When the stay-at-home order started, all Natalie Plecity and her family could safely do outdoors was walk around the block. We can all relate.

But she got an idea for brightening up the neighborhood while on a walk one day. “We were excited to see new chalk drawings or anything out of the ordinary to look at and we thought, we should do something.”

At first, she decorated her yard with some hula hoops they found in a neighbor’s trash (see photo above) and while it looked very cool, they didn’t hold up. So she tried something else using survey flagging tape that she had available.

Now if you stroll down the charming Woodwell St. in Squirrel Hill,  with its handsome brick Foursquare houses and leafy yards, you will see Plecity’s handiwork in the many different exhibits of colorful stretch ribbons that liven up the landscape.

A self-employed landscape architect, she’s naturally creative and just wanted to brighten up her own yard at first. “We put up these ribbons and everybody loved them,” Plecity says.

Many neighbors ended up participating as well. “We never asked anyone; we waited for them to ask me — I know it might not be everybody’s thing,” she says.

She not only agreed to get them involved, but she also volunteered to do the installation.

One benefit: she got the chance to get to know her neighbors better, from learning the names of some to finding out the favorite colors of others. It was a chance to connect during a period of isolation.

And the result is striking and cheerful and out of the ordinary: Now there are 27 yards on Woodwell St. bearing colorful ribbons, all in different configurations. The handful that were done by her neighbors are wonderful, she says. “Everyone kept up my high standards, I’m so happy,” she says with a laugh.

And others are taking note. NEXTpittsburgh was notified by a delighted reader, Polly McQueen, who sent us a photo and description. (Thanks, Polly!)

So how long will the art project stay up? “I’m not sure but they make everybody really happy,” Plecity says. “I’ll keep them up as long as everyone wants.”

All photos by TH Carlisle for NEXTpittsburgh.

NEXT staff

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.