From our neighbors Lew and Lynn Rakowsky
LEW: When we bought the house in 2002, we were drawn to the its Spanish Revival style. Unfortunately, the small backyard was entirely covered in concrete, surrounded by a 4-foot tall brick wall covered in ivy and vines. It was very neglected.
We had some gardeners come in and jack-hammer out all that, remove the concrete, the brick wall and ivy to open the space up. Then we installed a simple, modernist fence to provide privacy, but still allow for air flow.
LYNN: Given its small size, we really wanted to maximize the outdoor space as much as possible. It was important to create usable space throughout, including a garden, seating areas, places where friends could gather, and a place to simply read a book. Ultimately, we wanted a welcoming, usable environment; an extension of the house.
LYNN: We put in a drip-line sprinkler and we used drought resistant plants, we also grow some vegetables each season, focusing on tomatoes, lettuces, peas and broccoli. We usually buy them at the farmers markets as little seedlings.
LEW: One of the highlights of the property is the 70-year old bougainvillea which creates a beautiful canopy over the dining area. In the summer, it becomes a solid wall of red blooms; a cool place to escape the heat.
The next project is to pave the patio dining area with terra-cotta tiles, as we did in the walkway along the side of the house.
Share the hidden beauty of your backyards!
Photos by Elisa Leonelli