Noisy West Seneca yard becomes private paradise

August 23, 2016
gardens around water feature in West Seneca NY

Gardens surround the pond and waterfall. Shrubs and vines soften the look of the fences. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

view from breezeway in West Seneca

This is a view from the breezeway that you walk through to get from the front yard to the backyard. Behind the vine-covered fence directly ahead is the steep hill. A seating area is under the patio to the left and the summer house and pond are to the right. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

You could see– and hear–  the nearby convenience store from the backyard.

But not anymore.

Bernie Grosser and Jim Jankowski now have a private backyard paradise at their home on Tudor Place in West Seneca.

I visited them during the fifth annual West Seneca Tour of Gardens held July 23 and 24.

In addition to having a noisy store nearby, another challenge of this yard is that it is situated at the top of a steep hill and had a clear view of the neighbor’s yard below. The hill slopes down so steeply that they couldn’t even use a lawnmower to cut the grass. The space was unusable, Grosser said.

Grosser took on the challenges and created an enclosed yard that is filled with trees, gardens and water features.

Fences were built on the top of the hill, circling the yard. Vines soften the look of the fences.

Grosser planted trees, including a catalpa and a pear, to add privacy and to help mask the street noise. Also helping to mask the street noise is the sound of water splashing in the pond’s waterfall as well as in a fountain near the patio seating area.

A unique feature of the yard is a small summer house or outdoor room, the size of a shed. During the summer, Grosser and Jankowski sit in it during the evening, and in the winter, it doubles as a storage space.

What’s unusual about that small building is how it is perched on the hill. The front of the building is flush with the fences. The building protrudes out over the top of the hill and is held up by stilts.

“You can see how small the yard is,” Grosser said, “but I think I did a good job with what I had.”

screened room in backyard in West Seneca

The summer house provides a seating area in the summer and doubles as storage in the winter. The pond is to the right. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

oom on stilts built on hill in West Seneca

From the top of the hill in the backyard, you can see directly into the neighbor’s yard, which provided privacy for no one. Bernie Grosser built fences around his backyard at the top of the hill. The front of the small summer house is flush with the fence, but the back juts out over the top of the hill, putting the steep hill to use. They also use the hill as a dog run.

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7 Responses to Noisy West Seneca yard becomes private paradise

  1. Tim on August 23, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Nice job and with some hard work and money and a vision in your mind anything can be accomplished .

  2. Donna on August 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    The first image in the garden is very beautiful. I am sure the water feature helps negate the noise too.

  3. Sue Lewandowsk on August 24, 2016 at 9:04 am

    It’s just lovely – especially the water feature. Very clever siting of the summer house, too!

  4. carol on August 24, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Good for them… what an improvement. Who knew poet Robert Frost gave good landscaping advice: fences make good neighbors.

  5. martha falsone on August 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

    beautiful…wish they could do my yard…. we have a ‘jungle’
    of rose of Sharon……wish someone wanted them….give them my e mail…

  6. Connie on August 29, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Martha, I’m trying to figure out a way for people to connect to share plants and seeds. I’m concerned about what my liability might be if I connected a reader with a stranger who did my reader harm. In the meantime, though, Grassroots Gardens is always looking for plants. Contact them.

  7. MARTHA FALSONE on August 29, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    o k I WILL CALL THEM

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