To give you an idea of how to transform your unused side yard I will use my own yard as an example.

I enjoy landscaping and take advantage of every opportunity I can to create new flower beds and gardens in my landscape. I had an unused side yard that was just a pass through to the backyard. It was a plain, boring space that was in need of updating.

The backyard is surrounded by fencing. The fencing is needed to secure our dogs and provide privacy. We decided to move a section of the fence forward, closer to the front of the house to include the side yard as part of the backyard.

To do a project like this we had to make other adjustments including – remove an unattractive gazebo.

There had to be some fill dirt brought in and placed where the sunken gazebo had been. But the end result was even better than originally foreseen.

Once all of the obstacles were removed in order to extend the fencing, the construction began. The need for added privacy was a priority. So, to make the new area more private – a row of Rose of Sharon bushes was planted next to the new chain link fencing to add more privacy. These bushes were small seedlings that had grown in areas near established Rose of Sharon bushes in another flower garden. It is very easy to get new starts from this type of bush. Rose of Sharon’s are hardy and fast growing with beautiful long lasting blooms in late summer. The cottage garden area gets partial sun.

All sod was removed from the area in order to plant the new bushes. Once the Rose of Sharon bushes were in place I seeded the remaining area with marigold, zinnia and sunflower seeds. It grew into a beautiful informal cottage garden look. And all of the plants were free, because of using transplants and seed that had been saved from the previous year.

The need for a pathway was becoming obvious because this area was turning into a high traffic area. The new garden looked so nice the space was no longer unused. So, again sod was removed to make a curved pathway. Class I sand was shoveled into the pathway and allowed to settle for several months. Later the cottage garden area was covered with large river rock and the pathway was covered in Ken Lite stone. The contrasting colors and textures of the stone materials adds interest and looks great together.

This left only a small amount of sod in the area in front of a shaded planter that was built against the house. This area is where the new shade garden would be created. Various divisions from perennials in the other flower gardens along with a few low growing evergreens provided a great start for the new shade garden. Plants included lambs ear, perennial hibiscus, various vines, black eyed Susan, juniper and others.

Some of these plants are not full shade tolerant, but the area gets just enough sun for them to thrive. The great thing about taking flowers from other gardens is that they are free! If they don’t grow like they should they can always be given another home in another garden.

The planter and the space in front of it were covered in large river rock to match the other side of the pathway where the cottage garden exists. Now the back yard has a new addition filled with lots of color and interest from the various stones, plants, and outdoor decor items in the space. The shade garden and cottage garden are both favorite places among all of the flower gardens, instead of just a pass through to the backyard. And the new gardens add color and look very nice from the street too.

Use these examples to create beautiful flower gardens in your side yard today.


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Jennifer is a blogger, author, speaker, and recovering pageant queen, who spreads hope with her Get REAL approach to wellness. She empowers others to unleash their fullest potential by helping them to see their true beauty and discover their REAL value. Through powerful examples and humorous stories, she helps people to unlock their inherent-self; she guides them to create the kind of lifestyle they will be able to enjoy, each and every day of their life.