But as the UK Cont. on Squidoo I have to have a beautiful English garden don't I !!! Thank you so much for your visit and encouraging words.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@lollyj lm: Thank you Lolly - I really appreciate your visit and encouragement.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@SusanDeppner: Oh my I had no idea I am the LotD thank you so much for your visit.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@tonyleather: Thanks! Now comes the hard part -the floor! Thanks for your visit Tony.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 19, 2014:

@CamelliaPenny: I think that would be the easiest approach. Yes I love Geraniums because they remind me of Italy. I'm thinking of painting the wall of my house white which will give it a really med feel too. But I'm still going to be stuck with that awful concrete! hank so much for your visit and for your ideas. I think this garden is going to be beautiful once we've all put our heads together!

Perrin from South Carolina on March 19, 2014:

Lovely transformation with the bamboo. That was a great idea! Sounds like you are on the right track to making it beautiful. Color from your roses and other plants will liven it up naturally. I would create a border around the bamboo wall with rectangular containers with a short plant that blossoms in red. Geraniums? I don't know what grows well where you are. Containers are easy to move, cover, dig up and replant, etc.

tonyleather on March 19, 2014:

You did a nice job there! Well done!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on March 19, 2014:

Whatever you decide for the floor area, I know it will look great. I like the flagstone idea with potted plants or, if you're up to making holes, planting directly into the ground. Can't wait to see what you do! Congratulations on this very inspiring Lens of the Day!

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on March 19, 2014:

Wonderful lens!! Love your practical advice and how-to photos.I try to avoid concrete and prefer small stones or gravel because they seem more natural to me.But whatever you do, I'm sure it will be lovely. Well done!!

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on March 19, 2014:

Had to stop by to congratulate you on LotD! Woohoo! It was such a fun lens, to see the space and what it could become. And with the bamboo it already was looking great. See? Lots of us are waiting to see what you decide! Very delighted for you!

Vantis on March 19, 2014:

Better idea than I thought, it really looks great.

RoSelou on March 19, 2014:

Amazing! I really plan this for our home with no guide at all. I wondered how I can make it on my own, but your tips is so great giving me ideas on what to do next.

Sue Dixon from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on March 19, 2014:

Hi there from the Lake District. I read your page with great interest! Congratulations on LOTD!Would artificial grass cover the mess? At least in part? I see B & Q have some at 10 for a 1 m x 2 m size. I was actually looking at some yesterday in my local carpet store, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and appearance.

gottaloveit2 on March 19, 2014:

Very nice article. Congrats on LoTD. Your garden is going to be stunning!

Embeegee on March 19, 2014:

Have you thought of plastic grass for a quick solution, both vertical and horizontal?

puppy-love on March 18, 2014:

This was great, thank you! I actually really appreciated all of the photos you included. I think your ideas will help me cover up an ugly wall in my backyard. Best of luck with the rest of the reno plans!

cargo123 on March 18, 2014:

keep up your goodwork, God Bless you!

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on March 18, 2014:

Love what you have done. It really doesn't matter what t looks like, it's what you end up with when finished. Thanks for sharing.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 17, 2014:

@Lynda Makara: To be honest I would rather get rid of the concrete altogether because I hate it. But removing it will be such a massive job and then what would we replace it with - there's just earth under it. So I am leaning towards covering it with stones and making holes in it where we can put plants. Containing the stones is a bit of an issue but at least we only have one side to worry about. Thanks so much for your visit and taking the time to write your suggestions. We really do appreciate it. Watch this space for updates!

Lynda Makara from California on March 17, 2014:

Wow, you weren't kidding. It looked more like an alley than a backyard, but at least now you're on the right track. My suggestion for the floor is to use concrete pavers with ground cover planted in between. You could even break up what's already there and rearrange the pieces over the space and then fill in with ground cover. That would create a more natural look. Another suggestion is to cover the old material with pea gravel or decomposed granite which is fairly inexpensive.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 17, 2014:

@Diana Wenzel: Hi RennaissanceWoman (great name!) Thanks so much for your great suggestions. I think they're both brilliant. I shall follow them up and see what happens. Sometime products on Amazon.com aren't on Amazon.co.uk. But I'll certainly check these out. Thanks very much indeed for your visit, support, help, suggestions and wonderful encouragement!! We need all the help we can get! Have a great week.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 17, 2014:

You don't need to feel ashamed of showing these before pics. I love what you have done so far. That bamboo screen is beautiful and it was the perfect solution. In terms of suggestions for the crumbling concrete, I might suggest two or three things. You mentioned that drainage might be an issue. If so, you might want to use slightly elevated interlocking decking squares. These deck "tiles" can be built or purchased. Far less expensive if you make your own. And, if moisture is an issue, you could use the recycled composite materials rather than wood. Here are links with photos to show you what I am describing (not an affiliate link... just a product example):http://amzn.to/1qMgVmXMy other suggestion, perhaps the least expensive, is to use concrete forms to pour your own nice-looking cobblestone pavers to cover the concrete that is in poor shape. You could first cover your current concrete with a few inches of landscaping sand. Tamp it down until level. Then lay your newly made pavers over the sand. It would look really nice. Here's a link to show you how it is done: http://www.squidoo.com/making-your-own-cobblestone... these ideas are helpful. Can't wait to see what you decide to do.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 14, 2014:

@Sir Daniel UK: lol! Real life stuff indeed! I am so totally committed to working on my back garden now that I have laid it at the feet of Squidoo for all to see - I usually hide it from guests!! So, if it doesn't rain, we'll be working on it this weekend. Keep in touch to see results of the fruits of our labour! Any ideas of what we should do with the floor? Thanks for your visit and comment.

Danny Gibson from Northampton on March 14, 2014:

Oh this is great. REAL life stuff. Love it, really.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 13, 2014:

@Corrinna-Johnson: That's a great idea but we have the rain to contest with - we have seen some really lovely plastic rugs with Moroccan designs. The space is much bigger than it looks in the photo. Thanks so much for visiting and for your ideas.

Corrinna Johnson from BC, Canada on March 13, 2014:

Very nice fix! I really like how the bamboo sticks define the space. How about a big, colorful outdoor rug to cover up the concrete!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 13, 2014:

@georgepmoola2: Now you're talking!! Don't let my son hear you say that. He'd love a miniature railway too lol!

georgepmoola2 on March 12, 2014:

Great lens! How about a football pitch to finish off with?

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 12, 2014:

@GrammieOlivia: Yes it is full sun. The very back wall where Graeme is standing gets morning shade, but otherwise it's full sun. Stones are the quickest and easiest solution I think. If we cover the whole area with dark membrane to stop the weeds coming up, then we could put largish stones on top, make holes and plant down into the ground, the concrete isn't very thick - that way we wont need many pots at all! We have already grown beans and strawberries, and we have apples and plums and all sorts of herbs in the grassy part of the garden. We love to grow things we can eat. My son really enjoys helping with food!! Thanks very much indeed for getting back to me with your ideas and encouragement! Please do let me know if you think of anything particular that will work. We need to think of shade too!!

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 12, 2014:

@Merrci: It took a bit of nerve making this lens because the garden is so ugly that we are genuinely ashamed of it!!! I can't wait for it to be green and lush. Thanks for your visit and encouragement. It means a lot.

Giovanna (author) from UK on March 12, 2014:

@lesliesinclair: Oh wow thanks for that idea - my husband will love it - he paints designs on garden walls whenever he gets the chance - but I'll bet he's never painted a floor before. I love this suggestion very much! But how do we stop the concrete from getting worse? It's crumbling away as we speak!! Thanks so much for your comment.

GrammieOlivia on March 12, 2014:

It would help to know how much sun this area gets, if it's in full sun, you will plant different things than if it is half shady........If you are working with a budget, then I would suggest the medium sized stones with pots planted with different flowers, or vegetables. You can grow tomatoes in pots, strawberries, peppers, eggplants, and a host of others,......need more information to help you though!

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on March 12, 2014:

The bamboo looks lovely! I don't have much of an eye for stuff like this, but some green in there would look good! Very nice lens I like the way you did it!

lesliesinclair on March 12, 2014:

Isn't it wonderful how we can now get those rolls of sticks. I sure like the way you installed it and it truly transformed the patio space. As an artist, I would paint the disheveled concrete, after doing whatever was necessary to prime it, and make it a picture of a path or a hopscotch game or something that fits in with your favorite motif, to create smiles in visitors.