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Gardening Garden Design

Front Yard Gardens

Growing More Than Grass

by (author) Liz Primeau

photographs by Andrew Leyerle

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2010
Garden Design, Lawns, Techniques
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2003
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2003
    List Price

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Praise for the first edition:

"The book is handsome, informative and amusingly written, and it should serve as an inspiration to those who are tired of old-fashioned lawns." -- Publishers Weekly

Liz Primeau was ahead of her time when she transformed her manicured lawn in the suburbs into a mixed garden with a profusion of flowering plants, shrubs and cacti. Ever since, she has enjoyed an eyecatching front garden that requires no chemicals and little watering.

Packed with practical tips and more than 250 beautiful photographs, this new, revised edition of Front Yard Gardens:


Explores the history of the lawn and our attachment to it

Profiles 75 front yard gardens from across North America

Provides step-by-step instructions to start and grow a fabulous front yard garden

This new edition of a classic guide covers planning and design, removing the grass, enriching the soil and planting and maintaining the garden. It is divided into several types of front yard gardens, including cottage, minimalist, secret, neighborhood, downtown and natural. Primeau discusses the key elements of each type and also provides a comprehensive list of complementary plants for each.

In this expanded edition, Primeau chronicles how her own garden and neighborhood have evolved, profiles several new and delightfully different gardens, and offers timely advice such as eco-friendly solutions for controlling bugs and weeds.

Front Yard Gardens is an inspiring treasure-trove of ideas for home gardeners.


About the authors


Liz Primeau is the author of numerous books on gardening, including My Natural History and the bestselling Front Yard Gardens. She is also the founding editor of Canadian Gardening magazine and the former host of Canadian Gardening Television on HGTV. She frequently gives talks at horticultural society meetings and garden shows across Canada and the United States. She lives in Mississauga, Ontario.


Liz Primeau's profile page

Andrew Leyerle's photographs have appeared in a number of publications and gardening books, as well as previous editions of 100 Easy-To-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens.

Andrew Leyerle's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Primeau provides a variety of approaches to the front yard garden.

North Shore News

[Review of previous edition:] Inspirational ... great tips on how to plant so your garden doesn't clash with the neighborhood.

Globe and Mail

Primeau's inspiration for a front yard garden originated in Amsterdam, but most of the featured yards are from Southern Ontario. The rest of Canada is included, as are places in the United States. Of particular interest is watching her front yard metamorphose from all grass with a few foundation plants to a full-frontal flower fantasy. The 75 featured yards provide inspiration in their own right, but it's the listing of plants and when they flower that enables the reader to replicate this look at home. The lush photographs by Andrew Leyerle make the reader aspire to the same beauty. The book explores different types of front yard gardens: cottage, small city, opulent, minimalist, fusion, natural, neighbourhood, and my favourite, secret gardens. The index is very helpful and of particular note, so is her recommended reading. The Canadian resources are a treat for northern eyes. Front Yard Gardens isn't just another pretty flower book, it's one for the reference shelves and should be well-thumbed by novice and expert gardeners alike.

Toronto Star

[Review of previous edition:] The photographs are delightful and the text is written in informative and heartfelt prose.

Central Coast Adventures

[Review of previous edition:] Very good.

New York Times Book Review

Liz Primeau offers wise guidance on how to go about converting a costly front lawn into an attractive home entrance with curb appeal. The lavishly illustrated text contains proposals for a diversity of gardens before different style homes in a range of climates. Some are photographed at different times of the year so that the viewer will have greater awareness of the seasonal changes, which affect the look of a home entry. What sets this inspiring book apart from similar works is the author's practical, environmentally friendly advice and step-by-step instructions on gardening in the front yard.

National Garden Clubs

[Review of previous edition:] Great photographs ... full of interesting ideas on ways to take a different approach to an often blah and boring space.

Toronto Star

This is a picture book of beautiful gardens, as well as hints and instructions on how to turn your dull front lawn into a lush and blooming year-round vista. You have a choice of cottage, minimalist, opulent, shady, natural or even secret gardens--and no more mowing.

Burnaby Now

[Review of previous edition:] Offers another compelling reason for putting flowers out front: Flowers look good... the concepts and how-tos for eight gardening styles are helpful.

Houston Chronicle

[Review of previous edition:] Alternatives to lawns ... from cactus austerity to full-blooming exuberance.

Metropolitan Home

[Review of previous edition:] [Starred review] This substantial book takes a refreshing look at front yard gardens ... Filled with practical ideas, Primeau's encouraging text is liberally supplemented by lush photos ... Highly recommended.

Library Journal

[Review of previous edition:] I love this book... Primeau is a terrific writer and gardener, and this marvelous book just might inspire and guide you into a whole new level (and area) of gardening.

Hamilton Spectator

[Review of previous edition:] Wonderful photographs... a range of designs from minimalist to lush jungle to a swath of native grasses.

Globe and Mail

[Review of previous edition:] It's a gorgeous book.

Edmonton Journal

[Review of previous edition:] Help in rejuvenating a front yard so that flowers, foliage, textures, and hardscaping come together in inviting swaths to both beautify and benefit the environment.


[Review of previous edition:] I've just finished reading [this book], and I've got to say I'm feeling excited and inspired. I should also mention that this makes my husband more than a little nervous.

Spokane Spokesman

[Review of previous edition:] Very well written and illustrated book... thousands of ideas.

Montreal Gazette

[Review of previous edition:] The results will not only look superb, but will require no chemicals and take far less time and water to maintain.

London Free Press

[Review of previous edition:] The book is handsome, informative and amusingly written, and it should serve as an inspiration to those who are tired of old-fashioned lawns.

Publishers Weekly

[Review of previous edition:] Excellent primer on the rewards and challenges of starting a yard garden.

Quill and Quire

Packed with practical tips and more than 250 beautiful photographs, this new, revised edition of Firefly's Front Yard Gardens explores the history of the lawn and our attachment to it. The book profiles 75 front yard gardens from across North America; provides step-by-step instructions to start and grow a fabulous front yard garden.

Kingston This Week

[Review of previous edition:] Will inspire homeowners to contemplate the use of flowers, shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses and creatively placed paths as the mainstay of their home's curbside beauty.

Edmonton Sun

[Review of previous edition:] All the tips and photographs prove that you can keep off the grass -- step by step -- with style.

Canadian Living

For an in-depth look at designing, Front Yard Gardens, Growing More Than Grass by Liz Primeau is a thorough guide to a splendid collection of gardens. Although it is primarily for non-edible gardens, it provides helpful planning tips.

Grit Gazette

The cottage garden, the secret garden, the minimalist garden and others are clearly illustrated for the reader. It's like visiting a garden show with instructions! This is a very nice publication for those considering making a change in their landscape.

National Gardening Association Newsletter

[Review of previous edition:] More than 70 examples of the kinds of front yard plans others have come up with, and a how-to manual that gives extensive lists of plants.

Saskatoon Star Phoenix

With so many great photos of front yard gardens, this book provides a great motivation to rip out grass in your front lawn.

[Review of previous edition:] Conversational text and lovely photography by Andrew Leyerle make this edition an interesting choice for home gardeners.

Phoenix Home and Garden

Must-read resource.

Calgary Herald

[Review of previous edition:] Turn your yard into an earth-friendly showstopper.


[Review of previous edition:] Visually compelling book, full of varied design suggestions.

Canadian House and Home

[Review of previous edition:] Showcases more than 70 gardens from around the country that tackle the challenge of front yard design from a variety of perspectives.

American Gardener

I love this book! The photographs are plentiful, large and inspiring. The captions are extensive and informative, highlighting and explaining what is shown...Oh, for time, money and energy enough to create a garden like these! If you like houses and gardens, get this book.

Escarpment Views

[Review of previous edition:] Wonderfully literate.

Style at Home Magazine

[Review of previous edition:] A well-written 232 pages, the authors knows of what she writes, having been there, done that and showcasing the landscaping to prove it.

Sudbury Star

[Review of previous edition:] [Primeau] provides more than 200 photographs of examples where lawns were ripped up and replaced with free-flowing, more environmentally friendly (and prettier) plants.

The green green grass of home doesn't interest Liz Primeau. She's a front yard rebel and proud of it. Her 65 by 40-foot lawn is long gone, replaced by a gregarious gathering of vibrant vegetation -- fabulous flowers, cacti, shrub and small trees. The results are spectacular.

Wetaskiwin Times-Advertiser

[Review of previous edition:] A witty and very well written volume that offers so much more than just details on basic gardening... a must for anyone who wants to create impact and dazzling color in their front (and back) yard gardens.

Halifax Daily News

Other titles by Liz Primeau

Other titles by Andrew Leyerle