Free Shade Trees For Your House

Shade trees provide beauty, protection from the sun and heat, and reduce energy costs. If you live within the city of Los Angeles you can get free young shade trees to add shade to your home.

city plants shade trees

Ask me how I know this.

Shade trees are important to your home’s landscape. We once had a gloriously green back yard. The drought killed the grass, but there were four beautiful, mature birch trees between our house and the one behind us, to the east.

birches 2010 great shade trees

View of our backyard, spring 2010

Unfortunately, they were on our neighbors’ property.

Last Friday, at the end of a very busy week for me, I noticed the neighbors had someone trimming one of the trees. I didn’t really pay attention until the tree was gone.

Heartbroken, I called over the wall to ask if they were cutting all of the trees. They were. They have their reasons for doing it, but having been given no notice, there was nothing I could do to change their minds.

I watched helplessly as the tree guy systematically dismembered and chopped each tree down, section by section, with a chainsaw.

cutting shade trees

One tree gone, a second tree being murdered

Once I realized what was happening and helpless I was to stop it, I just stood back there and sobbed, watching the trees disappear, and with it the shade they provided over our yard from the morning sun. And the privacy between our second floor and the neighbors’ backyard, and the middle school beyond.

Now in the morning, instead of beautiful dappled shade and the glory of the green birch leaves, we are subjected to harsh sun beating down upon our house and backyard. For a while each morning, the sun’s glare bounces off the roof of the middle school’s MPR and directly into the windows at the back of the house. I have to wear sunglasses to work in the kitchen.


I can’t even show you the new view. It’s too sad.


Yes, we will get drapes or treat the windows or install awnings.

But we cannot quickly replace the beauty and shade and protection of those trees. A friend let me know that the city of Los Angeles and other groups give away up to 7 free shade trees to local households in a program called City Plants. Unfortunately we are NOT in the city limits, so I’m looking into other programs and what we can plant that will work well and grown quickly.

In the meantime, it hurts my heart to look out the window and see the place where those trees aren’t.

Agoura Hills Screenwriters Film Festival 2015

There are a lot of people who live in and around Agoura Hills with artistic talent and considerable accomplishments already behind them. It’s so wonderful when they collaborate with our city’s programs to bring enjoyable events to everyone who lives here.

Next weekend, the Agoura Hills Cultural Arts Council, in conjunction with the Regency Theater, is hosting a screenwriters’ film festival:

filmFest2015Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio are leading a day and a half of events that will celebrate the art of screenwriting, starting with a VIP reception on Friday, September 25. As screenwriters themselves, they will host a Q&A after a Saturday morning screening of their film “Despicable Me” on the 26th.

So grab your budding screenwriter children (or your actual screenwriter children, I’m sure there are plenty of those around here!) and make a weekend of it! See the Cultural Arts Council website for tickets and more information.

The Greatest Movies Ever Written
Film Festival
Agoura Regency Theater
29045 Agoura Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Kids’ Acting Classes at Gray Studios

Master Teacher David Gray
Back in June I was invited to bring my children to a commercial audition workshop to get a taste of the services that Gray Studios, an acting coaching and teaching business that operates all over Los Angeles, provides in our area. My younger son, who had just starred as “third paperboy from the left” in a musical production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was eager to try it out.

Parents are not required to stay during the workshop, so I went to Trader Joe’s. Naturally. The problem is that my son barely gave me any information about the class! Just like with regular school, all I got out of him was a series of one word answers. How was it? “Good.” What did you do? “Games.” Do you want to audition for commercials now? “Sure.” Don’t get me wrong – he liked it. But he was done performing, so he wouldn’t even describe it to me. I know he had fun, because the teachers told me he was hamming it up with the rest of them.


gray studios workshoipMy kid: back row far left


So even though I can’t tell you exactly what happened, I can tell you more about Gray Studios. They are a group of working actors who have over 100 years combined experience working in film and television. Their classes include Audition Technique for film and television, and they partner with entertainment industry leaders for classes in Commercial, Voice Over, and Improv.


David ccoaching the On-Tape week
Some of the Gray Studios Alumni include:
Ariel Winter – Modern Family
Tyler Posey – Teen Wolf
Matt Moy – 2 Broke Girls
Cody Saintgnue – Teen Wolf
Hayley McFarland – Sons of Anarchy
Brant Dougherty – Pretty Little Liars


Gray Studios offers classes in Thousand Oaks on Tuesdays, and they are adding Saturday classes this fall. Their age breakdowns are 4-6, 7-11, and 12-17. Students from their classes often get signed by top industry agents. Check out their website for more information!


Our family enjoyed one complimentary workshop to facilitate this feature. I hope this helps you with a resource for your budding star!