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Foyer. Perhaps this side yard was once a blank slate, relegated to storing trash bins. With the bold addition of three distinct components, it's now the grand entry to this property, linking the interior and exterior living spaces.
1. The "doorway" appears in the form of a simple arbor. Two vertical posts are erected on substantial pedestals. The header beams are aligned with the roof, giving the structure the ideal scale. A few trellis-like crossbeams lend interest and invite a vine to climb their heights. Approaching this structure, you know exactly where to go. You can see the ultimate destination — a conversation and sitting area in the garden.
2. The "flooring" is nicely aligned with the opening in the arbor, with the addition of an extra row of square pavers to form a graphic 3-by-6 tile grid. This treatment is both path and patio, inviting the addition of furniture for a variety of purposes.
3. The trio of planters helps soften the home's intense white exterior and engages any pedestrians who stroll by. Three identical bowls, filled with interesting, textural plants and displayed on dramatic concrete cubes, give this space a distinct point of view.
Welcome to my foyer!
Edible garden. Raised beds lend order and structure to a kitchen garden. Depending on the dimensions, they also can be kid and grandparent friendly.
For example, this set of eight raised beds, beautifully constructed from ipe or similar hardwood lumber, has details like mitered corners and smooth hardware, making them suitable for youngsters who want to stand at the edge and harvest carrots or radishes to their hearts' content. And the capped walls are wide enough to double as seating — handy for someone with physical limitations.
Mostly I admire this side kitchen garden for its attractive design, functional spacing (there's room for a wheelbarrow between the raised beds) and the excellent proportions that hold their own with the scale of the home.
See how to make a raised garden bed
Sporty space. What better use for a slim strip of land than a European-inspired boccie ball court? Get those couch potatoes away from the big-screen TV and encourage a little friendly competition with this classic game.
The long, narrow dimensions of this outdoor play court line up perfectly at the side garden's outer edge. Notice the clean lines and fine details — the constructed box that holds the boccie ball court is finished with the same weathered steel used in four very modern weathered-steel planter boxes.
Entertaining area for a crowd. Not much wasted space here — the design harnesses all the available square footage to turn a small paved patio into a party room for 10. The ample proportions of a trestle-style table and chairs are suitable here, especially with a huge condominium wall looming above the patio.
Imagine how many lovely evenings have taken place here. You're enclosed by a densely planted border, which creates a sensory experience of scents and sounds. Candles flicker in the lanterns. Wineglasses clink, and laughter fills the air. Who wants to spend time inside when this is the alternative?
"Carpeted" space. A compact space between the kitchen door and the perimeter wall, this side yard has a playful floor treatment that turns it into something quite special.
The "carpet" of different square and rectangular pavers is laid on a bed of contrasting crushed rock. The random-looking (but probably quite carefully arranged) pattern creates a dynamic energy that moves the eye through this space and makes coming here a treat.
Another reason this design is so successful is the light hand with which it is accessorized: The furnishings and plants are classically simple, with one material (teak) and one color (parrot orange). Nice work!