He varied the plantings and hardscaping materials to give each one a distinct mood.
Since the front of our house faces west, the side yard on the north is mostly shaded, while the other side enjoys a sunnier southern exposure. Both spaces are only about 12 feet wide, but otherwise they couldn’t be more different. To make each yard feel like a distinctive space, I varied the plantings and the materials used for paths, gates, and fencing. Even though my side yards are very small, I’ve used sizable trees and shrubs (12 to 30 feet tall) placed close to the property line, because I think they make the space feel larger. I also like to mix trees with high crowns and shrubs with open habits to create dynamic plant relationships within the canopy as well as at the lower levels. By judiciously layering the foliage of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials, I’ve been able to make each space feel rich but not cramped.
I avoided using excessive hedging in my side yards, since straight lines of shrubs can get boring pretty easily. I do have some hedged areas, but trees and shrubs with a variety of foliage, texture, shape, and color provide much more interest. Well-chosen, compatible plantings placed close together can offer privacy without that hedged-in feeling.
Over time, my side yards have become garden spaces with their own special qualities. These areas complete my garden and make my frequent strolls all the more pleasant and rewarding.