Rent a Backyard If You Can't Own One

By John Riha

If you're surrounded by urban grey but long for some backyard green, have we got a lot for you.

"Timeshare Backyard," an empty lot in lower Manhattan, has been transformed into a rentable backyard by a consulting firm called The Participation Agency.

For $50 per hour (2-hour minimum), lawn-starved city folk can gather up to 30 friends and family for a good old suburban-style summer get-together, complete with barbecue grills, lounge chairs, squirt guns, and a potty station. Add-ons, such as a kiddie wading pool, are extra ($200).

Consider it the latest evolution in the history of outdoor entertaining.

Video: Backyards for Rent in New York City

It's a welcome relief from squeezing onto an apartment terrace or hanging out at the bars, and it's healthy, too. A home life study by UCLA that linked clutter and depression found that a lack of outdoor leisure time leads to elevated stress and high levels of cortisol -- a hormone that contributes to fatigue and impaired cognitive functions.

Unfortunately, even people with backyards don't take full advantage of the outdoor spaces they have. The UCLA study goes on to say that homeowners who dress up their backyards with patios and decks simply don't take advantage of the stress relief that's close at hand.

For those who see the sunlight, however, but don't have ready access to a swath of green grass, provides a database of rentable yards across the country. There's even "umbrella insurance" for rainouts.

So grab your Hula Hoop and a couple of cold ones, and get renting.

This article originally appeared on HouseLogic.

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