Looking Out My Window

By Teo Spengler | April 18, 2021
by Teo Spengler
April 18, 2021

“A room with a view” is a phrase made popular thanks to the movie made from E.M. Forster’s novel. It described perfectly everybody’s ideal living situation: a view from indoors. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to sit in a cozy, warm, homey spot and look out at the greater world?

While a window overlooking Rome would be fabulous, a view from indoors into one’s own garden is also special; in fact, even more special in its own way. That’s because it allows a person to see the interior and exterior they have created at the same time, as one creative living space. 

Looking Out My Window

In San Francisco, I love looking out my windows. My front room windows look east to the street, while the west side of the flat is bedrooms. One is for sleeping, the other a home office that has become central to my life during the pandemic. 

The garden is on the western side of the house, and it is from the bedroom and office windows that I have the garden vistas. These are also the windows that get the afternoon sun. I have definitely set up the garden with an eye to the view from indoors.  Looking out my windows is almost as wonderful as spending time out back.

Hanging Garden, Potted Plants

Directly outside of my western-facing windows is the wooden deck. It’s a perfect space for a little wooden table and chairs and lots of potted plants. I have a hummingbird feeder stuck to the window glass and have positioned hanging baskets of flowers against the windows so that the blossoms are visible from inside. 

Along the outside edge of the deck, I have free-standing wooden raised beds on 3 foot (1 m.) legs, and these appear like little walls of flowers, marking the beginning of the garden. Add to this several rows of container plants on the deck itself, including my Meyer lemon. This mix of fruit trees, foliage plants and blossoms create a lively garden vista with a wide range of textures and shades.

Garden Beds and Bird Feeders

If I stand at my bedroom window, I can see over the deck to the large expanse of backyard not covered by the deck. I created three large rectangular raised beds running up the center of this landscape, and this is my cottage garden area. The beds are filled with vegetables and native flowering plants intermixed in a wild and happy mix. 

The long sides of the backyard are protected by a 10 foot (3.5 m.) plank fence, while the fence at the back is the same but only 6 feet (2 m.) tall. Flowering shrubs and small trees line these fence walls, including a massive bougainvillea shrub on the northern leg of the fence where the squirrels have taken up residence. There is a water-station for the birds, a shallow rock-filled water basin for the bees and a deep large basin for other wildlife.

My backyard garden has a huge impact when I stand outside in the open air, but it also makes my bedroom and office very special as well. During the day, one glance out the window highlights the wild birds at the feeder. At night, I hear the little scurrying feet of raccoons and opossums as they make their way across the deck for a drink of water. 

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