Book Review: Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition, 2009

Book Review: Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition, 2009

Gaia's Garden

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway is the perfect book for anyone looking to transform their backyard into a thriving ecosystem using permaculture principles. As someone with over 20 years of experience practicing and teaching natural farming techniques on my own permaculture farm, I found this book to be an invaluable guide full of practical wisdom.

Overview of Book Content

Hemenway introduces the core ethics and principles of permaculture in simple terms, then delves into the process of:

  • Site analysis and assessment
  • Designing optimal zones and placements
  • Incorporating earth, air, fire and water
  • Building healthy, living soil
  • Efficient irrigation through water harvesting
  • Integrated pest management
  • Designing beneficial plant guilds and polycultures
  • Establishing low-maintenance food forests
  • Raising animals like chickens and bees
  • Natural construction of buildings and structures

The book concludes with real examples of successful permaculture gardens.

Hemenway’s writing style makes complex topics understandable through clear analogies, illustrations and examples. He strikes the perfect balance between big picture theory and practical gardening advice.

Key Benefits of Using This Book

Here are some of the main reasons why Gaia’s Garden is my top recommendation for learning permaculture:

  • Comprehensive – Covers all aspects of permaculture in detail
  • Accessible – Explains concepts clearly for beginners
  • Practical – Offers concrete gardening advice and techniques
  • Trusted – Well-researched by a leading expert in the field
  • Relevant – Content is still current and applicable today
  • Inspiring – Real garden examples motivate you to get started

Whether you want to grow food, save money, heal the environment or just create beauty, Gaia’s Garden is the perfect DIY guide to creating an abundant backyard ecosystem.

FAQs About Gaia’s Garden

What type of gardens does this book focus on?

It focuses on small-scale, home permaculture gardens. The principles can be applied to both urban and rural gardens.

Does it only cover food gardens?

No, it also addresses non-edible ornamental gardens, just more emphasis on food-producing gardens.

Can beginners use this book?

Yes, it’s written in plain language for backyard gardeners starting from scratch. The instructions are approachable.


For anyone seeking to gain skills in permaculture gardening and design, Gaia’s Garden deserves a permanent place on your bookshelf. Hemenway generously shares wisdom from decades of experience creating beautiful, low-maintenance, eco-friendly gardens. This classic guide will empower you to grow abundant backyard food systems while regenerating the health of the planet.

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