I have had access to quite a few different yards since moving to California almost 18 years ago. The first one was in between the main house and the back house and was surrounded with bougainvillea. I used to go out there and eat my breakfast, admiring the brilliant colors surrounding me. I started a bit of a love affair with bougainvillea right there in that Santa Monica yard.
The next one was just a sad little tree surrounded by walkways and concrete. Our balcony was overlooking it and I barely spent any time there. We lived right next to the college at that time and if I wanted to go sit outside I would just go over to campus and pick a spot under a tree or on one of the many park benches.
One of my roommates and me then moved into a tiny two bedroom apartment, right at the border of Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. There was no yard, but we had a shared view deck on our floor with sweeping views from the Santa Monica mountains to the San Gabriel Mountains, with Century City and Downtown skylines in front. It was actually quite awesome and I loved sitting there at dusk watching all the city lights come on.
My next place in Hollywood had a front and a backyard. The building was a cool green art deco two story built in the 1920’s, called the Devonshire. The backyard was a bit of a jungle with big leafy palm trees and bougainvillea. It was a nice place to go cool down on a hot day. But it was the front yard where all the fun was happening – BBQ’s, yard sales or simply evening hangouts on the three steps leading up to the front door. Every time I felt like company I would simply go sit on the steps. It would never take long for one of my neighbors to join me for a chat.
Then I got a dog and got sort of kicked out of the Devonshire and life took us to a mother-in-law unit in Glendale. We had a yard with a bit of grass, a nice tree and a pergola to sit under. There wasn’t much of a view, we were surrounded by other houses. We did have some nice bougainvilleas along the street side of the yard, growing along a wrought iron fence. My apartment was pretty private, nobody really knew it was there, my door wasn’t visible from the street. We had some good times there, until my below neighbor started to lose her mind and would scream at me and my dog every time we just sat in the yard. It went so far that she would spray me with the hose when I sat at the table eating or talking on the phone. She kept saying that my dog was barking outside non-stop all day and all night. Funny thing, since my dog only had access to the yard when I was home and was never out there at night. The neighbor took the fun of the yard right out of me and we barely used it anymore.
My current yard is my favorite of them all. We live in a single wide on an approximately 1.5 acre property. We are surrounded by aspen, fir, cedars, madrones, blackberry, ferns and moss and it is simply divine. During spring and summer we are unable to see any of our neighbors houses due to the thick brush. We have all the privacy in the world. It smells deliciously like forest. Early in the spring we hear the tree frogs peep, then when spring really arrives we are serenaded by hundreds of songbirds. We have an eagle nest in on of our tall trees, woodpeckers amusing us with their “drumming”. We get visits from deer , fox, raccoons and even a wayward cow from the pasture one property over on a daily basis. I look out the window and I see nature and green, every day, always.