When people think about sprucing up their yard, they’re typically thinking of either the front or the back. We think it’s about time that the side yard starts getting some of that same love.
You probably don’t have a lot of space in your side yard, but there’s enough to tackle some of our ideas. No matter which ideas appeal to you the most, make sure to pay attention to how much sunlight your side yard gets. You may need to tailor our ideas to fit a sunny or shady place.
A Rocky Trail
Most of the time, the side yard simply acts as a corridor from the front yard to the back yard. If you turn this space into a rocky trail, you can cut down on the amount of yard work. You could simply have a trail made from small pebbles, with a few differently coloured pebbles to give it a more magical look. People also like to make a trail using stepping stones, with grass or moss growing in between. You can make the trail with stepping stones of all the same size or vary the look for a rustic feel. There are a lot of ways to execute this idea.
Fragrant Shrubs and Flowers
Shrubs and some ground cover flowers tend to be somewhat low-maintenance, as they don’t usually require the same frequent watering that flowers need. That’s why they’re such a popular choice for landscaping around the home. If you want to enjoy the shrubs even when you’re inside, consider planting varieties that have fragrant flowers. For instance, lead plants and Saskatoon serviceberry bushes are both hardy enough for Winnipeg and produce great smells, as do viburnum and lily of the valley flowers. When you open up your windows, the sweet smell of the flowers will waft in to make you smile.
Some Simple Plants
If you want something relatively easy, just pick up some colourful annual flowers at the garden shop each year, then plant them surrounded by a thick layer of mulch. It’s a simple way to create a nice, tidy look. One thing you should watch out for, though, is the dirt around the foundation of the home. The builder has designed this properly with a slight slant that should direct rainwater away from the home rather than allowing it to pool at the foundation, causing damage. If you’re changing up the landscaping around this area, you need to be sure you keep that slope.
Through the Arches
If you’d prefer something completely unique, look up! You can create an absolutely gorgeous side yard by placing a series of arches along the path. Choose wooden or metal arches, then ask a local nursery about placing some climbing vines -- maybe some with flowers -- that will grow on these arches. Of course, before you build this, be sure to check with the neighbourhood’s building codes. Sometimes, you’re not allowed to place “structures” close to the property line.
If you’re imagining inviting friends and family over for nighttime barbecues and chats around the firepit, it’s smart to include some source of lighting in the side yard, especially if guests are parking out front and making their way to the backyard. Floodlights are certainly serviceable, and you can get ones with a motion sensor that will turn on as soon as someone starts to head back. But they don’t look very pretty. Instead, consider purchasing solar lights to put along a path. Others even find ways to hang strings of light, creating a fanciful pathway to the backyard.
Like the whimsical look? You can certainly achieve that by choosing some varieties of wildflowers and just letting them do their thing. Be sure to purchase your seeds at a local grower because the seed mixtures available online may be an invasive species for this area. For an especially magical look, incorporate “fairy houses” throughout the garden. This will delight children — and even some adults.
The side yard can be a bit of a boring, forgotten space. And while you might not have a lot of space to create something elaborate, it’s still nice to do something beyond having a patch of grass. Think carefully about your style and how much time you want to invest in maintaining the side yard, then purchase the items that you’ll need to create that look. Best of all, most side yard projects are very DIY-friendly, and you can easily get it done in a weekend.