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Landscape Plan: Create a Side Yard Getaway

The side yard plan shown here makes the most of a typical long narrow side yard shape. Space in the side yard is often neglected, mainly because it’s a tight space that tends to be out of sight. Side yards also often suffer from too much shade from your house or the neighbor’s — plus frequent problems with privacy. At the same time, side yards offer great potential. Their restricted space can offer an intimacy that the rest of a yard doesn’t, and you can turn shade into a blessing. This one is designed to be admired from inside and out.

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Keep the following in mind when viewing this side yard plan:

  • A trellis over a bench makes a shady getaway. The centered location of the bench creates a focal point.

  • The foundation of the house is covered. At the base of the house, pachysandra or other evergreen ground cover that grows tall enough (to 12 inches) covers the exposed foundation — and the plants enjoy the partial shade usually found at the base of a house. Select a ground cover that forms a solid mass and is subdued enough in leaf color and texture not to detract from the rest of the plantings. If the side of the house includes some bare wall panels, without windows, you may want to add shrubs along the house’s foundation. The plants provide a cooling effect and reduce reflected heat, plus they offer a better view from the bench.

  • Plants provide privacy. Plantings on the property line form a backdrop and privacy screen from the neighbors.

  • ‘Carol Mackie’ daphne serves as bookends to planting. This semievergreen has white- or gold-edged leaves, is attractive year-round, and doesn’t drop all its leaves in the fall.

  • The area has close-up color. Colorful flowering plants are intended to be appreciated at close range.

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