A secret purple side yard garden sounds like madness and magic, right? I mean PURPLE? Am I kidding you? The answer is a BIG FAT NOPE! Say YES to raised beds, living walls, lots of color, and bold plantings. Create the amazing and colorful in your garden; you are only limited by your imagination. Learn how I created the Secret Purple Side Yard Garden below.
Products I Used to Make a Secret Purple Side Yard Garden and Where to Get Them —
- Elevated Gardens – 5% OFF use Discount Code “SHAWNA5” – Epic Gardening’s Birdies Raised Beds
- Living Walls – 5% OFF use Discount Code “CORONADO”- Vertical Garden Supply Outdoor Varden Kit
- Meditation Benches -25% OFF use Discount Code “SHAWNA25” Glodea Bench 90
- Soil – Beyond Peat Professional Organics Soil Mixes
- Pumice Soil Amendment for Succulents – Garden Pumice
- Arbor – Tierra Garden Rosetta Garden Arch
- Irrigation – For $5 off orders of +$75! use Code “easygardening” – Garden in Minutes Irrigation lines
How to Build a Secret Purple Side Yard
Before you build a useful area in your side yard, you need to determine a design goal. If you are doing it yourself you can look at ways to save energy as well as make your garden beautiful. Check out this Energy.gov link. Do you want a side yard garden like I have that will focus attention on mental health and wellness? Or perhaps you simply want an attractive area to play games and entertain? Maybe you need a storage area in your side yard?
No matter your dream, write down a list for what components you would like to include in your side yard space. Then get all the components together (for example – storage, garden beds, tools, irrigation lines, soil, and plants) before you begin the transformation. Interrupting your work to run errands only drags the project out longer. Be prepared!
1 . Level the Ground and Plan Irrigation Lines
My evil master plan: build a secret meditation garden area that will allow me to meditate for 8 minutes or shorter with my 8 Minute Method plan. My goal is to set up elevated beds that are easy to garden for people with chronic pain. I also want a quiet outdoor meditation room.
Platforms and elevated garden beds require a fairly level area with which to reside. I carefully measured out the side yard, ordered the elevated Birdies Raised Beds [For 5% off orders use Code “SHAWNA5”!], then went about leveling the areas that would hold the gardens.
If you want to add irrigation lines to the side yard, now is the time. Above the ground I use spaghetti lines and garden grids. A great elevated bed garden grid solution is Garden in Minutes Garden Grid™ Watering Systems (see image below of my OTHER side yard garden filled with all the GIM garden grids). [For $5 off orders of +$75! use Code “easygardening”!] I love the garden grids and have been using them for a while now in my elevated beds. SO EASY TO USE!
2. Cover the Fence Walls
After leveling the ground, it is important to consider what you might like on your garden walls. Once Birdies Raised Beds are built and filled with soil, they become difficult to move. Therefore, adding interest to the garden walls before the beds are built is necessary. Hanging interesting paintings, metal sculpture, or living walls on a wall is a great way to add pizzazz. Whether your garden has a fence that is wood or concrete, you might consider paint. It was the least expensive tool to make attractive change.
When I made the big move to Mesa, I was shocked that most of the homes are surrounded by concrete brick walls. Wood dry rots here. Concrete is very difficult to drill into, so drilling items into the wall does not easily work. I softened the walls with vines in my back garden. The side yard, however, has a long ugly concrete wall that needs something colorful and I want more than vines. Paint works as it is inexpensive and easy to apply. Purple is a surprising secret garden component and works well in my side yard design.
If you want to paint your fence or home, be sure to purchase paint that is specifically meant to the material you are painting, such as wood or masonry.
3. Assemble the Elevated Garden Beds
Elevated beds are very important to my personal wellness plan. By lifting the gardens up close to waist height, you reduce the strain on joints and back. While I have vegetable beds on my property, I wanted the Secret Purple Side Yard Garden to have unique plants which will grow year-round here in Arizona. You can plant vegetables, herbs, shrubs, or whatever perennials do well in your neck of the woods.
Epic Gardening offers this best-in-class elevated bed from Birdies Raised Beds line [For 5% off orders use Code “SHAWNA5”!]. The beds are cold-rolled galvanized steel. They are powder-coated with a non-toxic, food-safe paint and easy to assemble. Each unit is customizable in size and dimension. I assembled the Tall 8-in-1 Metal Raised Garden Bed so that each garden bed would be long, but very narrow. The gardens fit perfectly in the side yard and enable lots of room on the walking side.
Before assembly, I broke out all the pieces from the shipping boxes and laid everything in configuration. Although a drill can help, you don’t need fancy tools to assemble the nuts, bolts, washers, and side panels. I did it myself.
4. Assemble the Living Walls
I have been testing the Vertical Garden Supply Outdoor Varden Kit. The units are easy to maintain and can feature vegetables, annuals, or perennials. Best yet, the irrigation lines are automatically built in; all you have to do is hang the walls, then connect your irrigation lines to the units.
Because my walls are concrete, I simply strapped the Varden Kits onto an L bracket which I draped over the top of the concrete fence. Fill the Vardensoks with soil [suggestions below in item 5], then cut holes in the “sock” to plant the plants.
This season I am planting a mix of sweet potato vines along with other herbs, annuals, and a few succulents which will all do well with part sun and regular irrigation. (Remember, purchase HERE, then get 5% OFF when you use Discount Code “CORONADO”.)
5. Fill Garden Beds and Living Walls in the Secret Purple Side Yard Garden with Appropriate Soil
This season I have been using Beyond Peat Professional Organics Soil Mixes because this soil is 100% peat-free and has bio-fiber technology which absorbs and holds up to 7X its own weight in water. The soil also contains organic fertilizer. This helps build stronger roots.
General Container Planting Soil Formula
If planting annuals or perennials in containers or living walls, I use one-part Beyond Peat Professional Organics All-Purpose Potting Mix combined with two-parts mixed compost.
Succulent and Cactus Container Soil Formula
If planting succulents or cactus, I use one-part Beyond Peat Professional Organics All-Purpose Potting Mix combined with one-part grit or pumice.
If you feel that is “too draining” for your succulents and you need more moisture, you can mix two-parts Beyond Peat Professional Organics All-Purpose Potting Mix combined with one-part grit or pumice.
Plant your plants in the proper soil with appropriate organic fertilizer. It is important as it can truly help a plant’s root system become strong. There is never a guarantee on a plant surviving, but soil can make a huge difference.
6. Install Arbors and Accessories
Once the elevated beds and living walls are built, it’s time for the fun stuff!
At one end of the Secret Purple Side Yard Garden, I installed a destination meditation platform made from 2 Glodea Bench 90’s placed side-by-side. The Glodea Bench 90 [25% OFF use Discount Code “SHAWNA25”] is the perfect height and comes in an abundance of colors. I chose Gypsy Teal as a fantastical contrast to the purple walls. If you sit on the meditation platform and look down at the other end of the side yard, you will see a teal wall looking back at you. From a design perspective, it connects nicely.
Another addition to the side yard is a sturdy 8-foot-tall arbor. The Tierra Garden Rosetta Garden Arch works as a nice solution for a vine. I tucked the arch into one of the raised beds and have a Tangerine Crossvine climbing up the arbor. It will take a year, but the secret garden will have a beautiful entrance covered in blooms.
Between the elevated beds are container gardens tucked in nicely with smaller plantings. Then clay garden balls, broken tiles, and a bit of gravel are placed in the tops of the beds after planting. I focused on very creative plants that would do well year round in Arizona (more on that in a future post). A black patio set at the garden entrance finishes off the look. When you walk around the side of the house you are certainly surprised and delighted by all the color and plants.
How Can You Make Your Side Yard Useful?
Side yards are the dramatically challenging area in most gardens. These areas are often filled with shade and can be very narrow. Sandwiched between your neighbor’s house and your home in the city or suburbs, the space can be anywhere from 1 foot wide to 40 feet wide. In suburbia, many side yards are commonly between 3 feet and 6 feet wide. Such a small difficult space to design. My secret purple side yard garden is only 4 feet wide and over 50 feet long. I have another side yard that is almost 20 feet wide. I’ve used that for a garden as well (see above).
There are lots of things you can transform your side yard into something useful. I dreamed of a secret purple side yard garden that truly spoke to wellness and meditation. At the back of the garden is a meditation platform. Walk back, sit down, cross your legs, and breathe deep. It is quiet and beautiful. A “secret garden” concept works well there.
A List of Useful Side Yard Ideas
- Garden Shed – Keep your garden shed out of sight by placing it in your side yard
- Potting Zone – Bring in a potting table and your extra containers. Use the area as a place to pot your houseplants and outdoor plants alike.
- Outdoor Shower – An outdoor shower is fun and is a great place to dog wash. It offers gardeners a perfect place for cleanup.
- Dog Run – With little difficulty, you can make a doggy door on the side of your home. Enclose both ends of the side yard. Then it becomes a convenient dog run.
- Shade Vegetable Garden – Side yards are perfect for vegetables that do well with less than 6 hours of sunlight per day such as leafy greens and herbs.
- Putting Green – Surprise the golfer in your life with a nice stretch of putting green area. Artificial turf works great in the side yard so you do not have to mow the area.
- Wellness and Meditation area – This is what I did with the secret purple side yard garden. It is a great place to plant gardens which require little maintenance and might inspire someone to stay outside longer in the sunshine.
- Bocce Ball Court – A bocce court requires 60 feet length and 15 feet wide. Bocce Ball is a family-friendly game which uses a bowling technique and keeps the balls on the ground. The area is too close to windows for flying balls or horseshoes, so bocce is perfect.
Try building your own secret garden on the side of your home. Side yards like the Secret Purple Side Yard Garden can make your outdoor lifestyle a step above the ordinary. Maybe a side yard can be the unexpected encouragement to get your family outdoors for a wellness adventure.