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LA Backyards are Pretty, Useless

Many Angelenos bristle at the notion of living in condo because they won’t have a yard. In the single family house hungry culture of L.A., the pissing contest is often over one’s yard: how big it is, how it’s landscaped, if there’s a pool, etc. As it turns out, Angelenos merely like the idea of a backyard but hardly ever use it. According to a study at UCLA, backyards in LA are just money pits with little utility:

Angelenos put a lot of money into making their yards attractive and entertaining. "They are a buffer of green" from the outside world, [Professor Jeanne Arnold] says, but "backyards might as well be blocks away considering how often the families go in them." Of the families with working parents and school-age children monitored for the study, more than half of the children didn't spend any playtime in their backyards and most parents only wandered briefly there to perform chores: take out the trash, feed dogs or wash off chairs. "Occasionally a kid would kick a soccer ball but it wasn't for too long," says Arnold. "We admire backyards from inside the house or in our mind's eye, while we're busy doing other things."

At least the family dog has a nice place to pee. We wouldn’t want Fluffy to have to go on the sidewalk.
· The Yard: So Close, Yet So Far [LA Times]