Spotting the Opportunity of Side Yard Gardening
Our side yard deserves just as much attention as our front and backyards, too often less attention is given to this area and what happens is there is a missed opportunity to bring complete balance to the entire landscape or garden so what we will be focusing on is how to tie or bring together our side yard with the rest of our gardens to create a complete look with a continuous flow of beauty.
The side yard can be so quiet and separated from the rest of the landscape but this area can also make an impact that is both stunning in appearance bringing a feeling of relaxation. The side yard or corner garden as I call it is a best-kept secret once explored or venture upon can really bring change once this area is planned out putting in place a garden design that will bring that WOW. So with that said how do we approach this area for the desired result.
Planning your side yard garden
The first step in the right direction is to start with a plan, this plan will allow you to start from the beginning to the end as you visualize the end result. Some questions may include.
- What’s the size of the area this will include the length x width
- What’s the shape of the area is it square, rectangular, curved, etc…
- What structure is there that I need to work with, this can include a wall or a fence
- Is there any existing landscape that can tie in with this new design or should I change it?
- Are there any trees in this area that I can work with
- How much sunlight does this area get?
- What is the condition of the soil or should I replace it?
- If the side yard is next to a street should I include a wall, fence, or tall plants for privacy and security?
- What type of plants to install and at what size
- Should I include stepping stones or gravels?
- Should I add garden lights and pieces of furniture?
- What does my budget look like
These are just a few of the questions to ask while planning, remember there are no set rules except for a few rules once followed will give you the desired results. Let those creative juice flow because there are so many ways to approach this garden-style so relax you are not alone we will get through this as both you and I take our journey to create a side yard with amazing results. Let’s begin.
What does my budget look like?
Though I listed the budget last it should actually be the first thing to consider and then the last on the list to revisit if some adjustment has to be made. A budget will help to throw light on the actual cost of the entire project.
If the project is small then you will have an idea of what the cost will look like, if the project is big for instant bringing in help along with equipment rental then from your budget you can either seek to finish the project at the first stage if you can or create several stages and move forward as the funds become available.
What’s the size of the area this will include the length x width?
The size of the area is so important because this will give you an idea of the size of plants to be installed, the amount of topsoil that may be needed, adding stepping stones, or walking path if that’s your desire. If the area is large enough you may consider adding a wall, fence, or tall plants to create privacy.
What’s the shape of the area is it square, rectangular, curved, etc…?
Taking this thought into consideration can also have a major impact on the design of this area. You want to choose plants that will appeal to the area’s shape I know this may sound a bit strange but what you want is for the choice of garden plants to flow. For example, you may not want to install a palm/palms in an area that may require shrubs or ornamental plants that you can groom with hedge shears to take on the form or shape of that area this is optional, however.
What structure is there that I need to work with this can include a wall or a fence?
Is there some hardscape such as a wall or fence in that area? An example can be if it’s a wall then you may consider including a few palms along the wall equally spaced or a hedge of flowering plants along with pieces of garden furniture where you can sit and enjoy this outdoor space.
Is there any existing landscape that can tie in with this new design or should I change it?
Having an existing landscape in this area can save you on your budget, can you work around what you already have by changing things up a bit and adding a few more plants along with some features. Using what you have already and adding a few can keep the budget low giving you a saving.
Are there any trees in this area that I can work with?
What I love about trees is that trees can help to shape the area or used, as a focal point to build around giving the design a natural look as if no human efforts were involved. Tree/trees can also provide shade and a home for wildlife. It’s so good to hear birds singing so sweetly as we relax outdoors enjoying nature.
How much sunlight does this area get?
This will detriment our choice of plants so let’s do our homework well. Some plants are shade-loving, some plants love filtered sunlight and then there are plants that love the full sunlight. There may be parts of the area that gets more sunlight than other parts which is known as micro-climate so again do your homework well in choosing the right plant for these areas.
What is the condition of the soil or should I replace it?
Soil is one of the elements that are at the root of the overall health of garden plants and too often this is overlooked and what you don’t want is to invest your time and money to see all of that wasted simply because at the time of planting the soil type was not considered.
Getting to know your soil type along with getting a soil ph test done is so important. You can do a soil ph test yourself or if you have sufficient money in your budget to hire a professional then do so. Shop around however for a professional that is credible along with a reasonable price. By getting a soil test may reveal that you don’t need to bring in extra soil along with other factors that can also save you money.
If the side yard is next to a street should I include a wall, fence, or tall plants for privacy and security?
We touched on this somewhat a bit earlier, if the side of your yard is opened let’s say to the street or your neighbor’s yard then you may consider creating some privacy along with security by installing one of the above. Remember to go with your budget, if tall palm trees are more within your budget then go with that. If you have the budget to install a wall or fence then consider after installation planting a few plants along the fence or wall to soften and beautify up this area.
What type of plants to install and at what size?
This again depends on your budget and the areas your plants are going in as we discussed earlier. Larger plants will be more expensive but will give that full instant look while smaller plants will be less expensive but will grow to maturity in time. Before purchasing plants, however, get to know all that you can about their maintenance, and the size they will reach at maturity to give you an idea of where to place and how to care for them.
Should I include stepping stones or gravels?
This is not a must but to add to the overall flavor/design you may consider the installation of this type. By creating a line of separation with stepping stones or gravel will create a walking path so as not to step on your plants. Gravels may be cheaper than stepping stones and much easier to install.
Should I add garden lights and pieces of furniture?
Adding garden furniture such as a table/Tables and chairs provides a spot for relaxation with this outdoor living space, maybe even getting a suntan. The use of garden lights will help as far as security issues are concerned along with creating a beautiful romantic setting during the evening hours. You can maybe have dinner in this area. It’s great to get outdoors for this kind of experience.
The final word
Remember there are so many ways to approach this type of project, all we sort to do was to give you a guide to go by that will help to make your work so much easier. The side yard should not be neglected, give this area some love because you deserve it in bringing beauty and change to the most best-kept secret that has so much to offer, I hope what was said will cause ideas to begin to go through your mind as you envision your side yard to be a work of beauty.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.