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New face, new privacy for "boxcar" house.

There's a sacrifice of private open space when a house is on a corner lot. Since zoning laws force the house back on the lot, the only place for outdoor living is often in what's left for the back yard.

Homeowners Edna and Ben McCoy of Davis, California, wanted to recover the two public (and sunniest) sides of their lot for their own use. Landscape architect Michael Glassman of Greenscapes enclosed most of the yard with a fence and created a lush but low-maintenance garden inside.

The 6-foot-tall fence is set in from the property line to meet local codes. A carpet of red fescue and taller shrubs and trees border the street side. Guests arrive at a tall gate in the fence that leads to a redwood deck spanning a rock-lined pond. Although the pond is only 25 feet long, it gives the illusion that it could be larger by including a dry creek bed that starts at the end of the deck and runs along the yard's perimeter. The creek isn't just visual--it carried rain runoff away from the yard.

Closer to the house is a two-level trellis that starts at the front door and continues down the side yard. The trellis provides shade and adds a graceful detail to what had been an awkwardly shaped house.
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Date:May 1, 1984
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