Front porches and front yard living used to be common in the US. People gathered in front of their houses while kids played nearby indicated that the neighborhood was a friendly, family-oriented place to live.
Sadly, with the suburbanization of many cities and recent trends in home and neighborhood designs, this lifestyle has declined. It’s not that this concept has been discouraged per se, but it seems that somewhere along the line someone decided that living in a bubble insulated from your neighbors was a great idea. But we disagree!
We’re thrilled that people are beginning to realize that being a friendly neighbor is fun and can be done with relative ease.
For example, a couple who serves on the Neighborly Town advisory board recently decided to take matters into their own hands. They placed a few Adirondack chairs and side table in their front yard. The results from the experiment so far have been encouraging.
As they were enjoying their new front yard furniture on the first evening, a neighbor stopped for a chat. It turned into a delightful hour-long conversation. Other neighbors who regularly walk in the evening stopped briefly to get acquainted or reacquainted.
Over the course of several days, the couple also noticed that instead of having to initiate a wave hello to passing neighbors, the neighbors were doing it.
“It’s been remarkable,” they reported. “It’s as if the chairs in our front yard sent a clear and tangible signal that this home is occupied by friendly people, and of course, we are!”
Coincidentally, as we were finalizing our Neighborly Organizations and Resources List, I stumbled upon an interview with Kristin Schell about The Turquoise Table. The simplicity of her idea is what caught my eye.
“Across America, neighbors are getting to know one another at turquoise picnic tables in the most simple place of all — their front yards. The Turquoise Table has become a symbol of hospitality and connection with friends and neighbors,” her website states.
Her Facebook page is filled with examples of folks across the country who have jumped on board and are reaping the rewards of a more connected community.
Whether it’s a picnic table on your front lawn, a couple of chairs on your porch, or a carefully designed outdoor seating area, we encourage you to do some front yard living. We’re confident you’ll enjoy getting to know your neighbors while gently nudging your neighborhood toward becoming a safer, more connected, more caring one.
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