Learn This: Backyard Wonderland, plus BOOK GIVEAWAY

April 25, 2024

Replace 5/1: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to winner Michelle Derviss!

We had been each brand-new authors at Ten Velocity Press when I met Leslie Bennett through the 2013 Fling tour, a connection that instantly felt like a sisterly bond. Leslie was extremely considered a designer, and I used to be intrigued by her background. A graduate of Harvard, Columbia Regulation College, and the College School London, she’d joined a legislation agency however then pivoted, following her coronary heart to change into a farmer and ultimately a designer with a deal with edible gardening and environmental justice.

Writer Leslie Bennett. Photograph: Rachel Weill

At present Leslie is the proprietor and founding principal of Pine Home Edible Gardens in Oakland, California, designing luscious, fantastically designed gardens that incorporate crops for harvest in addition to magnificence, that replicate the house owners’ cultural heritage, and that encourage a deep reference to the pure world. She additionally has a brand-new e-book, Backyard Wonderland: Create Life-Altering Out of doors Areas for Magnificence, Harvest, That means, and Pleasure, co-authored with Julie Chai. I’ve been devouring it because it arrived, poring over the pictures of drool-worthy gardens designed for feeding not simply the physique however the soul. (And I’m freely giving a replica on the finish of this publish!)

Photograph: Caitlin Atkinson

What I really like in regards to the e-book, moreover the inspiring pictures, is how Leslie gives sensible and simply digestible design recommendation. She explains ideas like triangulation and foliage distinction, which improve the visible curiosity of a backyard. She talks about methods to include edible crops, whether or not combined with ornamentals or in devoted raised beds. She shares her concepts about creating gathering spots in an effort to loosen up within the backyard, not simply work in it. Above all, she discusses how you can create a backyard that’s significant by way of crops you’d prefer to develop and the way you need your house to really feel.

Photograph: Rachel Weill

For every featured backyard within the e-book, Leslie tells the story of its proprietor(s) and the way it’s a spot of surprise for them. She additionally features a design takeaway on subjects like planting a hillside, utilizing edible flowers, designing a chopping flower mattress, benefiting from a small house, creating a great mixture of seating areas, and laying out a fringe loop path. These classes are good for the newbie gardener but in addition supply recent concepts for the skilled gardener.

Photograph: Caitlin Atkinson

Leslie makes environmental justice a key a part of her enterprise mannequin and commits to designing and putting in no less than one backyard per 12 months for Black girls within the Oakland space. A portion of her shopper charges goes towards her Black Sanctuary Gardens undertaking, and a few of these gardens are featured within the e-book. Her objective is to create stunning locations for relaxation and connection in under-served Black communities. As well as, the recipients and their new gardens are photographed to “create imagery that extra precisely and inclusively displays the connection of Black girls and communities with crops and gardens.” Leslie is actually constructing the extra equitable world she desires to reside in — and for others to reside in.

The writer’s yard backyard. Photograph: Rachel Weill

Backyard Wonderland is a wonderful e-book for drawing inspiration on your personal backyard’s design, for making even a small house extra productive, and for serious about the transformative energy of gardens. I extremely suggest it.

E-book Giveaway

Replace 5/1: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to winner Michelle Derviss!

And now — I’m freely giving a replica of Backyard Wonderland to 1 fortunate winner, courtesy of Ten Velocity Press!


To be entered within the giveaway, go away a touch upon this weblog publish. One remark per individual, please.

For an EXTRA entry, pop over to my Instagram and 1) FOLLOW @pamdigging, 2) LIKE my giveaway publish dated 4/25, and three) TAG a pal within the feedback!

Giveaway ends Wednesday, 5/1, at 11:59 CDT. Open to U.S. residents 18+ solely. No buy essential to enter or win. I’ll randomly choose and announce the winner on 5/1 and get in touch with the winner by e mail. The e-book will probably be mailed immediately from the writer.

Good luck, y’all!

Disclosure: Ten Velocity Press despatched me a replica of Backyard Wonderland, and I reviewed it at my very own discretion and with none compensation. This publish, as with all the pieces at Digging, is my private opinion.

I welcome your feedback. Please scroll to the top of this publish to go away one. In case you’re studying in an e mail, click on right here to go to Digging and discover the remark field on the finish of every publishAnd hey, did somebody ahead this e mail to you, and also you wish to subscribe? Click on right here to get Digging delivered on to your inbox!


Digging Deeper

Might 4: Discover “good backyards, good swimming pools and pergolas, and outside rooms and gardens” on the ATX Out of doors Dwelling Tour on 5/4, 10 am to three pm. Panorama architects, designers, and builders will probably be available to reply questions. Tickets are $33.85 for adults, $17.85 for youths age 10-17.

Might 11: Tour 4 Austin gardens on 5/11, from 9 am to three pm, on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour. Every backyard “is created and cared for by a Travis County Grasp Gardener and demonstrates sensible gardening practices that inform and encourage.” Tickets are $25, or free for kids 12 and below.

Might 18: On Austin Dwelling’s Nice Open air Tour, held 5/18 from 10 am to three pm, discover “Pinterest-worthy swimming pools and outside kitchens to considerate plantings and trendy city density options.” Tickets are $30.

Might 18: Pop as much as Dallas for the 2024 DCMGA Backyard Tour on 5/18 from 10 am to five pm. Tickets are $18 if bought on-line prior to six pm on 5/17, or $22 after 6 pm on 5/17 or on the occasion. For a sneak peek, click on right here.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and round Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Backyard Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to five pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come study gardening and design at Backyard Spark! I manage in-person talks by inspiring designers, panorama architects, authors, and gardeners a number of occasions a 12 months in Austin. These are limited-attendance occasions that promote out rapidly, so be a part of the Backyard Spark e mail checklist to be notified upfront; merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Keep tuned for more information!

All materials © 2024 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized copy prohibited.

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