Ground Rules

100 Easy Lessons for Growing a More Glorious Garden


By Kate Frey

Formats and Prices




$24.95 CAD



  1. Hardcover $19.95 $24.95 CAD
  2. ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 30, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

“This luscious, photo-filled guide will inspire you with one hundred easy-to-implement tips.” —Garden & Gun​

Gardening doesn’t have to be difficult, and expert gardener Kate Frey makes it easier than ever. Ground Rules distills the vital lessons of gardening into 100 simple rules that will yield a gorgeous, healthy, and thriving home garden. In the photo-rich pages you’ll discover tips on garden design, care and maintenance, healthy soil, and the best ways to water. You’ll also learn how to create a garden that encourages birds and butterflies, how to choose healthy plants at the garden center, how and when to re-pot a container, and much more. With bite-size chunks of expert information and inspiring ideas, Ground Rules is your new go-to resource.


Some of us are born with a talent for gardening; others come to gardening later in life. Whether you’re experienced or a novice, there is much to learn in order to be able to create and maintain a successful garden. This book contains 100 essential “rules” for you to discover and use. It’s my hope they will steer you toward success at every step and help you avoid mistakes.

Successful gardens are healthy, thriving places that lift us up and create joy. They are places where practicality and aesthetics are wedded. A garden must work well within its local conditions and the framework of your life. Gardens form an important link with nature and the changing seasons—the cycle of life. Many studies have shown time spent in nature benefits us by lowering stress levels and making us feel better emotionally. A garden that focuses on plants rather than hardscape like pools, decks, and patios can be an extension of nature.

Gardens give us the satisfaction of creating and tending a special place with our own hands. They are places where we both give and receive. Imagine sweet fragrances wafting, soft leaves rustling in the breeze, shade on a hot afternoon, and an ever-changing array of flowers embroidering the yard. Imagine too the joyful songs and forms of bright yellow goldfinches against the clear blue sky, a velvet-upholstered bumblebee on a purple salvia, butterflies like snips of tapestry, and hummingbird duels over crimson blooms—all elements of life you have enabled. Gardens can be your own personal paradise.

This book is divided into six complementary sections that take you from the very first planning stages, through the joy that plants bring, soil and its important underground processes, how to be wise with water, how to be a good garden parent, ways to invite wildlife into your garden, and finally to creating a garden of earthly delights. Taken as a whole, it offers a system of practices and design considerations that address every aspect of gardening.

This is a distillation of what I have learned through my many years of gardening and designing gardens professionally in the United States and around the world. It is an effort to engage everyone with the many pleasures gardening offers. I love the subject more and more each day, and I hope you will too.


  • “Many of these rules will ring true to experienced gardeners, and, collectively, they provide a solid groundwork for anyone who aspires to create a gratifying garden.” —Booklist

    “For a wide range of ecologically friendly gardeners with any level of experience.” —Library Journal

    “Touches on every aspect of tending a garden, including choosing plants, watering, and soil care, with lots of specific steps to success. Thanks to beautiful illustrations, it’s an extra-refreshing read.” —HGTV Magazine

    “This luscious, photo-filled guide will inspire you with one hundred easy-to-implement tips.” —Garden Gun​

    “It does not take a long browse through each bright page to realize there is always something to learn, or to remember.” —The Greenfield Recorder​
"This book packs a lot of value in a small package and makes a great gift for yourself or a new gardener in your life." Washington Gardener

“A compact and beautiful manual of 100 easy gardening rules… a great way to warm up to the nitty gritty projects of planning your garden.”Milford Daily News

“An expert gardener and designer, Frey condenses her most important gardening tips into short, easy-to-read, one-page “lessons” with beautiful accompanying photos. Each section of the book covers what you need to know to create the beautiful, healthy, low-maintenance garden that you long for.” Tri-City News

“A go-to guide for gardeners of all experience levels looking to cultivate a beautiful, nature-friendly landscape.” – The Seattle Times

On Sale
Oct 30, 2018
Page Count
224 pages
Timber Press

Kate Frey

Kate Frey

About the Author

Kate Frey is a consultant, educator designer, and freelance writer specializing in sustainable gardens and small farms that encourage biodiversity. She is a frequent and popular speaker for master gardener programs, garden clubs, garden shows and horticultural groups. Visit her website at

Learn more about this author