Small space gardening

Everything you need to know to plant in containers, leverage vertical gardens, and more

14 ideas for side yards

Get inspired to transform unusued space alongside your home into a vibrant oasis

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Colorful alfresco room
Rob D. Brodman

Colorful alfresco room

A California couple turned a narrow 15- by 30-foot corridor outside their home into a cozy, colorful alfresco living room with these five features we love:

  • Trellis for shade. A coated aluminum trellis overhead provides some shade, but its opening lets through enough daylight to bathe a privacy wall and fountain.
  • Floral backdrop. Plants that tolerate drought and heat―including gaura, lavender, and salvia―draw the eye toward the back fence.
  • Longer patio. The new patio is roomier than the deck it replaced. Rosy cocoa tiles enhance the expansive feel, as do the pavers.
  • Curving seat wall. Topped with Arizona flagstone, this distinctive feature curves from the patio's end to the firepit.
  • Fountain. A freestanding, stucco-faced wall, built 3 feet in from the property line and painted a rich persimmon hue, helps mask a neighbor's home. Water passes through a slit near the wall's top and falls through a bed of cobbles into an underground basin, then recirculates.

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