My timing is actually perfect for today’s garden tour because exactly one year ago, I shared our side yard garden DIY with you! When we moved in, we had this odd side yard that was overgrown, housed our HVAC units, and was just a non functioning eyesore. Emmett & I love spending time outside and we always try to use every inch of our outdoor space. The side yard felt like such a missed opportunity. We decided to tackle a little makeover and turn the space into our garden area. We installed a raised bed, relocated the overgrown plants, put down marble chips, fenced the HVAC units, and turned it into an area for potted plants, vegetables, and herbs. Last year, we tried to tackle the space on a major budget and I used planters that were left behind by the previous homeowners, but this year I was able to curate a more cohesive collection- to better execute what I had initially envisioned. Want to see how things are looking this year? Click through for the tour!
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While it’s far from secret, I think our garden is a fun little surprise or discovery when you walk around the side of our house. It’s definitely tucked away… it isn’t visible from our patio, outdoor dining area, or front yard.
This outdoor area really feels like my own. While Emmett sometimes helps with the garden and plants, I always call it “my garden” and he agrees or asks if I’d like him to water “my plants”. I grew up on a farm and gardening & planting is something I’ve been doing my entire life… it’s really nostalgic and fun for me. I enjoy growing veggies we can eat, canning fresh salsa, and eating berries straight from the vine. It’s not the giant garden we used to have, but it’s a seasonal activity I always look forward to, despite the amount of work that goes into it.
This year we have some tomato plants of a few different varieties, zucchini, eggplant, berries, and plenty of herbs. I also planted some flowers and citronella to keep the bugs away… basically, a few things we like to eat and some plants I enjoy looking at.
I retired my rusty old tomato cages for an updated trellis that everyone seems to be liking, based on the amount of messages I’ve received about them. They really are beautiful!
I think they’re meant for vines or flowering plants, but I’m using them for tomatoes this year. I really like the look of the finial at the point!
To keep things consistent in our potted garden, I decided to stick with terracotta planters (catch my favorites in this post). They’re a mix of new, old, and vintage. Given the varying shapes and sizes, the consistent color palette makes it feel more cohesive and less chaotic. This is more of what I had envisioned for our garden… I just didn’t have the time or budget to collect planters last year.
I had already purchased my coveted garden bench (from this post I shared), but when Serena & Lily reached out to ask if I’d like to work together again to share a finishing touch for a project that had been on my to-do list… I knew the bench was a perfect fit (that I was planning to share anyway). Talk about perfect timing. I feel like it was really the missing puzzle piece in our side yard garden.
With just plants, the side yard is clean and functional, but as a designer- I love including pieces you can really live with. Those little moments that feel special, romantic, and really make me fall more in love with my home and our living space- whether it be indoors or out… that’s what design is all about! The bench really does that for me. Instead of just working in the garden and it feeling like the occasional chore, it’s now a place I can also relax. An aperol spritz in the garden? I feel like that is a definite yes from me! Taking a moment to sit with a book, drink a cup of coffee, and listen to the birds? It just feels right having a place to sit and enjoy the space that you spend a lot of time on.
I will say- having a garden makes homemade pizza nights so much more fun! There is something really wonderful about snipping your own basil from the plant, picking vine ripened tomatoes, and grabbing a bunch of parsley or oregano for a pizza. I’ll admit, during the winter months our pizza nights consisted of mostly carryout, but once spring & summer rolls around- we always get back into our homemade routine. It’s fun having a weekend ritual!
If you’ve been following for awhile now, you know I’m a details person. It’s the scalloped edges on a planter, the piped detail on the bench cushions, and a fancy-looking obelisk garden trellis that really makes my heart sing. It goes to show that doing projects in phases is worth the wait. Last year we created a great foundation for this space that can keep evolving with us. This year, our garden looks more like I had initially pictured in my mind last year, but it’s equally as functional.
My little herb garden stand and planters are still going strong! The stand stayed outside all winter and definitely has weathered, but I don’t mind the look… it’s still functioning nicely. I need to get the rest of my herbs planted- it’s looking a bit unorganized right now.
This year, I’m feeling quite pleased with our little makeshift garden. It’s definitely a bright, cheerful spot tucked into the side of our colonial home, and I’ve really enjoyed spending time back here. I’m looking forward to watching my plants grow, eating some delicious produce this summer, and taking some much-needed time to just sit, relax, and take it all in.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you have a garden? Are you a plant person? How about a side yard… what’s that situation like at your house? If you’d like any sources, just let me know and I can point you in the correct direction. I hope your week is off to a fantastic start. Here’s to tackling your favorite spring projects and activities in the coming weeks.
PeggiMay 17, 2021 at 5:56 am
Everything looks SO charming! I love the minimal palette, mix of terracotta and, of course, the obelisks! The beautiful bench seating area really was the missing element-so elegant! I can definitely imagine enjoying peaceful solo moments there. Between the vegetable garden and our backyard, I have been logging plenty of time covered in soil and sweat…which is certainly more satisfying than it sounds (though MUCH less photo-worthy🤣)! I’ve experienced moderate setbacks in our herb and perennial beds (grrr puppy), but I’m excited about a few special replacement plants. Fingers crossed. I just finished a little patio rehabilitation and assembled our seating area, so al fresco cocktails here we come! Negronis or margaritas? My kind of dilemma! Here’s to an amazing week, friend!💜
SarahMay 17, 2021 at 8:48 am
Thank you, Peggi! I’m really pleased with how things came together out here. It has certainly been fun playing in the dirt and moving pots around. Ha! I’m with you on the soil and sweat this spring- it feels refreshing to get outside, get some work done, and have fun in the garden. Your garden sounds really large- all of your hard work is going to pay off when things start producing- exciting! I can relate to the dogs digging and eating plants they shouldn’t… which is why we had to skip planting onions this year :( Your patio refresh and seating area sounds like the perfect spot for dinner and cocktails! I’m ready for all the spring & summer drinks: margaritas, aperol spritz, negroni, mojitos… yum!! Here’s to a great week ahead. xo
PaigeMay 17, 2021 at 7:26 am
So sweet! I love the bench. Outdoor rooms are so functional and seating gives you another reason to spend time there. I think you hit the “secret garden” nail on the head capturing a place not on display for everyone, but speaks to your soul. Well done.
SarahMay 17, 2021 at 8:42 am
Thank you, Paige! They really are functional- I love spending time outside. Creating this little garden spot has certainly refueled my passion for gardening. I love that it’s giving “secret garden” vibes. It’s tucked away and feels like my special spot to enjoy. Hope your Monday is off to a lovely start! xo
MonicaMay 17, 2021 at 8:15 am
Love the trellis!
SarahMay 17, 2021 at 8:41 am
Thanks Monica! Those were a fun find. Have a great day!
LaurenMay 17, 2021 at 8:16 am
Your garden is looking so beautiful! It’s refreshing to see a container garden amidst all the raised bed examples out there. I really love the mix, and the tucked away aspect-that certainly makes it even more of a treasured space. The bench is definitely the crowning glory this year-and although I love the new obelisk trellis, I do miss the old charm of last year’s tomato cages. Your pots are quite a collection of amazing shapes and details. We have a hidden patio with a raised bed/seating wall- I had planted some beautiful plants last year that should have held up-but the cat next door trampled them all and I have to replant this year. We also have a garden bed on the opposite side of our house. We plan to remove most everything in that bed because none of the plantings are designed for a raised bed; when we get around to it, that will become our garden. I envision pots for tomatoes and strawberries, some sort of tiered system for small potted herbs, surrounded by fragrant flowers, and bougainvillea trees-or lemon. I want that space to feel like an Italian courtyard. I envision us installing a permanent patio cover somewhere down the road, and transitioning that into one of the main seating areas, while our tucked away patio functions as the outdoor dining area. This year my focus will be the dining space, and our balcony (hopefully). We have a ton of hardscape in our yard (front and back), that needs rejuvenating or replacing-that’s been on my mind this year as I know we’ll get to a certain point and need to tackle those areas for a more complete “finished” look. How one area transitions into the other has been on my mind quite a bit too, and how we expand our yard given those areas. We have our work cut out for us, but it will be a beautiful retreat when it’s complete. Yours has certainly become just that-I hope the weather is holding up for you to enjoy it. We’ve had rain the last few days, but sunshine should abound as we get later in the week. Wonderful job on the garden this year Sarah! I can practically smell the homemade pizza, and taste the Negronis! Cheers to a fresh week, I hope you have an awesome Monday friend! Xo
SarahMay 17, 2021 at 8:40 am
Thank you, Lauren! I’ve really been enjoying spending time out there. Raised beds are great and convenient, but I also love the look of container gardens. I kept the decorative tomato cages I used last year- my plan is to put those on the front porch! They just need some TLC… I have to remove the rust and maybe give them a coat of paint. I did get rid of the basic cages I bought from Lowe’s. I gave those to a neighbor this year. Such a bummer to hear about the cat spoiling your planting efforts from last year! That sounds like such a beautiful area for your garden though. I just love bougainvillea and lemon trees… that California climate produces the best plants! I love your idea of creating an aesthetic that feels similar to an Italian courtyard. I’m also thrilled to hear you’re planning to tackle the outdoor dining area and your balcony! That’s exciting! We snuck away for the weekend to go camping and came home to rain, but it was lovely. We need all the rain we can get, and it sounds so amazing against our tile roof. I love a good summer thunderstorm- which rarely happens here in Utah. It seems like we’ll both have a sunny week ahead :) I wish everyone could come over for homemade pizzas and summer cocktails! Have a great week ahead. xo
Jennifer LauraMay 17, 2021 at 9:06 am
It’s beautiful!! I love all the terra cotta and see why you had that on your brain!
SarahMay 17, 2021 at 10:20 am
Thank you so much, Jennifer! I hope your week is off to a wonderful start :)
Wenda ScottMay 17, 2021 at 10:41 am
i love seeing your pictures. you are both so talented. i really liked your retired trellis from last year. is it available for purchase? I’m fine with a little rust. i also live in SLC. best regards, w. scott
SarahMay 17, 2021 at 1:31 pm
Thank you so much, Wenda! I appreciate that. I definitely should have clarified on the trellis from last year… I retired by basic metal ones from Lowe’s (regular tomato cages), but I kept the decorative ones- I actually moved them to my front porch. I actually really like those, too! I’m hoping to give them a little makeover and address the rust. I’m sorry! If I weren’t using them, I’d totally give them to you. Thanks for checking and have a wonderful week!
Wenda ScottMay 18, 2021 at 11:08 am
i understand why you would not give them up. And especially with your talent to make them over.
can’t wait to see them on your front porch!! best regards, w. scott
SarahMay 18, 2021 at 11:56 am
Thanks so much, Wenda!
ColleenMay 17, 2021 at 10:57 am
Love it Sarah! The side yard is an awesome spot for herbs and veggies. We utilized a side yard in our last house and it worked beautifully for about 12 years. I grew a bunch of herbs and vegetables and it was fabulous 😋
We have more critters in the neighborhood we reside currently so I may just stick to herbs for now.
Your bench is super sweet and looks very comfortable and all the terra cotta pots are adorable 😍 It’s a super awesome area that quite often gets overlooked in a yard so it’s wonderful to see you utilize it so beautifully 👍 We had amazing weather this past weekend and today is gorgeous too. Yay! Have a super terrific day and thanks for your garden inspiration. Heading to nursery this aft to pick up herbs 😉 you have motivated me to get on it!
Hope you have a sun shiny day too 😎
SarahMay 17, 2021 at 1:26 pm
Thank you, Colleen! I love that you also utilized the side yard at your previous home. It’s nice to make use of that negative space! Our last neighborhood had more small critters (like squirrels), while our current place has more large ones (deer, mountain lion, etc), so gardening actually feels easier here. It’s also nice that the side yard is connected to the backyard, so it’s fully fenced in- otherwise the deer would devour it. Ha! I’m really happy with the bench- it is indeed comfortable, I got a matching cover to protect it during bed weather, and it fits the space nicely. I’m so happy to hear you had lovely weather over the weekend! It’s about to start raining here, which is amazing… we need the rain so bad, and it seldom happens during our summer months, so it’s actually really nice. I hope you had a fun weekend enjoying your pool, and I hope you’re having a great day planting your herbs. There is nothing better than using fresh herbs to cook! Have a fantastic week, Colleen! xo