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Side Yard Ideas That’ll Help You Make the Most of Your Whole Property

Side Yard Ideas That’ll Help You Make the Most of Your Whole Property

As a garden editor, I’m always looking for ways to improve a garden. When a friend recently transformed her side yard into an outdoor living room, I took notice. Then I took a walk in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and saw another clever side yard redesign. Instead of using the side yard for trash cans, one homeowner built the prettiest—and most practical—raised beds. Naturally! I realized I wanted to metaphorically slap myself. With proper planning, a side garden can be a new and attractive addition to your garden.

It turns out I’m not the only one who’s noticed the trend: Yardzen, the online garden design company, has been seeing a spike in requests for side garden designs lately. The trend can be partly attributed to the housing market; With current home loan interest rates, people would rather improve their existing home than buy a new one.

“There is also a greater desire for multiple outdoor spaces or zones in a garden,” says Kevin Lenhart, Yardzen’s design director. “It makes sense for people to use these unused areas, particularly for additional gathering spaces, dining areas or edible gardens.”

So what do you need to revamp your side yard? First, consider what you have to work with. Many side yards are around 1.5 meters wide, which can be restrictive in terms of design. (But not impossible! More on that below.) Others can be 6 feet, 8 feet, or even 10 feet in diameter. In this case, there are almost no limits to your choice. Even better, if you have space on both sides of your house, you can use one of them for trash cans, the other for useful things like storage, and the other for a redesign.

According to Yardzen, the absolute minimum area for a dining or fire pit area is 6 feet by 6 feet. A friend of mine had eight feet at her disposal, so she expanded her options in the side yard by adding an inviting gate that became a complete furnished outdoor living room. The practical thing about this design, in particular, was that it was far enough away from the child’s room so that adults could spend a little more time talking without worrying about the noise – and still be close enough to hear their daughter if she should wake up.

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