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Fire the Landscaper - How Landscapers, HOAs, and Cultural Norms Are Poisoning Our Properties

Fire the Landscaper - How Landscapers, HOAs, and Cultural Norms Are Poisoning Our Properties

A new book by Phil Williams
Thursday, September 10, 2015, 10:08 AM

We are pleased to announce the new book by Peak Prosperity member and permaculture contributing author - Phil Williams.

Below is the book trailer, the Amazon description, and a few words from Phil about his generous offer for a free download of his new book for Peak Prosperity members. 

Congratulations on the new book, Phil!

From Amazon:

Fire the Landscaper is a biting critique of current landscape design and maintenance practices. The book explores the health risks, cultural biases, origins, and the insults to Mother Nature caused by our culturally backed, legally enforced obsession with artificial monoculture representations of nature. The author, Phil Williams, is the former owner of a successful landscape company. He exposes the waste, fraud, and downright ridiculousness of an industry focused solely on aesthetics. Through his subsequent training as a permaculture designer, he offers many practical solutions aligned with nature to increase the health and productivity of landscapes, and the world by extension, while simultaneously reducing the workload of upkeep. Amazon Product Page for Fire the Landscaper

My new book Fire the Landscaper is available on Amazon. As a gift to peak prosperity subscribers, I am offering the book for free download on Amazon this Friday and Saturday, 9-11 and 9-12-2015. Also, if you are a Amazon prime member, or Kindle unlimited member, you can borrow it for free anytime.  Visit Amazon Today!

~ Phil Williams

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38 Comments

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2237
Thanks Phil!!!

That's very generous of you!  I can't wait to download your new permaculture e-book tomorrow (Friday)!

Congrats on your book!

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
You're Welcome!

Pinecarr,

You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it. 

Phil

 

 

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2237
I couldn't resist, Phil...

I ordered the paperback version from Amazon too (I love physical books)!!  Plus I wanted to support the author.:)  I'm already hooked after reading the first few pages on Amazon! 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
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Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Wow!

Pinecarr,

I'm sincerely grateful. Thank you so much. When I got the paperback proof, I was really surprised how high of quality it is. Enjoy.

Phil

 

blackeagle's picture
blackeagle
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 16 2013
Posts: 217
PP has a very "deleterious" effect on me...

PP has a very "deleterious" effect on me... it diverts my life from computing, concrete, asphalt, etc... to soil, ecology, sun, simple life, etc... very strong impact on me... fighting hard to get back my old life... looks like a lost battle... well, just resign to eat my own food, produce my own energy and stop burning my eyes on screens...

Ordered the paper version too... ;)

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Thank you

Black Eagle,

Thank you for your support! I hope you enjoy the narrative. Your post is reminding me that I need to get outside and pick apples.

Phil

 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5570
Congratualtions Phil!

Phil,

great news on the release and all the best with it!   I never thought of doing a trailer for a book, but it's a very effective 'hook.'

All of which reminds me...I need to pick apples...peaches...grapes...and plant my winter oat cover crop today.

:)

pyranablade's picture
pyranablade
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 8 2010
Posts: 205
Let's Return the Favor

The paperback is only $7.99 - most of us can afford that.

But maybe the best thing we can do to help Phil is to write a good review for the book on the Amazon site. 

I look forward to reading it.

Waterdog14's picture
Waterdog14
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 18 2014
Posts: 120
Reshaping our minds!

Phil,

It's amazing how your books trailer shows that we need to reshape our minds about what "beauty" is.  Popular magazines show "luxurious" homes and gardens that are biologically sterile, and our culture holds these models up as beautiful and desirable.  Somewhere deep within ourselves, we KNOW that those landscapes are not so beautiful, healthy, or harmonious, but on the surface we feel they are controlled, safe, and inviting. 

In contrast, the overgrown, chicken-infested permaculture gardens are a bit daunting at first.  Your video trailer helps us take a new look at what "beautiful" is, even the very slightly blemished peach.  Thanks for opening our eyes!  

I can't wait to read your book.  Thanks for sharing it.

Waterdog14's picture
Waterdog14
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 120
And I bought the book, too!

I downloaded the free Kindle version and I bought the book, too.  Wow, the intro is intense - you're allowing us a window into what shaped you, just as you're giving us a window into how nature shapes landscapes.  Most of us don't have the courage (yet) to bare our souls/experiences.  Congratulations on the successful launch of your book.   I look forward to sharing it with others. 

richcabot's picture
richcabot
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Posts: 134
No promo code to download the book

The free download doesn't appear to work.  Amazon appears to want a promo code.  What am I missing?

PlannedObsolescence's picture
PlannedObsolescence
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 29 2011
Posts: 2
Excellent

Excellent Phil. I loved the trailer and can't wait to read the book. By The Way- From the looks of it, your property is coming along nicely...

Fellow GL PDC'r

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Book Trailers

Thanks Chris, and thank you for the onsite promotion. I think The Crash Course could have a very effective book trailer.

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Reviews

Pyranablade,

Thank you. And yes reviews are highly sought after and appreciated. Most people won't buy a book without reviews, and as of now, I'm still with zero reviews. Granted most people that are downloading now still need time to actually read it.

Phil

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Cultural Norms

Waterdog,

Thank you so much for your support. I appreciate it. I hope in the future we redefine beauty to reflect nature instead of the sterile domination of nature that many of us aspire to have today. There is a chapter on our obsession with order and conformity that I found particularly interesting when I was doing research. I hope you enjoy the narrative.

Phil

 

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Download

Rich,

I just downloaded it, no promo code. It seemed fine. Make sure you're in the kindle store, and not on the print book. The price to the right should say 0.00 and you just click and buy like any other item.

I hope that helps

Phil

 

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
GL PDC

PlannedObsolescence,

Thank you! And Geoff Lawton's course was great. I think everyone at PP would benefit from it.

Phil

SingleSpeak's picture
SingleSpeak
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 30 2008
Posts: 496
Only at Chapter 5 Phil

but I've already learned a lot.

I let my lawn die a couple of years ago and have been looking at dirt and weeds and a few trees. Now I hope to learn enough to proceed with something sustainable after finishing the read.

Thank you,
SS

AKGrannyWGrit's picture
AKGrannyWGrit
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 6 2011
Posts: 433
love books

We are ordering the book as well.  I like the "real thing" a good old fashioned book.  Loved the trailer though what a good idea.  Thanks for sharing with the PP group.

AKGrannyWGrit

AKGrannyWGrit's picture
AKGrannyWGrit
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Posts: 433
Yeah Chris & Adam

Phil is right you need a really great trailer for the Crash Course!  What a great idea to send a trailer to people!

jandeligans's picture
jandeligans
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 21 2011
Posts: 26
I couldn't put it down and read it at one sitting - outstanding!

Hi Phil, I had no trouble using my Kindle online free reader to read your book. Wow! It was like I have lived that book too. I have taken the PDC this Spring (2015) and 3 years ago my partner and I moved out of our long term home in an HOA to an 8 acre homestead in the county - no rules! We have totally enjoyed our chickens, building our own greenhouses with no one looking over our shoulders and letting most of the lot go wild while cultivating a small amount. The property was originally designed by a well known permaculture designer so we were extremely lucky to happen upon it. In fact, looking back on a 3 year battle with our HOA complete with threats of being jailed, having a whole group of friends sued and forming a legal defense fund organization for them, one opponent saying that he had always brought a concealed weapon with him to Board meetings (I got elected to the Board and lasted 6 months and stepped down after they began to go after my partner and accuse him of garbage too even though he wasn't even the homeowner), I could go on. It was the most bizarre time of my life. I felt like I was living in nazi Germany. In fact I coined a new name for our development - Eldorado became Helldorado. The issue was chickens but in reality it was neatness and conformity. But your book described my situation perfectly. The people who had gotten on the Board wanted total control and they would drive you out of the neighborhood if they didn't get it by using libel and slander and threats - even trespassing and harassment. But the good thing was that we left and our new place is fabulous. And permaculture is the perfect tool to use to make it even better. 

So what I like so much about your book is that it is such a good story. It's engaging. You give us enough detail about yourself that you are the main character and in any good story - it's important to identify with the main character. And then even though you are giving information about an extremely important subject - it continues to read like a story and you want to know how it is going to turn out. 

I have posted a good review and plan to order some copies of the book too for myself and gifts. Congratulations. I hope this book gets widely read as I believe you are hitting the essence of where we are at as a culture especially relating to excessive chemicals. Now which way we will go from here is up to people like us who are getting this message out.

Do you ever go on resilience.org? If you could get a book review on there it might help you.

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
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Posts: 337
SingleSpeak

SS,

I'm glad you're finding the book informative. Thank you for reading it.

A lot can be done to build soil by simply adding mulch in the form of wood chips to degraded exposed soil. With the wood chips, the earth worms simply appear building good fertile soil for you. 

Phil

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
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Posts: 337
AKGranny

AKGranny,

Thank you so much for your support. I hope you find the book engaging and compelling. I'm glad you enjoyed the trailer. It took me 7 hours to piece together 2.5 minutes. Of course I'm a total amateur videographer.

Phil

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Jan

Jan,

I'm really sorry to hear about what you and your partner had to go through. The research I did on HOAs was quite an eye opener. I found so much material on the abuses perpetrated by HOAs. I had to limit what I wrote, because I didn't want to make the book solely about HOAs.

I'm glad you landed on your feet in a fantastic place. We should all have the freedom to provide for our families, by living off the land. It amazes me that many of us have to beg for permission.

Thank you the review and the support. I'm going to try to submit the book to resilience.org. I think that's a good idea.

Phil

 

blackeagle's picture
blackeagle
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 16 2013
Posts: 217
Gifts

Jandeligans wrote:

... have posted a good review and plan to order some copies of the book too for myself and gifts...

Excellent idea. Christmas is not too far. Much valuable and durable gift than a bag of perfumed tea or a gift certificate.

Edit: Christmas?  Hey! No need for a reason. ;)

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Thank You Jan

Jan,

Thank you so much for the kind review and your support. I wrote a more detailed response to your post last night, but for some reason my post was quarantined by PP for mediation. I assume it will post soon. Anyway, I didn't want you to think I did not notice your post.

Phil

 

jtwalsh's picture
jtwalsh
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 264
Great book, great ideas

Phil:

I am about half way through and love it. 

I have a little story which is in line with your experiences.

My house is over a century old, on a small in town lot, and has a front yard that is only about fifteen by forty feet.  About ten years ago I started ripping out the grass and replacing it with medium large rocks and perennial flowering plants, bushes and clump grasses.  I attempted to find plants which would flower at different times from crocuses and daffodils in spring to late blooming mums in early fall.  I probably have twenty-five different species.  Over the years the whole area has grown into a semi jungle of plants and bushes. In June and early July it is a riot of colors.  I do clear out the leaves and dead growth in fall but that is generally about all I have to do.

One day last summer, as I got out of the car after work, my neighbor across the street came running over.  He informed me that our district's town councilor had been on the side walk in the afternoon inspecting my "garden".  Apparently someone on the street had reported me to the zoning office for "not maintaining" my yard.

I never heard anything from the town (I was prepared to make them tell me which species of plant were illegal and had to be removed.) but I have also never discovered who complained.  This occurred in a hundred year old, working class, neighborhood with no association and no deed restrictions.  My story ended better than Jan's but the lawn police are not just in the suburbs or communities with associations.

Thanks again for your work.

JT

 

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Local Governments

JT,

I'm glad you're enjoying the book. Thank you for your support. I agree with you that local governments and cities can be just as tyrannical as HOAs. As a coincidence with my book launch, I am facing a township hearing on Tuesday 9-15 to decide whether or not I am in violation of the grass and weed ordinance. I've had a complaint from the same person three years in a row. The specifics are in the book. It's very scary as they can fine me, destroy my property, charge me for the corrective actions, and put a lien on my property, and jail me if I don't pay. 

Phil

Kinexus2's picture
Kinexus2
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Posts: 1
Thanks for your generosity!

Thanks for offering your book as a free download. I wish you much success with it!

One question. I live in Southern Arizona in a desert climate. Are your ideas adaptable to low water use settings?

Trun87114's picture
Trun87114
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Posts: 80
Desert environment.

Great question.  I'm halfway through Phil's book and I'm enjoying it quite a bit.  The writing is excellent and I am 100% behind the general message. But I not sure how much of it applies to me here in northern Nevada where we average 9 inches of rain per year.  

Kinexus2 wrote:

Thanks for offering your book as a free download. I wish you much success with it!

One question. I live in Southern Arizona in a desert climate. Are your ideas adaptable to low water use settings?

HughK's picture
HughK
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Posts: 760
Thanks Phil & Foodproduction101

Thanks for sharing your work and insight with us, Phil!  I am swamped with work this school year due to some new projects, so it may be a while before I get to it.  It's clear from the second half of the trailer that your gardens and orchards are thriving.

In the meantime, I wanted to mention Phil's website (www.foodproduction101.com).  He's got over a hundred great podcasts on permaculture there as well as tons of pictures and articles.  He's also done some consulting for both me and some of the students at my school regarding what to consider when looking to buy land as well as land management, which has been very helpful.

Tall's picture
Tall
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Posts: 564
Foodproduction 101

Thanks for posting the link Hugh, the site looks amazing. I have just started to explore it.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us Phil!

jandeligans's picture
jandeligans
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Posts: 26
Fire your gravelscape landscaper too!

I'd love to comment on the issue of living in the drought stricken southwest. I took my Permaculture Design Course in Tucson, AZ (http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/permaculture-design-certification-cou...) where my daughter has lived for 14 years. The typical landscape there in Tucson is just as chemically drenched and sterile as the lawn and boxwood landscape back east and the landscapers are just as clueless. Typically they cover the yard in gravel and plant a few hardy typical cactus and trees such as ironwood and mesquite. The gravel will cover itself in weeds if there is the slightest rain so it is usually sprayed with herbicides frequently. These landscapes offer nothing to people or wildlife. The permaculture yard is much different than that. Plants are planted into lowered basins and mulched well so that they can take advantage of any rain. They are planted in compatible groups that benefit each other - some gather nitrogen, some provide good mulch material, some provide food for us or birds, and some are pollinator attractors. But they are planted together and all mulched so they are similar to a forest - although you must stick to species that are able to survive and thrive in the desert climate so you won't be buying anything from a national catalog or big box store. So it will be lush and productive but will be a palette of plants suitable to the region. My daughter's yard is amazing and beautiful without outside water (they use all their gray water) or any chemicals. An example of excellence is a place called Beantree Farm (http://www.beantreefarm.com/our-story.html) where they harvest and sell all kinds of food from an assortment of native desert plants and have gorgeous Permaculture food forest. When I got a tour of that place I was shocked when upon looking at a gorgeous Sonoran desert scene I was told "Everything you see is edible". I said "What? I don't see anything edible." Lunch was delicious and included an assortment of desert tree beans and cactus fruit, pods and greens - all grown there and none of it was anything you would expect. And yes, they have had their share of legal problems too since our culture does not seen to approve of common sense land use. I think Phil's book applies directly to the desert environment with the exception that maintaining the LAWN isn't the issue since lawns often can't survive at all. But the substitute for the lawn - the gravelscape or bare dirtscape - is just as chemically laden and sterile and harmful to the environment and is often required by HOAs. 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
I agree 100%

I agree 100% with Jan's excellent post above. My book does center around the temperate climates of the northeast, but the broader premises are applicable in any climate. The strategies are different, but permaculture design is applicable to any climate. I have designed in low rainfall climates.

Some of the broad concepts I use when designing in the desert:

1. Rain tends to be sporadic, but when it comes it can be a gully washer, so large swales, gabbions, roof water catchment tanks, and seasonal ponds if the soil is clayey enough. This will slow, store, and soak the deluge of water and nutrient.

2. Shade, so pergolas and trellises with vining plants that can provide shade, and hardy drought proof trees growing on the berms of the swale system. 

3. Heavy mulches, like Jan said.

4. Sunken beds, like Jan said.

5. Smart choices of appropriate plant material.

6. Drip irrigation fed by rainwater catchment.

 

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Hugh

Thanks Hugh, I appreciate the plug. I've very much enjoyed working with you. I look forward to more in the future.

Phil

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Tall

Thanks Tall, for the positive feedback. I've enjoyed your PP posts over the years.

Phil

Trun87114's picture
Trun87114
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 28 2013
Posts: 80
Desert Permaculture

Jan and Phil, thank you very much for addressing the subject of desert permaculture.  I'm encouraged that it can work here but absolutely sick that I didn't do more research before spending lots of money and time tearing out my grass lawn and replacing it with a xeriscape.  

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 337
Trun

Trun,

Don't feel too bad, we're all learning as we go. I've rearranged my garden 3 times. I feel like I learn something new everyday. I think gardening and permaculture is a lifetime pursuit. With permaculture it's best to start with the smallest changes that can make the biggest improvements.

Phil 

 

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