Bins are a big one. They’re an issue for every single house, yet are often ignored by architects, and worse, often the only logical place for them is in the front garden – not exactly what you want guests to focus on when they enter the front gate! There’s no way to make bins look good, so the only option is to hide them. A storage box is a common solution, though not the most discreet one. Often a simpler and better fix is to construct a screen – or even a dense green wall of hedging or climbers – behind which the bins can sit. The most important thing, though, is to keep them accessible, so you can easily put things in them and get them out to the street.
If the bins are the bane of the front garden, the clothesline is the biggest issue in the backyard. The most important thing here is to make sure it’s positioned to capture sun and breezes so it will actually dry your clothes. Folding lines are a discreet option – put them at the side of the house and you’ll never know they’re there. Or if they need to be in a more prominent position, use the art of distraction, leading the eye to an adjacent and more attractive feature like a piece of garden art or greenery. Using materials that blend into your garden can work well to disguise the clothesline, as can building in a screen, if space allows.
Sheds are big and almost universally unattractive, but they’re a necessary evil, especially with small houses requiring people to look outside the house for storage – the shed suddenly has to be big enough to store, not only the lawnmower, but also bikes and sports equipment. But though it might be bulky, a shed doesn’t need to be a standout feature in the garden. There are two options: either you can go for a custom designed shed that fits seamlessly into your garden scheme, or you can opt for a prefabricated option (which is cheaper and usually adequate) and build a façade to disguise it. Done right, the eye will glide right over the shed and you’ll hardly notice it.