George's West Philly Retreat

Small, Cool Outdoors Entry #27

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Name: George P.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Size: 221 square feet

Your Favorite Thing About Your Outdoor Space: I love the sense of enclosure afforded by the mature trees and my neighbors' plantings. Sometimes it is hard to believe that I am in the middle of the city. The yard was actually one of the primary reasons for choosing the house in the first place. The small size is one of the yard's best attributes...it means I can really let the plantings be the showcase.

Biggest Design Challenge With This Space: Shade and Mosquitos. Although a shady backyard is a delightful retreat in the summer, it severely limits what I am able to grow. The amount of sun in the photos as about as much as I would get in the course of the day. I've been able to use the shade as a means to limit the color palatte in my yard. And mosquitos unfortunately limit the amount of time I can spend outside unprotected.

Tips for Creating a Great Small Outdoor Space: I truly believe small spaces are much more elegant than large open backyards. Creating a sense of enclosure will make your yard feel like an extension of the home. For instance, even though my yard receives very little sun, the canopy of the umbrella overhead becomes a key component of the ensemble. Work with existing elements and use plants and elements you love, but don't be afraid to edit. A balance between softscape and hardscape is key.

Thanks, George, and good luck!

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