Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and more homeowners view their outdoor spaces as an extension of their homes and desire amenities that will enable them to prepare a meal, relax and entertain in style.

The benefits of welcoming garden allies

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Using conservation biological control requires some tolerance of chewed leaves and aphid clusters, because the garden needs a large enough population of “food” to attract the beneficials in the first place and keep them in the garden.

Let’s get the word “pest” out of our vocabulary, counseled Frederique Lavoipierre in her presentation on “Hedgerows: Connecting the Dots” at a native plant symposium last fall in Los Altos Hills. She is director of education at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

How to handle a catastrophe when it hits home

It is quite unnerving when catastrophic damage occurs to a home. A catastrophic event could include a fire, a flood, a runaway car or a tree falling on the roof.

Keeping rainwater in the garden

Tanya Kucak/ Special to the Town Crier
The maroon flowers of spicebush boast an interesting winey fragrance. Native to moist places, spicebush is a large, deciduous shrub that provides good wildlife cover.

Native plants can handle lots of rain in the winter months, as long as they’re not in standing water. In fact, the “drought-tolerant” ones do better after a normal rainy season. That’s because many natives use winter rains to develop strong root systems. 

Hilltop haven: Couple design dream home on slope

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The kitchen is the focal point of Jim and Julia Lovin’s great room, above. The “J”-shaped island features a lively tile mosaic on its base.

Building a house on a steep slope was not on their radar.

Julia and Jim Lovin, who were living in Cupertino at the time, were looking for a house to remodel, something they could imbue with an Eichler-like ambience. They had better luck finding a compatible architect than they did finding a house.

Tips for storing holiday decorations efficiently & accessibly

Courtesy of Amanda Kuzak
Slotted ornament boxes are worth splurging on because they provide good protection for delicate ornaments.


It’s time to pack up the garlands and lights now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is behind us.

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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