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.”