My garden backs onto a wall, what can I do to brighten the area up?

It’s inevitable that some gardens, especially in densely populated town and city centres and other urban areas, will back right onto a wall. This has the advantage of increasing privacy, but it certainly doesn’t make an attractive view.

Instead of hating the wall, we can learn to love it.

By planting climbing plants like Ivy or Virginia creepers, which are fast growing, we can get them to scale and cover the wall to make the view more attractive. You could espalier some fruit trees to make the wall not only attractive but productive as well.

If the wall belongs to your neighbour you will need to get permission before putting some of these solutions into place. However, since none of them will damage the wall this shouldn’t be a tall order. Before you plant anything though, think about painting the wall to act as an attractive background. If you put up a trellis for screening plants, you won’t see much of the wall once the plants are fully grown, but this will take a few years and even the colour of the wall will peek out between the leaves. So it’s advisable to paint the wall a colour you can live with and that will compliment the plants that you grow. Pale tan, green, blue and grey are all reasonable choices. White and off-white can also look good with the right colour plants.

Top tip: Screening plants can do a great deal to cover a wall. But rather than just sticking to one type of plant, you may want to develop what amounts to be a border of tall plants at the back and smaller plants at the fornt. This solution requires a wider area, because the plants you will be using all require some space.