Now they've added a third dimension. Greening the laneways has breathed now life into these dark, dank nooks. And they present a wealth of ideas for you to transform that corner you've put in the best-be-forgotten basket, including amazing murals - a great project for a budding artist.
Take inspiration from these gorgeous laneway gardens
1. Sometimes you can cheat a bit! Treat your walls like blank canvases and paint the facade of an old building on them, adding extra foliage to create the illusion your little potted garden is bigger than it really is. Add a flash of silver to your garden by repurposing an old bin- don't forget the drainage holes!
2. Take a few tips from Melbourne's popular four-storey Loop Green Wall, such as window boxes dripping with shade-loving ferns or making an outdoor curtain from the many trailing varieties of rhipsalis. Climbers take up little space but you can add volume in higher places with epiphytic plants.
3. When space is limited and there's only room for a couple of plants, add a botanical-themed outdoor decal to your walls. The impact is huge by plant care is low! You can order custom decals from online suppliers.
4. Choose plants that are tough or flexible enough to survive the wind tunnels that are often created within narrow accessways. Wind warriors include monstera, philodrendron, banana trees, yuccas or ornamental grasses such as lomandra or carex.
5. Many plants need something to climb up. Take advantage of a drainpipe or a conduit from a power box, or run a length of wire rope down the wall.
6. Hang a cluster of elkhorns high on a wall by attaching them to a board with strong, plastic-coated wire. They're epiphytes so don't need soil to thrive, driving enough nutrients and water from the air to grow big and plump and make a dramatic statement.
7. A little window that won't be missed indoors can be boarded up to become a striking canvas for art. Then, use the ledge for a smart-looking planter for shade-loving plants and graceful ornamental grasses.
8. Make use of old rusted bits of wrought iron or other 'junk' you may have lying around to which you can attach a small collection of pot plants. Quirky recycling can lighten and brighten a narrow, dark spot.
Pick plants for shade and wind
For bare brick walls
- Climbing fig
- Boston ivy
For walls with support
- Star Jasmine
For mounting on walls or fences
For big planters
- Umbrella plant
- Palms such as kentia
- Weeping fig
- Ornamental grasses
For window boxes
- Geranium (part sun)
- Coral bells