Amazing home transformations

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Playful front yard makeover

A Portland gardener transforms her yard into a cheerful space to call her own

Front yard facelift
Photo by Susan Seubert; written by Julie Chai

Yard reinvention

When Ketzel Levine bought her North Portland bungalow in 2000, it had everything—almost. “What I really wanted was a backyard, and the house didn’t have one,” Ketzel  says. What she got instead was an exposed front yard with predictable twin patches of lawn on either side of a straight concrete path.

So the journalist—you may know her from National Public Radio, where she was called the Doyenne of Dirt—reinvented the front yard for relaxing, entertaining, and expressing her vivid personality. “I’m not a very conservative person,” she says. “There’s nothing predictable about my life.”

After enclosing the yard with a mostly see-through fence and ditching the lawn, Ketzel created a playful garden that’s an escape from the busy street just steps away. “When I walk through the gate, I feel cosseted by beauty,” she says.

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