Our family has grown up in central and northern New Jersey and despite stints of living elsewhere over the years, New Jersey is where we call home. We live in Bergen County in the northeast corner of the state, and cram a lot into our small urban lot. The running joke is if we add one more thing to our yard, we'd need to refer to it as a "compound".
Despite our small space and close proximity of our neighbors, we've turned our yard into what our friends call an Urban Oasis. A path curves from our back deck past a garden to our screen house. Cool in the summer and warm in the spring and fall, it's the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors without dealing with New Jersey's state bird, the mosquito.
Pass the screen house and you arrive at the pond - small, but a self-sustaining ecosystem with fish and an occasional turtle or frog. Looking south from the pond, follow the stream through the terraced gardens to the waterfall - the sound of running water soothing.
Passing the pond, go up the stairs to the deck and pool. Small but refreshing, it is partly in-ground to blend into the landscape. Next to the pool is a patio and the barn - my woodworking shop unless there's a party, when the workbench turns into a buffet table!
Many of the plants in our gardens are edible - blueberries and strawberries, raspberries, noxious-weedberries*, and all form of herbs including sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. Just one herb short of a Simon and Garfunkel song.
*Noxious-weedberries are actually blackberries from the west coast of Washington state. I had a friend send me some clippings after we visited the Seattle area and he thought I was crazy - they call them "noxious weeds" out there because they grow uncontrolled and have damn-sharp thorns. They produce TONS of berries that turn into wonderful jam, but do require lots of pruning to keep them under control!