Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Reinvent the Side Yard as a Courtyard

Every part of that yard—even the sides of it—can be part of creating that outdoor oasis.

More homeowners are looking to the side areas around their home, aiming to maximize every square inch of their outdoor space. Lot sizes are becoming smaller at a time when homeowners want to get more use out of their yard, including entertaining, relaxing, gardening and cooking. Home buyers, too, are eyeing the potential of outdoor space when sizing up properties. So, when the backyard is small, making use of the side yard can still highlight the multifunctionality of outdoor space.

The side yard tends to be a neglected strip of lawn that runs between the back and front yards. This overlooked area can be used to create a connection between the two spaces and can be a place to relax with a cozy lounger or bistro table.

Side spaces tend to be narrow and awkward in shape. They may be right up against a neighbor’s home. As such, the best uses of side yards tend to be within a fenced-in area that can offer greater privacy. Landscaping, such as arborvitae trees or tall hedges, also can help to create a more private, intimate side spot.

The extra landscaping also can help improve interior views, giving homeowners some greenery to gaze at from the window. Even just a row of pavers with landscaping around it that leads from the front yard to the backyard can help make use of this space.

Homeowners are exploring multiple possibilities for their side yard, including a private or entertainment courtyard. For a long side space, homeowners may add a rectangular dining table and string party lights above for an intimate dining area. The side yard also may become the perfect spot for grilling or adding comfy lounging chairs around a garden. The side yard also can serve another purpose: storage. It can be a place to hide children’s toys and play equipment, such as a bulky trampoline.

As homeowners have learned, the benefit of a side yard is that it usually offers more shade and less direct sunlight than the backyard or front yard. That may make it an even more coveted spot to enjoy as an outdoor retreat.


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