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I would keep it well watered and out of the wind. Wind can cause it to look worse than it is.
It is wrong advice based on that in nature they are found in dappled sun in woodlands. They like any loose compost, so any from the garden centre, with a mulch and feed and they will be fine.
I would paint all the fence and trellis in one colour. I also think dark stain makes the green of plants stand out.
I would paint with the pergola orange like this:
Or paint the shed in yellow with the window trim in white to make it stand out like this:
If painting one stain the other like the fence for best effect.
Sounds like you have a good spot. I have some in my garden. They easily get over 1-1.5 metres. Add grit to the planting hole and place at the back of the border. Apart from good sun and drainage and cutting them down nowish then they are easy.
Am thinking of buying some Agave to grow. Is it easy enough and when how fast from seedling to reasonable plant?
I was thinking of this:
It responds well to cutting down to 6". It will restore bushiness.
Keep Bamboo watered. I have about 10 varieties and they did well with all the rain last year. They are almost bog plants in summer but need winter drainage. A lot og my pot plants are very dry and have needed watering.
My local Aldi has some 6-8ft/2m ornamental trees - Hawthorn, Japanese Cherry, Field Maple etc for £4.99. Veryy good looking trees with good structure. Good if you want to screen something or one!
Of course water them. In pots they dry out quickly and it has been dry this spring, the snow has been melting and running off/evapurating quickly and not getting down in the soil. Add some tomato feed to give them a boost of nitrogen.
Ah yes, Sinevegas has reminded me. They have good deals on terracotta pots. I have large ones from a few years ago that were really good value. There are offers - a lot better than the feeble attempts that Sainsbury and Tesco do. Asda do seem to have upped their game this year gardening wise, but still their plants are terribly poor.