- If you've landscaped your front and back yard, link them with an attractive side-yard garden. For the best effect, match the style and use some of the same plants on the side that you do in the front and in the back.
- Test Garden Tip: Leave a partial view from the front to the back to create an illusion that makes your yard feel larger.
- Side yards don't have to be plain. Here, black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) creates a beautiful screen and casts lovely filtered shade. It makes a fantastic textural contrast to steel planters filled with asparagus fern. While it's beautiful, the combination is also ultra-low maintenance.
- Test Garden Tip: If you plant bamboo, select the type carefully. Clumping types, such as black bamboo, spread more slowly than aggressive "running" types.
Decorate with Containers
- Spatter your side yard with containers if space is at a premium. If you securely attach them to walls, containers provide a wealth of color and texture. Plus the right pots serve as works of art by themselves.
- Test Garden Tip: Know exactly how much sun your area gets before setting out containers.
Make a Room
- This side yard has a distinct courtyard feel thanks to lush plantings around the edges. It's made even more fun thanks to geometric paving patterns and a bold focal point: a lush container garden.
- Test Garden Tip: Pay special attention to your side yard's floor. The paving can create as much interest as any of the plantings.
Tame a Slope
- If you have a sloping side yard, make it easy to mow by getting rid of the grass. Simple paving options along with some low-maintenance plants make it a breeze to keep up and easy on the eyes.
- Test Garden Tip: Keep your slope from eroding by starting out with a good layer of mulch or groundcovers beneath your other plants.
Relax in Privacy
A side yard can be a great place for a patio where you can relax with a good book or spend time with the kids. Or get double duty from it by entertaining guests. Install a fence or hedge if there's not already one there, then add a patio made from the material of your choice.Test Garden Tip: For extra privacy, plant strategically to block the view from a neighbor's windows.
Add Some Style
- Give your side yard a distinct feel from the rest of your landscape. With a couple of fences, you can create a lush cottage garden, a relaxing Zen garden, or a classic country garden -- no matter what the rest of your yard looks like.
- Test Garden Tip: If you're going to try a new garden style, use a fence or plant shrubs to create a visual barrier so your side yard doesn't clash with the rest of your landscape.
- It's fun to grow your own produce, but if you don't want a fruit or vegetable garden in the front or back, stick it on the side. Note: Most fruits and veggies need at least eight hours of direct sun a day.
- Test Garden Tip: Save space by growing vines (such as cucumbers, squash, or beans) on trellises up the side of your house, a fence, or other structure.
- A shaded side yard might seem like a hopeless situation, but you're not out of luck. Give yourself a secret, shady place to cool off and escape the hot summer sun. Make a path, then plant around it with shade-loving plants suited to your area.
- Test Garden Tip: Use columnar trees to add shade and height without losing precious horizontal space.
Make a Grand Entrance
- A narrow side yard is a great place for a pergola. Run it the entire length of the space or just in the very front to create a bold, welcoming look.