See how a couple turned their yard into the neighborhood's most popular theater
When Rika Houston knocks on doors to invite neighbors over for an impromptu screening, she's never short of takers. Located in the front yard of the Los Angeles home she shares with her husband, architect Brian Ten, the cinema is unlike any other in town. Sinking into the cushy sofa with lanterns lit overhead, guests watch The Birds or The Sound of Music on a screen nearly as big as the garage wall. "In the summer, every Friday is movie night," says Houston.
With the help of landscape designer Mark Tessier, Ten overhauled their yard to create a gathering spot for the family, which includes 9-year-old daughter Maya and teenage sons Cole and Taro. But as movie night took off, the couple has been happy to see how it has transformed the neighborhood too. "It's one thing to bump into someone on the street and share a few words," says Ten. "With this outdoor theater, we've gotten to
Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine
See how a couple turned their yard into the neighborhood's most popular theaterRead More »from How to Create a Movie-lover's Yard
Cooking hard-boiled eggs is easy until you've had them come out green or labored over peeling them. Here are the secrets to getting them perfect every time.Read More »from How to Boil & Peel Eggs
10 variations on deviled eggs
Prick the rounded end of each egg with a push pin. (This releases a little air so they don't crack.) Note: Ultra-fresh eggs are difficult to prick. Let them sit in the fridge for about a week before cooking.
Bring to a boil
Cover eggs with cold water by about an inch and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat, cover pan, and let eggs stand 12 minutes.
Drain eggs, holding the pan lid ajar.
Shake eggs in pan to crack them all over.
Fill the pan with ice, add cold water, and let eggs sit about 10 minutes (this makes them easy to peel).
Peel off shells.
More instruction guides from Sunset:
How to brine chicken
How to make a no-cook tomato sauce
How to toss a pizza
Quick and easy jams
L.A. designer Kelly LaPlante shows how to give salvaged materials stylish new purposeRead More »from 13 Ways to Decorate with Secondhand Finds
Sunset's home decorating guide:
14 key decorating strategies
Great ideas for shelves
10 rules of freestyle decorating
Salvage style: How to decorate with what you already have
For Kelly LaPlante, a leading Los Angeles-based interior designer, author, television host, and new mother, green design isn't just about choosing fabrics and furniture made from sustainable materials.
She prefers to help her clients find new use―and often unexpected new love―for things they already own. "There's nothing more green than keeping what you have," she says.
Her own Venice loft is proof that hand-me-downs and thrift-store finds can rise to stylish new purpose.
Design: Kelly LaPlante Organic Interior Design, Venice, CA (kellylaplante.com or 310/581-6789)
The dining table was brown and had belonged to a client. "They were going to throw it away," says LaPlante, who saw potential in its curves.
Create beautifully untamed bouquets using finds from the wild or your own backyard to create the perfect affordable gift on Mother's DayRead More »from Top 15 Flowers for a DIY Mother's Day Bouquet
Garden ideas from Sunset:
23 knock-out native plants
Top plants for summer color
20 favorite perennial flowers
Leaves of green on one side, and silver on the other? Yes, please. They add texture and movement to any arrangement.
Branches with white or orange-red flowers add height to an arrangement.
A sure sign that spring has arrived, bring daffodils inside to cheer up any room.
Moody as can be, we love hellebores of any color as an element to an arrangement.
Whether still in bud, or as fully-opened purple thistle flowers, artichokes are great in a vase.
Pro flower arranger Max Gill, of Max Gill Design, advises, "On a magenta clematis (C. 'Madame Julie Correvon'), trim the longest stems of the lower leaves, place them into the vase, and let them spill down to the
We play matchmaker, pairing your camping personality with places you're sure to love.Read More »from 20 Campgrounds to Suit Your Personality
Sunset's camping guide by region:
California & Hawaii
Perfect campgrounds for first-timers
Mt. Hood National Forest, OR
Lake Powell, UT and AZ
Wahweap Campground Glen Park National Recreation Area: What better payoff for taking the camping plunge than the finger canyons of Lake Powell? A waterfront campground comes with basic creature comforts (hot showers, shaded picnic tables). After breakfast, the main event: Rent a boat or kayak at the marina to explore what looks for all the world like Zion National Park filled halfway with water. From $23. Book it: 888/486-4665.
Near Santa Cruz, CA
New Brighton State Beach: Sit on a pine-shaded bluff above an endless white beach, New Brighton's 100+ sites get snapped up by those itching for a beach weekend-without the triple-digit nightly tab. The beach is the real draw, and the hot showers don't hurt, but another bonus is that if you forget your
Kick off your Cinco de Mayo weekend with a frosty mojito, margarita, or smoky mezcal cocktailRead More »from 8 Tasty Cinco De Mayo Cocktails
Cinco de Mayo menu:
42 easy Mexican dinners
14 great Mexican side dishes
11 delicious Mexican desserts
Ruby grapefruit juice gives an extra tangy bite to the standard marg, while a sugar-rimmed glass helps to sweeten things up.
3 cups ruby grapefruit juice (fresh-squeezed or purchased)
2 cups of tequila
1 cup triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur
1/4 cup sugar
In a pitcher (at least 2-qt. capacity), combine 3 cups ruby grapefruit juice (fresh-squeezed or purchased), 2 cups tequila, and 1 cup triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day. Pour about 1/4 cup sugar on a rimmed plate. Cut a ruby grapefruit in half and rub rims of double old-fashioned glasses (8 oz.) with cut side of one half to moisten, then dip glass rims in sugar to coat. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour grapefruit
Gain curb appeal and transform your outdoor living space with fresh ideas for your porch, patio, and yardRead More »from 15 Amazing Outdoor Makeovers
1. Aging garage turned guesthouse
This crumbling garage seemed to hold little promise for stylish live/work space.
The remodel enlarged the building to include a bathroom, loft, and a small roof deck, so it can double as guest quarters.
It can also still function as a garage thanks to a set of glass-paneled Dutch doors opening on the plywood-paneled office side.
2. Creating colorful curb appeal
The front yard of this Bremerton, Washington home used to be all lawn―and not very happy lawn at that.
There was another problem. Because the street sloped sharply downhill, there was a dangerous drop-off between the front walk and the deeply recessed driveway.
Cheery new entry (after)
Enclosing the yard solved the drop-off problem―the fence runs along the driveway as well as along the sidewalk.
Thanks to its interesting stepped back sectional design and lively color the lattice fence adds plenty of
Create dishes that look as beautiful as they taste with these salads, desserts, teas, and moreRead More »from 8 Dishes Featuring Edible Flowers
In this version of the classic Arnold Palmer, we used our lemon-scented blooms in place of the lemonade.
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, ends trimmed, chopped
1/2 cup each fresh lemon verbena* and lemon balm leaves*, plus lemon verbena for garnish
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup brewed black tea, such as English breakfast, cooled
1. Put lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon balm, and zest in a heatproof container. Pour 2 cups boiling water over herbs and steep 20 minutes. Strain, then stir in sugar.
2. Divide liquid between 2 ice-filled glasses. Top each with about 1/2 cup black tea. Garnish with lemon verbena leaves.
*Grow your own lemon verbena and lemon balm, or look for them at a farmers' market.
We used a mixture of spring blossoms from our garden to create this spectacular salad. Feel free to experiment with the
Take a weekend to scope out the most unique art and artful nature in the urban wildRead More »from Top 15 Art & Nature Playgrounds
More places to go this weekend:
Top 12 desert escapes
Top 15 foodie weekends
Nature's palette: Portland, OR
The hilly Japanese Garden has views of downtown. In fall, the Japanese maples are vibrant cinnamons and yellows. japanesegarden.com
Fort Bragg, CA
Floral fantasia: Fort Bragg, CA
Canyons, wetlands, a pine forest, and more make up the 47-acre Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens overlooking the Pacific. See native species in their natural plant communities, and formal gardens filled with heaths and heathers. Stroll the trails along coastal bluffs for breathtaking ocean views, at their best on clearer autumn days. Don't miss dahlias in full bloom in the Dahlia Garden in summer and fall. gardenbythesea.org
Los Angeles, CA
Indoor & Outdoor masterpieces: Los Angeles, CA
This sprawling art museum is a destination unto itself, but you'd be remiss not to wander its refreshed Central Garden. The maze of clipped azaleas, blooming
Dig into the DIY craze with these easy and fun projects for your backyard, patio, and garden!Read More »from 15 DIY Outdoor Projects
Small backyard beach
Small backyard beach (click on photo above for instructions)
If you love the beach but can't find the time for regular visits, why not turn an unused corner of your backyard into a sandy retreat? This miniature beach can be put together over a weekend for less than $200. Decomposed granite, sand, driftwood, and grassy plants complete the seaside look.
Outdoor chandelier (click on photo above for instructions)
Romantic outdoor lighting: With a wire basket, a few jars, and some tea lights and adornment, add a little handmade glow to your garden.
Romantic backyard cabana
Romantic backyard cabana (click on photo above for instructions)
This backyard lounge serves as both a casual spot for year-round entertaining and a private refuge with resort style.
Perfect compost bin
Perfect compost bin (click on photo above for instructions)
Designed by horticulturists at the University of California Cooperative Extension, this compost bin is inexpensive, easy