Outdoor Home: Jean's Urban Renewal

Outdoor Home: Jean's Urban Renewal

Maxwell Ryan
Jun 12, 2007

Name: Jean P.
Location: The North End, Boston, MA

"Hello! I live in a very densely-settled neighborhood. Behind many buildings, however, are spacious courtyards filled with BVMs in bathtubs, planters made from water & sewer pipe segments, and gardens full of smuggled Italian herbs and vegetables. My back windows face onto such a courtyard, and my elderly neighbor (who died last month) would often climb a ladder to hand over seedlings for my own garden...

My deck probably doesn't look like much, but if you'd seen it thirteen years ago, you'd be impressed -- it's actually the top of a defunct bakery oven and can only be accessed by climbing out the back window. Before I moved in it was used as a place to dump junk -- most of the space was covered with a decrepid, rotting shed, and the rest with toilets and sinks, old carpeting, ceiling tiles, and, of course, pipe segments.

Clearing it off was a miserable task. Every year I add something extra. This year's project is to line the left side (not pictured) with bamboo fencing -- my neighbor runs her air conditioner all summer, and the hot air blows onto my plants and into my bedroom window!

- Jean P.

(Thank you, Jean!)

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