Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Testing out my green thumb

When I first saw our house, one of the things I loved most was the generous-sized yard. For Toronto standards, it's pretty big. But one of the things I liked least was the chain link fence that encompasses the yard. By my estimates, we're looking at at least 150' of visible chain link fence. Blech.

This fence space is shared with 5 different neighbours, so we're also dealing with not a lot of privacy. The thing that strikes me most odd, is that most of our neighbours have been living in their houses for decades, and none of them ever changed their fences. In fact, none of them have even done anything to make them more private, or to disguise the chain link at all.

Why would you not want to do something like this?

Source: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/look-modern-fence-50175

Or even this as a partial solution:

Source: http://aubreyandlindsay.blogspot.ca/2010/07/diy-privacy-screens-how-to-by-aubrey.html

We moved in to the house towards the end of summer 2010, and by that time, some Morning Glory vines had covered portions of the fences.  Morning Glory is really pretty when the flowers open up, and that stuff can GROW! It tends to grow a little wild once it gets going, and it was all over everything.  So last summer I made it my mission to take it away from the places we didn't need it, and tried to make it to cover as much of the fence as possible.  The problem is, it doesn’t really fill in until August or so, and I still experienced fence hatred for most of the summer. 

Since a new fence isn't in the budget for now, Matt and I made a trip to the garden centre, and here’s what we came away with:

  • A Climbing Hydrangea
  • 2 Honeysuckle Vines -  one is a male ("Hercules") and one is a female ("Diane"), and apparently they need to be planted in close proximity in order for Diane to bloom
  • Clematis

Additionally, I added 3 more perennials to the mix, because who doesn’t love a plant that comes back year-after-year without too much effort?! 
  • Peony plant
  • Hydrangea plant
  • “Double knock-out” rose bush

I strategically planted the vines in front of the metal poles that support the fence.   Those are the most unsightly part in my opinion.  Once those get hidden a bit, the green fence will not stand out quite so much. 

I'm not much of a gardener, so I'm hoping I don't kill these plants.  I am already so excited to see their progress, and I visit them almost every night after work to see how they are doing.  Apparently peony plants often don't bloom in their first year, so I'm trying to keep my expectations in check. 

I'd love to properly landscape the backyard at some point, but for now, these are just sort of randomly placed to hide the fence. 

At some point, I will probably have to put up some sort of supports for the clematis, which is already growing quite a bit (!).  I saw these cool screens on the IKEA website, and I feel like I could use them to change the look of the yard quite a bit:

Source: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/80204927/
But I'm not sure the protocol on privacy screens. Can I just put one up, or do I have to consult with my neighbours, whose sunlight would be affected?
While I worked on Operation-Hide-the-Fence, Matt worked on Vegetable Garden Year 2.  Last year went pretty well, and with a little experience under his belt, he’s aiming bigger and better this year. 

Here's a sampling of the homegrown veggies we hope to be eating by the end of the summer.

Have you done any gardening?  Do you have any tips for hiding a chain link fence? 

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