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

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Overview

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. ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Perhaps it was a veneration of the grand displays of aristocratic European gardens that convinced many of us that home gardens should be self-contained aesthetic preserves. Landscape designer Rick Darke (The American Woodland Garden) and ecologist Douglas Tallany (Bringing Nature Home; In Harmony with Nature) had made it their calling to reject that idea by teaching us how to bring the larger landscape into our backyard flora. A biodiverse garden, they assure us, can be both beautiful and ecologically vibrant. Filled with specific design suggestions and environmental ideas, The Living Landscape brings new ideas to the table-and your outdoor garden.

The New York Times Book Review - Dominique Browning
…Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy make an authoritative case for "designing for beauty and biodiversity in the home garden"…This thoughtful, intelligent book is all about connectivity, addressing a natural world in which we are the primary influence.
Publishers Weekly
05/05/2014
Landscape designer Darke (The American Woodland Garden) and ecologist and entomologist Tallamy (Bringing Nature Home) give meaningful definition to the idea of biodiversity, particularly as it relates to a suburban garden. The book addresses the question: is biodiversity about “just gardening with native plants?” The answer is no; biodiverse gardening means giving native plants a functional and life-giving role in sustaining gardens. The authors highlight the less appreciated but critical role that natives can play, including cooling, tapping into ground water, and providing shelter for wildlife. They also assert that because suburban sprawl has created profound environmental change, “It’s time to stop worrying about where plants come from and instead focus on how they function in today’s ecology.” Their book focuses on long-term strategies for regenerating depleted soil. They dispel the false dichotomy that a garden can be either all natives and therefore healthy or filled with exotic plants and not naturally sustainable. Including 500 color photos, the book offers guidance for creating beautiful landscapes that will be durable and “support life without sacrificing aesthetics.” (June)
New York Times Book Review

"This thoughtful, intelligent book is all about connectivity, addressing a natural world in which we are the primary influence."
New York Times - Anne Raver

"Two giants of the natural gardening world, Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, have collaborated on their best work yet."
Booklist

"Essential for gardeners and nature lovers interested in sustainability."
Real Dirt - Ken Druse

"Will become the most popular book of the decade."

Director of Wild Ones Pat Sutton

“The authors walk us through and help us understand the layered landscape, something that so many gardeners don’t address, consider, or even know to think about. It’s a gem!”

The Talbot Spy

"Shares insights on beauty and biodiversity, plants and pollinators, and new design strategies for personal gardens both large and small."

The Chicago Tribune

“An inspirational book.”
Book Page

“Presents, in clear words and beautiful images—an entire pragmatic philosophy for how to live our lives and build our living environments.”
Gardens Illustrated

“A very important book and one that works very well for the nature lover turned gardener.”
Garden Design Online

“This is a book that every designer and homeowner has been waiting for.”
Rapid City Journal - Cathie Draine

“Let me state, without hyperbole, this is the best gardening book I have ever read.”
Georgia Native Plants - Ellen Honeycutt

“This collaboration is beautifully executed.”
Real Dirt

“Essential for gardeners and nature lovers interested in sustainability.”

From the Publisher

“Shares insights on beauty and biodiversity, plants and pollinators, and new design strategies for personal gardens both large and small.”

Library Journal
05/15/2014
Darke (The American Woodland Garden) and Tallamy (Bringing Nature Home) have cowritten a fascinating and beautiful book on creating gardens for wildlife. They begin by discussing the layers of a working forest ecosystem, followed by an explanation of the ecological function of gardens. They then apply these principles to the home landscape, showing gardeners how to build a beautiful garden that also provides habitat for wildlife. Heavily illustrated with stunning color photographs, with most of the images taken in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the book concludes with useful tables listing selected plants (trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants, grasses, and ferns) along with their landscape and ecological functions such as cover; nest sites; pollen; nectar; food for birds, mammals, and caterpillars; flowers; fall color; fragrance; and screening. There are separate tables for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Mountain States, and New England regions. VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers interested in ecology, natural history, and gardening for wildlife using native plants.—Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604694086
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2014
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,343
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Darke is a landscape design consultant, author, lecturer, and photographer based in Pennsylvania who blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. Darke served on the staff of Longwood Gardens for twenty years, and in 1998 he received the Scientific Award of the American Horticultural Society. His work has been featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio. Darke has studied North American plants in their habitats for over three decades, and his research and lectures have taken him to Africa, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and northern Europe. His books include The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes (2007), The American Woodland Garden (2002), and In Harmony with Nature (2000).

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware where he has authored 80 research articles and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect ecology and other courses for 32 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His first book Bringing Nature Home was awarded the 2008 silver medal by the Garden Writer’s Association. Doug was awarded the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd Jr. Award of Excellence in 2013.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2014

    Great resource!

    Love this book! I really found the charts in the back - broken out by region - to be so useful in guiding me to great plant choices. Bonus are the gorgeous photos. I've purchased it for gifts as well since buying my own.

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