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Long, narrow spaces at the side of a home or outbuilding are usually designated to sidewalks and
fences and rendered quite useless to gardening. Dependant on exposure, these supposidly inept
pieces of land are ether too shady, too windy, too cold, too hot, too dry and on top of all that, they are also considered too difficult to maintain. Not so! With a little planning, they will present you with an edible feast, blazes of color and even a quiet retreat.
If the space is not considered an opportune site to produce any type of garden
it can still provide a prime storage location. Landscape fabric covered with gravel will keep weeding to a
minimum and offer a base to stack firewood, house your composting bins or possibly your cold
frames. A small garden shed will usually fit into this area to house tools and outdoor furniture.
Even under dire conditions a decission to cultivate this side area can give pleasing results. To
ensure your plants have a chance to thrive in this space, give the soil a boost by working in compost, peat moss,
coarse sand or vermiculite.
To make life less complicated once your plants are flourishing, now is the time to bury irrigation pipe or soaker hoses
under the mulch to make watering easier. Consider planting shrubs at one end if wind is a problem.
What to plant? Being that this part of your garden will have varying degrees of moisture and heat, it
is recommended to make some notes regarding these weather factors. If the area is protected by a fence or a
neighbors house, these too will be considerations when deciding what to plant. If planned carefully, this
area will flurish.
A hot, sunny, dry spot is perfect for a desertlike display. Choose plants that thrive in this environment
such as cactus, silver-leaved sage, tough grasses, luscious sedum or native flowers. Accent the space with
arrangements of rocks, gravel or driftwoods.
Cool, shaded side gardens give the gardener the opportunity to be more creative with foliage. Plants
that will do well in these locations are hostas, ferns, violets, columbine, lily of the valley and mint.
Using deep mulches, paving stones or piles of rocks to keep roots of vines cool gives another
alternative to planting in this area.
Vines that will add color as well as cooling house walls in summer are Virginia
creeper, honeysuckle, hops, clematis and bittersweet. Remember to support the vines with a trellis or netting.
The typical side garden no longer needs to be baren trail to the back yard. Edge the footpath with
mossy saxifrage, spring bulbs, lettuce and chicory. Planting creeping thyme and fragrant mints between a flagstone pathway will
produce a wonderful aroma when stepped on while making your way down the garden path.
NOTE: Graphics are GrowIt Gold (tm)Copyright (c) 1990-2002, Brian Rondel, Innovative Thinking
Software, All Rights Reserved.
Check out our other related articles and pages.
Tips for Outside