From Yard to Garden
The Domestication of America's Home Grounds
Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press
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.
“Grampp’s writing style is direct, clear, personal, and always approachable. He provides enough detail—and so much original new information—that the specialist, academic reader will be intrigued and satisfied; yet the narrative moves forward quickly enough to engage even the general reader who may be entirely new to the subject. Grampp’s writing also sparkles with real humor.”
“This work establishes Chris Grampp as a most effective scholar of small vernacular American gardens. He has read a widely and effectively in the primary literary and archival photographic sources. He has also conducted valuable and original research in the form of interviews that clearly establish the values underlying residents’ reactions to new gardens in the communities at the suburban fringes of the San Francisco Bay area.
“The organization makes this an attractive book that should appeal both to the common reader and an academic audience."