Some peo­ple are just born clever and handy.  These are the peo­ple who don’t fear the sound of power tools or those long, scary aisles of bits and pieces in the hard­ware store. They have DIY in their DNA.

Oth­ers of us need a lit­tle hand-holding, a kindly pep talk and a wee bit of a kick in the pants to con­vince us to put down the mail order cat­a­logs and light a fire to get our cre­ative juices flowing.

If you’re in the sec­ond cat­e­gory, there is no bet­ter gar­den DIY guru to get you started on a hand­made life out­doors than Lorene Edwards Forkner, author of the newly released book Hand­made Gar­den Projects.

Bold and beau­ti­ful author Lorene Edwards Forkner

Lorene is one of these peo­ple who just bub­bles with enthu­si­asm. This is a woman who doesn’t fear the color orange, who hauls an old Airstream trailer into her back yard to use as a grown-up play­house and calls it her “canned ham” and who has turned some old bed­springs into an amaz­ingly artis­tic rusted out­door statement—in the front of her home!

Sev­eral gar­den blog­gers had the chance to visit Lorene’s gar­den last sum­mer when she was putting the fin­ish­ing touches on her book. We saw first-hand the results of her crafti­ness in her own gar­den. Now the book is released and every­one can see a bit of Lorene’s garden—and some clever and easy ideas for a hand­made life outdoors.

Bam­boo Edg­ing — Photo by Allan Mandell

Hand­made Gar­den Projects is as much an inspi­ra­tion book  as a DIY recipe book. Before launch­ing into the how-to por­tion of the book, Lorene lights the cre­ative fire with a quick jaunt through three gar­dens heavy on the hand­made. My only com­plaint is that she only gives you a peek at her “canned ham.”  (Since it’s so adorable, I’ll share you a cou­ple of pho­tos I took when I vis­ited last year.)

Each project is care­fully described with a list of mate­ri­als, tools and other sup­plies needed. But the intro­duc­tions don’t read like your usual how-to manual—many of which read like they were writ­ten by engi­neers. (Sorry, not all engi­neers. You know who you are.)

Feath­er­weight Troughs — Photo by Allan Mandell

For exam­ple, when talk­ing about her mate­ri­als used to make her rugged steel trel­lis, she writes, “Incred­i­bly strong, vir­tu­ally inde­struc­tible, and beau­ti­ful besides, rock screen scrap is my favorite heavy metal.”

But she’s not just clever. She’s help­ful too. She goes on to explain what rock screen is, sizes you can expect to find, where to look and the friendly reminder that “Unless your sal­vage yard can cus­tom cut pieces to size, it’s best to keep an open mind, scout­ing for inter­est­ing pieces and suit­able weights.”

Lorene’s Airstream — Her “canned ham”

Projects in Hand­made Gar­den Projects include path­ways, step­ping stone and edg­ing ideas, trel­lises and sup­ports, dec­o­ra­tive accents, con­tain­ers and fin­ish­ing touches. None of them appear very dif­fi­cult and most can be accom­plished in an after­noon or a week­end, depend­ing on how many times you stop for beer.

Inte­rior detail of Lorene’s grown-up play­house “canned ham”

It’s a fun and use­ful book to set you on your path to a hand­made life in the great out­doors. You can thank Lorene. She’ll be the one wear­ing orange, hav­ing fun and rev­el­ing in her own clever hand­made garden.

Want to win this copy of the book? Leave me a com­ment by Wednes­day, May 23, and I’ll select a win­ner through a ran­dom drawing!

Want to see other blog posts about Lorene’s book on the vir­tual book tour? You can visit them here where there are more giveaways.


Tim­ber Press, pub­lisher of Hand­made Gar­den Projects, pro­vided a free copy of this book for review.

UPDATE: The win­ner of Hand­made Gar­den Projects is Mary Davis. Mary, I’m email­ing you. Come on down! (Well, send me your mail­ing address anyway.)


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There are 37 comments
Filed in: Books, Gardening

37 Responses to “An Inspiration and DIY Recipe Book: Handmade Garden Projects — And a Giveaway!”

  1. DeDe @ Designed Decor Says:

    Looks like a great book packed full of ideas. I am just start­ing to work on the out­side of my house and need alot of inspiration!

  2. Africanaussie Says:

    oh gosh I would love to win that book! I live in Aus­tralia — can you mail it here?

  3. Patty Hicks Says:

    Now that is my kind of book! I’m a junk repur­poser at heart so can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. And that lit­tle trailer is delight­ful, I want one for my gar­den too please. (oh that’s right…it’s a book give­away.) Thanks for host­ing this. Good luck to all!

  4. Nicole Says:

    I am just start­ing my gar­den­ing jour­ney and need all the help I can get! Your blog is one of my inspi­ra­tions. Thank you.

  5. Merrilee Says:

    Love the ele­ment of recy­cling while hav­ing fun in the gar­den. And the sweet peas in the glass(es) in the “canned ham” are just gorgeous!

  6. pat Says:

    just found your blog through a pic­ture on pin­ter­est and have been read­ing your back posts — love it! now you’ve got me won­der­ing whose nest the pair of cow­birds in the yard are going to “use” — book looks like fun — i’ll have to check it out

  7. Esther T. Says:

    I live in a town­house and have a very small patio/deck area. I’m con­stantly look­ing for ways to jazz it up. The book sounds like it would have lots of amaz­ing ideas. Thanks.

  8. Lisa Cox Says:

    This book looks great. Such inspi­ra­tion and very cool ideas! Thanks for the chance to win it.

  9. Shirley Says:

    This looks like a great book of good ideas and how to for gar­den projects.

  10. Brenda Says:

    I love the lit­tle trailer! I have one in my yard not be used for any­thing but stor­age. I need a play­house! Thank-you for host­ing this great giveaway.

  11. Leah Kessel Says:

    Looks like a great book and what a fun, grown-up playhouse! :)

  12. Marissa Says:

    This book would be the per­fect gift for my grandma. She’s just that kind of per­son that crafty and likes to make things herself.

  13. Natalie Gaba Says:

    This book looks just delightful.

  14. ryan@what is my purpose Says:

    What a cool look­ing book and blog. I’m always look­ing for new ideas to do neat things in the yard. You know I like DIY projects, but I also like a lit­tle pep talk.

  15. Keith, aka Bricky Says:

    As one who can han­dle tools and hard­ware but lacks cre­ativ­ity, this book looks the goods.

  16. ryan@landscapingbrisbane Says:

    Hi Lorene,

    You seem like a fun lady. Come check out my blog. I might have to buy this book for my wife. She and I love work­ing in the yard together

  17. Ansley Cisneros Says:

    Would love this book– just the inspi­ra­tion I need!

  18. karlin Says:

    So many ideas, inspi­ra­tion, and gar­den bliss. Who wouldn’t want a copy of this book? Hope I win.

  19. Laura Cottrell Says:

    I would love this book! I love to repur­pose garage sale and flea mar­ket finds into items for the gar­den and pot­ting shed.

  20. donna Says:

    These look like fun projects. Thanks for a chance to win the book — I know I would enjoy it.

  21. Alice Says:

    The book would be some­thing won­der­ful for m
    My short peo­ple (my two boys 10 & 8) to spend
    Time mak­ing things out­side together.

  22. Alice Says:

    Im not sure how the smi­ley face made it on there
    But my other son is 8!

  23. Mary Davis Says:

    This looks like an amaz­ing book. It would be a fun thing to have this sum­mer as my girls(14 and 9yrs)and I spend our first sum­mer in Ger­many. We could make neat things for our own back­yard gar­den. Thank you for the chance to win this book.

  24. Lorene Says:

    Yeah! Thanks for all the kind words from the lady in orange~

  25. Heather Says:

    This book looks amazing!!

  26. Graziella Says:

    Love those stone con­tain­ers, it’s some­thing worth look­ing into. Lovely suc­cu­lents too!

  27. Jennifer Says:

    Cute book. I could use a lit­tle more flair in my garden.

  28. Jennifer Says:

    Cute book. I could use a lit­tle gar­den flair.

  29. Jennifer Says:

    Oops sorry for dou­ble, ahem now triple, post. My green thumb is bet­ter then my tex­ting thumb!

  30. Tina Says:

    I could use this inspi­ra­tion! Fun book, and great blog!

  31. Donna B. Says:

    Firstly I’m happy to see you post­ing more often! It’s been awhile since I’ve dropped in, but it makes me happy that you are! I miss read­ing about your pooches and your chick­ens! ♥
    And that book! I remem­ber see­ing her gar­den from the last gardener’s get-to-gether! I was immensely inspired by her dec­o­ra­tions! To now know she has a book about it?! I have even more excite­ment… whee!

  32. barbara Says:

    Love this book!! And loved have a chance to hang out with you in all those won­der­ful gar­dens in Asheville. Great blog, BB!

  33. Suzanne Says:

    This looks like a great book — I could see myself try­ing some of these projects.

  34. Shawna petty Says:

    Looks like a book I will love:) can’t wait to win it ;))

  35. Lisa Says:

    It would be great to win! I am fairly new to gar­den­ing and have been inspired by the beauty and inge­nu­ity of gardeners.

  36. Lynn Coulter Says:

    i love the ideas you’ve shown here! please enter my name for the drawing!

  37. Sherry Fraser Says:

    This book looks amaz­ing. Hope I win.

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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