From Yard to Garden: The Domestication of America's Home Grounds
Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2008 - Gardening - 278 pages
The garden means more to Americans than simply the plants it contains: It is a gathering place, a retreat from the demands of daily life, and an extension of the family home. The history of the American home garden is fundamentally intertwined with our national culture and character, and Christopher Grampp reveals this fascinating story through engaging text and numerous images.
In the early 1800s, Americans employed their home grounds for agriculture, sustenance, and domestic activities. Grampp takes this as the starting point for his narrative, from which he tracks the evolution of the American front and back yards as the nation evolved from an agrarian to an industrial economy. He connects the emergence of the modern home garden to the rise of suburbanization, the growth of city services and the post–World War II baby boom, which established the single-family home and its grounds as the ideal American dwelling. From Yard to Garden argues that the home garden is best understood as an expression of “habitability,” or the ways in which Americans have collectively and individually transformed their home grounds into functional outdoor living areas. Grampp analyzes the gardens of California homes as quintessential examples, revealing that the mild climate, demographics, land costs, and media influences of the region have led many California homeowners to create beautiful outdoor family rooms.
A captivating and vibrantly illustrated study, From Yard to Garden digs up the broader historical reasons why we seek to create personal Edens in our own yards.
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