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Victorian backyards

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The Victorian houses that were built before 1900 had large backyards which were both practical and fashionable. Nearly everyone had a clothesline, a tool shed or workshop, a covered balcony or porch, a home vegetable garden and fruit trees. Their fancy laundry technology was much different than ours: They had a clothes wringer which is a mechanical compress that squeezes water out of clothes.

If one had money then there may be a glass conservatory which is a fancy greenhouse that looks like a gazebo. There is a huge one in Golden Gate Park. Also, aviaries were popular, which are very large walk-in bird cages for exotic species.

Ladies were very cautious of the sun and so they wore enormous brimmed hats with a veil to cover their faces. It's likely that they stayed in covered balconies, porches, enclosed sun rooms and gazebos. Victorian homes are famous for their rose gardens but they were probably tended to strictly by men.

Mixing modern contemporary with Victorian style
Mixing modern contemporary with Victorian style Designed by Katie Mallory (self)

Mixing modern contemporary with Victorian style

This backyard has two distinct personalities.  In the front it's modern with an outdoor kitchenette, a large casual patio and a children's playground.  In the back it's Victorian, with a large ornate gazebo surrounded by rose bushes in rioting colors.  It's secluded from the neighbors by fruit trees.  

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park
The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park Getty Images

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco) is the original that the Victorians installed about a hundred years ago.  It's still a very popular tourist attraction that draws revenue for The City.  

A Victorian style gazebo
A Victorian style gazebo Getty Images

A Victorian style gazebo

A gazebo protects one from the sun and provides a place to sit.  People played board games such as chess, and they painted portraits of flowers.  

A modern sunroom
A modern sunroom Getty Images

A modern sunroom

This is our modern version of the sun room.  It has double glazed windows with Low-E and argon gas to reduce noise and heat.  Our sun room furniture is different, too.  Victorians were fond of very ornate iron chairs and tables.  Ours are more likely to be wicker or wood.  

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