granite sphere fountain, ferns, hostas
Photo: Mark Lohman
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Lesson 5: Reclaim Side Yards

The space on either side of your house is often seen merely as a utilitarian passage from front yard to backyard. It's hardly used and rarely occupied except as a dog run or a staging place for trash cans and bags of potting soil. To Eagleton, it's an opportunity—for a private, meditative landscape that helps you relax as you move from the noisy world to a peaceful garden. "People like to put paths down the middle of their yards, but there's a comfort to a protected path beside the house, planted with things you can stop and look at but also presenting a long, dramatic glimpse of what's ahead." One further tip: If your lot backs onto an alley, as many in Denver's older districts do, make your part of it pretty. Since this could be your usual garden entry once you've parked in the garage, train a vine up the outer walls, add an ornamental gate, and tuck a fountain—a note of welcome—just inside.

Shown: Across the lawn, a granite sphere, tucked between ferns and hostas, brings the subtlest murmur of water to the lounge area just outside the kitchen.
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