Front yard machines : interpreting cultural landscapes in Thunder Bay
Lahtinen, Markus Christian
Master of Arts
SubjectLandscape gardening (Sociological aspects)
Urban beautification (Sociological aspects)
Landscape assessment (Sociological aspects)
MetadataShow full item record
The house and the yard have ceased to be solely functional objects. Rather, today they are often invested with tremendous amounts of time and money resulting in objects which transcend traditionally functional roles to become objects of expressive communication. What follows is an investigation of the house and yard, looking specifically at one aspect - the front yard. The term 'front yard', to cite the City of Thunder Bay's by-laws, "means a yard extending across the full width of the lot between the front lot line and the nearest part of any building or structure or open storage use on the lot" (820.1.5). Or more simply put, the front yard in a broad sense defines a myriad of objects that exist or come together in the forefront of a property or boundary. A typical front yard has a part sectioned for grass and lawn; another part is usually set aside for plantings (flowers, trees, shrubs, etc.); there is in many instances a defined path onto the property, from the sidewalk and from the street, as well as a path to the entrance of the house. For my purposes "the front yard" is the totality of objects within a particular space defined from one edge of the property to the next, and beginning at the front edge of an individual's private space up to but not including the front of the house. The front yard is an artificial creation and there exist preferred genres or models that define and structure spatial organization, construction and/or deconstruction. Thick green carpets of grass, structured gardens and bright flowers, manicured bushes and shrubs, and paved pathways are not natural occurrences. These objects create a geosocial artifact, which should be recognized as a mixed medium. The front yard is created through the selection and assemblage of choice objects; it communicates both cultural and personal factors intentionally and unintentionally.