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Low Maintenance Side Yard Ideas

a low maintenance side yard

Are you stumped on how to utilize your side yard? You aren’t alone. Most homeowners don’t know what to do with this space, and they often go unused and overlooked. However, there are several beautiful and functional ways to incorporate your side yard into the rest of your property.

Whether your side yard is big or small, it provides opportunities to get creative and set up the outdoor space you’ve always wanted. For example, you can beautify the side yard with a vertical garden or create a functional pathway with paver landscaping.

Low Maintenance Side Yard Ideas

Homeowners spend a lot of time and money perfecting their front yard and turning it into a beautiful entrance to their home. The backyard also becomes a hub for family activity and gets a lot of love. However, side yards often go overlooked.

Most homeowners don’t know how to utilize their side yard since it is often a small and lengthy area of space. Narrow side yards often connect the front and back yards together. However, some side yards are large and present several opportunities.

Whether your side yard is big or small, you should utilize the space to enhance your home. Instead of going unused, the side yard can help create a cohesive outdoor space and make room for fun backyard activities.

You can transform your side yard into a beautiful and functional space in several ways. The good news is that most of them are low-maintenance side yard ideas.

Create a Cozy Side Yard Nook

Does your side yard feel secluded and disconnected from the rest of your outdoor space? You can still utilize it by transforming it into a cozy nook. Simply add a comfortable chair or hammock and a side table, and you have a relaxing reading nook.

You can also decorate the space with outdoor solar-powered string lights. For big or busy families, having a small section of the yard that is secluded will serve as a small oasis where family members can enjoy some alone time and recharge.

Plant a Side Yard Vegetable Garden

You don’t need a big space to have a thriving vegetable or herb garden. You can purchase or build your own small raised garden beds that fit perfectly in your side yard.

All you need for your side garden to thrive is proper sunlight. Planting your garden in this area also frees up the rest of your lawn for other activities or structures, like a kid’s fort, gazebo or pool.

Call a lawn care specialist to learn what types of plants and vegetables will thrive in your side yard garden.

Create a Sitting Area With a Fire Pit

Do you have a large side yard space? With a few outdoor chairs and a fire pit, you can transform it into a comfortable sitting area that you’ll love to use all year long.

For families with small children, your side yard can become an “adult only” space where you can entertain and enjoy a glass of wine.

Install a Sport Court

Want to play putt-putt in your own backyard? A side yard can be a great place for golf lovers to practice their putting. This low-maintenance idea is great for kids and adults, and all you need is an astroturf. No lawn maintenance is required!

Other sport ideas that are great for side lawns are bocce ball, cornhole, shuffleboard or horseshoes.

Set Up a Play House For Your Kids

There’s nothing young kids love more than having their own play space. A side yard is a great area to set up a princess castle, playhouse or outdoor play kitchen. The great thing about using your side yard is that the play house doesn’t need to take up space in the middle of your yard or ruin the aesthetics.

Install an Outdoor Sauna or Cold Plunge Chamber

Cold and heat therapy are all the rage right now, and homeowners can take advantage of the health benefits by installing a sauna or cold plunge chamber in their backyards. As with the play house, utilizing the side yard for these structures keep your main yard space clear and available for other activities.

grass in a side yard

Narrow Side Yard Ideas

Narrow side yards mostly go unused because homeowners don’t know how to take advantage of the small space. However, there are great low-maintenance narrow side yard ideas that can enhance the value of your home.

Create a Path to Connect Your Front and Back Yards

A footpath is a handy and functional way to use your side yard. It can make watering your yard easier, and you can get from one side of your property to the other without having to go through your house.

There are several footpath options, including stepping stones, a concrete walkway, flagstone, a slate tile and gravel walkway and more.

A lawn care specialist can help you craft the perfect pathway that will cohesively bring your space together and serve a functional purpose.

Lay Artificial Turf

Narrow side yards are not the easiest to take care of because they often don’t get proper sunlight or have efficient drainage. The side yard can often become patchy and muddy. One easy, low-maintenance solution is to lay artificial turf over the area.

Turf requires no upkeep and is easier to traverse than a muddy side yard. Plus, it looks great and keeps your side yard tidy.

Plant Low Maintenance Plants

Even if your narrow side yard doesn’t have great sunlight or drainage, you can still make it beautiful with plants and landscaping. The trick is to plant low-maintenance plants that do not need a ton of light or water.

Plant a Vertical Garden

Don’t have a lot of space in your side yard for garden beds? Use your vertical space instead. Several low-maintenance plants can climb upwards, such as wisteria, honeysuckle, climbing rose, clematis, hydrangea and more.

All you need to train your plants to climb is a trellis, which does not take up much space. A vertical garden is also a great way to hide unsightly necessities like your utility box or air conditioner unit. A professional can help you with starting a low-maintenance flower bed.

Set Up a Compost Bin

Turning your organic scraps into nutrient-rich compost is environmentally friendly and great for your garden. Many homeowners utilize compost for planting. However, compost bins can take up space in your yard and are not always visually pleasing. You can use a narrow side yard to tuck your compost bin away from sight.

You can purchase a bin or build your own, or you can build an attractive enclosure for a store-bought compost bin. For the composting process to work, make sure your side yard gets enough sunlight for the food and plant scraps to break down.


Paver Landscaping Ideas

Adding pavers to your side yard is a great way to beautify the space and make it more functional for your family.

Stone pavers create a natural and traditional look, and they are easy to maintain. For stone paver options, consider flagstone, cobblestones, cut stone or veneer stones. Stones are installed in a spaced-out pattern, so you will need to consider the material you will use to fill in the space between them. Artificial turf, pea gravel or Irish moss are great options. Remember that using a ground cover like moss will require more upkeep than turf or gravel.

For a more polished look, consider sleek concrete pavers. They are a stable surface that is maintenance-free and affordable. You can customize the concrete pavers and achieve whatever pattern or look you desire.

Keep in mind that no matter which type of side yard paver you choose, prep work is required before installing them. You will need to clear out all the grass in the area and lay down a paver base.

For the best results, call in a professional landscaping artist to lay your pavers for you. They will use the best tools and methods to install a beautiful and long-lasting paver pathway that is easy for you to maintain.

Create the Side Yard of Your Dreams

Whether you dream of a cozy reading nook or a vegetable garden, your side yard provides several opportunities. You don’t need a large space to bring your idea to life. Narrow side yards can be enhanced with climbing plants and paver landscaping. You can also turn your side yard into a functional space by setting up a compost bin.

Ready to give some attention to your ignored side yard? Contact a landscaping design specialist today to get started and bring your dream outdoor space to life.

ABC Can Create The Yard Of Your Dreams

If you’re the type of homeowner who relishes a beautiful yard but doesn’t look forward to the work that goes into creating it, ABC Home & Commercial Services can help you design the yard and side yard of your dreams. Afterward, our team of lawn service experts can help you maintain it, so your yard maintains its curb appeal.

J Zambo

J Zambo joined ABC in 2023 with over 20 years of experience. He is the Lawn & Tree Division Manager, overseeing Lawn Maintenance and Care, Landscaping, Tree and Holiday Lighting for all ABC Austin branches. Before ABC, he was the Vice President of Aloha Arbor Care and Hawaii Landscape Services. J is an ISA Certified Arborist and ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. His favorite quote is “So shines a good deed in a weary world” by Willie Wonka.

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