Book lists

These helpful books help to inform and inspire all the work we do, and they will inspire you too. Learn about anything from veggie gardening basics to creating an edible forest or a rain garden. 

Forest Gardening

  • Gaia's Garden 

    • Excellent introductory book, describing the principles of permaculture and ecological gardening on a backyard scale. ​

  • Edible Forest Gardensby Toby Hemenway by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

    • Advanced books describing ecological systems and how to work with those systems to create low-maintenance food forests. Great plant lists. 

  • Advanced books describing ecological systems and how to work with those

  • systems to create low-maintenance food forests. Great plant lists.

Eco-Garden Bed

Create a beautiful bed that attracts desired wildlife, manages rainwater, and/or grows large amounts of food.

Price: $350

Concept Design

Integrate all elements of your landscape together into a harmonious layout that establishes a solid foundation for desired plants and activities.

Price: $400 - $950

Complete Master Plan

Create a detailed planting plan for your entire landscape or portions of it.

Price: $600 - $4,000

Group Visioning

Bring together your neighborhood, congregation or employees to brainstorm possibilities and explore designs for a shared landscape.

Price: $300 - $950

What do I receive?

All designs and supporting information are provided in PDF format.

  • Recommendations of plant varieties that thrive in your landscape.

  • Ideas for growing a wide variety of plants in low-maintenance ways.

  • Guidelines for establishment and management.

  • Locations to purchase plants and acquire inexpensive materials.

  • Informational publications.


What will I learn?

One-on-one education is the true value we provide. We are passionate about helping you understand the nature of your landscape and how each plant and feature can benefit you and our environment.

During the entire process, we are very open about our inspiration and research, sharing every bit of knowledge that is useful. This is an educational endeavor as much as it is a design process and we want you to come away feeling knowledgeable, confident and inspired.

What about my budget?

We keep establishment costs low and stay within your budget by...

  • Recommending the use of existing and inexpensive materials.

  • Working with the natural characteristics of your landscape.

  • Creatively using plants—rather than hardscape—to define outdoor spaces.

  • Emulating properties of self-maintaining ecosystems to reduce mowing, watering and other upkeep.

What if I'm not quite ready?

We can help you over time, gradually refining and assisting with your design and establishment success.

For example…

  • You could begin with an Abundance of Ideas service to learn about vast possibilities.

  • After considering the possibilities, we could return for a follow-up visit and create a Concept Design for your entire landscape.

  • Once you decide which areas have the highest priorities, we could provide an Eco-Garden Bed design or Complete Master Plan for those areas.


We will happily customize services to help you gain confidence and learn at a comfortable pace.

Backyard Abundance

Backyard Abundance is a leading educational nonprofit that helps people create vibrant, engaging outdoor spaces that benefit families and our environment.

P.O. Box 1605

Iowa City, IA  52245


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