Prairie Up

An Introduction to Natural Garden Design
Author: Benjamin Vogt
Connecting to nature with native plants
Paper – $29.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/24/2023
Series: 3 Fields Books
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About the Book

Landscaping with native plants has encouraged gardeners from the Midwest and beyond to embark on a profound scientific, ecological, and emotional partnership with nature. Benjamin Vogt shares his expertise with prairie plants in a richly photographed guide aimed at gardeners and homeowners, making big ideas about design approachable and actionable. Step-by-step blueprints point readers to plant communities that not only support wildlife and please the eye but that rethink traditional planting and maintenance. Additionally, Vogt provides insider information on plant sourcing, garden tools, and working with city ordinances. This book will be an invaluable reference in sustainable garden design for those wanting both beautiful and functional landscapes.

Easy to use and illustrated with over 150 color photos, Prairie Up is a practical guide to artfully reviving diversity and wildness in our communities.

About the Author

Benjamin Vogt is the owner of Monarch Gardens, a prairie-inspired design firm based in the Midwest, and author of the disruptive, call-to-action A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future. Benjamin’s award-winning writing and photography have appeared in some one hundred publications including The American Gardener, Fine Gardening, Garden Design, Houzz, Midwest Living, Orion, and a variety of literary and gardening books. As a sought-after speaker, he presents widely on artful and ecologically meaningful design for both wildlife and people, helping us to rethink pretty in a time of climate disruption. A native of Oklahoma and raised in Minnesota, Benjamin has an MFA from The Ohio State University and a PhD from the University of Nebraska. He lives in Lincoln on a re-prairied suburban lot with his wife and son.


"Gardeners serious about ditching tidy landscaping have a great starting point here." --Publishers Weekly

"Gives gardeners the tools they need to confidently 'prairie up' their landscape, whether its a garden bed or an entire yard. " --My Northern Garden

"Beautiful photographs show a variety of climates and regions. . . . Vogt gives gardeners a thorough look into what it takes to create a prairie landscape and revive natural diversity. . . . An essential resource." --Library Journal, Starred Review

"This book provides even the most novice native plant gardener with an invaluable reference tool in sustainable garden design. . . . Consider Prairie Up, your trail guide for navigating the change we need." --Outdoor News

"A wonderful book for the gardener interested in natural garden design, native plants, plant communities, ecoregions, plant sociability, and more." --The Real Dirt, Garden Club of America

"The emphasis on insights gained through in-the-garden experience makes Prairie Up an unusually useful guide for any gardener seeking to repopulate their yard with the local natives." --Berkshire Eagle

"As an excellent concise resource for prairie gardeners, this volume rates 5 stars." --Wild Ones

"A complete toolkit for the gardener looking to create a prairie-inspired home landscape." --Horticulture

"Provides insider information on plant sourcing, garden tools, and working with city ordinances. This book will be a valuable reference for those wanting both beautiful and functional landscapes." --Michigan Gardener


"Vogt's book is a cookbook for prairie restoration featuring unparalleled lists of which plants to use, in what combinations, and under what conditions. This how-to knowledge draws from Vogt’s own experience designing and maintaining suburban gardens. This type of experience is priceless!"--Douglas Tallamy, author of Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard

"In the heart of the Great Plains lives a Renaissance Man named Ben Vogt. His goal is no less than the replacement of the sterile, chemical-laden lawns to which we’ve all grown numb. It’s about time. Prairie Up tells us exactly how to convert our tired outdoor spaces to be pollinator friendly, full of glorious color, and good for the soul. With a lifetime of experience to back him up, Ben reveals his path through an enduring prairie landscape. With sideoats grama and purple coneflower, big bluestem and zigzag goldenrod, we see just how beautiful our lives can be, if only we try. The question is, will we act quickly enough to save the monarchs, the native bees, and ourselves in the process?"—Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photographer, author of Photo Ark: A World Worth Saving

“From his work under the telling moniker Monarch Gardens, to his first book, A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future, to his newest manifesto Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design, Benjamin Vogt has been a consistent voice for the importance of our native plant gardens. A staunch advocate for our built landscapes allocating land and resources back to and reintegrating with the natural ecosystems out of which they have been unrelentingly carved these past 150 years. Vogt’s is a voice that asks us to remember, rethink, and replant our world with a greater integrity and meaning. This can often seem a daunting task, but with Prairie Up, Vogt has also given us an essential map, through detailed plant lists and condition requirements, to do this necessary work. He not only invites us, but leads gardeners home-garden managers, and other land managers to successfully and beautifully 'embark on a profound scientific, ecological, and emotional partnership with nature.' This directive and direction could not come to us at a better time.”--Jennifer Jewell, host of Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & The Human Impulse to Garden

“Many gardening books attempt to take the mystery out of growing plants, providing cookie-cutter recommendations that are ultimately unattainable and unsustainable. Prairie Up does the opposite, celebrating the mysteries and unpredictability of ecological gardens while providing heaps of down-to-earth advice for nurturing these ever-evolving landscapes. Readers following Benjamin Vogt’s tips won’t have to choose between beautiful design and rich habitat. Covering everything from preparing seed mixes to avoiding weed citations, Vogt shows that we can have both. Underlying his generously shared insider knowledge and practical experience is a central message that I wish every gardener could hear: be patient and take your cues from nature, our greatest teacher. If only I had read this book when I first started gardening, I could have saved myself years of trouble!”—Nancy Lawson, The Humane Gardener


• Honorable Mention, AHS Book Awards, American Horticultural Society, 2024