20 Jul 2011

Things We Take for Granted: Neighborhood Whimsy

photo by Kate McFadden

Feel like setting up doll house-sized vignettes in your garden of succulents? Why not! Care to decorate your patio with Lilly Pulizer colored lawn furniture and pink bikes? Go for it. Can’t fit the suit of armor in the dungeon? Put it on your porch. Want to turn an old toilet into lawn art? Well, that’s an option too.

Clearly the sense of humor and joie de vivre that inspires entertaining yard personality is not limited to the Hill, but my frequent sidewalk double-takes make me grateful that neighborhood associations don’t squelch the creativity of my neighbors. Can you imagine if the families who put their porches under the care of watchful trolls were blackballed or fined? Of course, there are times I wish folks would ‘curate’ — who can actually use that word in passing without air quotes? — their collection (ok, that aforementioned  toilet) with a more discriminating eye. But more often than not, my sense of wonder and appreciation trumps my inner ‘that’s tacky’ voice.

I wonder who the people behind these charming yards are. Washington certainly has the reputation of a serious town; if word got out about these yards that could all go south. One might think our particular neighborhood would be the dweebiest of the dweebs with the number of policy wonks and lawyers in residence. But there’s something about trolls, fairies and lawn sculpture that brings out the inner rebel. Perhaps their homes are predictably straight laced, filled with foreign service treasures, autographed POTUS photos and Pottery Barn wine racks. For some, the personal real estate between the house and the sidewalk is too much of a stage to fill with primroses and pansies. For that, I’m grateful. It certainly makes my neighborhood walks far more interesting.

Once the heat breaks this evening, I’m off to check on the toy carrots and bonnet-wearing rubber duckies that festoon a neighborhood fence. They’ve been there since Easter; perhaps elf hats and mistletoe are on tap for December?

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3 responses to “Things We Take for Granted: Neighborhood Whimsy”

  1. Lauren Torlone says:

    Nice post, Kate! I don’t mind the creative choices for lawn decorating (although its not my personal style) What I do mind are people who haven’t trimmed a shrub or cut a blade of grass since they moved in years ago. I have a handy little mower and hedge clippers I’m happy to share!

  2. C in DC says:

    This week, I’m appreciating the tree canopy, which keeps my car from turning into a furnace.

  3. C in DC says:

    This week, I’m appreciating the tree canopy, which keeps my car from turning into a furnace.

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