10 Books That Will Inspire You to Get Out in Your Yard This Spring

Posted on April 1, 2021

Yardzen’s team of designers, horticulturalists, landscape architects, and contractors put their heads together to come up with this list of their top ten favorite landscaping books. From small yard style to edible gardens to growing cannabis outdoors, there is surely something here for everyone! What are you waiting for? There’s no better time to get out in your yard!

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A Garden Can Be Anywhere: Creating Bountiful and Beautiful Edible Gardens  (2019)

By Lauri Kranz

Edible Gardens LA founder Lauri Kranz shares her secrets for planning, planting, growing, and maintaining luscious edible gardens, no matter the setting or size of the plot. Through gorgeous gardens created for her well-known clientele, including James Beard award–winning chefs, celebrities, rock stars, and more, Lauri shares her essential methods for growing abundant organic food. This practical guide is built around Lauri’s philosophy that nourishment and beauty are not separate goals. It’s also at the forefront of a gardening revolution, where more and more people are craving a patch of land for growing and the trend is toward edible gardens over ornamental gardens. A Garden Can Be Anywhere reveals Lauri’s knack for providing both beauty and bounty in her clients’ outdoor spaces. (Abrams)


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The Earth in Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants (2020)

By Jennifer Jewell

In this beautiful and empowering book, Jennifer Jewell—host of public radio’s award-winning program and podcast Cultivating Place—introduces 75 inspiring women. Working in wide-reaching fields that include botany, floral design, landscape architecture, farming, herbalism, and food justice, these influencers are creating change from the ground up. Profiled women include flower farmer Erin Benzakein; codirector of Soul Fire Farm Leah Penniman; plantswoman Flora Grubb; edible and cultural landscape designer Leslie Bennett; Caribbean-American writer and gardener Jamaica Kincaid; soil scientist Elaine Ingham; landscape designer Ariella Chezar; floral designer Amy Merrick, and many more. Rich with personal stories and insights, Jewell’s portraits reveal a devotion that transcends age, locale, and background, reminding us of the profound role of green growing things in our world—and our lives. (Timber Press)


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Floret Farm’s A Year In Flowers (2020)

By Erin Benzakein

Brimming with gorgeous photography and practical design techniques, this new book by beloved flower farmer and floral designer Erin Benzakein illustrates beautiful seasonal bouquets that anyone can make and everyone will enjoy. Each seasonally-inspired chapter engages and encourages readers to observe the colors and textures of the natural world around them and incorporate locally-grown ingredients while creating centerpieces, posies, and other floral arrangements. (Chronicle Books)


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Growing Weed in the Garden: A No-Fuss, Seed-to-Stash Guide to Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation (2020)

By Johanna Silver

From the former garden editor of Sunset magazine, Johanna Silver, Growing Weed in the Garden brings cannabis out of the dark, into the sunlight. This groundbreaking, comprehensive guide to incorporating weed into your garden leads you from seed or plant selection to harvest. Filled with gorgeous photographs of beautiful gardens, as well as step-by-step photography that shows how to dry, cure, and store cannabis, make tinctures and oils, and roll the perfect joint, this book provides all the information you need to grow and enjoy cannabis. For both the stoned and sober, the new and seasoned gardener, Growing Weed in the Garden is the definitive guide to doing just that. (Abrams)


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The New Sunset Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide (2012)

By the Editors of Sunset

As surely as gardens change with the seasons, gardening is ever changing. New plants, techniques, materials, and lifestyles are constantly broadening the choices you have and reshaping the way you garden in the West. In response to this natural evolution, the editors of Sunset-the West’s most trusted source of gardening information for more than 80 years-have completely redesigned and updated The Western Garden Book in this Ninth Edition. Following the best-selling success of the previous editions of The Western Garden Book, this edition includes a fresh new look, thousands of color photographs, fresh illustrations, and an easy-to-follow format. Written by experts for gardeners in the West, this book is an indispensable reference for beginning and expert gardeners alike. (Sunset Publishing)

You’ll find this book on every Yardzen designer’s desk!


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Dry Gardens: High Style for Low Water Gardens (2018)

By Daniel Nolan

Hot days, cool nights, dry air, a blazing sun—California’s Mediterranean climate is not what you think of when you hear “lush garden,” but leading garden designers Nolan and his peers have revolutionized this genre with their artful designs.

Nolan, the authority on dry gardens, has carefully selected 25 unique public and private garden masterpieces, diverse examples of interior and exterior gardening techniques. Readers will be treated to a complete look at crafting elevated and rustic gardens through a variety of environments, from pools and pocket gardens, front lawns, balconies, and living walls to retail spaces, museums, and vineyards. Each detailed project offers a different approach to incorporating the desert’s wild array of flora and becomes a practical tool, addressing various materials and horticultural and compositional solutions.

Rich with bold architecture of spiny cacti, brilliant and muted sage, rosy succulents, bright, dusty sands, and red rocks, Dry Gardens proves that inspiration has no geographic boundaries. It will be appreciated by lovers of gardens and interior design from around the world. (Rizzoli)


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The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs (2013)

By Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner

We’ve all seen the vegetable garden overflowing with corn, tomatoes, and zucchini that looks good for a short time, but then quickly turns straggly and unattractive (usually right before friends show up for a backyard barbecue). If you want to grow food but you don’t want your yard to look like a farm, what can you do? The Beautiful Edible Garden shares how to not only grow organic fruits and vegetables, but also make your garden a place of year-round beauty that is appealing, enjoyable, and fits your personal style. Written by a landscape design team that specializes in artfully blending edibles and ornamentals together, The Beautiful Edible Garden shows that it’s possible for gardeners of all levels to reap the best of both worlds. Featuring a fresh approach to garden design, glorious photographs, and ideas for a range of spaces—from large yards to tiny patios—this guide is perfect for anyone who wants a gorgeous and productive garden. (Ten Speed Press)


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Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces (2016)

By Michelle Slatalla

The team behind the inspirational design sites Gardenista.com and Remodelista.com presents an all-in-one manual for making your outdoor space as welcoming as your living room. Tour personality-filled gardens around the world and re-create the looks with no-fail planting palettes. Find hundreds of design tips and easy DIYs, editors’ picks of 100 classic (and stylish) objects, a landscaping primer with tips from pros, over 200 resources, and so much more. (Artisan)


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Small Garden Style (2020)

By Isa Hendry Eaton

Petite gardens align with the movement to live smaller and create a life with less stuff and more room for living. But a more eco-friendly and efficient space doesn’t have to sacrifice style. In Small Garden Style, garden designer Isa Hendry Eaton and lifestyle writer Jennifer Blaise Kramer show you how to use good design to create a joyful, elegant, and exciting yet compact outdoor living space for entertaining or relaxing.

A style quiz helps you focus in on your own personal garden style, be it traditional, modern, colorful, eclectic, minimalist, or globally inspired, then utilize every inch of your yard by considering the horizontal, vertical, and overhead spaces. You’ll learn how to design stunning planters and container gardens using succulents, grasses, vibrant-colored pots, and more. Hendry Eaton and Blaise Kramer recommend their favorite plants and decor for small gardens, along with lawn alternatives and inspiration for making garden accents such as a fire pit, front door wreath, instant mini orchard, boulder birdbath, patterned vines, perfumed wall, and faux fountain with cascading plants.

However small your garden, Small Garden Style will transform it into a magical, modern outdoor oasis. (Ten Speed Press)


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The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden (2016)

By Johanna Silver

Ruth Bancroft is a dry gardening pioneer. Her lifelong love of plants led to the creation of one of the most acclaimed public gardens, The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California. The Bold Dry Garden offers unparalleled access to the garden and the extraordinary woman responsible for it. In its stunningly photographed pages, you’ll discover the history of the garden and the design principles and plant palette that make it unique. Packed with growing and maintenance tips, profiles of signature plants for a dry garden, and innovative design techniques, The Bold Dry Garden has everything you need to create a garden that is lush, waterwise, and welcoming. (Timber Press)

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