Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Blank Wall Dilemma

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas by Mary Stone, Garden Blog, Gardening Tips

Hello fellow readers,

Kelly from Forks Township shared that she stares at a blank wall.  It’s their detached garage which sits directly behind the house and is covered with asbestos siding.  Having small children, she’d like to protect the wall from damage ‘by sports balls and the like’ as their lawn runs right up to it. There’s a sprinkler pipe that runs alongside the wall and so her husband is opposed to planting trees or shrubs next to it.

Most folks cringe when they hear the word asbestos. It’s true it can be extremely dangerous if the siding is broken up and asbestos fibers are released into the air. Asbestos siding was used from the 1920s until the 1980s and is still found in many older homes today. It was made by adding asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, to cement which proved durable, insulating, fire-resistant, and absorbed paint well. Asbestos shingles are non-friable which means the fibers aren’t released unless they’re sawed, drilled, cut or broken. Hence asbestos siding in good condition is best left alone. Kelly is smart to keep her garage protected from damage and certainly attaching a garden feature directly to the wall is out of the question.

One thought that comes to mind is to off-set the garage by say 2 feet and stake in beefy, free-standing trellises. I’d suggest three, 3-foot wide trellises with a space in between but of course it depends on the length of the wall. Based on the cultural conditions there (sun/shade, moisture, and soil conditions) plant 2 or 3 varieties of flowering vines to provide color all growing season. The garden space surrounding the trellises could be a simple lawn alternative such as Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Golden Japanese forest grass, which brightens up a space and is essentially hands-free.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas by Mary Stone, Garden Blog, Gardening TipsAnother idea is a narrow pergola, also offset from the garage, that’s about three quarters the length of the wall. Why not add a garden bench below to serve as a peaceful place to watch your children at play. Move the bench aside and the pergola can serve as a goal post too; and you’re the goal keeper. Moms and Dads have such an important job!

Garden dilemmas? askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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