“Good fences make good neighbors,” declared poet Robert Frost’s neighbor.
But two Cayucos neighbors would agree with Frost’s musing: “We do not need the wall.” With limited garden space, the see-through fence between their houses supports vines and hanging plants that both sides can enjoy.
The couples discovered common interests as vacation home neighbors, long before becoming permanent residents. Both women are avid gardeners and members of the Cayucos Garden Club. Each credits a grandmother for instilling her love of gardening. Both recycle old objects as garden accents. And both look forward to opening their gardens to visitors this spring during the annual American Association of University Women (AAUW) Garden Tour on May 1.
Dixie and Bill Lindquist made Cayucos their permanent home just two years ago, but they have collected well-aged wood, old farm equipment and unusual containers for many years.
A skilled woodworker, Bill converts old wood into tables, seats, potting benches, plant display shelves, and charming bird houses, decorated with odd bits of hardware or natural objects. His other creations include a fountain in a tall red urn, and a hanging “heart of stone” formed of chicken wire filled with rough rocks.
The Lindquists’ shady back yard features succulents in containers along with ferns and schefflera. A small patio is sheltered beneath the upper deck. In the front yard, a deck with four chairs is shaded by a podocarpus and screened from the street by a lemon tree.
In 2004, when Cathrin and Tom Eckle decided to move permanently into their 1940’s Cayucos cottage, they undertook a two-year remodeling project to expand the space, open the interior to the outside, and add three decks.
A public deck near the front door is separated from the street by a planting bed filled with succulents and low-growing flowers. Cathrin’s favorite color – purple – is apparent on the furniture and pots. Along the side yard, an intimate deck with a water feature is sheltered by the house on three sides. A spa is situated between that deck and a generous back-yard deck for entertaining.
Recycled materials in the Eckles’ garden include shelving and hardware removed from the cottage before its renovation. Family objects with sentimental value include a wooden hanging that Tom made in grammar school; their son Josh’s childhood wagon, hot wheel cars and driftwood hanging; and bricks that grown-up Josh and his wife Jennifer hand-painted.
On the street side, the space between the two driveways is a single garden that ignores the property line. Tucked among flowers are a sundial, bird house and birdbath. The two women share in its maintenance, as well as lemons from the Lindquist’s tree, herbs from the Eckles’ side, and the pleasure of working together on tasks they both love.