Side yards are often overlooked. At most, homeowners might install a pathway for traversing from the front to backyard. However, side yards are valuable real estate that can affect the curb appeal of your house. They are more visible from the street than your backyard, and they serve as a visual transition from front to back.
Don't continue to overlook your side yard. Use landscaping and hardscaping to transform this transitional space.
Your casual path may be sufficient for walking on, but is it really adding beauty to your landscaping? If the answer is no, then consider paving your side yard with a stone pathway. Flagstone is the most popular material for creating a walkway.
A flagstone walkway can range from strictly formal to rustic in its appearance. The shape of the cut stone is one way you affect formality. If you choose geometric shapes, typically rectangle or square, the effect is more formal. If you leave the stones in their natural shape, then you start to get more casual.
How you have the stones laid also affects their formality. Having the pathway mortared offers the most formal appearance. However, you can choose a layout pattern that's a little less formal, such as random cut. If you choose a crazy paving layout, which features natural shapes and different sizes of stones that are still mortared, the formality level is fairly moderate.
The most casual layout is to have the flagstones laid so they don't even touch each other. The flagstones should be placed so they accommodate a natural stride. You can create a rustic appearance by planting in between the pavers, so they look like they're an organic part of the side yard.
Many times, a side yard features a gate to restrict access to the backyard. This gate doesn't have to be as utilitarian as its purpose suggests. The style of your house and any existing fence will help drive the style of your gate. However, you still have many options for a side yard gate.
You can utilize the gate to create the sense of a gateway. You could even create a sense of mystery with your side yard gate. For example, you could flank a wooden gate with lattice panels and top it with a pergola. You could create the same effect with a wrought iron gate as part of a privacy fence.
The side yard gate doesn't have to work alone to create that sense of a gateway. You can have a pergola installed that overhangs most of the side yard as well as the gate. The practical purpose is the pergola can provide some shade, especially if you train plants over the top. However, the pergola also creates that sense of a grand entrance.
A pergola isn't the only option for side yard hardscaping, especially if you have some width in your yard. Any element that can be added to a front or backyard can become part of your side yard. In fact, such hardscaping elements can either create usable space or promote that sense of transition between the two main yards.
For example, built-in seating would be a good way to enjoy the relative privacy of your side yard. You could have the seats made out of wood or plaster, depending on which matches your house better. Consider utilizing the same stone you chose for the paving to top the bench seating to create a cohesive effect.
Another option is to have a custom water feature installed. For instance, you could tuck a stone-lined pond into a corner or even border the whole walkway with a stone-lined moat. Although neither feature actually prevents access to the backyard, either one gives a visual transition between the two main yards.
Don't let your side yard be a passenger to the rest of your landscaping. Devise an attractive side garden with hardscaping as the centerpiece. Visit the showroom at The Rock Garden for a consultation about the natural stone you'll use in your side yard.