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This looks like a happy home! Design: Alice Moir. Photo: Randy O’Rourke (Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love, p. 105).

“My daughter Charlotte and I play a game whenever we get in a car together.  We drive along and point out the houses that look ‘happy.’  ‘There’s a happy house,’ she will exclaim.  I’ll look quickly as I drive past and agree.  ‘What about that one?’ I will ask.  ‘Smiley,’ she’ll reply as she sees a little white cape with dark green shingles and a red door.  ‘How about that one?  Happy?’ I’ll ask.  ‘No, bored,’ she’ll assert as we drive past a brick Tudor with white trim, little landscaping, and no detailing to speak of.  As we pass by another taupe-colored Victorian, complete with turret, large colonnaded front porch, and red door and trim, she exclaims, ‘Happy!’

“What is your house’s ‘happiness quotient?’  When you walk outside and view your house from the street, how does it look?  How welcoming to strangers?  Does it appear shy?  Standoffish?  Or exuberant and embracing?  We’ve decided that it isn’t the size of a house or the tidiness of its yard, or the obvious manifestations of wealth that makes a house seem happy.  Sometimes the most intriguing houses are snug, cozy little cottages, or ones strewn with playthings in their front yard, or those that need a new coat of paint.  Some of the most unhappy are new, oversized ‘trophy’ houses that occupy most of the space on a small site.  How do you create a happy home for yourself and your loved ones?”

From The Magic Land by Julie Moir Messervy (Macmillan, 1998, pp. 49-50)

“Happy Home” is the theme of our new Pinterest contest.  Create a Pinterest inspiration board of elements you’d like to see in your ideal front yard, for a chance to win a front-yard makeover! See the new Home Outside blog for full contest rules and details.


Win a front yard landscape design makeover! See the Home Outside blog for full rules.





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