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Outdoors

Porch Patrol: Simple and Cozy

This is a simple and cozy covered porch, but I wonder: Does anyone use it? I’ve walked by this house many, many times and have never seen anyone using it. Maybe they [...]

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Add a Front Porch; Save the World

Have you ever driven or walked past a house that was so alluring, so charming, so warmly inviting that you felt an urge to go in and sit a spell? I bet that house had a front [...]

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New: A non-toxic primer from Kilz

 Q: What’s even better than blocking stains with KILZ primer-sealer? A: Doing so without poisoning yourself. I’ve been a fan of KILZ stain-blocking primer for [...]

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Aerial hedge trimming

Here’s a photo from the quirky former website Burbia.com. This fellow found a unique solution to that pesky hedge-trimming job. This beats the heck out of standing on [...]

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It’s official: barter works

So what do you do when your prized market umbrella goes flying off in the wind and breaks two spokes? And what do you do when your avocado trees are putting out so much fruit [...]

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The ipe conundrum — green or not green?

For several years, ipe (pronounced EE-pay) decking from Brazilian hardwood trees has been the darling of green builders. This beautiful wood looks like mahogany, and it does [...]

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Would this make your cat purr?

I’m not a cat person so I can’t judge this home-improvement innovation. Would your own kitty like a “cat run” like this for sunbathing, bird watching, [...]

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Recalled: Log swings missing nail

I don’t really know why I’ve become so obsessed with recalled home-related goods. Some kind of personality disorder? A perverse interest in the wrongdoings of [...]

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Help! Invading bamboo!

Question: Could you post an article on the responsible way to plant bamboo? Proper selection and planting could help neighbors retain friendship as well as money. My [...]

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The new world order: SoCal style

My entry into the world of barter — the new world order referenced above — is the result of a perfect storm consisting of (1) a broken Pottery Barn market umbrella, (2) [...]

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The accidental froggery

I never planned on creating a gathering place for frogs, known as a froggery. But I did nevertheless. It started with a simple fountain on my back patio, which I set up in a [...]

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New hope for old patio furniture

Reader Jose wrote in to suggest getting worn patio furniture refurbished as an alternative to hauling it to the landfill. What a concept. While Native Americans suggest [...]

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Scene From the Street: tiled mailbox

Got a square foot or two of 3/4-inch tile left over from your kitchen or bathroom project? Here’s an idea seen on a SoCal street. I’m not sure this will hold up [...]

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Tile artist’s home is her canvas

Back in the 1980s, Michelle Griffoul chose her home for one reason. “It had forklift access to the backyard,” said Michelle, who bought the home, in the Santa [...]

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Saving water outdoors

My mother-in-law is visiting from Santa Barbara and wonders if she can rinse off her truck at my house. It’s no longer allowed in her town. As the population explodes [...]

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