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How to create a movie-lover's yard

See how a couple turned their yard into the neighborhood's most popular theater

Neighbor-friendly garden
Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Neighbor-friendly garden

When Rika Houston knocks on doors to invite neighbors over for an impromptu screening, she’s never short of takers. Located in the front yard of the Los Angeles home she shares with her husband, architect Brian Ten, the cinema is unlike any other in town. Sinking into the cushy sofa with lanterns lit overhead, guests watch The Birds or The Sound of Music on a screen nearly as big as the garage wall. “In the summer, every Friday is movie night,” says Houston.

With the help of landscape architect Mark Tessier, Ten overhauled their yard to create a gathering spot for the family, which includes 9-year-old daughter Maya and teenage sons Cole and Taro. But as movie night took off, the couple has been happy to see how it has transformed the neighborhood too. “It’s one thing to bump into someone on the street and share a few words,” says Ten. “With this outdoor theater, we’ve gotten to know our neighbors much better.”

Design: Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture, Santa Monica;



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