Can I improve the view outside my windows?
April 26, 2017 9:02 PM   Subscribe

My apartment is lovely inside, but all of its windows face a back alley. There is a conspicuous lack of green when I look outside. What can I do/plant to remedy this?

I live in Chicago and my view is other people's garages, telephone wires, dumpsters, etc. No trees grow back there. I get nice light (east facing windows), but the view is ugly. I'm on the third floor. I miss the green from my previous place where I had a big maple outside of my window. Flower boxes are possible, but seem like they won't make big enough of a difference. Any green thumbed MeFites have any ideas?
posted by shotgunbooty to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Hanging baskets could work for this. Get something trailing but not too compact like spider plants or string of pearls succulents or wax plant (find a plant nursery that's local to you and ask for specific suggestions) that won't block out too much light but will still obscure the view. You can get brackets to hang the baskets from that you screw into the wall that swivel from side to side so you can usually keep them in front of the window but move them away from the wall if you need to get at them (or the window). If you have the space for it you can put a shelf or table in front of the window to hold short-lived colorful things like annual flowers or culinary herbs that prefer sun like thyme.
posted by Mizu at 9:59 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a very ugly view from my clinic window and I used this privacy film. It is totally gorgeous and throws rainbows onto the walls when the sun shines. Not a day goes by when someone doesn't tell me how special it is. And it's pretty cheap!
posted by andreapandrea at 10:33 PM on April 26, 2017 [17 favorites]

A window film and lots of indoor plants will give you a great view year around. Get large plants and fill the window areas with them. They'll look great, won't die in winter, and will clean your air.

ETA: some examples of currently popular indoor plants are monstera, dracena, snake plant, fiddle leaf fig
posted by quince at 1:57 AM on April 27, 2017

If you cover the lower half of the window do you see mainly sky outside? Especially when you're sitting? If so, cover that lower half and hang some planters.
posted by mareli at 2:39 AM on April 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

If there is a view down the alley, you could mount a large mirror set at a 45° angle outside the window.
posted by fairmettle at 3:15 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: How about something like the last photo on this website: a combination of thin frosted window film on the lower half of the window and an outside flower box with a trellis and decorative bamboo (or other slim plants or vines that let the light through). It would create an illusion of greenery with depth just outside the window.
posted by sively at 3:34 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you rent and are reluctant to rig up hanging baskets, I just used an Ikea hack - they have a system of kitchen storage containers that hook onto poles you mount on the wall. But I just got a couple of their tension-mount shower curtain rods instead, mounted those in the window instead, and then planted herbs in the containers and used a couple s-hooks to hang the containers from those. Each rod can hold maybe two small plants.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:48 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

You could go all O. Henry on that alley wall and paint something like The Last Leaf.
posted by seasparrow at 5:14 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

My place faces the street - I use a large (4 or 5 ft x 9 ft) translucent white corrugated plasticore panel I picked up at an art store to cover the lower half of the window. I just lean it against the wall, stays flush. (I have white walls so it blends right in. Sometimes I flip it so it's vertical if I want more airflow/am ok with less privacy.) Also have sheer white curtains above that. 2nd putting plants everywhere - get a potted tree if you can. If you can't hang anything from the ceiling, get a big plant stand (maybe not this but like it).
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:17 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

One can make hanging shelves pretty easily. It'd just be a couple of eye-hooks into the top or side of the window. Sorry this is a rolling ad, but it explains clearly.
posted by teremala at 12:23 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older How to record WeChat voice call   |   What were the purposes and pitfalls of... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.