Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Garden In Between

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.

These homeowners in Mississauga, Ontario have created a beautiful entrance to their back garden with a pathway that has a casual, woodland feel to it. 

Fine cedar mulch was used to create the central path that lies between the two homes. 

Here is a closer look. Hosta, Ostrich fern and Spirea add some height to the plantings. Periwinkle (purple flowers) and Lamium serve as groundcovers.

This is the alleyway on the other side of the same property that leads back around to the front of the house.

This is second home, also in Mississauga, with more formal approach to their backyard entrance. 

The plantings included hosta, euonymus, heuchera, and this variegated Solmon's Seal above (Polgonatum odoratum 'Variegatum').

The pathway curves around the side of the house and passes under a large arbor. 

The arbor creates a doorway to the backyard patio. (This view is from the patio looking back toward the alleyway. I believe that the vine on the arbor is a Wisteria.)

Yet another creative homeowner has made a small courtyard with a winding path of flagstones.

The plantings includes ferns and a nice mix of hosta.

Private garden, Mississauga Ontario

Not all spaces between suburban homes are narrow and poorly lit. In this final example, these homeowners have taken advantage of lots of sunlight to make a small formal kitchen garden.


  1. What a wonderful use for such a small space! I love this, and the photographs here.
    Thank you for sharing these today at The Creative Exchange.
    Have a wonderful day!


  2. I'm always curious to see how other gardeners have solved this dilemma...thanks for sharing some inspiration!

  3. These are great examples of what can be done in a challenging space. I love gardening as problem-solving! Your photos show beautiful solutions. Not every garden is a big round cottage garden of flowers or a sunny border of perennials. I loved this.

  4. Wow I how they transform and make the space usable. I love the garden box too.

  5. How gorgeous! It looks so tranquil! I love how lush and woodsy everything is.

  6. I like the pathways into the back gardens, just lovely.

  7. What great gardening! Very inspiring and full of ideas. Love to see this instead of a narrow strip of lawn.

  8. What wonderful solutions! Loved that you put some plants that would thrive in shade, too.

  9. Such creative ideas for all of their gardens... I could wander them for hours taking hundreds of pics!!! =)

  10. I read this and your last post yesterday, but was unable to leave a comment! So glad to see Blogger has fixed the problem, meantime ;)

    Such lovely posts. Thank you for sharing some super ideas.

  11. Great pictures and thanks for sharing! Charlotte

  12. Oh that last picture! That's the trellis I want to build. Maybe next year, that's lovely!

  13. Clematis is beautifull! I love your photo

  14. Ontario or Chicago. . . Potato or Potatoe. . . right? Your blog has increasing been more of my "choice reading" than any other in recent months. You seem to have very similar taste to my own. My fav post of all was the 20 Year Garden (both parts) - that is my dream garden. I'll let you know how it's coming along.

    1. It is always nice to hear that someone enjoys reading my blog.


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