NOT EVERY HOMEOWNER welcomes backyard sightings of bobcats and gray foxes. Nor do many make a habit of eating lunch while watching monarchs butterflies lay eggs in potted milkweed plants. But Diana Magor is the exception. Her garden is as much a sanctuary for her as it is for the wildlife that take refuge there. A zoologist by training and profession, Diana spent her younger years studying manatees in the Amazon, Puerto Rico, and Belize. Now retired, her scientific observations take place much closer to home—oftentimes in her own backyard, where all but the deer and gophers are made welcome.
From the start, Diana set out to create a serene natural setting—“a house inside a garden,” as she describes it. Perched on a terraced hillside in Santa Cruz, California, with sweeping views of Monterey Bay, her house defies its suburban setting, its garden enclosed by mature trees and packed with fragrant flowers handpicked to lure birds and other pollinators. “It’s like living in a treehouse,” she says. “From every window you can see something green.”
The scenery was quite different back when Diana purchased the property 30 years ago. The house was a typical 1970s California Contemporary—clad in vertical plywood siding with awkwardly placed windows—built into a steep hillside of clay soil prone to puddling. “The prior owner told me I’d need heavy-duty muck boots if I wanted to garden here,” she says. “He wasn’t kidding.” As luck would have it, just three days after closing on the property, an earthquake struck, prompting Diana to start upgrading the house sooner than planned.
Inclined toward beauty
Cut into a steep hillside, homeowner Diana Magor’s house in Santa Cruz, CA, overlooks a Japanese-inspired front garden and Monterey Bay, while the back offers views of a colorful terraced flower garden. Dense plantings along the sides of the one-third-acre property provide privacy.
Plants with purpose
Some provide color and fragrance to lure pollinators, while others offer lush foliage
‘Sally Holmes’ rose (Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’)
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SAVE THIS OLD HOUSE
SAVE THIS OLD HOUSE
Save energy, save money? Maybe...
Reducing energy use is always a good thing. But not every energy-conserving strategy is guaranteed to reduce your overall costs. We take a look at some common misconceptions.
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This Old House takes on a timeworn but beautifully crafted Queen Anne, adding on, opening up, and piecing back together the details that make it special
Not too big, not too small, a 1920 Cape Cod–style cottage proves a perfect fit for a design-minded homeowner with the vision to tailor it to her needs
Before + after Light touch
One family’s goal in renovating their formerly dark, closed-off galley-style kitchen? Open up and let the sun shine in
Same space, new function
With upgraded fixtures and finishes, a once-bland master bath gains storage and serenity—without the need for any additional square footage
A quest for privacy—and a flair for collecting—takes a California homeowner on a 14-year journey to turn a blank-slate backyard into a lush, layered getaway
Decades in the making, this terraced garden offers 360 degrees of color, while providing layers of privacy from nearby neighbors and a lush habitat for visiting wildlife.
A gathering space weighed down by dark paneling and a drop ceiling gets lightened up in a two-phase remodel
Making a House Their Own
A young couple tackle the project of a lifetime, showing what’s possible when you’ve got DIY skills, a go-for-it attitude, and stamina to spare
FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS CALIFORNIA CAN ENFORCE NET NEUTRALITY LAW
A federal judge this week ruled that California can for the first time enforce its tough net neutrality law, clearing the way for the state to ban internet providers from slowing down or blocking access to websites and applications that don’t pay for premium service.
The FOOD ON YOUR PLATE
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CALIFORNIA’S LARGEST TRUCK EVENT
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For top prospect Brandon Wood, failure was the teacher that granted him the perspective to aid others
THIS YEAR, I AM MY OWN VALENTINE IN AND THAT 'S OK
A LOVE LETTER TO MYSELF…AND ALL THE SINGLE GIRLS OUT THERE
ERIN BAAYEN OWNER/CEO RUSTY BROWN JEWELRY
Objects in a home, like flatware, vessels and various silver, carry the stories of all of those who used them, and thus, are imbued with their own inherent meanings. Some of these heirlooms may end up in antique shops, while others are passed on to relatives, but all the same, a story is always there.
Larger Than Memory
The Heard Museum presents a large collection of contemporary art from Indigenous North America.