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2005 06 28
Front lawns

I didn’t choose the evergreen shrub manicured to look like a tree as the centerpiece for our front lawn. On a Sunday evening, my landlord is nowhere in sight; what’s to stop the people passing by my porch from assuming I am the author of this work? Yet, this is my public persona to all who pass by. It’s not an unfair assumption; I myself wouldn’t hesitate to pry into a neighbor’s lawn to critique their poor choice of ground coverings. It’s not unlike window-shopping conventions that have become an integral part of our social practices. Occupying a piece of prime property along our city’s sidewalks allows for public display of some of our most private expressions. Front lawns are sites of privilege, and our city’s sidewalks lend full access to some of their most creative compositions. They reveal our intentional seclusion with guarded views through hedges and fences; our obsessive neurosis to water and manicure for hours on end; and our need for a place of leisure. They provide us with an opportunity to display our discarded or unused possessions – yard sale items disclose as much about our habits and lifestyles as do our more permanent lawn fixtures.

In some ways, the public square is no match for the individually tailored private lawn. They are custom designed to suit personal style, taste and pleasure. Getting to know our neighbors can begin with something as simple as strolling along any one of our city’s residential sidewalks.

Philip Evans
[email this story] Posted by Spacing Magazine on 06/28 at 07:05 PM

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