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What to do with a blank outdoor wall?

SpY climber
Created by SpY.
I’m so happy that this installation exists.

I’ve been kicking around ideas for the now-empty carport wall, which is looking awfully naked after losing its thick ivy blanket. Demo work is disappointing like that, because you’ve done a heap of work and your space doesn’t actually look any better for it. Good thing there’s plenty of ideas for prettying up a blank wall in the garden.

Wait, the carport wall? Wasn’t I just talking a big game about renovating the back corner? Yep, and that’s well underway. Everything is happening all at once – fence repair, edging, planting – so I can’t really write about any of it until one of those “stages” are complete. Blog problems, I know.

blank carport

SO. THIS WALL. Here’s a photo I took of it yesterday. There’s a few changes I’m thinking over at the moment: painting the wall, planting another climber, and adding a low raised planter. A hose reel would be nice, too.

Painting the wall:

You know what, I only just started to consider painting this wall, but I’m sold on the idea. Adios, beige-green. Paint will also cover up the scarring left from the ivy. Jamie pressure-washed the wall, but the fine residual roots are still there. The wall isn’t physically damaged or anything, it just looks a little rough.

Some possible colours and textures:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

1. Charcoal: Of course.
2. White: It looks great on stucco! But I think it’s going to look sad on colorbond, as though it was primed and left unfinished. White also seems ideal for warm, dry climates, rather than temperate ones.
3. Turquoise/aqua: I love this colour, but I think it may draw too much focus from the plants. If I painted in this colour, I think it may end up a little too trendy for my liking.
4. Rusted steel: I like it as an accent, but a full wall could look dated, I think.
5. Full vertical garden: Amazing, but too busy. Also way beyond my skill set and budget.
6. Dark brown-gray, aka taupe: A warmer alternative to charcoal. I think this could work well, especially if (when) the house exterior gets painted navy.

blank carport 2

Planting a plant:

Here’s what we planted in place of the ivy: passionfruit. Yup, it goes hog wild on walls too. But at least it keeps itself in check by dying back every 7-10 years. I got a grafted ‘Nellie Kelly’ black passionfruit that should be far more robust than a non-grafted version. It’s been in the ground for six weeks, and so far so good. I’m going to attach latticing up high, and let it climb up the stake to get there.

You would think that passionfruit would be out of tune with our climate, but Jamie’s mum lives in a chilly windswept section of the Tasman Peninsula and she has a monster passionfruit growing on her garden shed, so that reassures me. This is a very sunny wall that faces west in a north-facing yard. Hopefully ours will do okay.

Jamie really likes passionfruit and he’d be thrilled to get some off the vine, while I’m more neutral on passionfruit. I won’t stress if the vine never fruits. The flowers, though, they’re so elaborate for a fruiting flower! I’d love to see lots of them in the summer months.

Raised succulent planter:

Eventually, I’d also like to have a small raised planter – about 45cm high, give or take along the slope – surrounding the bases of the wisteria and passionfruit. It’s going to be a succulent patch. All the little guys living in pots on the deck will end up in this planter one day, in the warmest, sunniest spot in our yard.

That planter isn’t going to happen for a while yet, though. I got my hands full right now. However, here’s one thing I can share: repotting one of our oldest, most established succulents.

crassula jade before

We inherited quite a few potted plants with the property. There are some particularly neat ones that I’ve kept, like the chain cactuses and assorted succulents. This one is a Crassula arborescens, or silver dollar jade. They fade to silver in summer and take on stronger tones in winter. They grow fat little trunks and are meant to be good subjects for bonsai.

The plant looked great, but I was less impressed with the pot. Aside from the brittle plastic material, the bright green pot also washed out the silvery-green of the plant.

crassula jade 2

I found this large, shallow, streamlined pot for $25 at a local nursery, which was (very unfortunately) going out of business and clearing out their stock. Perfect size for the jade. I’m not kidding about it being large, it’s about 45cm (18in) across. This won’t be its final location – you can see just how good that colorbond is looking, ha ha – but it can hang out with the baby passionfruit on this sunny wall for now.

crassula jade 3

I’m not going to do anything with that wall straight away, but it’s good to take time to think things over and let stuff grow.

2 thoughts on “What to do with a blank outdoor wall?”

  1. To use an American term, I was rooting for either of the dark paint colours (I love charcoal, taupe OK too) until I got to the bit about painting your house navy. A navy house will be beautiful! Why not navy for the carport wall too? If not, then I am going for that light grey colour that you are labelling “white”. I really love the rusted steel too, but how would you do that – spray paint? The real thing could be expensive. I’m not sure it goes with navy??
    Your succulent is gorgeous and so is its new home. A bargain too. And just to throw in an extra idea – what about an espaliered lemon tree for the wall? (Do they grow in Tassie?) That would look divine with navy blue! OK, enough from me. Going to concentrate on my own place now….

    1. I love navy, but there’s a couple reasons why I don’t want to paint the carport wall the same colour as the house – it seems like it could be navy overload, as well as overly matchy-matchy. I could offset that by painting the carport wall a deep midnight blue, perhaps… ahh! Good thing I don’t have to make a decision right away. I can’t imagine making a million decisions like this at once like you have to do with your new build.

      Rusted steel, like the living wall, is also out of budget and completely impractical for what I want to do, but it sure does look good in other peoples’ yards. Oh well. I’m strongly leaning towards a warm charcoal as my ultimate pick, with a brown undertone.

      Thanks so much for the feedback and ideas!

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