This week I would like to share our family's spring project for community building in our neighborhood. We decided to install a people and dog-friendly fence and a patio area in our front yard with seating for coffee/conversations. It is a concept that dates back to the front porch days of the early 1900's. Folks used to build homes with front porches to have community with their neighbors and entertain company. It's funny, now in 2011, that seems like a novel concept. Anyway, our home has a small porch; so, we decided to take the porch concept out into the yard.. and, it is coming together quite nicely!
We had to move bushes, create a fence design and lay flagstone to build the actual conversation area for our adirondack seating. We had budgeted for one small Spring home upgrade and I chose this project first(over a much-desired kitchen remodel) to foster community and further enjoy the beauty of our diverse Chicago neighborhood in summer. Our new friend, Misael, helped move bushes and lay the field stone. And, my favorite neighborhood teens helped plant spring flowers last week, making the entire area look quite beautiful! Our pup, Luna, is also enjoying the new area... it allows her access to all people and dogs walking by for a little more attention. It also causes folks to stop and chat because most just can't pass by the attraction of a friendly puppy.
I have posted a few pictures below and would like to encourage you all to think about ways you might build more community with your neighbors this summer. Hanging out with my neighbors, playing games, and having deep conversations about solving the world's problems is one my my favorite childhood memories of growing up in my small town. I knew all my neighbors well - young and old... and, they were a valued support network for me and my family. So, I hope you, too, can create these kinds of memories for yourself, your friends and family in your neighborhoods. After all, we were created for life in community!