Urban Escape

City lights, backyard nights

Colored lights strung through wrought iron of a Paris balcony.  An Austin patio brightened with chevron rugs and potted roses.  When we come upon a killer urban backyard in a city with a heartbeat, we’re more lovestruck than Duckie was with Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink.

Dreamy urban backyards often make the most sense for us, and not just because our souls die a little when we get x amount feet from a cul-de-sac.  Here are three surprising bennies to a chic, albeit probably smaller, outdoor space.

Less is more

If you’ve ever  given away your collection of American Girl dolls or purged your middle school CD collection (Matchbox 20, anyone?) you know the joys of simplifying.

And the fact is, “less is more” isn’t just a  saying now – it’s a nationwide trend.  In his wildly popular TED talk, Graham Hill explains that although Americans have three times the amount of housing space they did fifty years ago, their happiness levels have “flatlined.”  In other words, as long as your needs are met, you’re comfortable, and you’re able to express your personality (decorate, etc.), square footage isn’t going to make a big difference.

De-cluttering also streamlines things.  Getting rid of everything but our most loved possessions means we’re surrounded by the objects we love most.  And not having to fuss over where the Jacuzzi’s going to go, or cram your clothes in your overflowing closet can mean a lot less stress.

Lower maintenance

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune summed it up well: “While the baby boomers entered homeownership with the assumption that 40 years of Saturdays were spoken for, Generation X and the Millennials have better things to do.”

Music festivals.  Bloody Marys followed by boozy thrift shopping.  We can think of a million ways we’d rather spend our weekends besides cleaning pool filters and clearing eucalyptus leaves from our koi ponds.

Also, for those of us who can hardly find a moment’s peace between the office, happy hour, gym and the million other things we do, a low-maintenance backyard isn’t just desirable – it’s necessary.

You live in a city

Instagram photos of cityscapes.  Grabbing a latte down the street before easing into a hammock under a canopy of trees.  Guys, forget lottery-winners, Kate Middleton, and that guy who fell five stories and walked away.  You have a backyard in a major city, which means you’re the luckiest person on the planet.

With walkability, culture, like-minded people, and a bevy of hipster bars and incredible restaurants nearby, there are so many bennies to living in a city, that the whole “size doesn’t matter” thing (ahem, re: your backyard) really comes into play.

Besides, with a little imagination, color, Pinning, and antiquing, no matter how small your space is, you can make it into a Domino Magazine-worthy outdoor sanctuary in no time.  #truth.

Image credit: Courtesy of Secret Gardens

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Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz is an avid blogger and freelance journalist living in San Diego. Her work has been featured in regional magazines and by online publications such as WordPress' Freshly Pressed, Elephant Journal and Quarterlette. Inspired by her real estate-saavy grandmother, Natalie dreams about owning a house with a clawfoot bathtub and a garden. She is also passionate about empowering others to live their best lives through her writing. For more on Natalie, visit her blog
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