Sunset Magazine Garden Book Contest!
With all the great outdoor living ideas and images floating around the Internet these days, it’s hard to collect and find them all when you are ready for your own projects. That’s why I love Sunset Magazine‘s new Western Garden Book: The 20-Minute Gardener. This stylish book has it all, from hip outdoor spaces to DIY projects to finding easy-care plants and flowers for your gardens. It comes in a large enough format to showcase the terrific selection of 300 color photos, but compact and organized to quickly find what you need. Even though I’m a blog junkie, sometimes I just prefer leafing through a book to clicking through computer pages.
Like all Sunset garden-related books, it teaches you how to develop a designer’s eye, using color, texture, size and shape to create visually pleasing and spatially welcoming environments. The idea is that you don’t need weeks and months to put them together. Instead, you plan right and spend 20-minutes a day or less to create and maintain welcoming outdoor spaces–perhaps less time than you spend on Facebook.
I love that Sunset encourages their readers to be resourceful, creative and conscious of the environment. As you choose your plants, flowers, furniture and garden accents, it also guides you to also work with nature. Ideas include how to make your own raised beds, grow edible plants, design a working dry streambed through your yard and plant a “moon garden” that glows at night.
The book also emboldens gardeners to use budget-friendly garden accents to bring playful pops of color or an outdoor theme to their yard, patio or deck.
More than half the book features a guide to easy-care plants and flowers, including sections on succulents, grasses and perennials. It’s so nice to have the experts narrow them down to those that are the most hardy, water-wise and beautiful. At first, I wished they had more on how to replace water-hogging lawns with less-thirsty, native plants, but then I realized that they had projects filtered throughout the book that do just that. Better to show than preach, right?
I have to say my favorite part was all the photos that highlighted outdoor living spaces, which usually included that ideal mix of comfortable, stylish furniture, creative patios and pathways, a cozy fire feature, unusual fountain or other imaginative focal point, and bold, lush plantings that gave it that feeling of an inviting outdoor room.
Not only do they show you cool ideas, but they include step-by-step projects to make your own, from a “Pool in the Pot” to repurposing found objects to improvising low tables. I’ve read about many of these ideas and projects on other garden-related blogs in recent years–from succulent tables to glass floats to painted walls–and it’s so handy to have the best ones all showcased in one place.
I’m already thinking about where I can fill an unused space with a water-wise herb garden like the one pictured here, or find a vintage neon sign to jazz up my backyard, or just re-think my other outdoor living spaces.
What’s ideas do you have? Sunset has given me two of The 20-Minute Gardener books to give away. My idea is to give them to the Laguna Dirt readers who share the best garden-related, outdoor living ideas. Just email a picture of your idea (J9RobinsonLB@gmail.com), along with a brief description and your contact info., and I will pick the best two as winners. If we have enough fun images, I will follow-up with a post sharing them with you all.