Wild Suburbia by Barbara Eisenstein
Barbara Eisenstein's Wild Suburbia gets my vote as the most readable, soulful and thorough "How and Why" of the current batch of native-plant gardening books out there. Chronicling her own rigorous and humorous effort to transform her South Pasadena property into a rich, biodiverse landscape, she manages to remain both conversational and deeply informative. If you live in So Cal, I strongly recommend diving into this book before putting any holes in the ground, it's a perfect summer read before you embark upon the fall creation of your wild yard. If you live anywhere else, it remains a compelling primer on our urgent need to re-wild our urban landscape, and the joy that comes from doing so.