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That shinny space along the side of the house.

That skinny space between the side of a house and the fence is a challenge to make inviting. But the payoff can be more than you expect. As these homeowners discovered, they not only got rid of that garbage-can-alley look outside, they created living pictures to enjoy from inside.

In each of the three gardens shown here, professionals started by making the framework--walkways, fencing, overhead trellis--as attractive as possible. Then they added a filigree of green and other details to soften the edges. Best choices are plants that are easy to keep thin: bamboo, nandina, podocarpus, sasanqua camellias; or thin-stemmed, fine-textured vines like clematis, creeping fig, English ivy, star jasmine, or Carolina jessamine.

Plants and structures are arranged to pull the outside and inside together. In two examples, notice how decking raised the garden floor to living-room level.

In his own garden at left, garden designer and potter Cevan Forristt added rustic shelves to display pots and bonsai-style plants. To match the pots, he made red clay tiles for the path. A 2-foot-deep pool, lined with heavy-duty vinyl, is filled within about 6 inches of the surface with large cobbles for a natural look and to provide hiding places for mosquito-eating fish.

Above, in the garden of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H.W. Jones, landscape designer Philip S. Grimes pulled the space together by building a redwood deck over the existing concrete walk and small patio, and adding a taller, more compatible fence. built-in benches, a water basin, and plants break up the linear border. Exterior walls and eaves are painted white to match the interior and to make the most of available natural light.

In Peter and Barbara Pande's garden at right, landscape designer Michael Moyer designed a trellis to support an ancient wisteria and to block the neighbor's view from a second story. With the added privacy, the Pandes decided to add sliding glass doors from the living and dining rooms to the deck. The old fence is painted to match the exterior house walls; the fence extension of 1-by-2s and the trellis are painted to match the trim.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 1, 1985
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