Thursday, July 7, 2011
Waste of space, or a necessary feature in the American home? Recently Apartment Therapy posed this question to its readers, and it's stirred up an interesting conversation. Most Americans never use their front yards and lawns, but rather opt for hosting events in the privacy of their backyard. According to the article, America's need for the front lawn has deeper cultural roots. Historically, wealthy landowners boasted grand entrances. Today we're all just keeping up with tradition; though in most cities, builders are required to adhere to a certain amount of "setback" so that homes do not come right up to the street.
My husband and I entertain in a unique setting, as we live in the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach, California. The homes here were mostly built in the 1920's and '30s in a relaxed, and communal style - no back yards. The front of each house has a small front yard, and rather than having an unsightly garage in the front, they're all in the back. A whole separate network of alleys line the rears of the homes here, creating an environment where residents are encouraged to entertain and live in the front of their homes. Sure, there isn't much privacy, but there is a sense of community in this beach town, because everyone shares in the festivities and the outdoor lifestyle.
During the past Fourth of July weekend, my husband and I hosted a BBQ in the front of our house for over 60 people throughout the day. We definitely drew attention with our rather loud friends and My Big Fat Greek Wedding style spit in the front yard (pictured above), but our neighbors stopped by, people came by to socialize, and everyone really enjoyed themselves.
What do you all think about front yards? Waste of space, or a fun alternative to entertaining?