Bogh and Schnetz outline the steps to transform a water-hungry lawn into an inviting, drought-resistant, less-hassle garden.
In light of California’s recent law mandating water conservation as well as the increasing danger that more U.S. and global regions may experience crippling droughts, Bogh and Schnetz’s ecologically responsible book is timely and wise. Though the book advocates a no-lawn approach and highlights plants and soils of the arid West, the authors explain that much of the information regarding water-efficient garden design and planting can be applied to all climate zones. The book takes the novice gardener on a soup-to-nuts journey from methods on how to kill a water-hogging lawn to design choices for creating a lovely outdoor room decorated with stones, tile, and drought-resistant trees and plants. The authors cite some shocking statistics: for U.S. homeowners living in arid regions, 60 to 75 percent of their household water is used for watering lawns, and 25 million acres of lawn is tended to by U.S. residents at an annual cost of $6.4 billion. Their well-organized guide begins with some basic FAQs about designing, developing, and maintaining a no-grass yard. From there, the book offers a comprehensive description, in helpful detail and with color photos, of steps necessary to complete the project. Other topics include envisioning a “paradise garden,” finding landscaping professionals, hiring contractors, acquiring necessary permits, soil and composting, irrigation techniques, choosing trees and plants, and pruning strategies. Wonderful resources, including a large list of gardening websites, close out the index. The book’s visual layout is also appealing, with plenty of color photos providing fine support as well as inspiration for design ideas. Brief, practical tips dot the text, as do lyrical observations about nature and gardens from writers such as Stanley Kunitz and Wendell Berry. The authors strike a perfect tone between deliberate planning and following your heart, experimenting with textures and colors and developing a green thumb through some trial and error.
An instructive, inspirational, and indispensable guide for anyone who tires of lawn care and wants an alternative that could help mother earth.