Books: 'Urban and Suburban Meadows' Takes On the Lawn

Now that temperatures are on the rise and spring is growing near, our attention is once again brought back to the garden. Also growing near is the release date for Urban and Suburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces, written by photographer, certified horticulturalist and landscape designer Catherine Zimmerman (my mom!).

Urban and Suburban Meadows addresses the issues caused by the planting non-native lawns in America. That breed of landscaping leads to the destruction of ecosystems, which are then replaced by chemically-reliant monocultures. But more importantly, the book enables its readers to reverse that land care practice and have a positive impact on the environment while enjoying the beauty and diversity of native landscapes.

The project (which family-wide deliberation has dubbed "The Meadow Project") has been a long journey, one that I am very happy to have been a part of. I can recall many mother-daughter road trips to obscure—but beautiful—New England meadows; sitting at the kitchen counter together (with camera equipment and paper scattered about), watching b-roll and filmed interviews of experts in meadow establishment; and long nights spent on the computer, copy-editing various passages of text. The final product has evolved into a nearly 300-page guide to planting one’s own (urban or suburban) meadow, with the guidance of four meadow experts discussing site preparation, design, planting, native plants and maintenance, as well as plant lists and resource sections for nine regions across the United States.

The aesthetic of the book is a testament to the tremendous amounts of work that went into it. The photography alone could convince even the most hesitant of readers to turn their back on lawns forever.

Visit to reserve your copy of Urban and Suburban Meadows and to find out more information. Also on the website is a downloadable preview of the book and a video about planting meadows vs. planting lawns.