Friday, 28 August 2009

Social Gardens

This year I re-designed my own front garden, mainly because it was looking tired, and many of the old plants needed replacing. While planning what we wanted to do with it, I was also thinking that we don’t get much afternoon sun in our back garden in the late summer/autumn, when the sun is getting lower. It occurred to me that we could include another seating area in front of the house, which is south-west facing, and catches the afternoon & evening sun. Since our living rooms don’t offer a full view of the front space, sitting there allows me to appreciate the hard work I put into the new design, allowing more than the usual passing glance as I walk to the front door.
It’s been a revelation, as my wife and I sit having a cuppa in the afternoons or a glass of wine in the evening. Neighbours have joined us for a chat; complete strangers walking by speak; even someone I worked with years ago came past on his bike, recognised me, and stopped to catch up. It seems we’ve been missing a trick here in increasing the sociability of our neighbourhoods. I think maybe we’ve re-invented the equivalent of the old American idea of “sitting on the stoop”. Once you get over any self-consciousness of being on display, sitting in the front garden becomes a real pleasure. Why not give it a go? Give yourself a whole new view of your front garden, and start to meet more of the people who pass by your house.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting post! I'm originally from oop north and as I child I remember how, when the weather was nice, all the women used to put kitchen chairs on the pavement outside their front door.

    They'd make a pot of tea, roll down their pop socks, sit outside and have a good jangle (as my old Nan used to say)

    You're right, we are much more self conscious and closed off these days which is a shame.