Q & A With Joann Moser, Author Of ‘Garden Builder’

By Shelley Pierce | February 18, 2018
Image by The Quarto Group
by Shelley Pierce
February 18, 2018

JoAnn Moser, writing as DIY Maven, is a featured contributor to the DIY website Curbly.com.  Her designs and writing were featured in four books: Make It! Secondhand Chic, Make It! Hardware Store Decor, and Make It! Mid-century Modern, all published by Curbly Publications, as well as I Love Handicraft, published by China Light Industry Press.  In addition to her not-so-secret crafting obsession, Moser is also an accomplished fiction writer. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, among others. She resides in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where she and her husband design and build wood furnishings in their spare time.

In her latest book, “Garden Builder“, JoAnn offers a treasure trove of lovely yard, patio, and garden projects you can build yourself!  Read on to learn more and enter to win one of two copies of this Quarto Group book.


1. I must admit I’m a bit mechanically challenged when it comes to home improvement projects.  What skill level does one need to complete the projects featured in your book?  What sort of budget should we have in mind for these projects? And, can most projects be completed in a weekend or less?

We tried to make the projects in such a way that any DIYer of any skill level could tackle them with ease. For instance, we made sure that each woodworking project could be completed with common woodworking tools such as hand drills and circular saws. We also saw fit that each could be constructed using simple glue and screwed, basic butt-joints. That doesn’t preclude more experienced woodworkers from using more specialized woodworking tools, like compound miter saws, table saws, drill presses and the like. More sophisticated joinery, such as mitered butt-joints, half-laps, mortise and tenon, and even simple pocket screws could also be used in construction as well, for those who have the knack and the equipment.

As far as budget goes, there’s something for everyone’s pocketbook. Some projects cost $20 dollars or less””and that’s only if you don’t happen to have any of the supplies on hand to make them. And, let’s be honest, MOST DIYers””including me have more than a few leftovers hiding around in the garage! As far as the bigger projects are concerned, the cost of completing them is really up to the individual makers, as they could be made with a variety of wood species, from inexpensive pine to cedar (for the more utilitarian projects) to mahogany (for the more decorative projects).

The majority of the projects in Garden Builder can definitely be made in a weekend. Some will take only a few hours with downtime in between steps letting glue or concrete cure, so although they might be completed over a weekend, they certainly won’t use up the weekend!

2. You mention that your book, the “Garden Builder” consists of a little of everything.  What sort of projects can readers expect to find between the covers?

You’ll be able to find purely ornamental garden objects to utilitarian things that you didn’t know you needed! Seriously, though, we’ve broken down the book into four parts including Decorative Elements, Small Projects, Planters & Accessories and Large Projects. The first three collections include those weekend projects I mentioned earlier. They include a copper trellis, a faux rock cairn, a garden obelisk, a child’s gardening bench, a collapsible grow box/seed-starter, and infinity planter among many others. The last collection, the Large Projects include a cabinet greenhouse, a pergola awning with integrated lighting, a modular critter-proof vegetable garden and a water barrel tower, to name just a few!

3. What inspired you to write this book and what was your inspiration for the projects featured within?

I wanted to put together a collection of projects that any DIYer of any skill level could handle. As for the projects themselves, the prerequisite of them making the cut was simple: they had to enhance one’s time spent in the garden and one’s gardening experience as well. From the actual gardening part to the enjoying the fruits of our labor part and everything in between.

4. What is your favorite project from the book and why? 

This is really a hard question to answer because I honestly didn’t include anything in the book that I didn’t love. (And, yes, there were some fails along the way that I THOUGHT were going to be awesome. Nope. Not so much.) But be that as it may, I kind of adore the Faux Rock Cairn. Besides it looking really cool, it reminds me of Lake Superior where intrepid souls construct such things along the lake’s north shore. The Cabinet Greenhouse is another favorite, as I’ve always wanted a greenhouse. Oh, and the Water Barrel Tower. I LOVE that thing! No more lugging a hose or buckets to the vegetable garden!

5. Your husband was your DIY partner in crime for the creation of this book. Was this your first professional collaborative effort together and will you be joining forces again on another book?  

He lent a teeny bit of his expertise while I was working on my book Mason Jar Nation, but, yes, this was our first collaborative effort. (Neither of us could have done it without the other.) I would LOVE to work on another book with him! I’ve actually been kicking around the idea of doing something with miniature garden construction. How does that sound?

Win one of two copies of “Garden Builder“!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, February 25, 2018 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

What would you like to build to enhance your garden spaces?

Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)

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  • Christine Cicoria
    Comment added February 20, 2018Reply

    A book I've been looking for! I'm interested in the Large Projects for the "critter-proof vegetable garden".

  • Ann Swearingen
    Comment added February 20, 2018Reply

    The cold frames got my attention.

  • Sheryle G
    Comment added February 20, 2018Reply

    More trellises would be wonderful. Easier to harvest those that like to grow upward.

  • Jenn Vieth
    Comment added February 19, 2018Reply

    I’m so ready to get back in the garden this spring! This book seems like the perfect inspiration for new projects.

  • Ann Marie Mones
    Comment added February 19, 2018Reply

    I need to build both a potting bench and a small green house or cold frame. My veggie garden is my haven, and with the addition of these items I could not only extend my garden growing time, but also my time out in my garden, which would make me very happy.

  • Amy Cioffi
    Comment added February 19, 2018Reply

    trying to look for new ideas to redo our backyard with a vegetable and herb garden

  • Katie Kelley
    Comment added February 19, 2018Reply

    Looking to create a unique archway gate to an enclosed garden this summer. Also looking to repurpose pallets into possibly a shed with tin can roofing or raised gardens... maybe both lol.

  • Vanessa
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    I would like to continue my newly found green thumb (reformed from black) & grow vegetables without millions of pests destroying them (I live near water). I've enjoyed eating & seeing edible plants flourish. A garden REALLY saved me money while I was paying college. My mom used to have crop land & I am just really happy to have discovered the therapeutic & beneficial joys of gardening! & the world needs to know!
    Happy gardening!

  • Liz Peterson
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    I would love to make something or get a idea for a nook between my 2nd back door and my belco doors on my master addition.

  • Laura b
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    This is awesome! I’ve been wanting to build something out of our home’s old storm windows!

  • Elaine Ashfield
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    I love gardening - flowers and vegetables so there are so many things I would love to build!I am a widow so it is me and my grandson so your ideas look ideal.

  • Gail Arnn
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    I would first build the cabinet greenhouse as a mini nursery. I live in a cold region and this would be perfect for starting my veggie garden plants.

  • joshua ferguson
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    i would like to build a really nice garden arch to grow plants over and that i can sit under and watch my butterflies and hummingbirds visit.

  • regina spence
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    I want to try vertical gardening using an old ladder and would like some ideas.

  • Carol Yemola
    Comment added February 18, 2018Reply

    I would love to build a small greenhouse using old windows. I have seen some pictures on the internet and I was inspired.

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