Growing Backyard Neighborhoods

The goal of this website is to connect people who want to share parts of their backyards to create large, shared spaces where children can play and learn together spontaneously and neighbors can get to know each other easily and hang out and do things together.

Some may just want to share portions of their backyards and nothing else. Others may want to share a few more things, such as tools and outdoor toys, and perhaps share occasional meals outdoors. And some may want to develop into retrofitting cohousing communities with some shared indoor facilities like N Street Cohousing in Davis, California, where fences have gradually been removed from the backyards of 19 houses. Those that focus on permaculture might even become urban ecovillages. Sharing backyards and some indoor facilities might be especially appealing to families who practice unschooling or other types of home education. Some families might want to pool resources to set up a laboratory or music room, for example. or share other educational resources.

If you own or rent a home with a backyard and would like to have neighbors who want to remove or modify fences and share parts of their backyards (or you already have shared backyard space and want to notify interested people when a home on your block becomes available for sale or rent), please see the request for listings at the Blocks with Potential page. We won’t post addresses or people’s names, but the names of surrounding streets would be helpful if you are willing to have those posted on this website. That way, people who want to share backyards can start researching your area (and perhaps ask us to forward email to you if you want that) to be prepared for the time when a home on your block becomes available for sale or rent. Even if you decide not to post your block location on this website, you can ask us to notify interested people on our mailing list when a home on your block becomes available for sale or rent.

And if you would like to buy or rent a home on a block where there are residents who want to share parts of their backyards, you can click here to ask to be added to an announcement list. Please be specific about which area(s) you are interested in, such as a city, region, state, or country. Whenever someone tells us about property for sale or rent in a block where a resident wants to share backyard space, we will make an announcement to the people who are interested in the area that the block is in.

Also, please contact us if you hear of two or more houses next to each other for sale or rent at the same time, on any block. We could then contact the people interested in that area. (We could also help connect people who want to buy or rent at the same time.)

The legal and insurance aspects of taking down fences are quite simple. We encourage you to check out The Sharing Solution, which was written by two attorneys and published by Nolo. It discusses legal and practical issues of sharing and has a section on sharing yards.

We will never sell or rent any email address, and we won’t give your email address to anyone except a person or group you ask us to give it to.

To help people who want backyard neighborhoods find each other, we need a lot of publicity, so if you like our mission, please link to BackyardNeighborhoods.org at your personal or other website or blog, your Facebook page, etc. You could also add a link to our site as part of the automatic signature on your email messages. If you like to write, please consider posting comments about us on relevant websites and sending letters about our website and mission to online and paper newspapers, newsletters, magazines, etc. And please keep a few pieces of paper with our website address in your wallet to give to your friends who have backyards, especially those who have children. They may have an unexpressed craving for an old-fashioned neighborhood where their kids can run out the back door to play with friends in a field with trees and bushes, and the adults can watch the children playing while they chat with neighbors over a low garden fence.

October 14, 2012 at 1:01 am 1 comment


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