Create inviting spaces bylandscaping in the round

Courtesy of Astrid Gaiser
The half-circle design placed in a triangular garden space, above, creates an inviting and relaxing backyard atmosphere. The side yard, below, is divided by half-circles to offer a more intimate escape.

When thinking about your landscape, shapes matter a lot, especially when the lot itself has a challenging shape.


Traditional vs. sustainable front yards

ial to the Town Crier A gravel path and the stepping stones are good examples of permeable hardscape. The elements allow rainwater to percolate into the soil on-site rather than being washed away into the street.

What difference would it make if you replaced a traditional front lawn with a sustainable front yard? 


Going no-mow

ial to the Town Crier Yarrow is the predominant plant in this sustainable lawn, which was seeded with both yarrow and Red Fescue the previous winter. The adjacent path and patio, carpeted with gravel, create a pleasant walking surface that enables rainwater absorption on-site.

Lawns don’t make sense in parking strips and front yards where the only person walking on them is the person mowing them, horticulturist Deva Luna told a standing-room-only crowd at a recent talk sponsored by GreenTown Los Altos. A small lawn would be appropriate for a children’s play area in the backyard, though, she said.


Do-it-yourself tips for replacing a lawn

ial to the Town Crier If you ask tree trimmers for mulch, you will get a truckload at a time. Here, it’s being offloaded onto a driveway. Note that the truckload has lots of green from leafy hackberry and elm trees. The mixture of leaves and branches will break down faster than wood chips alone, so this mulch would be especially good for a planted area.

At a recent talk sponsored by GreenTown Los Altos, horticulturist Deva Luna offered do-it-yourself tips for transforming what she called a "blank space, formerly lawn" into a sustainable landscape, as well as removing a lawn and planting.


Combining buckwheats with other natives

ial to the Town Crier Sulfur Buckwheat attracts many pollinators and adds a cheerful splash of bright yellow to the garden all summer. For dramatic contrast, grow it with blue-flowered penstemons or Wayne Roderick Seaside Daisy.

Native buckwheats buzz with activity and come in a range of colors and sizes, so you could have an interesting garden with only buckwheats. After all, you have approximately 500 varieties and cultivars to choose from.


Bike valet: GreenTown provides freeparking for bicycles (and strollers)

Festival attendees can park their bikes and strollers for free, thanks to help from GreenTown volunteers.

For the fourth consecutive year, GreenTown Los Altos is providing complimentary bike valet parking at the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival.

"Last year, we parked more than 800 bikes. This year, we are hoping to park more than 1,000," said Michael McTighe, GreenTown Los Altos leadership chairman. "Biking to the Arts & Wine Festival is a great way to get some exercise and help the environment."


Local Rotary Club teams with Chef Chu’s; proceeds benefit community

Courtesy of Jack Heidmiller
The Rotary Club of Los Altos and Chef Chu’s restaurant once again join forces at the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos and Chef Chu’s have joined forces once again to serve the restaurant’s famous Chinese Chicken Salad at the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival.


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