Vicki Moore removed the first slice of lawn in her Los Altos backyard around 15 years ago and then, bit by bit, kept replacing pieces until eventually all the grass was gone.

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If you drive or cycle in the hills west of town in spring or summer, you may notice light-orange flowering shrubs covering steep, dry hillsides, often in part shade. These shrubs are native, drought-tolerant, long-blooming, deer-resistant, attractive to hummingbirds and adaptable to gardens.

Have you ever walked under a native oak tree in the spring and discovered a caterpillar or 10 tangled in your hair? The next time it happens, I hope my first thought is, “Yea! Food for songbirds” rather than “Eeuw! Gross!”

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Everyone loves a home flooded with light, but the reality is that not every home has abundant natural light. The layout of the house, shade from surrounding trees and buildings, window placement and many other factors influence the amount of natural light that enters a space.

If you’re planting native milkweeds for monarch butterflies and other natives for the birds and bees, consider adding a California pipevine for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. Also known as Dutchman’s pipe, this plant has interesting flowers and fruit as well.

Growing up in California, I’ve always been fascinated by Big Sur: the knotted driftwood, the jagged rocks, the miles of coastline and the way the water turns from teal to deep blue to gray. I remember the wind whipping through my hair as I sat in the backseat of my parents’ Rambler, windows …

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Over the past year, I’ve been fielding questions for Town Crier readers that may at first feel like overwhelming design conundrums. However, once the problems are broken down into simple and logical parts, the solutions are often quick and easy fixes.

Growing up in California, I’ve always been fascinated by Big Sur: the knotted driftwood, the jagged rocks, the miles of coastline and the way the water turns from teal to deep blue to gray. I remember the wind whipping through my hair as I sat in the backseat of my parents’ Rambler, windows …

Over the past year, I’ve been fielding questions for Town Crier readers that may at first feel like overwhelming design conundrums. However, once the problems are broken down into simple and logical parts, the solutions are often quick and easy fixes.

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town CrierLong spines on the flexible branches of fuchsia-flowered gooseberry offer good cover for birds.

Courtesy of Sherry Scott DesignPairing a neutral-colored fireplace surround with wood paneling painted a glossy red color that’s brought up and onto the ceiling takes the space from dull to dramatic.

Zoe Morgan/Town CrierInduction cooktops save energy and can heat rapidly.