06 March 2008

On Demand: A Challenge

We just finished the arduous and un-gardening process of rehabing our only bathroom. Thankfully it didn't take all that much time, so we had only 2 weeks without a shower and sink and only a few days without a toilet (thank goodness for friends with guest rooms!).

But this indoor project seeped its way out in the form of a new, eco-fabulous, water-saving, on-demand, tankless water heater: the Takagi T-K Jr. It remains to be seen whether this little thing can handle all of our hot water needs, but we're trusting the plumber on that one. Fingers crossed.

We installed the water heater outside, both to open up closet space indoors and to help with the machine's carbon monoxide ventilation (they call that eco-friendly? I guess everything has its waste).

What that means is that it's now slapped against a wall right next to the peaceful patio, bench and herb garden. Our once machine-free zone has been invaded.

So what to do with it? That's my new challenge.

Right now, we're leaning toward a trellis, perhaps planted with crossvine which would bloom before the young desert willow in front of it. Once the willow grows larger, its multiple trunks could be well-highlighted by the evergreen behind. Another option would be to replace the desert willow with something bushy and evergreen (though that would cut visibility from the bathroom and kitchen windows to the garden).

Any thoughts from the blogosphere?

9 comments:

vertie said...

No suggestions on hiding it, but I am interested in hearing how you like it. Redoing our only bathroom is next on our list. Did you do all the work yourself? If not, can you recommend who you used?

Frances, said...

Interested in the heater also, are you satisfied with the cost versus convenience and all the rest of the good stuff about it? I would go with an evergreen shrubby type thing, then if you had to access it you wouldn't have to take down a trellis. Choose something that stays narrow, so it won't take up your patio space. Maybe you could move the tree elsewhere, is it a true willow? That is sometimes a problem when too close to a house or water line.

Frances at Faire Garden

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

In a similar situation, a friend of my built a trellis box and grew a native clematis on it. The vine is evergreen for us and looks pretty.

toby said...

Personally I'd say a dogwood or a Japanese maple. If you want something more evergreen then I'd go with an evergreen passion flower on a trellis. All three are good options for covering up the box.

Annie in Austin said...

Austin patios get used year-round, so an evergreen does make sense, Lee. If you can paint the silver pipe a color approximating your siding it would blend in a little better.
An evergreen vine on a trellis idea is cool, but if you go with a shrub why not choose something that has fragrant blooms during the pleasant cooler months? You could check into Michelia/Banana Shrub or Sweet Olive. They're not native but might be considered Olde Texas. Maybe I'm prejudiced in their favor because they both grow in my garden ;-]

My daughter recently had an on-demand water heater put in, too - it will be interesting to hear your reports!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Diana said...

I'm with Annie - a shrub will give you so much more coverage - and year-round than the Desert Willow. I think it's just too wispy to be much cover, even with the vine. Congratulations on the new bathroom -- it's always fun to get new projects -- especially big ones -- crossed off your Spring list!

Lori said...

What about bamboo muhly (mine got six feet tall last summer and it doesn't need to be cut back) or a tall variety of miscanthus like "Morning Light?"

Lee said...

Thanks for all of the fantastic comments everyone! I'll keep you all posted on both the water heater and the cover-up as time goes on...

Bouncer said...

I'm getting bids on a new tankless water heater, too (and replacing all of the rusty galvanized pipes - ouch!) Mine tankless likely an exterior unit as well, right next to the future site of my water garden. I like the idea of a screen with an evergreen vine like passionvine or crossvine. You might also visit an architectural salvage yard and look for an interesting old door or panel to use as a backdrop to the willow. One of these days I'm going to take a little road trip and check this place out: pieces-of-the-past dot com