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

hgPG-2465193-lsc1109_2bef_gate

hgPG-2465193-lsc1109_2bef_gate

This unused driveway draws attention to a rusty shed.

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

hgPG-2465194-lsc1109_2aft_gate

hgPG-2465194-lsc1109_2aft_gate

Now the side yard is a usable, beautiful space.

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

hgPG-2466627-lsc1310_sidebef

hgPG-2466627-lsc1310_sidebef

The entrance to this backyard is an underwhelming green alleyway.

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

hgPG-2466628-lsc1310_sideaft

hgPG-2466628-lsc1310_sideaft

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

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

hgPG-2465195-lsc1201_sideyard_before

hgPG-2465195-lsc1201_sideyard_before

This side yard is a jungle.

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

hgPG-2465196-lsc1201_sideyard_after

hgPG-2465196-lsc1201_sideyard_after

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

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

hgPG-2465203-side_lsc1008_2bef_sideentrance

hgPG-2465203-side_lsc1008_2bef_sideentrance

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

Photo by: VideoFocus

VideoFocus

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

hgPG-2465204-side_lsc1008_2aft_sideentrance

hgPG-2465204-side_lsc1008_2aft_sideentrance

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

Photo by: VideoFocus

VideoFocus

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

hgPG-2465321-side_grb1211_sideyard-before

hgPG-2465321-side_grb1211_sideyard-before

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

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

hgPG-2465409-side_grb1211after_pond

hgPG-2465409-side_grb1211after_pond

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

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.

Keep Reading

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Front Yard from DIY Network Blog Cabin 2011

The old farmhouse presents a friendly new face to the neighborhood with the addition of Southern plantation-style landscape design elements, a circular drive and an elegant, Arts-and-Crafts-style front entrance.

Front Yard from DIY Network Blog Cabin 2009

A mountaintop getaway takes its cue from nature, with a muted green exterior color palette and “intuitive” landscaping, which utilizes indigenous plants, landscape rocks sourced at Little Pine and natural pathways.

Front Yard from DIY Network Blog Cabin 2010

The Desperate Landscapes crew transformed the front yard of Blog Cabin 2010 into an inviting entrance with the addition of Kentucky bluegrass sod and landscaping that incorporates easy-grow shrubs and flowering plants.

Front Yard From Blog Cabin 2013

Three acres of waterfront property overlook majestic Core Sound and offer intimate outdoor areas ideal for summer entertaining.

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