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Character Building

Articles: Character Building

The Gregory home in Eugene, Oregon, seen from the community meadow across the street; three narrowly pendant Sequoiadendron giganteum ‘Pendulum’ add a vertical line to the left of the entry walk (without adding any shade), while the lower branches of a ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) screen the recessed front door on the right; the garage is farther to the right; brightly variegated Euphorbia characias ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ and Iris foetidissima ‘Variegata’ stand out against the deeper colors. Photographs by Buell Steelman

When Buell Steelman and I first met Joy Gregory, her small suburban front yard was indistinguishable from her neighbors’ yards. It was tiny (about 900 square feet), overwhelmed by the garage and driveway on one side and the neighbor’s house on the other. The space consisted of little more than a scrappy lawn, a few foundation shrubs, and a quick concrete path from the driveway to the front door.

Joy is a redheaded graphic designer with a quick wit—an unexpected resident of this newly constructed development on the outskirts of Eugene, Oregon. She chose her new home with her young son in mind. The qu...

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