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Why We Sit in the Front Yard

Why We Sit in the Front Yard

We sit in the front yard.  Now I know that may not be the oddest statement to make, but from what I’ve seen in my short time on earth, most people who have backyards sit in the backyard and use the front yard merely as a walkway to get into and out of their domains.  Backyards tend to be for playing, visiting, barbecuing, and what ever else you may want to be doing socially with friends.  Front yards are generally window dressing.

Years ago, when I lived in a house I rented that really didn’t have a back yard (or much of a front yard for that matter), I took to hanging on the front stoop when it was too hot to hang inside.  I noticed that as people walked by, time and again, I would begin to interact with them and slowly, over time, I began to get to know my neighborhood.  Before long, others were starting to stop by and sit on the stoop with me as well.  It was pretty cool and what began as a choice of necessity, soon became a choice.

As the years moved on, and I was blessed to live in a place that has a front and back yard, I decided to stick with the tradition, and hang out in front.  So out came the lawn chairs, and there they sit, ready for us or anyone else who happens to wander by to sit upon for a bit.  Ironically, while the neighbors don’t do the same in their houses, our front lawn has become the place to hang on our block, as the kids seem to congregate there knowing that they can usually find someone hanging out.

It occurs to me that what we as a society need is for more people to hang out in their front yards.  People tend to shut themselves in, stand behind their fences, and lose contact with the outside world.  Taken to the extreme, this only creates an atmosphere of disconnection, bringing with it the fear of the unknown, and pretty soon, entire areas where no community exists.  On the flip side, if everyone were sitting out front near the sidewalk, or in their common areas, or in the park, we would all be interacting more, meeting more, learning more, and generally improving our lives immensely.

So this July 4th, drag that barbecue out to the front, invite some friends in the neighborhood over, throw up some chairs and down some blankets, and hang in the front yard.  Pretty soon, you’ll wonder why it took so long in the first place.


P.S.  Oh, and while you’re at it, plow under that lawn and plant some corn.  The grass takes too much water, and you can turn the corn into a maze for the kids come harvest time.

Read more: Community, Community Service, Do Good, Guidance, Household Hints, Life, Sustainable Dave, ,

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Dave Chameides

Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. "Give people the facts, and they'll choose to do the right thing."


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12:33AM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

This is a lovely idea. I can see how this would help in creating a local sense of community and belonging. A community who know each other are far more likely to look after the local space and people and far less likely to vandalise or ignore any hurtful actions happening in their corner of the world. In our village we have to have a fence right up to our property line and many of us have dogs so our fences tend to be quite high. I might investigate how we can lower our front fence and make more of our activities closer to the front in an effort to be friendlier and more accessible to passers by.

9:27AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

I prefer the back garden and my patio to the front porch---anyday! Thanks

6:22PM PDT on May 6, 2013

I'm sitting at the computer.

1:52AM PST on Jan 3, 2013


4:23PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Thank you for article!

4:21PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Thank you for article!

4:20PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Thank you for article!

3:57AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

To each their own

12:04PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

Love your P.S.

1:47PM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

We sit in our backyard, our front porch, and our side yard by the pond. We love our yard!!! and our trees and our views, our geese, our ducks and the sounds of nature..............

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