Conquering a Concrete Garden

Conquering a Concrete Garden

Susie Nadler
Apr 2, 2009

Many Bay Area residents seem to encounter the same frustrating situation in their outdoor space: A concrete slab where a garden ought to be. Breaking up all the concrete, having it removed, and so on can be a big and expensive proposition, so what's an aspiring gardener to do? In yesterday's Chronicle, garden writer Carolyn Said shared how she and local landscaper Julie Gordon set about to tackle the problem...

Said's solution was to break up only part of the concrete, a three-foot border along the outside. But this presented some design challenges, so she brought in Gordon to help.

Here are a few useful tips we gleaned from Gordon's new plan for the garden:

• Don't buy plants just based on how they look the day you're shopping in the nursery. Take into account their preferred growing conditions and what they will look like when they're not at their best.

• Choose plants with different heights to create textural interest, an important element when you're dealing with a small, narrow area of plantable space.

• Clumping bamboos can be great as a street side plant for providing privacy. They aren't as dense as most hedges and will let a little bit of filtered light through.

Check out the entire article for lots more pics of the project, details about the plant choices and more helpful suggestions for gardeners dealing with the concrete issue.

Photos: Eric Luse for The Chronicle

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