On the south side of my home is a small strip of land. I'd estimate there's only about 8' from the house to the fence. We've lived here for 8 1/2 years, and this was the very last section of our yard to landscape. There's a story about why it took so long to get to, but I'll get to that in a bit. I started on this strip a year ago, and I'm just thrilled with how it's coming along.
All along the fence I have clematis growing. Some is doing well. Some is growing slower than the others. Some died and need to be replaced. But once it picks up steam (probably in a couple years), my hope is that large expanse of fence will be covered with vines and flowers. There are evergreen varieties interspersed with deciduous ones, so that there will be green throughout the year. My dining room window looks out to this view, and I'm so glad to see a little less brown and a bit more green!
Down lower is a border of bleeding hearts, hellebores (cream, rose and burgandy blooms), pink tulips, creamy soft yellow daffodils, allium, and sweet woodruff on the ground. I just love when it's all in bloom, and can't wait until the border has a backdrop of clematis running up the fence.
For the path to the gate, I chose Irish Moss which spreads in soft clumps. I would've loved to have put in a flagstone path, but that was beyond our budget right now. I have the Irish Moss on the other side of the house, and it's done very well, with light traffic. When I put in the moss last year, I bought a flat of it, and broke it up into tiny pieces to plug into the ground. I expect that the mounds will be touching by next year.
While the south side of this path gets full shade, the northern part up against the house gets a lot of sun. Last year I planted sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias, and plan to do the same again. I love to look out of my dining room window and see the tall cosmos flowers blowing in the wind. So much nicer than it used to be!
So why did it take us so darn long to landscape this strip? Well, when we first moved into the house, a low retaining wall was in place as our yard is slightly higher than the neighbor's yard. The only problem is that there was a good 18" of our land on the other side of the wall. When we put up a fence years ago, we could've put the fence on the property line, but the fence would've been very low. So we chose to put it on our side of the wall. The only problem was the soil wasn't stable until you came into a yard a bit. So for years our fence was 2-3 feet in from the property line. That 2-3 foot strip of land was enclosed in our neighbor's yard!
Over time we realized that we'd have to do something about that, or we'd end up losing the land. 2 1/2 years ago, our neighbors put their house up for sale. That was a sign to us that we needed to reclaim the land...immediately. Not having the money to replace the retaining wall, we went ahead and had a fence company move the existing fence back a few feet...onto the lower land. The fence had the illusion of being about 2' shorter than it had been. We could now see so much of our neighbor's yard!
To create the illusion of height, we had the fence posts extend 2' above the fence. Then I ran galvanized wire from post to post and planted the clematis. Right now we have about 10 clematis plants growing and only one is tall enough to have reached the wire above the fence. I can't wait until the other plants get that tall!