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Side Yard Landscape Design to Make the Most of Unused Space

Side yards are an often overlooked property. Long and narrow, sometimes it’s hard to know what to make of this lot. However, ignoring your side garden results in a missed opportunity. Not only is this part of your garden often visible from your interior windows, but it also serves as a convenient walkway for you and your garden party guests alike to cross. We’ve put together this collection of our favorite side garden ideas to prove that no matter their size, they’re full of potential.

When planning a side garden, the first step is to obtain a court report that shows the size of the property and the ownership structure. The plan should include utilities located above or below grade and indicate their setback and clearance requirements. Obstructions on exterior walls such as storm drains, hose nozzles, dryer and furnace vents, as well as steps, handrails and window wells must also be specified.

Also, before making any changes to your side yard, check municipal regulations regarding the height of fences, gates, and the location of air conditioning and generator units. If neighbors have a shared side entrance to the yard, a coordinated approach is required as a shared path and landscaping improvements may extend beyond the property line.

You also need to document site conditions before deciding how to use the space and what plant materials are needed. Consider seasonal and daily sun and shade, soil and moisture conditions, and wind exposure, especially in winter. The size, health and maintainability of the existing plant material must also be considered.