Sunday, April 26, 2015
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

Davis team wins world robotics championship

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

 
 
 
Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in UCD assault arrested

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Watch them in action

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

We did it (together)!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
$2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Those texts still linger

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
New ways of giving locally and beyond

By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

 
Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Water, water everywhere?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Poker proceeds help youths

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Invest in water of the future

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Anaheim, where The Force is with you

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

.

Sports

Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

Davis Roots hires new general manager

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Comcast announces speed upgrade

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8