Connecting Future Backyard Neighbors

May 8, 2017 at 6:47 am Leave a comment

Our goal 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 easily get to know each other, share things, 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 and sustainability might even become urban ecovillages.

Families who practice home and community education (such as unschooling) might be especially interested in sharing backyards and some indoor facilities. 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 take down or change fences and share parts of their backyards (or if 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 it would be useful to post the names of the surrounding streets, or at least the city and ZIP code. 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.

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 that area.

If you hear of two or more houses next to each other for sale or rent at the same time, on any block, please contact us. We will then contact the people who are interested in that area.

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 (for example, you might want to have your email address given to other people who would like to share backyards in particular areas).

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 need a lot of publicity to help people interested in backyard neighborhoods find each other, so if you like our mission, please consider doing these actions:

  • Link to at your website, blog, Facebook page, etc.
  • Add a link to as part of the automatic signature on your email messages.
  • Post comments about Backyard Neighborhoods on relevant websites and blogs.
  • Send letters about Backyard Neighborhoods to online and paper newspapers, newsletters, magazines, etc.
  • Keep a few pieces of paper with “” in your wallet to give to people you meet 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 big meadow or garden with trees and other flowering and fruiting plants, and the adults can watch the children playing while they chat on a garden bench.

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