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FOREWORD: Editor’s Letter on Backyard Improvements

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Force of Nature

I hate my back yard. Why? Simply because it looks nothing like any of the landscaped (and hardscaped) masterpieces spotlighted in this month’s Home & Garden Special. No gurgling fountains, no crystal-clear swimming pool, no lushly manicured greenery. Just patchy, lumpy, browning imperfection.

So this spring, I’ve vowed to make improvements—a patio near the back door; more fencing to shield us from the ratty old sofa and muddy, chainlinked expanse next door; some pavers on the side walkway, which looks like it hasn’t seen a fresh layer of cement since Prohibition. Maybe I’ll even succeed in getting grass to grow under the bird feeder.

But, hey, I’ll need help. And in my deluded dreams, master landscape architect Chuck Gale offers to pick up some of the slack—gratis, of course—because, well, I’m just a real swell guy.

Yeah, right.

If you haven’t seen Gale’s work, prepare to be awestruck by the pictures in our “Gorgeous Back Yards” feature. This third-generation landscaper has made outdoor fantasies a reality at some of the most exclusive Main Line estates. So if you’re looking for that perfect combination of family-friendly oasis and mini-Versailles, he’s definitely your man. Just tell him we sent you.

THANKS: Over last 12 months, Main Line Today has experienced an impressive 11 percent increase in single-copy sales, selling out routinely at newsstands throughout the area—and we have our readers to thank for that. Perhaps you’re among the many newcomers just discovering us. Longtime readers have come to expect our informed opinions on dining, the arts and society, along with practical stuff like “Best of the Main Line and Western Suburbs,” “Top Doctors” and “Best Places to Live.” But you’ll also find timely, well researched features on people, issues and events that define our community—great work like Dawn E. Warden’s “Generation Rx” (November 2006), about the abuse of prescription drugs by Main Line teens, and J.F. Pirro’s “In Memory of a Murder” (February 2007), chronicling the demise of John du Pont. This month, Warden and Pirro offer another pair of powerful stories. Pirro’s “The Others” follows the flow of Mexican immigrants into the area, putting a uniquely human spin on the surge and detailing its impact on our region. For “Outside In,” Warden offers the achingly personal story of Terri Cohen, a Main Line woman who survived her battle with eating disorders and is now an integral force behind A Chance to Heal, an organization that’s spreading the word about the trauma kids face daily when it comes to body image. “How do we teach them what’s normal when everything they see in the media is an amped-up image,” poses Warden. “We’re in need of role models who are growing old gracefully while celebrating their own unique features.”

Cohen is just that.

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