The Ecological Gardener

How to Create Beauty and Biodiversity from the Soil Up

By Matt Rees-Warren


Engaging and quirky; full of ideas and inspiration for garden projects that you’ll be itching to try for yourself. Dave Goulson, author of The Garden Jungle

A thoughtful and practical guide Country Life

Design a garden for the future – because what we grow matters.

Transform your garden into a self-sustaining haven for nature and wildlife. Ecological garden designer Matt Rees-Warren shares inspirational design ideas and practical projects to help you create a garden that is both beautiful today and sustainable tomorrow.

The Ecological Gardener will give you the tools to create an abundant, healthy garden from the soil up – a garden that welcomes birds and bees and allows native planting and wild flowers to flourish, with minimal carbon impact or need for fresh water. This book can guide both novice and experienced gardeners alike in their journey to a more ecological approach, and is full of practical projects and information, including:

  • Finding the right design for your space
  • Creating a wildflower meadow
  • Building rainwater catchments and other tips for water conservation
  • Making compost from kitchen waste, leafmould, compost tea and more
  • Creating a space for wildlife such as hedgehogs, bees and other pollinators
  • Finding beauty in your garden during the winter

Matt will show you how to reimagine how you garden, working with nature instead of controlling it, to create a space that promotes both wildlife and beauty. 

Reviews and Praise

‘Engaging and quirky; full of ideas and inspiration for garden projects that you’ll be itching to try for yourself.’—Dave Goulson, author of The Garden Jungle

‘Finally, a book for UK gardeners who recognise the desperate need to share their gardens with nature. In The Ecological Gardener, Matt Rees-Warren explains why every square inch of planet Earth, including our gardens, has ecological significance, and he tells us exactly how to increase that significance in ways that will benefit us all. Excellent, timely, essential!’—Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Nature’s Best Hope

‘Matt Rees-Warren has distilled his experience, observation and passion for the natural world into an incredibly informative narrative, with practical examples to help us tread lightly on the land. Gardens are for people, but in our endeavour to create beauty, we forget that our space is shared with cohabitants and time. Matt takes us through the garden with an ecological lens – just what we need to view a future that is in harmony with nature itself.’—Arit Anderson, garden designer, chartered member of The Landscape Institute

‘Gardening for nature shouldn’t be a radical act, but it takes courage to trade power tools and pesticides for hand tools and native plants. The Ecological Gardener helps you brave the rewilding of your own patch through practical, inspirational advice for growing lightly on the land. With Matt Rees-Warren and the natural world as your guides, you can welcome all your wild neighbors, from slugs to the newts who eat them, to your life-sustaining space.’—Nancy Lawson, author of The Humane Gardener

‘Gardening fads and styles come and go, from topiaries to green walls to Tropicalisimo. Yet the arc of understanding what a garden is slowly bends to the less controlled and naturally friendly. As our understanding of the connectedness and mostly concealed weave and warp of “life entire” gains steam, so too does our desire to fully embrace the whole. Within this context, Matt Rees-Warren does an admirable job in explaining the objectives while providing the garden-maker a satisfyingly readable map from which to find one’s personal paradise that welcomes the natural world into our own backyard.’—Daniel J. Hinkley, author of Windcliff and The Explorer’s Garden

"The accompanying narrative is what sets this book apart; the breadth and depth of Rees-Warren’s experience allows him reflections that result in a philosophical exploration that is far more than just instruction (though the instruction is high quality, too)."Booklist