One of the sore spot of my garden has always been the area you saw right after you entered through the gate. It was worst when we still had the garbage can there (no photo of this, you don't need to see it). Then we moved the garbage cans into the front garden, but the sight was still pretty scary:
An old, partly rusted sink, a small garden shed, and to the right, a fence. Not my idea of "inviting". Even more jarring the sight when one returned from the garden, to go through the gate to the street.
So, some time last fall, I set to work. First, I bought some spray paint and, after carefully covering the house and floor with newspaper and plastic, set to work. The stuff stank awfully, next time I'll use a brush, but the result wasn't bad. Then I went and got some pots, which were mostly on sale at the time. Finally, I got some plants. And, voila!
Above the "After" picture from the street (and from a slightly different perspective). And here's how it looks from the garden. Yes, for a prize-winning picture I should have swept before I took the photo. But you get the idea.
I used different shades of blue and different shapes for the pots. Then I planted a number of shade-loving natives (The area gets a maximum of an hour of sun each day, around noon). I used Iris douglasiana, ferns (Deer fern and Maidenhair firm), yerba buena , and a pretty little Heuchera. I also added some native ginger (Asarum caudatum) and a stream orchid (Epipactis gigantea). I put all the pots on coasters so the sink can still be accessed, though we don't use it much. It's still not perfect. I'm dreaming of replacing the concrete with a more permeable surface one day. Maybe just break it up and stain it so the dirt doesn't show as much.
But for now, I'm pretty happy and no longer scared to open the garden gate.