Small-yard secrets

A tiny urban backyard finds creative uses for space and materials

Sustainability is a theme in Kobara's garden. Much of the material is recycled, which has led to some happy surprises. When a neighbor offered her an old playhouse, Kobara dismantled it and carried it wall by wall down the street to her backyard.

The playhouse inspired her to create a secret garden near the side of the home, where she put down pieces of her former concrete driveway as steppingstones. "The more we reuse and recycle, the fewer resources we deplete, including fuel to transport the goods," she explains.

Now complete, Kobara's garden works perfectly for her family. "On the lawn, we have picnics, play catch, or set up the hose with a whirling sprinkler for Izumi and her friends," Kobara says.

"When guests come over, I set up a table for meals on the brick patio."

Judges for Sunset's 2007 Dream Garden Awards found the backyard so appealing that they gave it an award for best use of a small space.

Next: Tips for designing a small space


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