Across the Fence

with Ann Brooke

Steal this stuff (or, what the neighbors know)

Well, maybe just steal the ideas. One of the best ways to think about how to design your outdoor space is to walk the neighborhood and see what other people have done that works. There are two aspects to this.

1. Layout and materials: How do you fit a lot into a small space without it feeling cramped? What sort of furniture works best in a small space? What kinds of materials look best (stone or pavers? solid wood fences or lattice?)

2. Plants: If you aren’t a  gardener, choosing plants can be pretty daunting. Something that looks good in the Garden Center may be very unhappy when it gets to your house and doesn’t have enough sun. This is where your neighbors can really help. Look around and see what looks healthy and is growing strongly – and what looks sad, yellowish, weedy and miserable.

It’s easy to see front yards, but backyards are a bit trickier. Use any opportunity to get a look behind houses that look as though they have been landscaped. Friends are an obvious start. Real estate open houses are another. Compliments are a possibility (“I love your front garden – any ideas about how I might think about my backyard?”).

And, of course, there’s always Houzz and Pinterest.

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