DONNA MARTINEZ didn’t set out to create a one-of-a-kind oasis in her suburban backyard. But when she and her family moved to a small-lot subdivision in southern Orange County, CA, with houses all around, the longtime gardener felt a strong craving for privacy.
So she started planting. “I kept on planting until I couldn’t see the dirt,” she says. She began with trees, including a fast-growing Chinese flame tree, and vines like showy bougainvillea then added favorites such as geraniums, alstroemeria, and roses, attracted to their bright colors. Since the neighborhood association rules that enforced conformity in the front yard didn’t apply in the back, Donna embellished her plantings with found objects and vintage furniture snagged at bargain prices at garage sales, flea markets, and online. “I had no idea what to do with some of them when I dragged them home,” she says. “I liked them. That was all that mattered.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
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.
Queen for a New Day
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
JOSH HAWLEY'S TOXIC POPULISM
IS THE SENATOR’S AUTHORITARIAN GRANDSTANDING THE DARK FUTURE OF THE GOP?
BRINGING EARMARKS BACK WON'T FIX CONGRESS
ELIMINATING EARMARKS DIDN’T MAKE THE GOVERNMENT SMALLER. BUT REINSTATING THEM WOULD FACILITATE LEGISLATIVE CORRUPTION.
Why We (Still) Shouldn't Censor Misinformation
Trump’s loss in 2020, a majority of his supporters believed the election had been rigged. Some adopted wild conspiracy theories involving Chinese supercomputers, Hugo Chavez, and state-level Republican officials. These beliefs culminated in an attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead. To make sense of these events, many officials have argued that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allowed conspiracy theories to spread unimpeded, leading to erroneous beliefs and deadly behaviors. In other words, they blame misinformation for the violence.
How Green Are Your Bonds?
Fixed-income investors can make an environmental impact.
Best 401(k) Funds From American Funds
We rate the most popular actively managed offerings for retirement accounts.
Carlos Nazario – 12 Months.14 Covers.
The fashion industry can’t seem to get enough of Carlos Nazario.
GOODELL: NFL LEARNINGS FROM 2020 TECHNOLOGY HERE TO STAY
One of the major benefits of playing a full season pretty much on schedule during a pandemic is what the NFL learned technologically from 2020.
CLEANING UP GEORGIA
If not for the hard work of domestic workers, the Democrats might not control the Senate.
CHARLES & CAMILLA: SECRETLY SEPARATED!
Battling couple put up united front in public to claim crown
INVESTING ABCS: TEACHING YOUR KIDS ABOUT MONEY AND MARKETS
The recent stock market mania over the video game company GameStop, which this week was scrutinized by Congress, has provided a teachable moment for kids.