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Handmade Garden Projects: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More Paperback – December 6, 2011

41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As unique as a fingerprint . . . handmade gardens reveal the creative vision and personality of the gardener in charge. Creating outdoor spaces of character, comfort, and fun involves scouring garage sales, your own garage, and building-salvage yards with such recyclables as broken ladders (for climbing flowers) and follies, fanciful outbuilding features like the tiny vintage trailer in Forkner’s Aluminum Garden surrounded by silver, green, and white plantings. Landscaping foundations—ground-level pathways and patios with pebbled mosaic accents or mown-lawn labyrinths—draw the eye upward to industrial rock-screen trellises and scrap-metal window ledges supporting planters. Old water jars and catch-basin sections become fountains; plumbing-pipe pergolas sport canvas drop-cloth awnings; industrial light fixtures contain outdoor terraria; and old shutters are turned into shelf storage/plant stands. Each project comes complete with lists of needed materials and tools, instructions, and recommended plantings. Whimsy is the watchword here, even as Forkner provides full-color photos, practical conversion tables, hardiness zones, and resource listings in this innovative addition to DIY creativity. --Whitney Scott

Review

“Whimsy is the watchword here, even as Forkner provides full-color photos, practical conversion tables, hardiness zones, and resources listings in this innovative addition to DIY creativity.”
(Debra Prinzing Akron Beacon Journal)

“The book is filled with ideas for turning unused items and common materials into decorative and functional garden accents.”
(San Francisco Chronicle)

“The book is part inspiration and part manual, but for anyone comfortable working with simple tools and construction materials there is just enough step-by-step instruction to get started.”
(Philadelphia Inquirer)

“There are fun, do-able things in this book.”
(Digging)

“If you need a little inspiration for infusing your personality into your own garden, be sure to check out her book.”
(Plant Talk)

“A creative new book…filled with ideas and instructions with DIY ideas from fountains to fire pits.”
(San Diego Home & Garden Magazine)

“Fresh take on life outdoors.”
(Pacific Horticulture)

"If you are wondering what's in this book for plant nerds, the good news is: Plenty."
(Poppytalk)

"[Offers] pretty unique creative weekend projects."
(The Seattle Times)

"Her instructions are practical, her aesthetic pleasingly funky."
(Danger Garden)

"A series of well-photographed and inspiring garden visits and projects, meant to enhance your garden."
(Treehugger)

"A collection of simple and inspiring projects that take your garden--be it balcony, small or large--to the next level and reflect your personality and taste."
(The Republican Journal)

"Handmade Garden Projects is one of the books that puts a smile on your face...any gardener is bound to find a project they'll love...jam-packed with colorful photos, great advice and good guidance, making it a must-have. Better buy two, one to keep for yourself!"

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781604691856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604691856
  • ASIN: 1604691859
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A Seattle-based freelance writer, Lorene Edwards Forkner pursues a good and delicious life filled with travel, good food, family and friends together with all things horticultural, believing that the really good part is in the blending of one's passions.

Whether evaluating a favorite plant, reveling in the changing light of the season, or enjoying the exquisite flavor of a juicy peach or the first garden salad of the year, Lorene never tires of exploring the colors, textures and details of the natural world. And she loves a good story.

A popular speaker with a warm engaging manner, Lorene is always eager to weigh in on horticultural mysteries, offer direction for design conundrums, and teach DIY gardeners how to dig in and craft a personal landscape that fits their lifestyle while living lightly on the planet. Lorene contributes to several regional gardening publications and reaches a larger audience through her blog Plantedathome.com where she muses on home, garden, work and play.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gen of North Coast Gardening TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
There's some fantastic inspiration here for the savvy craftsperson. Each project has simple step-by-step instructions along with a full-page color photo (or three) showing you the end result.

What I love best about this book is that it's helped me repurpose some of the trash I had waiting in the "go to the dump" pile. The rings from a discarded oak barrel will now be repurposed as a mold for garden stepping stones, which were shown early in the book. And some of the ideas don't require any money at all, like creating "temporary turf tattoos" in the lawn using your mower. What a fun way of celebrating a holiday, to mow a pattern into the lawn to cheer passers-by.

Is this a book of gift ideas? Maybe. Some of the projects are small enough to transport easily and would make great gifts. Others are large, heavy, or simply must be made in the owner's garden, so wouldn't wrap up well for a gift occasion. But enough of the ideas are good for this purpose that I'm certainly glad I got it a few months before my mom's birthday, just in case I want to make a project for her! I have a few pages bookmarked as possibilities for all the gardeners in my life.

My one quibble is that many of the photos in the book look a bit messy or "country". For example, in the page showing you how to make a tabletop knot garden (a very classy idea), the finished result is shown in a Red Flyer wagon. It's hard to imagine a more disparate pairing than an elegant French or English knot garden with a kid's red wagon - it just didn't work for me. In another photo of steel tanks used as planting beds (a look that can be marvelously urban and chic), the photographer didn't remove the red and white label from the tank.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lori Katz on February 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is such a gorgeous book that I have read it cover to cover two times. I've also just glanced at the photos many times. While I haven't tried any of the projects yet I've been on the lookout for a rowboat to put on the side of my house as shown in the book! I was inspired to turn a broken teapot into a planter and I now have a lovely fern growing on my sunny windowsill. And at a local thrift store I picked up a wicker doll stroller and turned that into a planter too. I just love the ideas in this book and look forward to some springtime projects.

Read as an ebook courtesy of Timber Press via Netgalley.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Isadore Ann on January 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Okay, so I don't have a green thumb, but I do enjoy creative projects and having a nice garden. That's why I was so anxious to read this book. I really thought this book did a great job of speaking to novice gardeners as well as those with more experience. They offered very smart, common sense tips about how to start a gardening project, by asking yourself things like what's the goal of your garden (to entertain, grow veggies, etc.), what kind of climate issues are you dealing with, and how much time are you going to realistically have to maintain it.

They also talked about using various materials for different projects, and showed the versatility in each. By far the best section, though, involved the ideas for different garden layouts and projects. There were a wide range of project ideas, and I thought most people would be able to pull them off, even if they weren't particularly creative. Also, the pictures throughout the book are absolutely gorgeous.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Molly on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the glowing reviews, I thought this book would much more than it is. If you look at the preview, you pretty much see what is in the book. As I turned the pages I was hoping for something that might spark an interest. I felt it was rather dull and have seen better ideas in Better Homes and Gardens magazines.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Edwards on March 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Almost every idea in this book has been done before. I was really disappointed with both the originality of the designs in this book, but also the appeal of the projects. I felt that a lot of the projects outlined would A. not be weather resistant and thus not belong in a garden, B. lacked style and would make a yard look like it was full of garbage, C. project is a repeat of projects seen on other websites and in other books years before this book was published. I was excited about this book, wanted to like it, but just couldn't really recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book because it has so many cool gardening crafts. One of the cool crafts is how to make your own homemade fire flies. When I was a child you would see a lot of fireflies,and we would catch them and put them in a jar and today you don't see too many. It brings back a lot of childhood memories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even a beginner like me can copy these great projects. I can't wait to cover my deck and make a pathway even with my tiny yard I want to make it a fun place!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Travis Pitts on July 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have absolutely no problem with the seller or the shipping on this product- both were great.
The book itself is just unsatisfactory, and sits really low in the list of home garden and yard decor books I own. I'll probably be reselling or trading at a local bookseller. It has no real how-to or educational value, and the pictures that are in it are secondary to the layout and text which the author(s) seem to be more proud of. A book like this does not need to go more than a page without a picture- let's face it- a book about garden decor is all about garden pictures and visual inspiration, or at the very least, techniques, but this book frequently has breaks of 4 to 5 pages with nothing but a solid color and LARGE, insultingly insipid, meandering paragraphs. Don't get me wrong, I love words- I just want them to instruct or describe a process or scene in the book. The information in this book is kind of useless. It's almost trying to be poetic or inspirational. The layout is poor too- pictures and paragraphs are placed too near the stiff center of the open book, with generous inches of open space at the sides- it's almost as if the pages got out of order at the printer's- but no- occasionally you will come across a two page spread of huge words across both pages, with no pictures or hint as to what scene (previous or next) that they are referring to. they are basically non-sequitur affirmations about garden decorating.
I bought it for myself as well as my garden-savvy girlfriend. As we looked through it, I almost felt the need to apologize that 'it sure looked better online'....

The few craft projects that are spelled out for you in the book are simple, unattractive and a little insulting..like showing how to install brackets to make a shelf out of an existing object.
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