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The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden

By Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy

Two giants of the natural gardening world, Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, have collaborated on their best work yet.

The New York Times

Many gardeners today want a home landscape that nourishes and fosters wildlife. But they also want beauty, a space for the kids to play, privacy, and maybe even a vegetable patch.

Sure, it’s a tall order, but The Living Landscape shows how to do it. By combining the insights of two outstanding authors, it offers a model that anyone can follow. Inspired by its examples, you’ll learn the strategies for making and maintaining a diverse, layered landscape—one that offers beauty on many levels, provides outdoor rooms and turf areas for children and pets, incorporates fragrance and edible plants, and provides cover, shelter, and sustenance for wildlife.

Richly illustrated with superb photographs and informed by both a keen eye for design and an understanding of how healthy ecologies work, The Living Landscape will enable you to create a garden that is full of life and that fulfills both human needs and the needs of wildlife communities.

Media reviews

"An inspirational book."

Chicago Tribune

"This thoughtful, intelligent book is all about connectivity, addressing a natural world in which we are the primary influence."

New York Times Book Review

"Offers guidance for creating beautiful landscapes that will be durable and 'support life without sacrificing' aesthetics."

Publishers Weekly

"A rich guide on creating sustainable landscapes."

—Johanna Silver, Sunset

"With beautiful photos and many examples, they argue eloquently that gardens can be civilized, lovely and even elegant while incorporating local plants and creating habitat for birds and the entire ecosystem in which they live."

Chicago Tribune

"Here's the book of the season, worth contemplating all winter long for the heartfelt and elegant practicality of its environmentalism. ... Darke’s beautiful photos stress the interconnectedness of nature, while illustrating how to create healthy ecosystems that serve humans, plants, animals, insects and birds."

Pacific Northwest Magazine

"Will become the most popular book of the decade."

—Ken Druse, Real Dirt

"Shares insights on beauty and biodiversity, plants and pollinators, and new design strategies for personal gardens both large and small."

Talbot Spy

"Two giants of the natural gardening world, Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, have collaborated on their best work yet."

—Anne Raver, New York Times

"Essential for gardeners and nature lovers interested in sustainability."


"A fascinating and beautiful book on creating gardens for wildlife."

Library Journal

"Will enable you to create a garden that is full of life and fulfills both human needs and the needs of wildlife communities."

Detroit News

"A good choice for neatnik gardeners who pooh-pooh native plants, native-plant fanatics who condemn rose-growers, and really anyone who's concerned about the plight of bees, butterflies and other pollinators."


"If you'd like to create a native garden this fall, the new book is a goldmine."

—Joyce H. Newman, Napa Valley Register

"Your home garden can be a showcase of native and nonnative plants."

Transylvania Times

"Makes an important contribution to understanding how critical it is for gardeners to think in terms of supporting nature in all seasons."


About the authors

Rick Darke

Rick Darke is a landscape design consultant, author, lecturer, and photographer based in Pennsylvania who blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. Darke served on the staff of Longwood Gardens for twenty years, and in 1998 he received the Scientific Award of the American Horticultural Society.

Read more about Rick Darke

Doug Tallamy

Doug Tallamy is currently professor and chair of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, where he has taught insect taxonomy, behavioral ecology, and other subjects. He won the Silver Medal from the Garden Writer's Association for his book, Bringing Nature Home.

Read more about Doug Tallamy

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