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Required Reading: A Garden Can Be Anywhere

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Required Reading: A Garden Can Be Anywhere

February 27, 2019

“I love beginnings. The start of something new gives us hope for what is possible. … A garden is in a nearly constant state of beginning: turning the earth, the first seeds, the first flowers, the first harvest of a season,” writes LA-based landscape designer Lauri Kranz in her new book A Garden Can Be Anywhere, which she co-wrote with her husband,  Dean Kuipers.

It was exactly this level of enthusiasm that persuaded me, a few years back, to feature Lauri and her exuberant gardens in our Gardenista book. In a chapter devoted to one of her screened-in edible gardens in Los Angeles, she made it look as easy as breathing to grow cherry tomatoes in raised beds, harvest fresh breakfast berries from nearby bushes, and persuade unruly beans to grow in fuss-free fashion on a bamboo trellis.

Lauri has become one of LA’s most sought-after designers, and it’s obvious why. For her clients, who call her “the fairy godmother of gardening,” she creates charming landscapes that feel very personal and modern.

With this new book, Lauri gets a chance to tell her story, her own way. Illustrated by lovely photographs by Yoshihiro Makino, the book takes readers through the process—step-by-step—of designing and growing a beautiful home garden. With raised beds, soil improvements, and sun, she shows how you too can create an amazing–and amazingly intimate—garden like the ones featured in this book. Don’t worry; Lauri will be there to cheer you on every step of the way.

Photography by Yoshihiro Makino.

A screened garden lets in bees and butterflies–but not rodents, raccoons, or deer. A signature style for Kranz, it&#8
Above: A screened garden lets in bees and butterflies–but not rodents, raccoons, or deer. A signature style for Kranz, it’s a stylish (and low-budget) way to create a standalone pavilion for dining and entertaining, as well.

Lauri explains why she favors screened edible gardens: “Every garden will have a few visitors here and there, and that is generally not a problem. But there are times when a flock of starlings will devour your just-planted seeds or an ambitious deer will gnaw your vegetables right down to the dirt, and then—unless it is your goal to feed the wildlife, which is a noble thing to do but probably unnecessary—we have to protect the garden in order to have anything left to eat.”

I used to think nobody loved compost as much as me. Then, on page 3 of Lauri&#8
Above: I used to think nobody loved compost as much as me. Then, on page 103 of Lauri’s book, I saw these untreated redwood bins. This photo rises to the level of  compost porn.

“Placing the compost bin close to the vegetable beds makes for easy use,” writes Lauri.

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Above: “I find tremendous satisfaction in working methodically through the garden, harvesting what’s ready, trimming away dead leaves and vines, weeding, amending, and watering. The more attention you give the garden, the better you both do,” writes Kranz.
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Above: “Container gardening is a great way to make the most of all sunny outdoor areas. Here, blood oranges grow in abundance just next to a fountain,” writes Lauri.
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Above: “You can grow a lot of delicious fruit in just a few large pots,” writes Lauri.

For balconies, decks, rooftops, and other outdoor spaces that pose a challenge, Lauri recommends container gardens: “Always be sure to have a licensed professional work on weight-bearing guidelines for any of these areas. I also like to use containers around pools or any area of the home that is hardscaped.”

A hardcover copy of A Garden Can Be Anywhere is $.47 from Amazon.
Above: A hardcover copy of A Garden Can Be Anywhere is $25.47 from Amazon.

See more of Lauri Kranz’s gardens (and read her top tips for cultivating the LA look outdoors:

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