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Side Yard Ideas & Shade Plants

See how this long and narrow side yard was improved with several concrete retaining walls and shade plants.

A video transcript featuring Joseph Huettl, Huettl Landscape Architecture

Board-formed concrete walls
These site walls were in place when we started the design. They had concrete board-formed walls that were required to grade for the house. The owner had considered potentially facing them in stone or some other expensive material. And I said let's leave some of the board form, leave it in place, have an honest wall, but then let's contrast the walls by changing the materials around a bit. So for the lower wall, they went with a lime plaster finish, which they have on the house, and that contrasts nicely with the board form, and then the plants soften the wall.

Plant choices
In this area, most of this property is south-facing and west-facing, and you have sunny meadows. With the position of the house and these walls, we have this natural canyon effect here, which allowed us to do more shade-tolerant plantings, canyon plantings, if you will. We have Japanese maples, a few ferns, some gooseberries and things that would be found more in a canyon environment.

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