Magazine article Sunset

What's Your Backyard Type?

Magazine article Sunset

What's Your Backyard Type?

Article excerpt

Take our quiz to find out your backyard personality. Answers will reveal your ideal outdoor living space

The quiz

1| On your birthday, would you rather ...

(A) Round up the whole family for a day at the park?

(B) Throw a big party complete with a multicourse meal?

(C) Schedule a date at a spa?

2| What's your favorite sound?

(A) Children's laughter

(B) Clinking glassware

(C) Whale calls

3| When you get home from work, you change immediately into ...

(A) A pair of jeans and some sneakers

(B) A sundress and an apron

(C) A robe

4| Your favorite midafternoon snack is...

(A) An ice cream sundae with lots of toppings

(B) Fresh mozzarella with local tomatoes, organic basil, and just a drizzle of olive oil, served to friends

(C) A cup of green tea

How you rate

If you answered mostly A, you're playful. Turn to page 72 for your ideal garden.

If you answered mostly B, you're social. Turn to page 74 for your ideal garden.

If you answered mostly C, you're relaxed. Turn to page 76 for your ideal garden.


Life is a game, or at least it could be in your backyard. Set it up for slumber parties, outdoor movies, and general fun. Not only will the neighborhood kids like it, but the adults will too. Anne Bruns Richardson and her 7-year-old daughter, Eloise, use it as a haven for storytelling vivid with color. Landscape designer Kathleen Shaeffer helped create this whimsical backyard in Santa Cruz, California, with a bright blue fence, multi-colored polka-dot ceramic tiles, and plenty of room to romp. "I love that the backyard has an area for everything from playing to grilling and relaxing," says Bruns Richardson. design Kathleen Shaeffer, Santa Cruz, CA ( or 831/423-7849)


* Set up a "refreshment stand" by filling a bucket with nibbles.

* Spread blankets on the lawn for the picnic feel.

* Create an instant playhouse by pitching a tent.

What works

MULTIPLE PLAY AREAS The large grassy area, a built-in sandpit (which will be turned into a firepit once Eloise outgrows it), and a concrete patio are perfect for riding bikes and more elegant entertaining.

ROOM FOR GROWN-UPS While Eloise and her friends have free rein of the yard, Shaeffer wanted to make sure everyone had enough space. The bilevel yard allows adults to hang out separately.

COLORS Inspired by Bruns Richardson's love of color and echoing hues in the landscaping, the palette of bright blues, greens, and reds shows up in a turquoise fence, bright patio furniture, and other items.

AN OUTDOOR THEATER A large canvas tarp stretched between two rods functions as a makeshift screen for neighborhood movie nights. "We actually got the idea from an issue of Sunset," says Bruns Richardson. "We have movie nights all summer, and we've even hosted Eloise's class."

"I love the playfulness of the space. It just makes me happy to be outside" -ANNE BRUNS RICHARDSON

"Cooking and dining out here are pure pleasures. I feel like I'm in an elegant campground"



* Invest in a set of inexpensive metamine plates and cloth napkins for outdoors. They're a stylish way to reduce waste.

* Set up an outdoor bar on a potting bench or table with a tray to hold accessories.

* Place potted herbs and small trees like olives or lemons around the dining area for a lush alfresco feel.


Okay, so you're the type whose calendar is booked, and most of the time it's you hosting the dinners and cocktail parties. …

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