It's an access area, wheelie bin residence, dog run, dump zone or quite often, a laundry laneway and a headache for many homeowners - it's the narrow side yard!
We look at some simple ideas to add green life to these often neglected spaces and turn the useless into useful!
Firstly, it's important to determine the following...
- what do you want to use this space for
- how much sun/shade is there
- what soil type do you have
- how wide/long is the space
- is privacy a concern
- what underground utilities run through the area
- what style of garden do you have (tropical, native, cottage etc)
Use your fences
No width, no worries. Plant a climber, espalier a vine or fruit tree, install a vertical garden or wall planters on your fence. If the kitchen is nearby and there's ample sunshine, plant a selection of herbs for quick & easy access.
An outdoor mirror, wall art or screen will add a point of interest and break-up a long monotonous fence. Always position for indoor viewing.
Step it out
Pathways of concrete, stepping stones, gravel or mulch are ideal for low sun areas where grass struggles. Low or fragrant ground covers such as zoysia, mini mondo, thyme, native violets or even oregano will work in between steppers if foot traffic isn't too heavy.
Hide & seek
If you seek a little privacy, opt for quick growing or mature plants but always check their potential width. If hedging isn't a chore, a Lillypilly has dense foliage when maintained and offers year round greenery. Radermachera Summerscent will tolerate full sun/part shade & rewards you with a softly fragranced white flower in the warmer months.
Varieties of Heliconias can boom to 4m+ in height and suit a tropical style.
If it's year round colour you're after, think Cordylines & Crotons, both tough once established and happy with some shade although keep brighter colour with more sun. Shade loving hydrangea, mona lavender, impatiens and begonias will require a little more TLC but burst into bloom throughout the year.
Hot & harsh
Blistering summer heat + well drained soil = succulents. Keep away from the cacti if it's a thoroughfare and look for a variety of hanging & potted plants interspersed with tough sansevieria for height options.
If your washing line is in an area like this... why not plant a row of lavender underneath - not only will it withstand the heat, it will fragrance your washing as it brushes across the blooms and foliage.
Inspired but not sure? Bring some photos in and the answers to the questions above and ask our staff for recommendations to suit your requirements.