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Off the Map: Backyard Travelogue
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Visit 10 Backyard Paradises
Stories, images and video of some of the most fascinating places on the globe!

Each backyard paradise featured here is a monument to the passion and vision of its creator. Visit the works of 10 untrained, visionary artists who have transformed their part of the world in rare and startling ways.

Image of Bottle Village Bottle Village - Simi Valley, California, USA
Tressa "Grandma" Prisbrey (1896–1988)

A series of 13 structures made from colored bottles and other materials salvaged from the neighborhood dump.  The third of an acre lot contains the Leaning Tower of Bottle Village, The Doll Shrine and the Pencil House in addition to other structures made from reclaimed objects. 
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Image of Owl House & Camel Yard Owl House & Camel Yard - Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa
Helen Martins (1898–1976)
The Owl House and the surrounding Camel Yard contain over 300 sculptures made from concrete and ground glass. Envisioned as a private Mecca, all the sculptures in the Camel Yard face east.
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Image of Palais Ideál Palais Ideál - Hauterives, France
Ferdinand Cheval, a.k.a. le facteur Cheval, 1836–1924

A four-sided castle made from concrete, lime and wire, located in Hauterives, France. Architectural styles from various time periods and countries—Algiers, China, Northern Europe—are visible in the facade.
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Image of Paradise Garden Paradise Garden - Summerville, Georgia, USA Howard Finster, 1916–2001
Three acres of sculptures and structures bearing scriptures and lessons from the Bible, Paradise Garden was built on reclaimed swampland beginning in 1961. Work continued for the next three decades. In that time, Finster’s earthly paradise has repeatedly made national news and has become Chattanooga County’s largest tourist attraction.
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Image of Pasaquan Pasaquan - Buena Vista, Columbus, Georgia, USA
Eddie Owens Martin, a.k.a.  St. EOM (1908–1986)

An architectural environment built between 1957 and 1986 in rural Georgia. Enormous sculptures flank the entrance and the tall perimeter wall is decorated with psychedelic medallions and mandalas. Influences are numerous, including factual and fictional places such as Africa, Easter Island, Pre-Columbian Mexico and Atlantis.
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Image of Salvation Mountain Salvation Mountain - Slab City, California, USA
Leonard Knight, born 1931

Salvation Mountain is an interactive landscape made of adobe, covered in religious slogans and over 100,000 gallons of paint. The mountain is as wide as a football field and stretches up over three stories high. Salvation Mountain looks out to a sprawling sea, also made by Knight with gallon after gallon of house paint.
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Image of The Forevertron The Forevertron - Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA
Dr. Evermor, a.k.a. Tom O. Every, born 1938

A 300-ton kinetic sculpture assembled from relics of the industrial age and designed for space travel, the Forevertron is located behind Delaney’s Surplus on Route 12, seven miles south of Baraboo, Wisconsin.
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Image of The Rock Garden The Rock Garden - Chandigarh, India
Nek Chand, born 1924
A 40-acre park of paths, courtyards, plazas, waterfalls and thousands of lively sculptures made from recycled materials, the Rock Garden was built in complete secrecy in dense forest outside the city of Chandigarh, India, over four decades.
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Image of Watts Towers Watts Towers - Los Angles, California, USA
Simon Rodia (1879–1965)

Spiraling steel spires embellished with colored glass, beach shells, broken tile, mirror shards, and pottery fragments, all circa 1920–1950. The Watts Towers were built by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia on his triangular lot in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts over the course of 33 years.
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Image of Windmill Park Windmill Park - Lucama, North Carolina, USA
Vollis Simpson, born 1919

Approximately 30 windmill-like sculptures which shine and reflect in the sun and whirl and spin in the wind, Simpson’s whirligigs are made from recycled machine parts, then painted and covered with thousands of small reflectors. Many stand up to 50 feet tall.
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Images of visionary artwork
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