Book Review- Concrete Garden Projects

4th November 2011 by

Timber Press got in touch and asked if they could send over some books for us to review. Timber Press is an international publisher of books about gardening, ornamental and edible plants, garden design, sustainability, and natural history- all good things. So this is hopefully the first of a series of book reviews by Otesha.

I received ‘Concrete Garden Projects: easy & inexpensive containers, furniture, water features and more‘ by Malin Nilsson and Camilla Arvidsson. I must firstly confess that I have not read the book in full, but it is mainly a picture book, and I have looked at most of the pictures. The photography is beautiful. This book is half garden and well decorated lifestyle, half DIY crafts. In theory that’s just great, except it’s about making garden stuff out of concrete. I’m not interested in learning how to make things out of concrete, and it’s not a skill I want to promote to anyone else either. The very last thing I want to do is fill my roof garden or anyone else’s garden with bits of concrete.

The first thing that put me off reading it is the inside cover page photo of a concrete noughts and crosses board and pieces. The second thing that put me off reading it is the first chapter entitled ‘Hooray for Concrete!’. Cement is responsible for 5% of global carbon emissions. The third reason is the authors advocate the use of peat, which is really, really not an appropriate garden product.

A quick browse of Timber Press’ website turns up loads of books I’d love to read on rooftops gardens, bugs and low impact gardening. If this book had been about reclaimed timber (or hempcrete) garden projects instead, I would’ve loved it.

Instead, this is a book about garden tat. If you like tat you’ll probably like this book. I hate tat. If you like tat, get in touch- I have a book here you might like and am up for a swap.


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