Inspiring Gardens

Dan, Becky and Elena Young, Columbia

Open the alley gate to the Youngs’ backyard and you’re in for a surprise! In fact, you might find yourself stopping in your tracks to take it all in.

The Youngs’ backyard goes to prove that you don’t need acres of land to create a fun and relaxing getaway. They live in a rowhouse along Walnut Street that has a long but very narrow backyard. Those parameters, however, didn’t keep the family from creating a getaway that features two conversation areas, a children’s play area and a covered dining pavilion.

Fortunately, Dan is a tradesman (construction), while Becky has inherited her mother’s talents for sewing and gardening. Elena is following in the footsteps of both her mother and grandmother as far as sewing and gardening are concerned.

The family moved here from Bridgeport, Connecticut (by way of Brooklyn) several years ago and immediately began to transform the backyard of their home. Dan designed and built fencing and other features. Becky went to work planting flowers and vegetables and adding personality to the space through finds such as old window frames, lighting fixtures, furnishings and vintage accessories. Fire pits add to the comfort factor once cooler weather arrives. “We have Christmas parties out here,” Elena reports.

Becky also infuses her backyard with personality by choosing a theme that changes according to the season, the holiday or simply her whim. This summer, the theme is Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, which starts on the front porch with a mannequin dressed in a ballgown (plus other decorations) and makes its way through the backyard. Becky says the garden and themes somehow pay homage to her mother. “You will find her memory in many places in my garden, from her favorite roses to her love of fairies,” Becky noted in the program for the recent Art in the Garden Tour that benefited Create Columbia.

Now that the “bones” of the space are established, the family is working to attract more pollinators such as bees and butterflies, as well as hummingbirds (all favorites of Dan) to their backyard.

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