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Lazy-Ass Gardening

Maximize Your Soil, Minimize Your Toil

By Robert Kourik


In this lively and inspiring book, veteran horticulturalist Robert Kourik (aka “Bob”) unfolds his manifesto of “Inspired Laziness”—using efficiency and forethought to create gardens and landscapes with a lot less work and a lot more enjoyment.

By following Kourik’s relaxed and readable guidance, both beginning and accomplished gardeners will discover how to save time and money, enrich their soil, increase their yields, and reduce their effort, all while absorbing “Bob’s” philosophy of kicking back and growing more good times.

Drawing on over four decades of immersing himself in horticultural work (and writing about it), Robert shares his hard-won secrets for the easiest planning, planting, cultivating, landscaping, irrigating, de-pestifying, and finding enjoyment in settings ranging from window-box herbs to showy ornamental plantings to the now-classic “edible landscape.”

In Lazy-Ass Gardening, you’ll learn how to:

  • Ease into gardening, if you’re a newbie.
  • Figure out which edibles to raise, with a careful selection of the most care-free varieties and tips for easy growing.
  • Lay out your garden to balance effective growing area with space for enjoyment, relaxation, and play.
  • Cultivate creatively to grow your own nutrients and build healthy self-sustaining (no-till) soil for the future.
  • Attract the best pollinating insects and deter hungry pests.
  • Plan your “hardscape” (paths, patios, arbors, etc.), for an easy-care (and more fun) aspect of your yard or garden.
  • Choose the right plants for your landscape, climate, soil, and water supply, not to mention your aesthetic and nutritional needs.
  • Learn how to develop a personal garden that manifests your own eccentricities.
  • Grow more, stress less.


Reviews and Praise

"Robert cuts through all of today’s garden-media hype, offering up tried- and-true wisdom based on his 25 years of gardening and landscaping. I love his voice – clever, humorous and thoroughly honest – This book will save you money and years of trial and error! I’ll be giving it to all my nursery employees for all its easy-to- grasp, trustworthy information and tips! A must-read."–Annie Hayes, Annie's Annuals & Perennials, Richmond, CA

“You gotta love an author who calls deer 'The ubiquitous ungulates' and whose sage advice for gardeners on the Left Coast is: 'If you have gophers, move.' He is also a devoted fan of Monty Python. Reason enough to have this book on your shelf, right there.

But wait; there’s more! Bob has filled the book with lots of easy-to-follow advice for beginners and an astounding amount of “I did not know that” info for grizzled veterans of the garden wars. (I’ll never look at Nitrogen fixing legumes the same way again!)

It’s a great resource, a fun read; and yes, could save you quite a bit of work.”–Mike McGrath, host of Public Broadcasting’s "You Bet Your Garden” and former Editor-in-Chief of Organic Gardening magazine

“Robert Kourik has combined a lifetime of hands in the dirt gardening with careful scientific study of the complex web of life that is a garden. He’s made decades of mistakes and learned from most of them. Let Bob, who is at once amusing, insightful and incite full, converse with you and help you plan thoughtful labor saving ways to enjoy the wonder and beauty of gardening and also get more food with less work. The “lazy-ass” part says Bob, is that this book’s labor saving ideas will afford you more time for leisure activities like hammock laying and drinking cocktails. However he is wrong, because you will use a lot of the time you save in the garden enjoying this profound and entertaining book and the journeys of understanding it will send you on.

Keep it as a reference. For sure use it each winter before you plan your garden and consult it to save time and gain insight before you do each of many specific gardening tasks.”–Sam Benowitz, founder of Raintree Nursery

“In this book, Robert Kourik shares some garden wit, sound advice, and innovative tips for gardeners who prefer gazing at a garden to grubbing in it.”–Pam Peirce, author of Golden Gate Gardening

“The Lazy Ass Gardening book is packed with so many clever, economical, and ecological resources and ideas that are guaranteed to raise the horticultural IQ of both novice and experienced gardeners alike! Graphics are clear and understandable aids helping readers de-mystify planning, planting, pruning, irrigation, soil building, and plant root growth. It’s a pleasure to find a book so chock-full with nuggets of practical and fascinating tips and techniques presented with a feeling that you’re conversing with your smartest, most laid back longtime gardening friend and guru. Highly recommended!”–Chip Tynan, Missouri Botanical Garden

“What gardener wouldn’t prefer more for less? And that’s exactly what Robert Kourik is offering in Lazy-Ass Gardening. Drawing on his forty-plus years of hands-on experience at growing plants, and countless hours of scholarly research, Kourik offers a host of ways in which anyone can have more beauty, bigger harvests and a healthier environment for a far smaller investment of sweat and resources. This book is sure to become your favorite gardening tool.”–Tom Christopher, author of Garden Revolution

“A survey a few years ago by the Garden Writers Association of America uncovered that gardeners in our country want to spend less time working in the yard. On average, a homeowner want to spend no more than an hour per week tending to their outdoor spaces. How to accomplish that? Eliminate, elevate, automate. Those are garden words to live by. Get rid of troublesome plants, and perhaps add a permanent patio and pathways. Large lawns are a major outdoor labor time suck. Raised beds solve a lot of garden problems, such as slow-draining soil. Drip irrigation systems, combined with a “smart” irrigation control system, goes a long way to freeing up your day for other pursuits. Those, and other time-and-labor saving strategies are emphasized and explained in Robert Kourik’s latest book, Lazy-Ass Gardening. In this book, Kourik emphasizes how you can save yourself a lot of time and grief by employing some common sense strategies. One of my favorites: walk through your neighborhood and note which plants are successful. Nothing wrong with copying a good idea! There’s nothing “lazy” about planning out a functional, easy to maintain garden. That’s smart landscaping! Robert Kourik’s Lazy-Ass Gardening will show you how.”–Fred Hoffman, producer/host, KFBK Garden Show

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