The word “meadow” might conjure an image of a broad, expansive prairie covering acres of land, but it doesn’t have to. Meadows don’t have to be big to make a difference in the health of the planet. If you choose the right plants, even a small corner of the yard will do. In Tiny & Wild, you’ll learn how to embrace your wild side and create a low-maintenance miniature wildflower meadow that’s teeming with life.
The perks of creating a wild planting, even on a small scale, are many. Tiny but mighty meadows help mitigate climate change, foster biodiversity, sequester carbon, and calm the senses. With as little as a few square feet of space, you can create a beautiful, naturalistic planting that supports a diversity of plants, pollinators, and a plethora of other living things, not to mention its visual appeal to human eyes. Author and landscape designer Graham Laird Gardner helps you find inspiration in natural spaces so you can successfully site, design, plant, and care for your own small-scale meadow.
Whether you live in the city or in suburbia, perfect places for a mini meadow are everywhere:
- A small corner of the yard
- The pocket-sized area between the house and driveway
- Along a property line
- Flanking the front walk
- Around your mailbox
- Tucked next to the front stoop
- At the center of the vegetable garden
- In a raised bed
- Containers, deck boxes, and patio pots
- In the sliver of land between the sidewalk and the street
The plant lists and charts in Tiny & Wild share the best plants to include in your micro prairie, and Graham offers plenty of practical advice on planting your meadow from seed, transplants, or mature plants, depending on your budget, the site, and your timeline. Plus, learn how to care for your wildflower planting, including tips for watering, plant care, and weed management.
Discover how small spaces can make a big difference in Tiny & Wild.
Graham Laird Gardner has over 25 years of experience in landscape design and project management in public, private, and non-profit sectors. Beyond his residential design projects, he has worked with agencies such as the Denver Parks Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, as well as many Cooperative Extension offices, Friends of parks groups, and native plant societies.
Graham’s diverse experiences, in New England, Colorado, California, and Puerto Rico, have instilled and reinforced his passion to influence and guide the public on best management practices and the importance of creating a unique space inspired by nearby natural plant communities.
During his professional career, Graham has gained considerable practical experience in strategic and master planning, site analysis, regenerative landscape design, construction oversight, and landscape maintenance. As we move away from the thirsty lawns of the City Beautiful Movement designs of the early twentieth century toward a more ecological approach to green spaces, Graham is a leader in the new paradigm of high-functioning, water-smart, and low-maintenance landscapes.
“Written with disarming clarity and gentle encouragement, Tiny and Wild speaks to gardeners of any stripe and of any means. The calling is clear: a sense of wild abundance can thrive in the humblest slivers of your landscape from curbside to container garden. Graham Gardner invites readers into the ecological gardening conversation with practical guidance and straightforward instructions that can only inspire the kind of plant-forward activism the world desperately needs. This book is destined to become a trusted field guide for meadow making.”—Kelly Norris, author of New Naturalism
“The Introduction of this book asks you a question: ‘Why a Mini Meadow?’ You may have picked the book up because you are curious, along with emotional, about living a life shared with other living beings aside from people. You want to come to know how to find a small space and have it fulfill your imagination by creating a natural community of plants that live well together. Here you’ll find beauty in plants and the acts of planting, caring, and discovering a life within that community.”—Roy Diblik, co-owner of Northwind Perennial Farm and author of The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden
“Graham shows how to grow in tune with local site conditions – thinking of garden plants not as high-maintenance individuals but as a community that can adapt and thrive together. By bridging ideas from traditional and wilder design methods, this practical introduction to natural landscaping helps those with any-sized landscape create an aesthetically and environmentally purposeful space.” —Benjamin Vogt, author of A New Garden Ethic and Prairie Up
“This beautifully illustrated guide distills years of small meadow making experience into clear and inspiring tips and techniques that guide you through design, installation, and meadow management.”—Claudia West, Principal at Phyto Studios, co-author of Planting in a Post-Wild World