Tips for outfitting a backyard cooking space

Backyard Cooking
Courtesy of Johnna Brooks
A winding garden path bordered by drought-tolerant plants leads to a fire bowl and seating circle of basalt columns in this Los Altos Hills project by landscape designer Johnna Brooks.

What do the Big Green Egg, the American Muscle Grill and Bull products have in common?

They’re among hot items (pun intended) in cool outdoor kitchens. These appliances and the kitchens themselves are growing in popularity.
In fact, outdoor kitchens topped the project list in the latest American Institute of Architects’ survey.

Los Altos puzzle players find connection in solitary pursuit

Frozen Puzzle

A few stolen moments of relaxation, maybe over a lunchtime sandwich. A shared ritual during the slower moments of the 3 p.m. “Newshour.” Readers of this newspaper turn to its puzzles page to fill an idle minute, or mark a ritual moment in the day.

Hiking Haven: Scenic trails abound in and around Los Altos

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Hikers set off on a trail within Monte Bello Preserve, a 3,133-acre space located near Palo Alto in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Due to shelter-in-place rules brought on by COVID-19, many residents have taken to exploring local outdoor spaces near their homes that they may not have previously frequented.

The increase in visitors has caused overcrowding at some of the open-space preserves in recent months, prompting new regulations to balance the health and safety of residents while allowing them to enjoy the great wide open.

Whimsical wonders: Retired preschool teacher builds fairy houses

Fairy House
Andrew Yee/Special to the Town Crier
Handcrafted fairy houses populate the front yard of Mountain View resident Sarah Azzopardi’s home, above. Azzopardi, below, used materials like soda can tabs to create the shingles of her fairy houses.

When Sarah Azzopardi was young, her grandmother told her a story of magical fairies – small creatures that slept through the day and danced through the gardens at night. Retelling the story to her 2-year-old grandson decades later not only rekindled Azzopardi’s love of magic, but also sparked what has turned into one of her greatest hobbies: making fairy houses.

Gardens that give: Plant an abundance of flowers

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
A front yard of lacy phacelia, California poppies and other wildflowers is a magnet for pollinators.

Claude Monet famously said, "I must have flowers, always, always."

I think of that quote whenever I see a garden designed or inspired by Kate Frey. She designs lush gardens bursting with a multitude of flowering plants and humming with life, using California natives and other drought-tolerant plants. In a presentation at the National Heirloom Expo, she discussed "Pollinator Gardens: Gardens That Give."

Summerhill showplace: Los Altos home offers warmed-up take on modern design

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A sloped roofline and the warm tones of the stonework soften the modern exterior of this Summerhill Avenue home.


Ever fall in love with a house when you walk in the front door?

Home builder Abbie Bourgan aimed to make that happen with his recent project on Summerhill Avenue in Los Altos that he calls a "transitional contemporary" home.

"It’s contemporary but with traditional elements such as a sloped rather than flat roof," he said. "And the earth-tone colors of the exterior warm it up."

SpecialtyMagazines advertise


The Town Crier publishes six different glossy magazines throughout the year that are inserted into the newspaper.

You can view the latest magazine as a PDF here 
or explore our archive of past issues.  


Our magazines include:

  • Camps (1/27)
  • Family Spotlight (2/24)
  • Living in Los Altos (3/31 & 7/14)
  • Home & Garden (4/28 & 8/25)
  • Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival Magazine (9/22)
  • Home for the Holidays (11/17)

To advertise, contact our sales department by calling (650) 948-9000 or email [email protected].

To offer submissions to editorial, contact editor Bruce Barton at [email protected].

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos