things and places for homes and gardens

The book that makes me want to change everything

Monday 6 April 2009 - Filed under Books

Small Garden by John Brooks
This April will be an exercise in restraint chez nest maker. This is a budget-gardening year as I make some both exciting and terrifying life changes. More on that tomorrow. This weekend I was pouring through an incredibly inspiring library book. Small Garden by John brooks is a super dense book filled with gorgeous pictures of gardens that make the most of small spaces, and blend simple but high-impact hardscaping and tranquil plantings. I drooled over the pictures read it cover to cover twice in a row, and vowed to find it and buy it, because I’ll refer back to it frequently. Happier still, you can get a used copy on Amazon for $4.74. Super bargain, highly recommended.

Small Garden by John Brooks
Just about all the hardscaping is clean, modern, and minimal. It’s not at all how I’ve done my own, but it makes me want to re-do my patio. Maybe there’s someone on craigslist that would want to trade their big square pavers for my big organic new york sandstone slabs.

Small Garden by John Brooks
Built in garden furniture is so glamorous. I’m hoping as part of my budget gardening effort, I learn how build my very own garden couch.

Small Garden by John Brooks
I’m generally not a clipped hedge fan, but there are of course exceptions. And I LOVE the outdoor light fixture, even if it’s probably a photo stylist’s prop.

Small Garden by John Brooks
“Limit the number of objects and structures, and scale them up.” I thought this was such a great quote. I think it applies to plant selection, as well as man made materials. A big collection of small things looks cluttered and busy. Fewer bigger things for the eye to focus on, it’s hard to stick to, but it always looks good.

Small Garden by John Brooks
It’s hard to believe a garden could look so good with so few plants, but it’s hard to beat this simple outdoor room that serves as an extension of the house. How would you like to recline in your house, looking out on that scene?

Speaking of budget-gardening, James and Shala over at Double Danger are hosting a free giveaway week. Today’s giveaway item is an awesome pair of gardening gloves. Check it out and get your name in the drawing.


2009-04-06  »  megan

Talkback x 4

  1. Loree
    6 April 2009 @ 11:49 am

    You found an excellent little book there! My brother got it for me as a Christmas gift when he found out we were doing our patio, I was impressed that he chose such a good one. I picked up another John Brookes book last weekend at the U of O bookstore – too good of a price to pass up! I can’t wait to dig in.
    Oh and btw the tag on the agave that I bought at RPR says Agave americana variegata.

    Exciting and terrifying life changes huh? Uhm….sounds very exciting!

  2. Karen
    6 April 2009 @ 6:55 pm

    Wow, can’t wait to hear about that! Maybe you will be blogging from that home garden office pod after all??? I’m all about saving the $$ for what really matters these days. Library unless you MUST have a book, CD, or movie, trade/freecycle whatever you can, etc I know you are allergic to groups of people, but a garden club (perhaps of mostly folks you already know at least a bit??) with plant/seed swaps can cut down on the budget demands too. Craigslist apparently has a Farm/Garden category, did you know? Someone told me they got tons of free plants that way. Also, we have a group in my neighborhood that gets together for work parties at each others’ gardens, so no labor costs there. And up here, you can volunteer to help with native plant salvage and you get to take home a few plants at the end of your stint. I dunno, change scares the crap out of me but I wish you the best with yours!

  3. James
    8 April 2009 @ 3:42 am

    Thanks for the link. Another one today… all week long, one a day. Those pics are awesome, it does make you think there are simple alternatives to gardening. Affordable too.

    Anxious to see what changes are on the way.

  4. megan
    8 April 2009 @ 6:28 am

    Loree – now that you mention it, I think the pictures of your yard are similar to this style, aren’t they? That’s part of what got me hooked on your blog.
    Karen – yep, office pod is now an option. I’ve always been fast and loose with the money, I’ll have to get much better at finding creative solutions. I would love to find a volunteer plant salvage thing. I wonder how I go about that.
    James – changes are here, I just couldn’t get to my site yesterday to update. Stupid media temple, seems I have a lot of downtime.