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Home&Real Estate

OPEN HOME GUIDE 68 Also online at

Home Front

DESIGN TO HARVEST ... Drew Harwell, an edible-garden and Permaculture consultant and manager of Jesse Cool’s Seeds of Change garden, will offer an “Edible Garden Series: From Design to Harvest” from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, followed by four Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Sept. 7, Sept. 21, Oct. 12 and Oct. 26, at Common Ground, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto. The series will cover garden design and planning, composting, soil preparation, seed propagation, transplanting, watering and nurturing crops. The course will cover tools, supplies and books. Bring “How to Grow More Vegetables” to class, as well as a lunch. Cost is $325. Information: 650-493-6072 or

by Rye Druzin


he 1960s and ‘70s were known for hippies, political upheaval and a hot Cold War. While these have come and gone, one relic of the era has remained: concrete-slab patios.

Detail of the concrete pavers that now cover Larry Baron’s “acres of concrete.”

Laid thick and wide throughout the back of many ranch-style homes built during the 1960s, these easy-to-maintain concrete-slab patios leave much to be desired. Their drab, gray coloring and lack of individuality have created a challenge for homeowners who want to give their back patios more character while maintaining the functionality and easy upkeep that slabs offer. Contractors now have many options for homeowners, from custom cutting the concrete to laying down flagstones or pavers. Stephen Kovacs, the head contractor and CEO of Santa Clara-based Eni-ko Landscaping, has been working with homeowners since 1988 to transform their homes

Veronica Weber

The concrete pavers begin in the driveway and front entrance of the house and are repeated thematically in the back.

Veronica Weber

Send notices of news and events related to real estate, interior design, home improvement and gardening to Home Front, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302, or email Deadline is one week before publication.

For Andrea Ho and Michael Stein’s concrete-patio remodel, Stephen Kovacs sliced into existing concrete work and inserted pavers to bring new and old together.

Veronica Weber

ART & WINE ... The 42nd annual Mountain View Art & Wine Festival, presented by the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, and Sunday, Sept. 8, along Castro Street between El Camino Real and Evelyn Avenue. Handcrafted wares by 600 artisans will be featured, along with musical entertainment, food and drink, home and garden exhibits and kids’ activities. Admission is free, and parking is available for $5 (benefiting Community Health Awareness Council) at 444 Castro St., 501 Castro St., 555 Castro St. (Sunday only), 749 El Camino Real, 1200 Villa St. and City of Mountain View Parking Lot 13 (on Bryant between California and Mercy streets). Valet bike parking near the corner of Castro and Church streets is free. Information: 650968-8378 or www.miramarevents. com/mountainview N

New materials give old, boring patios a second chance

Stephen Kovacs

DROP OFF HAZARDOUS STUFF ... The next monthly household hazardous waste events will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant, 2501 Embarcadero Way, Palo Alto. Residents may bring latex and oilbased paints, gasoline, road flares, propane tanks (used for barbecues and camp stoves), household or auto batteries, cooking oil and more. Unacceptable items include fireworks and ammunition, infectious waste and controlled substances. Proof of Palo Alto residency (either a driver’s license or current utility bill) is required. Information: 650-496-6980 or www. for the complete list, search for “hazardous waste.”


Larry Baron’s dog Vegas snoozes outside on the upgraded patio, where bedded slate tiles were added to the existing concrete.

and patios into aesthetically pleasing living spaces. Concrete slabs are a great base for new material as long as it has not cracked, Kovacs said. “It’s already there, it’s proved itself, it hasn’t cracked,” Kovacs said. “The condition of the existing concrete tells you exactly how well the front layer of the concrete is behaving. If it’s not (seriously) cracked, if it’s a solid piece (then) you are OK to put anything over it because it shouldn’t deteriorate in the next 10 to 15 years.” (continued on page 53)

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