Couple transforms a side yard into a beautiful garden and family gathering space

Jackie and Timothy smith_final2Smith have lived in their home for many years and loved everything about it except one thing – the property next door was abandoned.  Then, came the Cuyahoga Land Bank!  The Land Bank acquired the abandoned property, demolished the structure and contacted the Smiths to see if they would be interested in acquiring the property through its Side Yard Program.  The Smiths eagerly accepted and got to work! Quickly, the Smiths began the transformation of their side yard. The fence was replaced, a concrete slab was put in near the back part of the yard, as well as a storage shed and a pavilion with three outdoor grills were built.  “My brother-in-laws love to cook, now we have space to grill and each one can prepare whatever they like,” said Jackie.   The Smiths continued their transformation by landscaping with a decorative brick wall, tree removal and the addition of various shrubs and flowers.smith_final1
The space is now primarily used for family gatherings such as reunions, birthdays and, most recently, a Fourth of July celebration.  The Smiths used to have to look elsewhere for family gatherings, but nowadays the newly enlarged yard provides enough space to entertain family members of all ages. “We set up cornhole, we have volleyball games and the kids are safe to
run around,” said Jackie.
The yard is a labor of love particularly for Mr. Smith.  “This is his passion,” Jackie says of her husband.  “He loves working in the yard.  We are thankful to the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the Side Yard Program,” said Jackie.  “The abandoned property was a poor reflection on our home.smith_final3  Now we own it and maintain it and have made it a place for family.  This is our forever home. The Side Yard Program helped us make this possible.”
The Side Yard Program is dedicated to repurposing land by offering the vacant lots to owners of adjacent properties that meet the eligibility requirements.  For more information, please visit

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