Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Go low-cost but bold with rental home landscaping

This lattice bamboo screen is lightweight and easy to attach to a fence to give lovely purple clematis a ladder that's easily detached later. SHNS photo

SH13C200YARDSMART March 25, 2013 -- This lattice bamboo screen is lightweight and easy to attach to a fence to give lovely purple clematis a ladder that's easily detached later. (SHNS photo courtesy Maureen Gilmer)

By Maureen Gilmer

So long as there’s a backyard outside your rental house, the door is open to creating affordable outdoor living spaces.

Many rental homes lack backyard landscaping or it’s dull and doesn’t reflect any personal style. To create a wonderful space in just one or two weekends, consider tips from the Small Budget Gardener for revamping your yard and adding comfortable summer-living areas outdoors.

To get the most from your efforts, focus on two equally important factors: First, make low-cost choices. Second, choose portable items, so you can take them to your next house.

The most affordable patio makers are plain concrete squares known as “steppers.” The smallest ones are about 1 foot square and 2 inches thick and run about a dollar or so apiece. Larger 2-foot sizes can run about $3 each. Use them to create a new patio for under $100.

If you look at contemporary high-end landscapes, you’ll discover that those folks prefer to use nearly identical units to create greener porous paving areas. The steppers can be set edge to edge, or leave a gap for decorative gravel, grass or groundcover.

Create a fire pit for about the same amount of money using antique-looking concrete block tumbled in giant drums to make them look old. All over Pinterest are examples of how to create a fire pit by stacking these blocks just so. Some repurpose old washing-machine drums to hold the fire, surrounded by dry walls of block. Their weight is such that stacked creations don’t need a foundation or mortar. When it comes time to move, just unstack, load up and go.

Do not overlook paint and stain. They can turn worn-out wood fences or sheds into something truly delightful. Often, fencing at rentals is a hodgepodge of wooden slats, but a can of stain can unify the spans via subtle color. Water down latex paint to make it more like stain in your favorite color. Or if you’re looking for a lovely cottage garden, use whitewash to transform an everyday look into a clean and tidy background.

A wall trellis is easy to make with scrap twigs — or simply buy a cheap wood and paint it. Some gardeners are recycling old screen doors, metal bedsteads and sections of old wrought-iron fencing for wall treillage, too. These flat panels stand against walls to allow vines to climb up for a beautiful vertical garden. Best of all, you can simply detach the trellis and take it with you.

Big annual plants are always the best choice for rentals. You can grow them from seed or buy them in low-cost six packs to make your summer-living spaces look nestled into the landscape. The most powerful plants are big, burly sunflowers. Use in a patch or row or as a single specimen. Hollyhock is another great choice that leaves you with a whole crop of seeds for next year. Cosmos, foxgloves and all the amaranths are easy-to-grow choices.

As always, containers are the best way to grow anything more long-lived, such as dwarf fruit trees and blueberries. The larger the pot the more powerful it will be in greening up rental spaces with big plants that will go elsewhere when you do.

Learning to garden as a renter is a great way to save money while improving your lifestyle. Even the smallest spaces can be incredibly rewarding when transformed with these ideas.

Scripps Howard News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6