Landscape Idea: Creating a Focal Point Over a Septic Tank

Here is an update on a post I made a couple of years ago.  After building our house, we were left with an awkward pair of septic tank clean outs sandwiched between the house and driveway, visible for everyone to see. The plan was for a lawn free front yard.  Instead, I would create a landscaped courtyard. As that courtyard developed, the septic clean outs were left unaddressed.  In my mind, there were two ways to address the trouble area. Option one would be to screen the clean outs with plants.  Option two would be to cover the clean outs with wood or stone, creating a base for some type of focal point.  I didn’t think the septic company would appreciate surrounding the area with plants as it would make their job significantly more difficult. I decided on option 2.

While building up the front yard with compost, I installed two large pipes, slightly larger than the clean out, and surrounded each clean out.  Those pipes would create the base for the bluestone and prevent my raised grade from dropping into the septic tank during cleaning. This is what the area has developed into over the course of the last couple of years.  

I found this garden art at a going out of business sale.  When the septic tank company comes to clean the tank, we move two of the three pieces of art, lift off the bluestone and expose the cleanout. As you might know, things always look between in odd numbers. The third piece of garden art doesn’t have to be moved as it’s not covering a clean out. It’s there just to create the scene.

This is a story of making lemonade out of lemons.  What started as an eyesore has developed into one of the most favorite spots on our property.  It’s creative thinking and a little luck with finding this garden art that help the space come to fruition.

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Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


2 thoughts on “Landscape Idea: Creating a Focal Point Over a Septic Tank”

  1. smart. i’d like to see this one in person. those lame vent pipes sticking 3ft up out of everyone’s yards also taint the landscape. possibly even a tougher nut to crack

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