(August 2014) 5. The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, by Rick Darke & Doug Tallamy

The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden

"A home garden is often seen as separate from the natural world surrounding it. In truth, it is actually just one part of a larger landscape that is made up of many living layers. And the replacement of the rich layers of native flora with turf grass greatly diminishes a garden’s biological diversity and ecological function. 

The Living Landscape seeks to reverse this trend by showing gardeners how to create a landscape that is full of life. Written by Rick Darke and Douglas W. Tallamy, two of the most important voices in sustainability and horticulture, it is the definitive guide to designing a beautiful, biodiverse home garden. The authors first explain the layers of the landscape and what role the plants within them plays in the larger environment, from providing berries for birds, food for bugs, or a place for bees to pollinate. The authors then put this information into context and offer design strategies to implement in a home garden. Helpful charts suggest plants, including natives and nonnatives, for each region.  

Douglas W. Tallamy’s award-winning Bringing Nature Home revealed the pressing need for a biodiverse home landscape. In a gorgeously illustrated, inspirational, and practical way, The Living Landscape supports the important message by showing gardeners how to make it happen."



For those who would like to include another book for this month's reading we are also suggesting this book: The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening, edited by Thomas Christopher.

"Gardeners are the front line of defense in our struggle to tackle the problems of global warming, loss of habitat, water shortages, and shrinking biodiversity.  In The New American Landscape, author and editor Thomas Christopher brings together the best thinkers on the topic of gardening sustainably, and asks them to describe the future of the sustainable landscape. The discussion unfolds from there, and what results is a collective vision as eloquent as it is diverse.

The New American Landscape offers designers a roadmap to a beautiful garden that improves, not degrades the environment. It’s a provocative manifesto about the important role gardens play in creating a more sustainable future that no professional garden designer can afford to miss. " 

- John Greenlee and Neil Diboll on the new American meadow garden.
- Rick Darke on balancing natives and exotics in the garden.
- Doug Tallamy on landscapes that welcome wildlife.
- Eric Toensmeier on the sustainable edible garden.
- David Wolfe on gardening sustainable with a changing climate.
- Elaine Ingham on managing soil health.
- David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth on sustainable pest solutions.
- Ed Snodgrass and Linda McIntyre on green roofs in the sustainable residential landscape.
- Thomas Christopher on waterwise gardens.
- Toby Hemenway on whole system garden design.
- The Sustainable Site Initiative on the managing the home landscape as a sustainable site.