Anything you photograph from a public right of way (sidewalk, street, etc.) is legal and ethically acceptable. Always better if you ask, of course (see comments from a real live lawyer, at bottom of post).
So I took photos. I didn’t ask.
If you saw this garden, don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same.
If a front yard garden is a gift to the neighborhood, what a delightful gift! I’m dying to get in. The front fence and custom little gate and arbor, is enticing enough – but it has a tree house – with a circular staircase, stained glass – and a thatched roof!
This is a garden in East Aurora, NY, just south of Buffalo, I stumbled across while visiting other gardens in the area during Gardens Buffalo Niagara‘s July Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays. This one was not on the tour – but I soooo want it to be. Mike Shadrack, an organizer of the Open Gardens event did approach them a few years ago to see if they’d be interested, but for some reason or another (bad timing, not home during the day, I forget why) they opted to decline.
But that fence! Mackenzie-Childs‘ colors and design, ball finials with little birds on top, stacked stone end caps with gold-painted plant urns, surrounded by small hostas.
And the gate, did I mention the gate? Not only does it have a built in bell, and lots of other smaller bells in it, but it has a little figure on a swing. How frickin’ precious is that, I ask?
Now I’m re-thinking the border of my front yard. A low decorative fence like this would up the seductive quotient of my front yard exponentially. Now I have something to dream about over the winter. Gotta’ crank up that garden charm.
A SIDE NOTE: In advance of the pitching of the book I’ve co-written with Sally Cunningham, Buffalo-Style Gardens, I did contact a lawyer (a benefit of being a member of the GWA|The Association of Garden Communicators) about using photographs from other people’s gardens. Here’s the scoop on that: If you take the photos yourself then you can use them to your heart’s content. No need to ask permission provided you are not using a garden owner’s own property – i.e., a trademark, copyright or patent. Gardens are not copyrightable works because they are not “fixed” in a tangible medium of expression (one of the basic requirements for copyright protection). Gardens are not patentable, though they may contain seeds and plants that are the subject of patents. In your garden travels, you may have purchased a ticket to take a tour of a particular garden. A ticket is a license allowing you to, for example, go onto someone’s property for a limited purpose. Some tickets state clearly that photographs are not allowed during the tour. If your photos include those taken on a tour where photography was prohibited.