cover image At Home with Nature: A Guide to Sustainable, Natural Landscaping

At Home with Nature: A Guide to Sustainable, Natural Landscaping

John Gidding. Countryman, $32.50 (192p) ISBN 978-1-68268-709-3

Gidding, the host of HGTV’s Curb Appeal Xtreme, debuts with a rewarding guide to eco-friendly landscaping. Environmental health “depends upon our capacity to adopt responsible strategies of landscape design, allowing a mix of spaces for people and wildlife, without taxing limited resources,” contends Gidding, and to that end he advocates for using indigenous flora and emulating nature when landscaping. He criticizes grass lawns as ecologically irresponsible because they consume “30% of America’s precious drinking water” and promote harmful pesticide use. As an alternative, Gidding outlines his “sylvan design” philosophy that takes inspiration from the asymmetry of the natural world and encourages readers to use a mixture of native shrubs, trees, and ground cover. He details six sample blueprints for what lawns in different regions of the U.S. might look like and lists plants that thrive in each region, noting that Pacific rhododendron grow quickly and are well suited to the Northwest while sugarberry trees in the Midwest attract birds with their date-like fruit. Recommendations to completely overhaul grass lawns mean that novice gardeners might feel overwhelmed, but those ready to take the plunge will appreciate the helpful tips, including a thorough breakdown of how to draw a site plan. Readers looking to upgrade their yards while making them more sustainable will find this to be a great starting point. (Feb.)