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Hiding the block wall is a lath arcade of hanging plants.

Lath seemed the answer, as Sandy and Larry Davidson of Huntington Beach, California, critically eyed the unattractive cinder-block wall behind their 4- by 60-foot planting bed.

A roofed arcade of redwood lath now conceals the cinder block, creating an ideal environment for shade-loving plants. And the framework of gentle arches eases the rigid lines of the long, narrow bed.

To support the structure, 8-foot-long 4-by-4 posts were set in concrete footings placed 80 inches apart and anchored with metal straps. Horizontal 4-by-4 beams rest on these posts. To bring the cinder-block wall up to the same height as the new front wall, a short extension of 2 by 4's and 2 by 6's went over the top row of blocks (see above). Nailing strips (2 by 3's) for the lath facing were fastened to the block wall with lag bolts in lead plugs. Lath was painted white before assembly.

The vine you see climbing over the lath structure is kangaroo treebine (Cissus antarctica), which can be planted in mild-winter coastal areas. For a hardier alternative, plant Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens). The baskets and other hanging planters hold fuchsias, begonias, and seasonal annuals.

The deeply lobed, dark green leaves of Japanese aralia (Fatsia japonica) and the lacy foliage of dwarf tree fern (Blechnum gibbum) lend a tropical look. These thrive in areas with mild summers and winters. Other shrubs are evergreen azaleas.

Container plants are watered by drip tubing concealed in a 3/4-inch PVC pipe that runs across the roof of the arbor (the PVC also protects the tubing from the sun).
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1984
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