Upgrading the Side Yard

The side yard is often the most neglected space in the yard. Get ideas for getting more out of this transition zone.

Before: Unused Driveway

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This unused driveway draws attention to a rusty shed.

The focal point of this side yard is an unused driveway, composed of uneven concrete slabs, that points like a runway to a rusty shed.

After: Grassy Play Area

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Now the side yard is a usable, beautiful space.

The side yard is now an enclosed grassy play area for the kids and a circular patio made out of concrete pavers. A wrought-iron fence framed by two crepe myrtles provides privacy and safety from the street. A welcoming gazebo replaces the old rusty shed.

Before: Wasted Space

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The entrance to this backyard is an underwhelming green alleyway.

These homeowners want to do a lot of entertaining, and they don't want this side yard to be wasted space.

After: Party Patio

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This sophisticated and grown-up backyard is also kid-friendly.

Once beyond the new gate, the side yard becomes a party patio, complete with new planting beds, seating walls. A second new arbor helps give the height to the space and act as transition to the rest of the patio. The backyard also includes a fire pit and a rustic camp area for kids.

Before: Too Many Shrubs

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This side yard is a jungle.

Too many shrubs and trees are keeping this area continuously moist and limiting the amount of usable space.

After: Cleared Out

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The side yard is now a clean and open space that's perfect for play.

Plenty of play space was uncovered when the excessive shrubbery was removed. Birds-of-paradise and palms dot the attractive raised planting bed.

Before: Construction Site

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These homeowners put in a pool, but their backyard looks like it's still under construction.

After the homeowners put in a pool, the area near the house was left a construction-site wasteland. They need not only a makeover for the backyard, but a good entrance from the side to the pool.

After: Inviting Entrance

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The homeowners now have a beautiful and welcoming entrance to their new pool.

Pool guests are welcomed with an inviting entrance, lush plantings and a stepping-stone pathway. The new fence and gate provide privacy from the street.

Before: Boring Side Yard

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The lattice isn't hiding the air conditioner -- it's actually making it stick out like a sore thumb.

There's no path on this side of the house, and if there were, it would lead right to the propane tank. The white lattice around the air conditioner only calls attention to what it's supposed to be hiding.

After: Beautiful Water Feature

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All eyes are now on this beautiful water feature -- not the air conditioner.

A new brick walkway skirts a beautiful water feature and leads to the backyard. The propane tank has been buried, plants will soon hide the air conditioning unit, and all eyes are on the waterfall and mini pond. The feature fits well with the wilderness preserve that's adjacent to the property.

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