Low-Maintenance Side Yard Ideas To Utilize That Space

Your outdoor space is just as important as your indoor space. So keeping every yard on your property in tip-top shape should be one of your priorities. After all, it’s the space that everyone sees, so that space represents you. 

low maintenance side yard ideas

One yard that people tend to forget about, even if they have it, is the side yard. This space is so often neglected that people will let it grow up or use it to store their junk instead of utilizing its potential beauty. 

What Is A Side Yard?

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Image from Folia Horticultural + Design

A side yard is simply a yard that is located on the side of your house. It is like the backyard or the front yard only it is on the side. Most of the time, a side yard refers to a small yard that separates you from your neighbor.

The side yard is usually divided by a gate which gives each home a small space to work with. The typical side yard must be at least 5 feet wide though most of them are closer to eight feet wide. The length varies.

Low-Maintenance Side Yard Ideas

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Image from Residential Pools

Creating a side yard isn’t always easy because it’s hard to decide where to start. That’s why we’ve gathered a few ideas to head you in the right direction. You can use these ideas to get started and create your masterpiece. 

Arbor

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Image from Gardenalia Property Services, LLC

While gazebos and pavilions may be too small for a side yard, an arbor is just the right size. An arbor is a small garden arch that is primarily used to grow vines and plants. They can be magical when used correctly.

You can add an arbor to the entrance of your side yard which will separate it from the other yards without closing it off completely. This will make the side yard look larger, more utilized, and of course, more magical. 

Gate

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Image from debora carl landscape design

Adding a gate to your side yard can truly amp up the space and give it its own light. It will close the area off completely so that most people won’t notice if you have a side yard or not, which is a personal choice.

Try finding a higher-end gate that really represents what is inside of the gated area. If you have dogs, a side yard with a gate is the perfect way to let them play without escaping or getting into anything. 

Stepping Stones

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Stepping stones are an easy and effective way to use a side yard correctly, especially if it goes through to the backyard. Stepping stones are very versatile too so you can use them any way that you like.

Round stepping stones made of real solid stones look amazing, but you can also use pavers, which come in many varieties. Pavers work for this and can move on back to the patio to have the entire yard come together. 

Water Source

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Image from Lindsey Adams Construction Inc.

You can actually take out the side yard and replace it with a water source. Using the area as a pool of sorts isn’t ideal but using it as a water source for a gorgeous landscape, draining, and other uses can work perfectly. 

Alternatively, you can take out half of the side yard and have only half of it be a water source with the other half being a walkway, stepping stones, or simply greenery. This gives the creek or river effect. 

Walkway

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A walkway is another option if you prefer it to stepping stones. You can pave a walkway with pavers or you can pour concrete instead. You can really make a walkway in almost any way that you can imagine.

Paving stones are probably the most common, you just have to learn how to pave a walkway. When you do, you can usually bring your vision to life because there are just so many different types of paving stones. 

Greenery 

Any type of greenery works, but if you want to add a low-maintenance side yard greenery project, then go for a zen garden. Zen gardens bring so much peace to a yard that you will never turn back after converting to one.

But it isn’t the only peaceful option. Woodland gardens are gorgeous and magical. While using a garden that is simply and low-maintenance yet one that offers veggies and fruits makes you feel productive and self-sustaining. 

Recreation 

Image from Stone Bridge Homes NW

The side yard doesn’t have to have trees and stones, however. It can be used just for recreation. Pour some concrete and use it for cookouts or put in sports equipment to create an activity area for the kids.

There really is no limit to what you can do with a side yard if you have imagination and the tools to use it. So use your creativity and think about what you really need out of life and go from there for your side yard. 

Side Yard Projects

If you need more than a simple idea, perhaps a project will get you going. A project is a fun way to show off your skills and creativity. These projects are all small enough and versatile enough to work for your side yard. 

DIY Raised Planter Box

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This raised planter box can be used almost anywhere in any yard. If you can work with wood then you can build it. The box requires minimal wood joint knowledge and the use of a miter saw, which is a great tool to won anyway.

This project can be done in one afternoon, indoors or outdoors, though it is always recommended to use a saw outdoors on a dry day. And what better use of your day than to plant a garden and a box for it to go in?

Window Box

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If you don’t quite have enough room for a full-sized planter box but still want flowers in your side yard, then consider building a planter box for the window. These will fit into any space and all you need is a window.

You can actually build the planter box yourself by making a five-sided box, or you can buy one and plant what you want in it. Either way, it is easy to do and not costly at all. The important part is planting. 

Pallet Planter Box

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This is an easy woodworking project for beginner to intermediate woodworkers. It looks super professional if done right and has quite a bit of room for mistakes. You can paint it or stain it when you’re done.

Paint makes it look more professional as if purchased at Wayfair, while stained makes it look more genuine as if made by a woodworker. Both of these options work good and will look amazing in your side yard. 

Hanging Pallet Planter

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This project is very simple and all you need is a pallet and a chain or rope. Pallet planters and pallet shelves are very popular and have been for some time. There’s a reason for this because they are so versatile and quirky. 

For this project, we build an enclosed planter box that can be hung with the rope/chain or have legs added. Both of these options work well but there’s just something special about hanging planters.

Pallet Herb Garden

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Want to build a pallet planter but aren’t in love with the hanging planter? Well, this planter is an alternative that is just perfect too. The project was made for an herb garden with chalkboard paint but it can be made anyway. 

However, chalk paint that transforms a space into a chalkboard is wonderful. You can use it to label the plants or you can use it to write inspirational messages to yourself, and your plants, every day.

Grape Arbor

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Arbors are not difficult to build but most of them don’t look very impressive either. Needless to say, this one isn’t all that difficult to build but it sure does look amazing. Like a million bucks, I’d say.

It is very simple to make too. If you can use a drill, you can follow the instructions and you can have an arbor up in a day or two. Use it for aesthetics or actually grow grapes on it like originally planned.

Garden Hose Hook

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Building a post isn’t difficult and installing a garden hook isn’t difficult, but sometimes it’s hard to connect the two when looking for a place to hang your hose. Hoses get in the way, so everyone should take the time to create a spot for them.

Luckily, if you don’t already have a good spot, you can build a simple post and install an already-made garden hose hook on it. Since the post won’t be supporting much weight, it is easy to ground and secure. 

Flagstone Walkway

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This project isn’t for beginners. It’s a more complicated project that can be difficult if you don’t have experience landscaping. But it is definitely worth it and can spruce of a side yard in no time.

Flagstone walkways require you to excavate an area, lay a base, perhaps even dig water or electric lines and then cover the area with flagstones. After that, you need to fill the gaps and plant grass over them.

Pallet Bench

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Now for our last project and our last pallet project! This project can also be painted or stained. As long as it is sealed, you can use the bench outside so you can have an area to sit on your side yard, which is important.

A lot of people use their side yard only for walking through. But having an area to relax there can give people privacy at parties or give you a place to relax when you’re gardening. Never forget comfort when designing!