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Upper Midwest Gardening: Simple Solutions to Landscape Problems

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lowe's Upper Midwest gardening contributor Rebecca Kolls offers some simple solutions to common landscaping problems.

Unhidden septic lids define the word eyesore
Can you easily see the hidden septic tank?

I don't think I've ever lived in a house without something permanently sticking out of the ground, creating some sort of an eyesore in the landscape. However, with some creative muscle I've managed to learn tricks to camouflage unnatural blemishes, such as cable boxes, electric poles and even septic tank covers, and transform them into focal points that work. Take a look above. Lovely, huh? This is what was left behind in my front yard after a renovation. Not exactly pleasing to the eyes.

First thing I did was remove all the grass and weeds around the concrete, lay down landscape fabric, and surround the septic covers with ornamental grass (which stands tall right through the winter months) and black-eyed Susan perennials. To give the area an extra pop, I placed the sundial on top of one of the concrete covers. A simple fix looks wonderful.

A wind chime tries its best to camouflage a pipe that can't be hidden.

A friend had a similar issue, but with a 4.5-foot pipe protruding from the ground. There weren't many options for hiding that eyesore. So I tried to redirect attention with a wind chime. It wasn't a perfect solution, but a heck of a lot better than a lonely, unattractive pipe.

What can you do about a necessary protruding septic pipe? See below.

For people who have septic tanks, common issues include not only the covers but also protruding pipes or vents. These are not only ugly but can be ankle twisters.

Hide it with an artificial rock!

An easy fix came with an artificial rock. They come in a variety of sizes, are hollowed out, and look pretty cool and natural in the landscape.

Walkway before

Between flying footballs, sniffing snouts and digging dogs, my poor Siberian irises didn't stand a chance.

Walkway after adding the juniper.

Within an hour I dug up the irises and replaced them with a much sturdier evergreen 'Sea Green' juniper, surrounded with shredded mulch. The look is clean, simple and will stand the test of life around the house!

See more Midwest Gardening Articles.