every garden matters
book prairie up an introduction to natural garden design by benjamin vogt published by university of illinois press

Prairie Up

An Introduction to Natural Garden Design

January 2023

3 Fields Books / University of Illinois Press

11,500 copies sold in the first year


Landscaping with native plants has encouraged gardeners from the Midwest and beyond to embark on a profound scientific, ecological, and emotional partnership with nature. Benjamin Vogt shares his expertise with prairie plants in a richly photographed guide aimed at gardeners and homeowners, making big ideas about design approachable and actionable. Step-by-step blueprints point readers to plant communities that not only support wildlife and please the eye but that rethink traditional planting and maintenance. Additionally, Vogt provides insider information on plant sourcing, garden tools, and working with city ordinances.

This book will be an invaluable reference in sustainable garden design for those wanting both beautiful and functional landscapes. Easy to use and illustrated with over 150 color photos, Prairie Up is a practical guide to artfully reviving diversity and wildness in our communities.

Listen to Benjamin on the podcasts A Way to Garden and In Defense of Plants.

order now from 3 Fields Books / Univ of Illinois Press


Signed copy

Signed & dated copy of Prairie Up. Price includes USPS ground advantage shipping within the continental US (2-7 days). Books shipped within 2 business days of order.

"Vogt's text is a cookbook for prairie restoration featuring unparalleled lists of which plants to use, in what combinations, and under what conditions. This how-to knowledge draws from Vogt’s own experience designing and maintaining suburban gardens. This type of experience is priceless!"

"Beautiful photographs show a variety of climates and regions. Vogt explains in detail the desirable reasons to have a prairie landscape [...and] gives gardeners a thorough look into what it takes to create a prairie landscape and revive natural diversity."

"A solid primer on gardening with nature [that's] realistic [and is a] great starting point."

"Serves as a complete toolkit for the gardener looking to create a prairie-inspired home landscape."

"In the heart of the Great Plains lives a Renaissance Man named Benjamin Vogt. His goal is no less than the replacement of the sterile, chemical-laden lawns to which we’ve all grown numb. It’s about time. Prairie Up tells us exactly how to convert our tired outdoor spaces to be pollinator friendly, full of glorious color, and good for the soul."

"Vogt writes in a detailed yet utterly engaging way."

"As an excellent, concise resource for prairie gardeners, this volume rates 5 stars."

"Many gardening books attempt to take the mystery out of growing plants, providing cookie-cutter recommendations that are ultimately unattainable and unsustainable. Prairie Up does the opposite. Readers following Benjamin Vogt’s tips won’t have to choose between beautiful design and rich habitat. If only I had read this book when I first started gardening, I could have saved myself years of trouble!"

"What struck me how just how concise the book is -- he takes information that you might get between the lines of several other books and distills it down into a tightly-written, conversational book with all the essential information you need and lots of photos.... should be required reading in every Master Gardener and Horticulture program across the country."

"Prairie Up is a masterwork for me. Everything that I have worked so hard to learn in the past four years is brilliantly and efficiently explained. Ecoregions, cultivars, layers (temporal and physical), diversity, seeding, planting, maintaining.... It's like Vogt rolled all our guru's -- Tallamy, West, Darke, Narango, Holm, Vogt, Fialkoff, Falk, and common sense -- into a tidy 150 pages."

book a new garden ethic: cultivating defiant compassion for an uncertain future by benjamin vogt published by new society publishers

A New Garden Ethic

Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future

September 2017

New Society Publishers

Now in its 4th printing

Our landscapes push aside wildlife and in turn diminish our genetically-programmed love for wildness. How can we get ourselves back into balance through gardens, to speak life’s language and learn from other species?

Vogt addresses why we need a new garden ethic, and why we urgently need wildness in our daily lives. He examines the psychological issues around climate change and mass extinction as a way to understand how we are short circuiting our response to global crises, especially by not growing native plants in our gardens. Simply put, environmentalism is not political, it’s an ethical rewiring of our animal brains — and social justice for all marginalized species facing extinction.

By thinking deeply and honestly about our built landscapes, we can create a compassionate activism that connects us more profoundly to nature and to one another.

Listen to Benjamin on Cultivating Place and The Joe Gardener Show 
See the presentation based on the book

Order now from:
New Society Publishers 

Signed copy

Signed & dated copy of A New Garden Ethic. Price includes USPS ground advantage shipping within the continental US (2-7 days). Books shipped within 2 business days of order.

"In the garden traditions of our time, Benjamin Vogt sees both the worst kind of hypocrisy perpetuating the decline and degradation of other cultures, species, and the environment, and the best kind of bridge for overcoming and transcending such destructive short term thinking and actions."

"A passionate and eloquent [...] exploration of the ethical case for native plants and its philosophical implications."

"Thoughtful and complex, A New Garden Ethic will challenge you to rethink your assumptions on what the purpose of a garden really is."

"This book is about so much more than gardening: Vogt shows how we can begin to heal our own wounds and those of our planet by opening ourselves to the value and beauty of the everyday wild, and the native plants that root us in place. A powerful and transformative work, written with honesty and grace. "

"Advocating for compassionate activism, A New Garden Ethic is at times reminiscent of Aldo Leopold’s style and an enjoyable read."

"This is a cathartic piece of literature that goes beyond telling people how to garden."

"[Vogt’s] statements about the need to connect our gardening effort to larger ethical and moral questions are timely, thought-provoking, and urgent…. His discussion of grief and mourning, in the context of environmental degradation, and his discussion of empathy and compassion in the context of native plant gardening, are particularly interesting and propel familiar arguments into new territory."

"A New Garden Ethic is an outstanding and deeply passionate book. Benjamin Vogt makes it clear that we need to expand our notion of 'garden' to include all interconnected communities of all voiceless flora and fauna. We must rewild ourselves, reconnect with all of nature, and expand our compassion footprint.... This book is a game changer...."

"I have spent a lifetime in horticulture as a designer, builder and care professional of organic and sustainable landscapes. So, when I got Benjamin's book, I wasn't expecting much more than a few new tips I might use. How wrong I was... My book is now loaded with dog-eared pages, underlined thoughts, and starred paragraphs! Benjamin has the ability to weave deep ecological thoughts into accessible prose and follow a logical progression from beginning to end. This book is definitely a keeper!"

"This is an incredibly important book that I place on an equal footing with Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home. It's beautifully, poetically written as well as being packed full of hard, unignorable facts. I loved it so much, I reread it as soon as I finished it! I don't think it's over-egging the pudding to say that over time, this book will come to be seen as a defining text of a new gardening and ecological movement that's still in its infancy. Fantastic book."

Book contributions

Prairie Up!

monthly newsletter
Get empowered with garden tips, nature news, inspiring images, and special offers.
Front yard meadow bed full of diverse native plant flowers and grasses in the foreground, contrasting with the background of suburban monoculture lawns and hard concrete surfaces like streets, sidewalks, and driveways. We can do better for the health and resilience in the places we call home.