A roundup of tips including how to get free party packs that will benefit the environment and how to create shade in your backyard.
PLANNING A PARTY?... If you live in Palo Alto, you can borrow a "Zero Waste Party Pack" and make it a waste-free event. Instead of buying paper plates and all that other plastic ware for a party, you can get party packs for free from a Zero Waste Block Leader — a neighborhood expert available to answer recycling, composting and reuse questions. Each party pack comes with complete table settings for 24 people, including plates, bowls, tumblers, utensils and cloth napkins. Connect with a Zero Waste Block Leader at www.cityofpaloalto.org/zwbl. For more information, go to cityofpaloalto.org/zwparty, email email@example.com or call 650-496-5910.
WAYS TO COOL YOUR YARD ... Garden Design Magazine offers these ideas for creating shade. Plant a tree to shade the patio or deck and locate benches and chairs underneath existing trees. These areas under trees can be 20 degrees cooler than adjacent sunny spots. Place a fountain, pool or small portable water feature near your patio for a cooling evaporation effect. Build an arbor and plant quick-growing vines at the base, or install a shade cloth. For more tips, go to gardendesign.com.