The Q&A Archives: Hiding an overhang with Landscaping

Question: We have an overhang in the back of our house that is very unsitely. It is 23 feet long. At one point it only a foot from the house to the ground but at the other end our yard slopes so it is 3 feet from the house to the yard. We want to build a raised planter to hide it and to make it appear to all be that same height. We don't know what to do to close in the back (the side of the bed that would be right against the house) to avoid termites, spiders, rotted wood, ect... Any ideas??? Thanks!!!

Answer: If you truly want a raised planter along the house I would suggest you work with a landscape architect and/or professional builder to devise a suitable and safe long term design for it. For starters, the house wall would need to be waterproofed behind it and the foundation would need to be protected as well. The planter itself would need a secure foundation below the frost line. You would also have to make sure that the grading/drainage along the foundation would still be functional to keep water out from under the house and foundation and directed in a way that will not cause problems elsewhere in the yard. This would be a big project and one that you would definitely want to do right -- with professional help -- to avoid causing problems.

Instead, you might consider planting a vine on a trellis that could be removed to allow access to paint or maintain the back wall of the house. Or, you might consider a hedge that could be trimmed to create a level look. Which specific plants to use would depend on whether the site is especially wet or dry, sunny or shady, windy or sheltered.

Or you might be able to build a simpler structure such as a decorative fence or even a stone wall to fool the eye and make it seem level. There are a number of approaches you could use, including the much simpler choice of planting an island bed a bit further out from the house, so I would suggest you begin by consulting with a degreed landscape architect to see what they might suggest.

I'm sorry I can't give you a specific suggestion or plans, but I hope this helps you get started in thinking about your project.

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