Tuesday, September 2, 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.

Comments

comments

Scripps Howard News Service

.

News

Planning begins for Davis Neighbors’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

 
Davis not immune: Are you ready for a big quake?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Learn about RNA at Science Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Google Glass will be discussed, demonstrated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Cuddle up at Project Linus’ meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tickets still available for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

International folk dancing offered Sundays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A3

Rose garden bricks to be dedicated Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

It’s About Time plays Davis Farmers Market’s Picnic in the Park

By Anthony Siino | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Register year-round at Davis Chinese School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

 
Have the facts before you judge

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Tesla has state walking a tightrope

By Tom Elias | From Page: A4

 
Special-needs passengers ignored

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

A cure for Davis’ problems

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

 
A good use for the MRAP

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

Marriage vs. male instinct

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Life without MacDonald starts Friday for DHS

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Clark recalls his hole-in-one — the first at Davis Golf Course

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Fruits of their Labor Day

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys looking to replicate a big cross country performance

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggies edge Quinnipiac in overtime

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Baseball roundup: Aces end River Cats’ season

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B3

 
Sports briefs: Hot Shots basketball tryouts coming up

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Junior Blue Devils strong in home debut, winning 3 on the field

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Elaine Dracia Greenberg

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7