Archive for the 'Outdoors' Category

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 thinking of the impact of our actions seven generations into the future, we would do well to consider seven seasons in the future. For instance, what will this [...]

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These pathetic garden swings: what to do?

During these lovely spring days, your thoughts may turn to buying an inexpensive metal garden swing with a charming fabric canopy. I have one short piece of advice for you: DON’T DO IT! Pictured here (bottom) is one of these swings I spotted on a SoCal balcony. The metal is rusted. The fabric is rotted [...]

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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 in the sun.

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Scene from the Street: SoCal front-yard gardens

Here’s what was showing off yesterday in SoCal front yards. Hey, does anyone know what that thing is on the top left? It looks Australian.

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Scene From the Street: House numbers in a SoCal beach town

Another way to express ourselves: House numbers! (Photos: KPR)

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Ask a Landscape Designer: Gravel good in the garden?

Question: Could you find a landscaper to comment on pros/cons of pea gravel in a residential setting? I’m entranced with the look, and permeable hardscape is important to me. However, when I research on the Internet, I find most postings by homeowners are negative: It does not stay put if there are children or dogs [...]

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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 Barbara County community of Los Olivos, when she was a fledgling ceramic-tile artist with a very large kiln. “The house itself was irrelevant.” But the sage-green house [...]

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Sprinklers running in the rain? Mushrooms growing in your yard?

High-tech wizards have tried to get us to use our computers to control so many mundane daily tasks: opening and closing the drapes, turning on the hot tub, setting back our thermostats. But so far, we’ve resisted, finding a quick yank on the drapery pull easy enough. But here’s a device that might tip us [...]

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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 here on the planet, supplies of fresh water don’t seem to be keeping up. Something has to give. A helpful article in Sunday’s newspaper, headlined [...]

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Do-it-yourself solar-powered fountain

After countless vain attempts to locate a solar-powered fountain similar to the one I stumbled upon at my local Home Depot, I’ve decided the better way is to find the components and assemble one myself. The elements are shown above: fountain + pump/solar panel = solar-powered fountain. Fountain: The fountains come from places like OSH, [...]

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Doggie doo doo? Please don’t

Seen while walking . . . here are some ways urbanites try to keep dogs and their droppings off private property. Now if only dogs could learn to read, we’d be all set. Any other “doggie don’t” strategies?

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Q&A: How to get the look of a vine-covered house?

<p><a onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=288,height=384,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false” href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/02/10/vinecoveredhouse.jpg”><img title=”Vinecoveredhouse” height=”333″ alt=”Vinecoveredhouse” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/02/10/vinecoveredhouse.jpg” width=”250″ border=”0″ style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 5px” /></a>This is my own dilemma:</p> <p><strong>Question</strong>: I love the look of vine-covered houses, which look to me like storybook houses. But my husband hates it. We do have invasive ivy growing on our house, and it’s awful. It [...]

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Q&A: How to get the look of a vine-covered house?

This is my own dilemma: Question: I love the look of vine-covered houses, which look to me like storybook houses. But my husband hates it. We do have invasive ivy growing on our house, and it’s awful. It pushes its way under the roof rafters and into the house. And it gets full of dust [...]

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New Product: TimberWolf composite fencing

I’ll be blogging live next month from the International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla., but manufacturers are introducing so many new products now that I’m getting a head start. One of these is TimberWolf, a wood-composite fencing material made by FiberTech Polymers of Santa Ana. The fencing is manufactured, the company says, from 100% post-consumer [...]

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Loving my new solar-powered fountain

I’m loving my new solar-powered fountain, which gives me the soothing sounds of water outside my office window without running up my electric bill. And I feel connected to nature, as the fountain begins running in the morning only after the sun comes up. Because it has a 6-volt battery that gets charged up during [...]

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Rate This Remodel: Craftsman-style exterior

The story you are about to hear is shocking, so don’t fall off your chair when I tell you: The remodel of this 1948 Hawthorne home was designed by a 16-year-old, David, and built by him and his father Norbert, a schoolteacher, during a summer break. Since then, David has been accepted into the respected [...]

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Wanted: Engineer for tile roof

Reader Martin L. sends this request: I need to re-roof my wood shake canyon home in Los Angeles. We are considering Japanese ceramic tile, and that requires an engineering certification. What’s a good source for engineers who will do this work in L.A. We’ve contacted a couple who “refuse” L.A. jobs. Thanks. Any ideas for [...]

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One, two . . . skip a few . . . 99, 100

I'm looking for a new attitude for this table project and all projects to come. Up until now, my favorite parts of a project have been the moment I decide to do it, and the moment it's done. I want to learn how to savor the process, that stuff in between. For this table (yes [...]

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Should this table be saved?

I'm a hypocrite when it comes to the "dump pile" out behind Bill's workshop. While I've been critical of that pile over the years, and begged Bill to get rid of it, I also have no trouble adding to it. And it came to pass that I wanted to toss this table in the pile. [...]

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Everybody’s got an opinion

In the days or weeks between the time you choose your house colors and the day the paint goes on, doubt can creep in. “Oh, man, that’s bright,” the painting contractor thought when he visited the house with the colors I wanted him to match. “It looks like clown colors,” his lead man told him. [...]

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