I talk about the varying elevations in the Texas Hill Country often and with good reason…it’s something that can present many challenges to a good landscape.  Homes built in our beautiful rolling hills often have large amounts of foundation showing.  The same goes with adding swimming pools and other outdoor living spaces.  We often create retaining walls of varying sorts to hide foundations but sometimes walls are just not enough.  In that case we turn to plants to finish off the camouflage.

We recently went back to a home on the banks of the Guadalupe River that we’d landscaped a few years back.  The swimming pool that was installed on this severe slope presented landscape challenges from the very beginning.  We created a paver retaining wall at the bottom and then varying levels of retaining walls off to the side in order to add outdoor living space and planted areas.

The homeowner wanted to keep the retaining walls at a moderate height which meant that we would still have a generous amount of concrete pool wall showing.  The solution here was something that would help immediately which was the Elephant Ears and then the long term solution was the Fig Ivy.   The Elephant Ears (colocasia) were an easy choice because they are fast growers and they were a nice complement to this already established landscape that has a decidedly tropical feel.  The Fig Ivy (ficus pumlia (repens)) is an evergreen vine that tends to grow slowly at first but once it’s established will take off and cover just about anything.  It adds a touch of “old world gardens” to any landscape.  Here it was just the right plant to effectively hide the massive pool walls without being obtrusive.  It did just what was needed and camouflaged the walls by turning them into a green backdrop for the rest of the landscape.

One note of caution here however…while Fig Ivy which is also called Creeping Fig can be a great landscape vine for our area it can by invasive.  Once it gets established it really takes off and will sometimes take over unless it’s continuously pruned.  So when you’re trying to decide on a plant that can be used to cover up a foundation effectively do consider using Fig Ivy but also make sure you can contain it properly.

So when trying to disguise large foundation expanses be sure to include retaining walls but also consider various plants that can be used effectively for this purpose also.



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