Side Yards with Serious Curb Appeal

Design a passageway that transitions your home’s landscape style from the front yard to the back

Long and narrow, wide and wild, short and sweet: Side yards come in all shapes and sizes. Make the most of this sometimes-overlooked space with design elements that create a seamless transition between your home’s outdoor style from the front yard to the back. Whether you start from scratch with new landscaping or reinvent your current space, a well-designed side yard will elevate your home’s curb appeal.

Classic Modern Beach Cottage with Green Shutters Brick Patio Curb Appeal JELD WEN Doors Windows
Short and sweet! For such a tiny space, this verdant cottage packs major design inspiration. The absence of a traditional side yard invites creativity, and instead of a grassy area the primary surface here is brick pavers laid in a classic herringbone pattern. A lush strip of grass partially divides the surface, leading the eye first to the container installation and on to the simple wood-slat gate. Shrubs and ornamental grasses, as well as the charming window boxes, complete the space.
Slightly offset and asymmetrical, this modern walkway of oversized stone tiles set atop a bed of river rocks makes a strong visual impact. The path stretches the length of this Texas home, and is framed on one side by a living wall. A towering privacy fence could impart a tunnel-like look and feel, but a swath of golden bamboo keeps the passage airy and inviting. The bamboo, which can grow 30 to 60 feet tall, obscures an existing fence and brings movement and texture to the walkway. Steve Nedd, owner of Outer Image Design, says of the design: “We use [natural elements like the bamboo] when there is close proximity to adjacent properties—it’s great for maintaining an open feel in a tight space.”


This Mediterranean-style California estate is replete with gardens, including this spacious side yard. A wooden bench is flanked by a pair of young trees, creating the perfect spot for relaxation. The surrounding beds of flowering plants are ready to burst into a riot of color. The rustic walkway is accented with lantern-style landscape lights that are a design element during the day, and provide a safe, illuminated path after dark. Designed and installed by Torrey Pines Landscape Company in San Diego, the home’s gardens and outdoor living spaces were chosen as an editor’s pick in HGTV’s 2018 Ultimate Outdoor Awards. The category? Picturesque Landscapes.
wall planter for side yard filled with leafy green plants
Whether space is tight or time is limited, a quick and easy way to add visual appeal to a side yard space is with a wall planter. Installed on the exterior of your home, wall planters are available in all shapes, sizes and materials. This Jamie Durie Planter Blanket from Pottery Barn is an impressive 47.25 inches wide and 43.5 inches high, with eight large and two small plant pockets. For a small space, one large planter creates an eye-catching work of natural art. Large areas will be transformed with groups of three or more planters arranged on your home’s exterior and even on an adjacent fence.
For more outdoor inspiration, our patio door gallery is filled with unique views.