Staring out of the windows of my family room, which I do a lot these days, I can’t help but feel like my side yard isn’t living up to its potential. It’s basically a green blur with an ivy-covered floor, shaded from (admittedly beautiful) trees. All of this extra time at home has my husband and me ready to do something about it, though. We want to make the most of our outdoor space, even if we’re just looking at it from the couch.
Laura Osteen, a landscape designer in San Francisco, shares my sentiments about side yards. “They’re such unique spaces. They’re kind of an afterthought often, but there are so many neat things you can do with them,” she says. “And (if you can see them from your house) they’re the window to nature,” she says. If you, too, are wondering what the heck you can do with your side yard, we asked a few experts how to make the most of the oft-overlooked space.
Mix up your plants
Before Molly Williams became an author (her book Killer Plants will be out this fall), she worked with in a garden shop in Boston. She suggests bringing in plants of different heights and sizes to make the yard more interesting to look at. If you can safely shop at an outdoor gardening store or nursery, try arranging plants there to see what you like together. She also suggests planting succulents in the ground. “They’re a great way to bring in texture. When you’re creating any landscape design, you want to bring the eye in and around and down,” says Williams. And succulents tend to do great in full or partial sun.