Ideas for that Narrow Space in Between Suburban Homes

Not everyone has the land available to create a grand entrance to their back garden.If you live in a suburban community, it is very likely that there are two narrow alleyways that lie between your home and that of your nearest neighbours. These awkward strips of property present the gardener with a number of challenges. With high walls on either side, they can feel down right claustrophobic. Lack of sunlight can limit plant choices and there are often things like downspouts and air conditioning units that need to be disguised.Still, these seemingly small and inauspicious alleyways, are in fact areas worthy of some careful consideration, because they also serve as gateways in and out of the back garden.
The entrance to your back garden is often one of the first things visitors will see, so why not make it pretty?

Here a Clematis vine overtop of a gate invite you into the backyard.
What a like about this side entrance is the mix of materials. The path is edged with a contrasting stone and blue-grey pebbles have been used to "mulch" the planting beds (see next photo).
This homeowner has made a small courtyard with a winding path of flagstones.

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The walkway to this backyard looks wonderfully neat and tidy. Tall cedars offer privacy and red cedar mulch injects a hint of color at the feet of the plantings.
Brightly colored pots of annuals draw your eye down the narrow passageway from the back to front gardens in this suburban home.
A pergola covered with vines lead the way to this home's backyard.
This pergola creates a bit of shade for a swinging bench. It also provides cover for the barbecue that is located opposite the bench and near the side door to the kitchen.
Another view of the swinging bench.
This space is a bit larger than some of the side yards I have shown, but it is still less than 15' between the side of the house and the fence that marks the property's outer edge.

One of the smart things I think this creative gardener has done is to incorporate an 'Annabelle' hydrangea with big, eye catching white flowers. The flowers are elegant and makes the small space feel grander than it is.
At the entrance to the back garden is a lovely gate. It obstructs the view of the back garden and creates a little bit of mystery.

See more of this garden:
Three Dogs in a Garden
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  • Jann Olson Jann Olson on Apr 17, 2014
    Wonderful ideas! We have a narrow space that is mostly lawn. Thinking of changing it into a path. Thanks for sharing!
  • Gabrielle Falk Gabrielle Falk on May 24, 2020

    That is such a beautiful and magical garden. I love it. I can just imagine garden fairies, hiding beneath the beautiful garden. Is there a bird bath anywhere? Just georgeous.