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humblehart1213

What to do with $5K and this hot mess???

Kelly Hart
8 days ago

This is the back of our property and it is 100’ away from a water source we have taken down 3 huge pine trees that were near dead so that consumed a lot of money but we now have some sunlight to the area but we are still wanting some privacy and low maintenance landscaping since we are so far away from a water source. We thought about covering the hideous chain link fence with black canvas like construction sites use to cover their sites. You simply attach it with zip ties into grommeted holes directly onto the chain link but we aren’t married to that idea either. We will give the shed a fresh coat of paint but we have no idea what to plant and what shape to give it. Suggestions. We live in Northern Illinois so that is zone 5a or 5b.

Comments (30)

  • shirlpp
    8 days ago

    Concerning the water source. I've connected hoses that are 50' and 100' to water my lawn. Not sure why you're saying you are so far away from a water source.

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  • HU-187528210
    8 days ago

    I agree with Elaine. Adding something to the fence wouldn’t benefit you at all. If you want privacy I’d say to line the property with trees. Do it slowly. And start with small ones. They’ll grow faster than you can imagine. You don’t have to do all sides at once. Do whatever your budget allows for now.
    I’d spend some on some furniture a hammock. Your backyard is so quaint and calming. Love it!!

  • Jj J
    8 days ago

    Keeping that big lawn green all year will likely consume more water than planting beds if you choose low water plants. Look at native plants for your region, some of which may be drought tolerant once established.

  • nickel_kg
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    Shade cloth strapped to the fence would only draw more attention to it. I'd look into shrubs like viburnums, hydrangeas, or forsythia, and trees like crabapples or redbuds. For ground cover, lots of daylily and/or hosta. My aunt had a little shed like yours, she put painted wood tulips in the flower box for year-round, zero maintenance color -- cute, but not "too" cutesy.

  • Embothrium
    8 days ago

    All recently planted specimens have to be watered at first even if inherently drought tolerant kinds.

  • decoenthusiaste
    8 days ago

    Do others in your neighborhood have CLF? Is it really necessary to restrain animals, kids, etc? It is a very industrial fencing and can lower your property value. I would take it down and simply build a private gathering area in a favorite spot with a firepit, comfy seating and shade with barrier planters and or walls for privacy. Then fill in the sunny areas with gardens of flowers and/or vegetables.Over time you could improve the landscaping, planting something to grow and hide your private seating area. Surely there is a way to get water to the back yard. As early posts mentioned, there are very long water hoses and they can be connected together.


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  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    since the shed is so prominent, why not do something w/it?

    you can paint it (even some sage or darker greens to blend) but don't forget the surrounding area around it. you can easily DIY any of these
















    do a deep green or even a black w/crisp white. against the green lawn this would look stunning. add the flowers and hardscape around it





    love the black cedar fence too


  • Embothrium
    8 days ago

    The materials being stored to the left of the shed are a detraction also.

  • partim
    8 days ago

    Paint the chain link fence black or dark green and it will disappear. Agree that covering it with cloth or anything will not give you privacy because your neighbours are far away and that only gives you privacy for something close.

    You need tall shrubs that are bushy all the way down to the ground. The big lilacs, viburnum, hydrangea, elderberry etc. Be sure that you don't get dwarf varieties. You want the ones that are 10-12 feet tall and wide at maturity.

    Planting in the fall will give them a better chance of survival than planting in the spring because they will get the winter moisture, and have some established roots by the time the next year's summer heat arrives. Plan to water them in a drought if you want them to grow more quickly.

  • housegal200
    8 days ago

    How to use your $5000.


    --Have water piping installed close enough to use long hoses back there.


    --Plant a variety of partial-shade tolerant arborvitae of different heights and colors along the fencing. Small ones will be the most affordable. They do grow up! Speak to a shrub garden center about what varieties will work there. You will have to create proper beds along the fencing, but in the long run, you'll have privacy by going green.


    --Use your tree as the center of a planting bed "Island" that connects to your shed and the tree on the other side. Notice in the plantings below the red shrubs. Include a couple of those to echo your red trees behind the shed. Make sure to choose all partial to full shade plants. Add Adirondack chairs.

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  • Embothrium
    8 days ago

    If you have deer Thuja occidentalis are a favorite winter browse. Root growth of northern adapted trees and shrubs is often quite limited during the winter - as in maybe none. So if fall planting is going to confer an advantage it needs to be done before existing roots have their annual elongation rush (60% of yearly increase in length). This happens when winter stem buds have been set, so with some kinds this physiological fall can come as early as July. So that fall plantings done very much later than when these buds have matured will miss the boat. Leaving the spring production of new roots left to carry on with the plan, same as if the planting was all done that same spring (any time before winter stem buds open).

  • mrykbee
    8 days ago

    Those trees are gorgeous. I’d spend a grand on a master plan from a landscape designer (nurseries usually have one on staff and some landscapers do.

    Shade cloth attached to the fence will be an eyesore and make me wonder if your backyard is a construction site.

    Large flowering shrubs and smartly placed ornamental flowering trees will be lower maintenance in subsequent years.

    In my area I’d do rhododendrons and lilac hedges depending on the light. And Rose of Sharon.

    Put in a soaker hose system for them. No need to lug a 200 foot hose around.

    Nothing is truly low maintenance the first year. It could be so nice!

  • mrykbee
    8 days ago

    Clarification— depending on the light and soil profile— sandy? Clay? Acidic? Etc.

  • suezbell
    8 days ago

    Would paint the shed a medium / dark green -- more muted ... not a glossy green for all painted surfaces.

    Visually, the fence mostly disappears and I agree that a "green" wall will be preferable to junking up the fence and drawing attention to it. Unless, however, if rust were to begin to become an issue, in which case you could paint the links and/or the posts green.

    Are you DIY inclined ... You Tube likely has instruction vids that can help in some instances such as building planter boxes with lattice and/or with feet to keep them off the ground and how to line them with plastic -- both to protect planters from moisture. If you have access to cheap used shipping flats, they can be repurposed and left "rough".

    In those areas beyond the fence where your view is another home, and while you're waiting to get your green fence in place and letting it grow large enough to make a difference, consider lattice hung horizontally across and between three 4"x4"x8' treated landscaping posts -- one post centered and one on each end ... painted the same green as your shed. You can add brackets to the posts and hang flower baskets.

    You can either paint the ends of the posts that will go in the dirt and add gravel to the bottom of the post hole in which you put them . It might even be possible to create some kind of base or feet for the posts to keep the privacy screen moveable to keep your options open where you put it.

    Single posts with brackets for hanging baskets could also become portable privacy screens atop which you can place solar lighting. Wide plastic holiday tree stands will hold single posts (6' tall works best) upright for brackets for hanging baskets of plants with balanced weight as will these kinds of "feet" (each of the feet about 16").

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/701083866989627228/

    Note: I've not tried the tree stands or these kinds of feet to hold in place the weight of lattice, especially on a windy day.

  • Kelly Hart
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    All of the comments have been so great and I really appreciate the feedback about the shade over fabric on the chain link fence. I had thought about putting in a line of arbavitae along the back fence and then adding another layer of different shrubs and evergreens next year and the year after that so that it will give us a lot of depth to the space. The fence will stay (unfortunately) due to critters and criminals. It is low maintenance and it came with the house. We have a ton of landscaping bricks and more to come next year when we remove them from around another large tree that has a circle bed lined with them. My husband hates the look of them but I was thinking we could still use them and hide them in some way. We have a very modern geometric landscaped front yard, which I will post pictures of later on today. I had originally thought that planting might be a problem back by the Fenceline because of all the roots from the trees. We were exploring the idea of doing large planters that were square shaped and made of concrete. However I know some people have had problems with the concrete getting bubbles or falling apart. Inside those large planters I was thinking that there would be a variety of plantings-one would have a bush and one would have some hostas and the other would have flowers and they would be clustered together to make a group of planters. With a budget of only $5000, big planters would gobble up a lot of that money very quickly not to mention getting them moved into location would require a forklift. So that is why we were thinking of a DIY project. The other thing I was thinking was mirroring what we do on One side of the shed to the other side of the shed, so that they would be matching. any thoughts on these ideas?

  • Linda
    8 days ago

    Following

  • Kelly Hart
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    One last comment: Beth H, thank you for all the shed pictures ...you were reading my mind in some of the sheds spotlighted. Our house is white and we will hopefully be putting on a black metal roof in two years. I love black stained cedar and was thinking about making cedar planter boxes (3 x 3 x 3) and staining them black. I feel because the yard is so large that we need a very large scale planter and so a cluster of 3 of them on each side of the shed was one thought and then do a black slat wall behind each planter mounted to the back side of the planter to give it even more scale. It could go up an additional 6’ high.

  • Kelly Hart
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    Here is an inspiration photo that I am working off of but I would make the planters square. However lumber prices are crazy right now so I am shying away from this idea. I also thought about using water treatment panels and bolting them together for a planter, see attached photo with bubble on each panel, these could stay metal or get painted black. They are large and have a geometric and contemporary feel to them. However I am having difficulty sourcing them in the USA.

  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    7 days ago

    Since it is such a huge lawn I would suggest replacing the chainlink fenceing with tall shrubs or evergreen trees. Those can provide a lot of privacy as well as wind protection and sound dampening.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    7 days ago

    Coming from a place where yards are fenced as a matter of course, I’d definitely keep the chain link and also plant shrubs, trees and perennials in front It. Why spend time and money on removing a perfectly serviceable, effective barrier only to replace it with a porous one which will not effectively keep out the neighbours and their dogs, children, footballs or blowing rubbish. Shrubs would take years to attain the impenetrability of the fence. Have both imo.

  • mad_gallica (z5 Eastern NY)
    7 days ago

    Planters are going to be nothing but trouble in that yard. They will have to be watered and maintained within an inch of their life to look decent.

    If you plant the shrubs now, you will only have to haul water to them if the rainfall is insufficient this year. Most years I can plant things now and never water them. There are people here who consider that heresy, but if you live where it rains during the summer, you can do it with a little luck.

    As for what shrubs, and how they could be arranged, we don't have enough information. I'd do a deciduous mass generally following the fence. Many deciduous shrubs are dense enough that they provide a decent amount of privacy even during the winter. But they are a lot easier to establish, maintain, and generally deal with than evergreens.

  • PRO
    LilDesignWorks
    7 days ago

    I am in Toronto and believe the same climate. I am a passionate gardener only using native perennials with some exceptions. No annuals. I never water my garden and it is beautiful with minimum maintenance...

    I have a portion of my yard with chainlink fence that is very rarely seen behind the shrubs. My recommandation is to plant around the perimeter Rose of Sharon, Elderberry, eounimus, forsythia, barberry.

    Best is to find someone with a similar garden in your area, they will be so happy to share plant babies with you:) I would not invest in any planters, if you spend money on that lumber you are better off to build an actual fence. Feel free to mssg me directly if you'd like further advice on a landscaping plan

  • partim
    7 days ago

    The planter you show is for a city deck where you can admire the charming little thing close up. Not 100 feet away on the size of property that you have. Also, plants in planters are much more likely to die of in winter. The roots freeze and the plant dries out. And you can't plant big things in them because the roots get too crowded. In the long term, they are way more work than planting them in the ground.

    You need a bigger scale of plant to look proportional on your property. How long is the fence that you are planting along?

  • woodyoak
    7 days ago

    I have largely given up on posting here but this property appeals to me :-) I don't see a 'hot mess' but an opportunity to produce a beautiful landscape on a larger scale than our 1/4 acre :-) As others have said, keep the chainlink (black is the nicest at disappearing but it might not be easy to change the color at this point....) In your shoes I'd do the following:

    - paint the shed a darker green color suitable to blend it into a green background of plantings;

    - consider leaving a path along the fence (especially if you have - or plan to have - a dog as a dog will want to patrol the fenceline (and you will use the path for maintenance);

    - put down soaker hoses to help with making watering easy in the establishment phase of plantings. The soakers can be removed in a couple of years, after the plants are established;

    - plant an ornamental mix of perennials, vines, shrubs, trees. The fence can support vines. Consider flowering and fall foliage color when selecting plants;

    - make deep beds - add secondary paths if need be - to increase privacy and cause the fence to recede into the background.


    Here are some pictures from our garden which has chainlink fencing and detailed plantings. The 'see through' nature of the fence makes our property look and feel larger than it is.


    The shed area in Fall:


    The shed area in June:



    The NW corner of the fence (note the path and the neighbour's plantings seen through the fence):



    Honeysuckle vine blooming in June on the fence:



    There are endless opportunities to turn your space into a beautiful place if you focus on the positive possibilities. Have fun with it!

  • Kelly Hart
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    To my Houzz buddies, thank you so much for all of your wonderful advice and hope for our yard. I will review the great suggestions with my hubby tonight. You all have been so helpful and have such great suggestions! You give me so much hope!!!

  • housegal200
    7 days ago

    woodyoak: beautiful, dreamy garden and no chain link in sight.

  • housegal200
    7 days ago

    If you do arborvitae, make sure to plant a variety of colors and heights, not lined up like soldiers, ie some shorter ones in front of taller ones here and there in front of the fence with a couple feet in between. Honestly, a green approach will really reward within a couple years.

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    7 days ago

    We purposefully have chain link out back by our creek and love it. Blends in nicely and won’t impact resale one bit. I actually think your yard is big and full of potential. My first priority would be getting water easily back there so I could then slowly and surely pick away at plantings and shrubs etc.

  • Tara
    6 days ago

    Not sure if bamboo would grow where you are, but bamboo by the chain link fence. Or even some of those bamboo/reed fencing segments that are 6 feet tall. Run a 100 foot hose for the water - and add sprinklers.