Climate-Wise Landscaping: Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future
by Sue Reed and Ginny Stibolt
Foreword by Doug Tallamy

Order your copy here.


This book answers the question: What can we do in our own yards and in our communities, right now, to respond to climate change?

Predictions about future effects of climate change can range from mild to dire - but we're already seeing warmer winters, hotter summers, and more extreme droughts and storms.

Proposed solutions often seem expensive and complex, and can leave us as individuals at a loss, wondering what, if anything, can be done.

Authors Sue Reed and Ginny Stibolt offer a rallying cry in response - instead of wringing our hands, they say let's roll up our sleeves. Based on decades of real-life experience, this book is packed with simple, practical steps anyone can take to help lessen global warming while beautifying any landscape and garden.

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Reviews & awards

Excerpt from the Foreword by Dr. Doug Tallamy:
"Read this book carefully. Everything you need to know to help heal our relationship with planet earth and empower you to make a much-needed difference is within these pages."

Excerpt from the American Library Association's Booklist Review:
"The volume of information here is impressive and each action is accompanied by an explanation of why it's important. In addition to addressing existing challenges, many suggestions also aim to minimize potential damage from fire, flood, and storm. This wealth of information is divided into manageable chunks, making the book useful whether read cover to cover or dipped into for specific topics."

"Climate-Wise Landscaping" won the 2018 Foreword Indies Gold Metal for Ecology & Environment.


Virginia Native Plant Society (read whole review here):
"Are you ready to DO something NOW? Need to start at the beginning of native plant gardening? Want to know how to repair forest edges? Need specifics on slope calculations? Want to know what materials are the most eco-friendly? You'll find answers in Climate-Wise Landscaping. This is a book that you will keep as a reference, and it is certainly one you will want to use in your advocacy efforts whenever you have the time and opportunity to educate others."

An Amazon reviewer*:

5.0 out of 5 stars Empowering
Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2019
Verified Purchase
I love love love this book. I have already bought a second copy for my parents. It is jammed packed with information I did not know before in words that I understand, not being a Master Gardener. It is also organized really well. I can quickly and easily find major landscaping and yard problems, why the problem exists, how it fits into overall ecosystem health, and how to solve the problem well helping the ecosystem. At the same time, the author seamlessly includes solutions for practical application that usually don't even require money. Best of all, I feel like my home can have a genuine, tangible positive impact on our climate. Just my home. Oh, the pages are also a great material for writing notes on.

* All of the reviewers on Amazon gave this book five stars.

Authors Sue Reed and Ginny Stibolt took a break from a three-day writing marathon in May of 2017 to pose for this photo in Sue's backyard in western Massachusetts.

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Authors Sue Reed, a landscape architect in Massachusetts, and Ginny Stibolt, a botanist and garden writer in Florida, used their complementary education, skills, and experiences in putting together this readable, but comprehensive science-based book.

They did not debate climate change, but instead provided hundreds doable of ideas for readers so they can make earth-friendly changes in how they manage their yards and other properties in their communities.

Each action topic begins with an explanation of "Why this matters." Then the various actions for that topic are explained with enough detail so the readers can decide whether the actions would work for their properties.

While each individual action may seem to be too small to make a real difference, there are many millions of homeowners and property managers and together we CAN make a significant difference in the health of our only planet.

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In addition to the ten chapters, there are five science primers for additional background.



"Lawns" is the first section because the easiest and most significant climate-wise action item that a homeowner or landscape manager can make is to rethink the need for acres of "perfect," high-maintenance, monoculture lawns. When you stop the landscape-wide applications of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, you reduce your carbon footprint due to their manufacture and transportation, plus without those additives, the grass will grow slower and you further reduce your carbon footprint by mowing much less often.

The authors' deep research on the various other topics include many new ways to think about the environmental impact of our various landscaping activities.

For example:
- When you save water in the landscape, not only do you lessen the the pressure on the local water supply sources, you also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is because it takes energy to deliver the water to our taps with enough pressure so we can take a shower.
- Growing more food is good for the planet, because every pound of food that you grow or buy from local growers offsets up to two pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Taking care of the soil is important, because on a worldwide basis, soil sequesters four times more carbon than all the terrestrial plants--including the rainforests.

The book is peppered throughout with quotes that are pertinent to the topic at hand. This advice, inspiration, and wisdom are from biologists, environmentalists, and designers including Doug Tallamy, E.O. Wilson, Darrell Morrison, Travis Beck, Thomas Rainer, Claudia West, Wendell Berry, Alice Waters, Paul Hawken, Larry Weaner, Thomas Christopher, and many others. These quotes provide a broader look at the various climate-wise action topics.

Listen to this podcast where Ginny talks to Thomas Christopher about "Climate-Wise Landscaping" and much more on his Growing Greener program, which is produced in collaboration with The Berkshire Botanical Garden.

Order your copy of "Climate-Wise Landscaping: Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future" here.


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