10 Inspiring Ideas for Your Side Yard

Let’s face it: When most homeowners envision the landscaping design of their dreams, they often overlook the side yard. But with a little planning and effort, this neglected space can make just as big a splash as its curb-facing counterpart. Here are some of the most creative and resourceful ways to use that narrow, often awkward space.

  1. Install a Welcoming Entry Gate

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    Install a Welcoming Entry Gate

    This side-yard gate is tall enough to provide privacy, yet the warmly colored wood and playful lattice lend a friendly touch. Bonus: A rustic rain barrel adds charm and helps save on water usage.

    flickr.com via Field Outdoor Spaces

  2. Add a Stepping-Stone Path

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    Add a Stepping-Stone Path

    If your side yard is more like a path to your backyard than it is a space unto itself, embrace its function. Install a stepping-stone path to make this stretch of lawn easier to traverse, and to ease wear and tear on your turf.

    flickr.com via Brian and Rita Burke

  3. Choose Low-Light Plantings

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    Choose Low-Light Plantings

    Because it's sandwiched between your own house and your neighbor’s, your side yard probably doesn't get a lot of sunlight. Your best bets for lush garden beds in the side yard are plants that do well in low-light or partial shade conditions, like lady ferns or dogwoods.

    flickr.com via Thomas Wolff

  4. Think Vertically

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    Think Vertically

    Garden space can be at a premium in most side yards, but you don’t have to limit yourself to filling the garden bed. Instead, install a trellis and plant vines and other varieties that can be trained to climb.

    istockphoto.com

  5. Grow Ground Cover Between Flagstones

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    Grow Ground Cover Between Flagstones

    More memorable than a concrete walkway but lower maintenance than an ordinary patch of lawn, a flagstone path edged with low-lying ground cover is a well-considered choice for the side yard. When selecting a ground cover, look for a variety that will stand up to foot traffic and grow densely enough to block weeds.

    flickr.com via Patrick Standish

  6. Construct a Compost Bin

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    Construct a Compost Bin

    Steal a little real estate from your side yard for a compost bin, and your whole garden will reap the rewards, because the nutrients in compost can greatly enhance your soil. Because an out-in-the-open compost pile can be unsightly, buy a container or build your own to keep compost corralled.

    istockphoto.com

  7. Set Up a Potting Table

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    Set Up a Potting Table

    Put a quiet, shady spot to good use on the side of the house and set up a workstation for potting plants and storing garden tools. You can buy one from any home or garden center or build your own from old pallets or a repurposed dresser.

    istockphoto.com

  8. Build a Trash Enclosure

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    Build a Trash Enclosure

    Nothing’s more unsightly than large trash and recycling bins, but they’re a necessary evil. Build or buy an attractive wooden enclosure to keep them tidily out of sight in your side yard.

    istockphoto.com

  9. Put in a Putting Green

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    Put in a Putting Green

    Here’s a no-maintenance way to keep the side yard green year-round: Add a putting green. Because they’re typically long and narrow, side yards serve as the perfect spot for this outdoor activity. Conveniently accessible yet out of the way of the main outdoor living spaces, a putting green is sure to provide hours of entertainment for the whole family.

    Related: 10 Genius Ways to Make Your Backyard a Blast

    istockphoto.com

  10. Look to Your Side

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    Look to Your Side

    Feel inspired now? Take advantage of this sliver of property for a great landscape on all sides of your house. 

    bobvila.com

  11. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!