Get inspired to transform unusued space alongside your home into a vibrant oasis
Long and skinny, this paved side yard in Portland looked like a bowling alley. That was, however, before someone took a jackhammer to it. With the concrete gone, landscape designer Darcy Daniels (bloomtown.net) used foliage to give the space a warm, lush feel. Rich goldenrod walls now set the mood, and drifts of gold-tinted perennials—Japanese forest grass, autumn fern, and ‘Bowles Golden’ sedge—reinforce it. Blue Hosta ‘Halcyon’ adds contrasting color, and Japanese maple and variegated fatshedera give a sense of volume. Now the soothing garden is a pleasure to walk through.
Enhancing a narrow in-ground bed is easy with a row of potted plants. In this small, shaded side yard, cylindrical chocolate brown pots filled with white cyclamen line up against the raised border's low brick wall, making the fern-filled planting appear deeper than it is.
Using complementary paving materials to define each space, a very narrow side yard was transformed into a slate patio, gravel potting area, and a small lawn that wraps around the end of the house. Wooden walkways set flush with the patio act as bridges between the various garden areas.
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:
If you like to rearrange your side yard a lot, grow plants in containers for mobility, and put casters on the largest ones.
This gives you flexibility to move plants around as the sun exposure changes, or if you're entertaining.
Turn your side yard into an exotic outdoor destination. A jungly planting theme gives a tantalizing glimpse of the oasis beyond.
Turn a small side yard into an intimate nook that can double as a potting station and a space to unwind.
Dotting your space with containers is an easy way to add cheer. Take the stylish and easy route by using self-watering containers, which you can make yourself by following these simple steps:
Add character to a side yard entrance by embellishing what's there. Here, the door leading from the rear deck to the side yard is covered in Ikea bamboo screening that's attached with baling wire.
Have little ones? Make unused space a haven for fun. A recycled playhouse marks the entry to this side yard. Stepping-stones leading up to the pale blue bench were cut from the former driveway then set in Salmon Bay pebbles; a red-flowering currant supplies spring color.
Transform an unused back half of a driveway into a curving side yard of concrete pavers, making room for a lush garden bed to the side.
In this stylish side yard, grass circles appear to float on a river of black pebbles that winds through a grove of bamboo.
A side yard is a great place to install an intimate outdoor shower. Here, interlocking 4- by 12-inch tiles faced with pebbles create an eye-catching texture for the back-splash.