Kenny Be's Yard Arteology: Downspout Saguaros

The study of neighbors through their lawn ornaments

Figure 7. Berkeley: Downspout Saguaros

Arizonans who move to Denver are usually happy to leave all reminders of that hellhole behind. It would never occur to them to announce their Arizona-allegiance by constructing saguaros out of cheap building materials, even if it does seem like a fitting tribute to that state's endless sprawl of strip malls and condos. These carefully crafted cacti are the work of a yard artist who has a soldering gun and a keen sense of how man-made materials mimic mother nature, in reverse! The ribbed sheet-metal tubes mirror the shape and function of the cactus, but one drains the roof while the other drains the desert floor.

Seeing that these downspout saguaros are securely cemented into flower pots and combined with quartz chips, igneous boulders and driftwood clearly indicates that this homeowner likes his southwestern fantasy to be precise and well-organized. That the cacti were probably constructed from the home's original downspouts, which were replaced to solve a basement water issue, clearly shows that these neighbors were reducing, recycling and reusing long before it was fashionable. The rising ceramic sun paired with the wrought-iron wagon wheel suggests that this is a home where the residents enjoy themselves, sip a daily cocktail (of Jim Beam and diet Sprite at 4 p.m.) and love to play a good game of Yahtzee -- as long as there is a tablecloth in use to silence the racket of the rattling dice.

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