I like to look at real estate. It probably drives The Goat mad. I don’t have immediate plans to move, and I do like our house. But I keep looking at local properties, it’s a bit of a hobby.
So recently I wondered why I do this? Our house is paid for, we’ve got a good little yard and great neighbors, why do I find it so much fun to look at other properties? I realized that it comes down to one thing. I really, really like “secret gardens”.
And, if you live in an urban area, this is an especially intriguing prospect. Because in an urban environment, you don’t have acres on which to hide seating arrangements, install water features, hide or implement utilities, grow veggies, etc. In an urban setting, you need to do all of this in an exceptionally creative manner, and on a much, much, smaller scale. And to me, dreaming about the possibilities is fun. It gets my creativity flowing and leads to researching and sometimes implementing great up-cycling ideas, reuse projects, and alternative methods of gardening.
Don’t misunderstand, if you own, or dream of owning, a larger than a city lot homestead, you are not alone. Most people dream of owning their own piece of the pie, most people don’t dream of living and functioning on such a scaled down version of a homestead. But I do. I still want to grow some of my own food, put it up, maybe have chickens (if I have a yard), create and use my own herbal remedies, and create a safe haven for critters and insects. However, I just dream of doing it in an urban environment where the “secret garden” is something truly amazing to stumble upon.
From what I know, many of the urban homes in older communities tend to have a public front, but in the rear of the home(s), everyone has their own little green space. And sometimes, it’s really tiny – nothing more than a tiny patio and a few potted plants. But they are there. Sometimes they include a larger communal courtyard and/or a play area for the children in the neighborhood.
For some, this is a huge turn off to urban life – give them the open fields and country roads! But somehow it tells me that even many years ago, people understood the importance of creating a green space, no matter how tiny. There are many advantages to living in a city, just as there are many advantages to living in the country, but we all need some greenery. It’s up to you to decide which setting, urban or country, suits you and your lifestyle. For me, it’s a little of both, just depends on when you ask me, but I tend to lean towards the large town/ small city setting (I don’t like to drive…).
Recently I’ve been eyeing up 2 local properties. One is definitely urban, it’s a building. That’s the only way to describe it, a building with retail space and the possibility of an upper apartment(s). The other is a smallish bungalow style home that’s hiding in plain site. Obviously the bungalow offers more physical dirt possibilities (chickens!), but the idea of solar panels and a hidden rooftop garden also keep drawing me back to my urban building day dreams. I think it would be amazing to have a seating area under some solar panels with a cool rooftop view of the city, including great view of the fireworks, and a rooftop herb and veggie garden with no lawn to mow.
Our home doesn’t look much different than any of the other homes in the neighborhood. It looks like your typical older home in our town. Sure, we have a fairly large city lot and I do have quite a prolific front flower garden, but generally, our yard doesn’t look like an oasis in the urban jungle. However, most people have no idea what lies behind our side gates. And I’m ok with that. That’s the way I want it. Because, honestly, I think there is something magical about walking into a space and thinking “Wait, what just happened? Where am I?”
Someday I hope our backyard surprises people and creates the sense of a secret garden. And to that end, I will keep working…just don’t tell anyone.