Below are several great products that I have found very helpful for myself and that I want to share with you.  These are all products that I have used and personally recommend.  Now get out there and start transforming your world!

In full disclosure, several of the links below are affiliate links.  This gives me a small commission for your purchase, at no additional cost to you.  Again, these are all products I personally recommend, not just for affiliate income.  If you do not want me to get a commission for your purchase, search for the product with your favorite search engine instead.  I will still be happy if you choose that route.

Gaia’s Garden

Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway is one of my top recommended books.

It is an introduction to holistic design and ecosystem understanding on urban and suburban landscapes. With a focus on permaculture food production, I recommend Gaia’s Garden because the principles can be applied to any landscape regardless of food production intent.

Residential Landscape Architecture

Residential Landscape Architecture by Norman Booth and James Hiss is a great introduction to landscape design basics.

Covering your basic needs for understanding the complete process of landscape design, Residential Landscape Architecture is one of my go-to quick references when I need a refresh on the basics.  This book begins with the principles of aesthetic design, then follows with a step-by-step process for design and implementation.  I recommend this book for both the DIY design or if you plan to hire a designer as well.

Natural Garden Style

Natural Garden Style by Noel Kingsbury encourages you to let nature inspire you in designing  your landscape.

Noel teaches us how to look at different natural ecosystems and bring some of that rugged beauty into our landscapes, but in a way that appeals to the human senses.  Natural Garden Style is a great inspiration for designing your landscape and helps find attractive ways to reduce labor intensive garden design.


Integrated Forest Gardening

Integrated Forest Gardening by Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, and Bryce Ruddock delivers an in-depth look at plant polycultures.

While the intended focus is on food production, the principles laid out in Integrated Forest Garden provide a fundamental understanding of how plants interact.  This book is for the individual who likes to dive deep.  I recommend you first read Gaia’s Garden to understand the principles of holistic permaculture design before diving into this gem.


Design with Nature

Design with Nature by Ian McHarg shares one of the first looks at ecological principles for design.

This book is an inspiration in my own work, as Ian tells a story of how he came to realize the need for ecological consideration in design.  This story is punctuated with specific project examples where he suggests use of geographical overlays to understand ecological best practices – the precursor to GIS.  Design with Nature is a historical work that does not give design tips or ideas for your landscapes, but gives you inspiration for how to live.



“Our eyes do not divide us from the world, but unite us with it.”

– Ian Mcharg, Design with Nature


Photo Credit: Greg Clarke